Personal photography projects can be incredibly beneficial to your growth as a photographer. Whether it be a 365 or a series of self-portraits, it will stretch you beyond your safety zone. And what could be more fun than seeing what personal projects the CMpros are up to?! In this series, we’ll feature a different CMpro and follow along as they show off some of their images and share about their unique project. Today we are excited to have Amy Schuff here to talk about her personal project, 28 Days of February!
28 days of february | amy schuff
What was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?
Back before the wonderful craze of 365 day photo projects, I stumbled upon a photographer who took photos of her kids each day for the month of January. I thought it was a lovely project and was sad when it ended. At the time, photography was new to me and I went a couple years thinking that projects like that were for other more established and talented photographers. I was totally missing the point in that these photos weren’t for her blog following, they were for her. Once I wrapped my head around taking photos every day, I bit off an easier time frame, the 28 days of February and chose to use black and white photography as my medium. Also, I always made sure to date my photos and choose a little title for the picture, this way I could look back and remember why I photographed what I did each day.
Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during you project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?
The toughest times would be when I waited until the very last minute to take a photo. Since my project includes a photo of one of my children each day, if I put them to bed…I missed my chance! I also don’t generally take photos at night. Part of what inspires me is the sun and light, but when I got to the end of the day and didn’t have a photo, I had to improvise. Those pitch black nights certainly pushed me the most! I would then take a look around me to see what was happening in that moment. In the dark, the kids in mismatched pajamas, no sunlight pouring into the windows…those moments ended up producing some of my favorite images.
What have you learned through your process with your personal project?
I definitely feel that during each February I am so much more aware of my surroundings, the small details, and the ins and outs of my home. I’m constantly observing, waiting for the right shot to emerge. Sometimes I had to create the scenario and sometimes it just presented itself. I look forward to this project because I know my skill will also increase exponentially. It is so true, if you want to grow in your photography talent, shoot every day, every single day, and you will get better.
Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?
My most favorite day to take a photo is February 15th, the birthday of my husband and my daughter, Lily. To be able to take a photo of them together each year is such a gift. Even last year when I had to skip the project because I was away half the month of February on a trip, I made sure to not fly out until I had taken their birthday photo. I promise you, I will move heaven and earth to take their photo together until they are both old and gray.
One more thought, this project is not new, it isn’t unique and it’s been done a thousand times over. I wasn’t the first one to think of it and I won’t be the last. But what makes it important is that this is my story. So if you choose to do a photo project, keep in mind, the project doesn’t make your photos, YOU make your photos. There is no one like you, no one has your children, your story, your passion and your life. Whether you do a 365 all about your cat or take Instagram photos of each coffee you drink, don’t worry if it has been “done” before, because most likely it has. So what can you do? Keep doing what you’re doing, because inside of you are photos waiting to emerge, waiting to soar, and when they take flight…they’re going to be amazing.
Amy Schuff, California
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Fueled by a little bit of coffee and a whole lotta Jesus, Amy Schuff is a homeschooling mom of three, a wife of over 13 years and a natural light family photographer in Sacramento, CA. When she’s not knee deep in motherhood or laundry, she loves to break out her Nikon d700 and capture families just “being” together. She believes at the heart of each family is undeniable joy and love, and that is what she sets out to capture in her photographs. Amy also loves to write on her blog about passions dear to her heart, whether it be her kids, homeschooling, photography or her faith.