hearts | a personal project

Personal 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 new series, we’ll feature a different CMpro and follow along as they show off some of their images and share about their unique project.  To start us off, we have Carol Swaitkewich here to talk about her heart project that she did in February!

hearts | a personal project from carol swaitkewich

What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?

For me this turned into a project within a project :)

In January I committed to a 365 project with a few photography friends. Honestly, I was scared. I tried one before with my dog Ruby Tuesday and I made it to day 135. 

hearts | a personal project photo

While I didn’t succeed with that challenge I am so grateful for those images, so it really wasn’t a failure. That challenge and those images are what inspired me to try again. 

This time I thought I would try with a broader subject matter…anything goes…surely that had to be easier, right?  

hearts | a personal project photo

Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?

I quickly learned that “anything goes” doesn’t work so well for me. I needed more direction and rules so to speak. By week 2, I came up with a schedule of what I would try to shoot. Macro on Monday, Ruby on Tuesday, Wide angle on Wednesday…and so on.

That helped because I really love the process of envisioning an image and setting it up and executing it, so I took it one step further and thought how about a theme? February, the month of love, was right around the corner and I love trying to find hearts in everyday things/scenes. So my Daily Heart for February was born…my project within a project. Every image I shot for the month of February had to have a heart in it. 

hearts | a personal project photo

hearts | a personal project photo

I brainstormed a list of heart items I could incorporate and I got my children on board to help. They were so excited by this idea. Getting them in front of my camera for this was so easy and they loved every minute. When I was stumped or uninspired I asked them and they helped me come up with something.

hearts | a personal project photo

hearts | a personal project photo

hearts | a personal project photo

What have you learned through your process with your personal project?

While my heart project may be over I am still in the middle of the 365 and I know I have a long way to go and so much more to learn. But the number one thing I have learned from it is that it’s for ME. It’s okay to miss a day. It’s okay to take two images on one day and use them for two. It’s okay if it is not THE BEST IMAGE EVER every single day. It doesn’t matter, just keep on going…because it’s for me. 

hearts | a personal project photo

The hearts were hard, it was a challenge! I longed to just snap a picture of my day instead of try to set something up. But it taught me to plan, and think ahead. I started carrying my camera everywhere in case I saw a heart in something. 

hearts | a personal project photo

It taught me to think about my vision and how I was going to execute it.  It taught me how to take an idea I saw from another image and make it mine.

hearts | a personal project photo

And I learned that I really love unusual crops. 

hearts | a personal project photo

hearts | a personal project photo

hearts | a personal project photo

Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?

Two things :)

This image was my Valentine’s day present. My husband rarely lets me take a picture of him. This is all I wanted, him with our girls. 

hearts | a personal project photo

At the halfway mark in my Daily Heart, I asked my fellow 365 friends if I should keep going for the rest of the month or stop at Valentine’s Day. Would it be anti-climactic to keep going past Valentine’s day? I got a resounding, “KEEP GOING!”

They helped me think of ways to display my images once I was done.  And one of them created a heart collage for me to put all of the images into.  I was so excited to have something tangible to show for my work.  It inspired me to keep going.  And this is the result…

hearts | a personal project photo

hearts | a personal project photoCarol Swaitkewich, Winnipeg
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Carol lives just outside of Winnipeg, MB, Canada with her husband of 14 years and their 3 gorgeous girls – 4 if you count their free spirited (read:crazy) dog Ruby. With a love of babies and photography that goes back decades – her mom used to call her Anne Geddes as a teenager – it is fitting that her favourite subjects are newborns. A lover of coffee and earl grey tea lattes, chocolate and wine…well anything unhealthy actually…she often indulges while her nose is stuck in the latest fiction top seller. Carol’s simple equipment line up includes her Canon 5d mark II, the nifty fifty and the 24-70mmL.

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45 Responses to “hearts | a personal project”

  1. Apr 02 2013 at 11:13 am #

    beautiful collage! love the heart theme <3

  2. Lacey
    Apr 02 2013 at 11:45 am #

    What a wonderful project! I really enjoyed reading about it and seeing the beautiful images you produced.

  3. Sabra
    Apr 02 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Thanks for sharing this, Carol. I really enjoyed reading about your project, makes me want to think of a project of my own. Oh, and one of my favorites is the expression (long-suffering?) on your family dog when she’s wearing the heart headband. :D

  4. Patti Margarita
    Apr 02 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    What a beautiful project and gorgeous images. Thanks for sharing this with us Carol!

