The Ultimate 365 Project Guide Part I

Jan 23, 2015

Marius Vieth

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Jan 23, 2015

Marius Vieth

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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365-1-06 One and a half years ago I decided to start a 365 project to take my photography to the next level. I expected to make some progress, but that it completely changed my life was beyond my wildest dreams. What happened afterwards was even more exciting. A 365 is one of the most incredible projects a photographer could experience.

In Case You Are Psyched To Start Your Very Own 365 Project, Why Not Read The Ultimate 365 Guide First?

On new year’s eve 2012/2013 I thought that a 365 project might be something that would take my photography to the next level. It did not only take it to the next level, it even changed my whole life for good! During these 365 days I gained more than 3000 contacts on FlickR, won 10 awards and ended up on 6 shortlists, over a million people saw my photos and most importantly I got to know amazing photographers that share my passion and kept me going! You know what my thoughts were before: it might be a fun idea. That was honestly my whole train of thought about a year-long commitment. A fun idea? I wasn’t aware at all that I was actually dedicating one year of my life to taking photos every single day for 365 days in a row. How insane is that? Insanely awesome! In case you are seriously thinking about doing such a project, let me first give you some travel advise I would have loved to have back then. I mean, it is a journey of literally at least 365 miles that you are about to take! You really want to do this? Then let’s talk 365!

Neoprime Marius Vieth Baltazar
Neoprime Marius Vieth Baltazar

Is The Journey Meant For Anyone?

When I started my 365 project I already took photos every now and then for 2-3 years. I knew how a DSLR worked and how aperture, shutter speed and ISO influenced my photos. I was also familiar with the basics of post processing in Lightroom. All on a very basic level though. But is that really essential for doing a 365 project? Not at all! I’m convinced that everyone who is interested in photography and who could imagine to spend time with it on a daily basis could pull off a 365 project. Whether you are a professional or just bought your first DSLR, it doesn’t matter. What truly matters is that you are really interested in photography and think that it’s worth your time, even if Day 1/365 is the first time you ever hit the shutter. You just start from a different chapter. Your personal chapter!

Neoprime Marius Vieth Red
Neoprime Marius Vieth Red

The Four Chapters Of Growth

But where will your 365 project actually take you? Since it is a rather long journey you might as well know where it could possibily take you. To give you a slight idea of the destinations you are about to reach, I’ll try to explain it as simple as possibe. If photography were a book, there are basically four chapters of development. I know that all of these stages can’t be seperated like that since they occur somehow simultanteously, but for the sake of giving a brief overview it really helps to explain them as different phases. The first chapter is all about getting to know what a camera actually is and how it works. How is it able to draw with light? What do aperture, shutter speed and ISO mean? What kind of lenses and cameras are there? I think you can compare it to learning the alphabet. It’s a must in order to make any progress. You’ll find plenty of articles and videos online that help you understand the basics. It’ll appear a lot at first, but with a little effort you’ll soon reach the next even more interesting chapter. The second chapter is about visual aspects that define the perception of the subject that drew your attention: composition, light, shadows, depth of field, leading lines, foreground and background, structures and natural contrasts. You saw something interesting, but how are you actually going to arrange it in your photo. Is your subject in the center of the frame or on the side? Did you find any leading lines that help the viewer find what’s most important in your photo? This is a very important stage of growth you will reach during your project. It’s a rather important one, because it lays the groundwork for stage three and four. But don’t worry, I’m convinced that everyone can get to know all visual elements with enough practice and curiosity. There’s a quote by Dorothea Lange that best describes the essence of the third chapter: “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” It sounds so simple and obvious, but this is what photography is about. Seeing something that is so beautiful, interesting or arousing that you have to capture it for eternity. This is the phase where it doesn’t really matter which camera or lens you are using, but which heart, soul and mind are standing behind it. You really have to ask yourself the most important question of ‘em all: what do I truly love? What fascinates me more than anything in the world. You are not only finding something to take photos of, you are discovering yourself. Because only if you discover something that excites you more than anything else, you are able to capture it in a way no one has ever seen before. Photographers who are merely interested in the thing, which you deeply love, will only scratch on the surface, but your passion will take you to perceptions most people would’ve never came up with. And that’s why they want to see what you’ve seen. The fourth and final stage is the most important and exciting of them all. It’s about combining the knowledge of the first chapter, your perception from the second chapter and the soul you discovered in the third chapter to a unique vision on life and photography the world hasn’t seen before. The never ending happy end of your wonderful story is your very own signature that you’ll use to write the countless breathtaking sequels of your very own bestseller. There’s no rule how many chapters your 365 can and will cover. Never forget, you are holding the pen! And the cam…

