As photographers, we naturally value the importance of a photograph.  Behind every photograph, there is a story to be told and a memory to be shared.  Photographs document life.

At the beginning of 2010, I made a resolution to document my life as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.  After reading about the Project 365, I quickly decided that was the perfect way to carry out my New Year’s resolution.  The best thing I did when I started this project was I didn’t make any rules.  I simply wanted to take a photo of my life every day in 2010. To me, documenting life isn’t about capturing only the big events (birthdays, trips to the zoo, holidays, etc.). It’s about capturing every day… no matter how simple the day may be.  I wanted to focus on the “joy” of each day that God has given me.

Many people have asked me to share some tips with them about staying inspired and motivated to take a photo every day.  Here is what I have shared with others and will share with you:

  • There are no rules.  Worrying about themes, perfect pictures, and shooting solely with a dslr every day may not be realistic for you.  Make YOUR Project 365 realistic for YOU.
  • Taking a photo (or more) a day will make you a better photographer.  It forces you to build a strong relationship with your camera gear and to get creative.  Even if you are using a point-and-shoot camera or camera phone, you will learn to pay attention to lighting and the right moment to press the shutter button.
  • Connect with others who have taken on this project.  By following fellow 365’ers blog and/or Flickr set you will inspire and be inspired.  You will also meet some wonderful people along the way.
  • Make a “back up” list of things you want to photograph and add to it throughout the year.  There will be days when you will feel less than motivated about picking up your camera.  I referred to my back up list many times this year.

  • Take your camera everywhere.  I usually have my backup camera  with me when we are out and about.  When I didn’t want to lug my big camera, I took my point and shoot camera.  If all else failed, I used my camera phone.
  • Make posting your picture a part of your daily routine.  For me, the best time to post my picture of the day was right after my kids went to bed.  At first, the process was fairly time-consuming since I was not familiar with keeping a blog, loading pictures on Flickr etc. but you will quickly get into your groove and find posting to be a fairly quick (and rewarding) process.
  • It’s okay to miss a day.  There may be days that you just can’t take a picture and/or post your picture.  Life happens.  I found the “post options” tool handy when I needed to backdate my picture of the day.

  • You can start your project on ANY day.  There are no rules that say you have to start this project on January 1st.  Start it on your birthday or your child’s birthday or Valentine’s day or ANY day.  The point is to document a year in your life.
  • Link your daily blog posts on Facebook and/or Twitter.  Your friends will be a wonderful source of motivation and encouragement.
  • Create a tangible book of your completed Project 365.  I already have visions of sharing this book with my family for many, many years to come.  Becky Higgins  has created an amazing product – Project Life –  created for the Project 365.  I purchased the kit for my 2010 365 Simple Joys.  The materials are of high quality and the end result is absolutely beautiful.  I have used this kit in addition to my blog.  If you do not want to create a blog or Flickr set, this is a wonderful way to showcase your project.  If you do create a blog, Blurb is an online resource for creating a blog book.  How cool is that??

As 2010 is quickly coming to an end, so is my first “365 Simple Joys” project.  Truly, it has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever accomplished… besides marrying my husband and bringing my children into the world, or course.  I documented my children reading a book together, sunsets, birthday candles, weddings, bare feet, my husband napping with one of our children, blue skies, reflections, messy faces, new life, awesome sunflare, folded laundry, dew on the grass, ugly slippers, laughter, tears, runny noses, and toys scattered everywhere. I documented a year in my life.

If there is anything that I have learned this year, it is this… life is too precious to let the days go by unnoticed.  Every day has significance.  EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.