  5. Helena
    Apr 02 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    What a beautiful project! Thanks for sharing, Carol!! (And I LOVE that one of your kids and husband)

  6. Debbie
    Apr 02 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Thank you for your share. I feel inspired with new ideas for my 365. I also love the heart idea so much, and the theme idea. Thank you, you have a beautiful family (dog included) :)

  7. Apr 02 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    LOVE THIS!!! and love you Carol. beautiful images + I’m so impressed with your creativity. xo

  8. Apr 02 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I love this so much – it’s wonderfully inspiring!!! That cloud image – fantastic! Talk about seeing the world in a different way. <3

  9. Apr 02 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    love love love this project! Your variety is amazing!

  10. Apr 02 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    LOVE the heart theme! Your creativity and variety is so impressive!

  11. Apr 02 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    I love this! Your heart project is so inspiring! I am doing a broad include everything 365 challenge and while I am enjoying it and actually keeping up with it fairly well, this inspires me to try something new with it!

    The heart with the hair idea (third one down) has to be one of my favorites!

  12. Stacey
    Apr 02 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    amazing and very inspiring!!!

  13. Apr 02 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Awesome article! I love the creativity with all the heart images too… I am so inspired to just run out right now and photograph something. I also love the suggestion of having different days be for different techniques/ideas. Thanks Carol!

  14. Apr 02 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    wow this is great! thank you for sharing carol. it’s very inspiring!!

  15. Apr 02 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    thank you for showing us your project, Carol! I love your dedication and creativity. I am inspired to create a project for myself!

  16. Apr 02 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    this is fabulous!! amazing creativity and so inspiring!! <3

  17. Mabel
    Apr 02 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    That is such an awesome project! A heart cloud?! You couldn’t have planned that!

  18. Erin Konrath
    Apr 02 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Just. Awesome.

  19. Apr 02 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Thank you all so much for your lovely comments!!

  20. Apr 02 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    This is such a fun project! Love the collage of all your shots.

  21. Apr 02 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    This project is both stunning and super inspirational. Love the collage!

  22. Apr 02 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    I love your project so much! They are so creative and inspiring – each and every one!

  23. Apr 02 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Beautiful images Carol! I loved following your Hearts journey and excited to see more of your beautiful images!

  24. Apr 02 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    How exciting! I love this new series! This heart project is perfect Carol!

  25. Lauren Ammerman
    Apr 02 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    WOW, Carol!! That is the best 365 motivational post EVER!! The heart theme is awesome,and I’m sure it was challenging, but what an amazing job you did!! Thanks for sharing!!

  26. Apr 02 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Amazing and inspiring. I *heart* your project!!!

  27. Apr 02 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    What an awesome project…and fun, beautiful images!

  28. Apr 02 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    I loved this. I’m so inspired by your project!

  29. Apr 02 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    that is just wonderful. WONDERFUL.

  30. Apr 02 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    inspiring! i love the end collage – so creative!

  31. Meredith R.
    Apr 02 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    what a fantastic project–so inspiring.

  32. Apr 02 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    What a creative theme! I love the hair shots and the cloud…stunning!

  33. Apr 03 2013 at 3:01 am #

    Carol this is fabulous and so incredibly creative! I loved following your project on the CM Pro Daily blog, but what a treat to see them all in one single article :)

  34. Apr 03 2013 at 5:12 am #

    I love this project and everything you learned from it! Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Carol, and for the inspiration.

  35. Jessica
    Apr 03 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    How wonderful and inspiring!! One day I’ll join the ranks of those on the 365 road. Thank you Carol!

  36. Janecke Santoro
    Apr 03 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    This is so wonderful and inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Apr 04 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Thank you thank you, was what I need it to hear(read) to start in a project like this.
    I know I need to do a personal project but I have been “scare” to everything, the commitment, not having enough imagination, bad pictures, to face my lack of creativity, and I can keep going…
    Reading this make the pressure feel a little less and the excitement a little more.
    The pictures are beautiful, thanks for sharing!

  38. Kathleen
    Apr 04 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I loved seeing your heart project images on the DP. Each and every one of them made me smile. Thank you for that.

  39. Apr 06 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Beautiful. Loved your blog and project. Met on Clickinmom’s.

  40. Apr 07 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I LOVE THIS CONCEPT! Your creativity and execution is brilliant! Seriously, so adorable. :-)

  41. Jeanie Shea
    Apr 07 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    I am inspired by your creativity. Thank you for sharing.

  42. Marilyn Mason
    Apr 07 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Great ‘work’! Loved it!

  43. Apr 08 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    This is so inspiring and your images are gorgeous!

  44. Apr 11 2013 at 2:31 am #

    Carol, I just think you are all around incredible! Love this share and your gorgeous images!

  45. Apr 21 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Oh Carol I loved seeing all your images with hearts here! You’re an inspiring photographer not with just your photos but in your words and ideas. Thank you for sharing about your projects! OH, and that cloud heart is unbelievable! So neat!

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