Neoprime Marius Vieth Fresh
Neoprime Marius Vieth Fresh

Why That Cheesy Quote “The Journey Is The Reward” Actually Makes Sense

You only get better at things by doing them constantly. There is no master on earth that was at the peak of his work without taking a journey of a 1000 miles. A 365 project is basically 365 miles of that road. There’s research that suggests that it takes at least 10.000 hours to become a master of something, but in the end there is no number or amount, just one thing: perseverance. If you truly want to become excellent at something, you have to take the 1000 mile journey that everyone else from Jordan over Picasso to Beethoven took. They were just crazy enough to never stop. It’s madness, but it’ll take you to your personal peak. And believe me, I’m not even slightly there and the view already feels amazing! I know that it sounds like a long long way, but I can’t begin to describe how incredible it feels to look back on all these breathtaking miles that truly take you to the essence of your inner vision. It sounds so cheesy, but the way is literally the goal. Each and every one of these 1000 miles consists of amazing memories, experiences and achievements that define you and let you truly grow. So why even think about shortcuts?

Neoprime Marius Vieth Abyss
Neoprime Marius Vieth Abyss

Fall In Love With The Process, Not The Dream

It’s an amazing feeling to complete a 365 project, gain new contacts on the way and finally have a portfolio to show for. This is the result of one year’s passion and hard work, which you can truly be proud of! While this goal or an even higher one of living from photography may serve as a driver and motivation during the project, it’s even more important to focus on the process. What makes you reach that goal in the end is falling deeply in love with “working” for it on a daily basis. The endless hours of walking around with nothing to show for, the moments of bliss where you discover something incredibly beautiful all of a sudden, the perfect shot you ruined, because your settings were messed up, the day you can’t wait to upload your first breathtaking catch of the day, the hundreds of photos you browsed through on your PC only to find out that they all suck, the moment you realize that you created something entirely new that you were never able to do before. All of that. Love it with all your heart. Even the hundreds and thousands of shots that made you questions your own taste. They are all part of the process, the experience and your success story to new heights! You want to know the golden rules of the 365 project, whether you should really show it to the world and how to get the most out of it, join our social channels and get notified once Part II of the Ultimate 365 Guide gets published in the NEOPRIME Magazine! PS: In case you are already doing your 365 project or about to start one, why don’t you join the NEOPRIME: 365 Flickr Group to upload your daily shots and get in touch with other 365ers.

This is a 4 part series, head over to Part II.

About The Author

Marius Vieth is a street photographer from Amsterdam. Together with his partner Martin Dietrich he runs the International Fine Arts Label NEOPRIME, a limited editions gallery aimed at lovers of art. You can follow Marius on twitterflickrFacebookinstagram, and tumblr. This article was originally published on NEOPRIME and shared with permission. P.S. In case you are already doing your 365 project or about to start one, why don’t you join the NEOPRIME: 365 Flickr Group to upload your daily shots and get in touch with other 365ers

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11 responses to “The Ultimate 365 Project Guide Part I”

  1. Norman Fox Avatar
    Norman Fox

    I would like to point out that anyone who is already passionate about using a camera is already do all they ever need to. This 365 idea is about self-promotion. thats all. No other artist gets challenged this way. Could you imagine? ” Sculpt a statue everyday, write a novel every day, paint a canvass everyday” Take pictures as you enjoy taking pictures. Share them as you enjoy sharing them. The assumption of this “challenge” is that you are not doing enough; you absolutely are.

    1. Marius Vieth Avatar
      Marius Vieth

      Norman, as much as I agree with you that if you love what you are doing right now and you are happy with it you have all the rights in the world to be happy about it. However, I have to disagree with you on the fact that no other artist gets challenged this way.

      Just to mention some other creative minds. Jerry Seinfeld wrote jokes every day and marked the day with an X on the calendar and tried to never break the chain. He did this for such a long time in order to improve. Ray Bradbury said: “Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.” Ira Glass said “Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. ” There are so many others wo share the notion that IF you want to make progress, this concept does wonders.

      For me it honestly changed my life and I know lots of people that a 365 project helped so much. And it’s not an assumption that you aren’t doing enough. You can do what you want at your pace! But a 365 Project is just one way to make progress.

      If you want to read the story behind my project and why I think a 365 Project is so valuable, read this: http://petapixel.com/2014/01/22/365-project-changed-life/

      1. Norman Fox Avatar
        Norman Fox

        My point was that if the person in love with taking pictures is truly lit up by the hobby, than they are probably already trying to take pictures every chance they have. They are probably not just sitting around reading blogs about photography and “professional” tips from others. They might be doing that to some extent, but they are more than likely already out there taking pictures the way –they- take pictures: on their own schedule, at their own unique speed in their own world. I think it is already our true nature as
        artists to see and meet our own challenges and that it is presumptive and a
        bit condescending to suggest anyone “do what I did” in order for them to
        be better at what they do. Particularly when it comes to creative work.

        I have a friend that only takes pictures of the sky in her neighborhood. They are often blurry, the horizon lines are not usually paid attention, the exposure is rarely defined “properly” and the colors are often muddy and not truly a reflection of what she is seeing with her own eyes. But they convey what she loves about her world and I love seeing that!

        If the artist does happen to be a professional and wanting a career and a gallery like yourself than I can guarantee they are already quite motivated and determined in their work. (And congratulations by the way, the images I have seen really are beautiful!)

        I think the difference between this article and Jerry Seinfeld is that he does
        not write blogs challenging other comedians to do things differently. On second thought, maybe the world does need an Instagram type app for comedians! LOL

        My advice to any artist would be to spend each of the next 365 days working on an understanding of who they are as a person and let that specific learning become their creative work. If it produces one image that moves or intrigues another person, then they will know instantly how
        successful they are.

        1. Marius Vieth Avatar
          Marius Vieth

          Well, that’s why I started the article with “In case you are psyched to…”. It’s merely something that worked for me that might be interesting for other photographers. On top of that I’m sure that photographers are smart enough to decide for themselves whether something might be valuable for them or not. If not, just ignore the guide. I mean, why would you open a 365 Project Guide in the first place if you aren’t interested in the topic?

          Thank you very much for the kind words though! Makes me happy to hear that!

          1. Norman Fox Avatar
            Norman Fox

            I opened the article as I do most of the pieces posted by DIY, it is a great resource and they were very kind to share an article about myself:

            https://www.diyphotography.net/homeless-man-uses-photography-turn-life-around/

            So you are most welcome Marius. The online world of photography is a jungle of self promotion, contests and such; continued good luck with your writing and your photography. I am glad you found the recognition that changed your life.

  2. JOhn C Avatar
    JOhn C

    I personally prefer a pic a week. photo 52 project. I feel it gives me more time to think about what I want to do and to fit it in my schedule. I am no a pro so many other things get put before photography (sadly). I feel if I try to push for a pic a day I’ll not get to it, 1 a week allows me to justify putting something aside. On the other hand maybe a pic a day would make me shoot ‘off the cuff’ more instead of planning so much. hmmm…

    1. Marius Vieth Avatar
      Marius Vieth

      As long as you’re out shooting regularly I think everything’s fine!

  3. Morgan Glassco Avatar
    Morgan Glassco

    I completed my 365 project on 12/13/14. The scope of my project was that I had to be in every picture so I dubbed it “Selfie 365”. What a journey it was. Carrying a camera around is one thing. Carrying a tripod, setting it up, pre-focusing and timers or using remotes and taking pictures of yourself in public is another~!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/moregone/sets/72157638668355155/

    I’ll do another project in the future but I sure won’t be the subject. Think I will go for a 52 week project next where I am doing composites.

    Good article

    1. Marius Vieth Avatar
      Marius Vieth

      Awesome Morgan! Looks great! Thank you very much.

  4. Ralph Hightower Avatar
    Ralph Hightower

    I haven’t done a 365 or a 52 project, but I made a decision in 2011 to photograph the year 2012 exclusively using B&W film.
    2012 was a year for me to work with different B&W contrast filters and different films. I started off photographing the sunrise on January 1st. I had two projects for that year: 1) photograph the sunrise on the first day of the equinoxes and solstices; 2) photograph the full moons (started after January’s full moon). It was probably March before I started visualizing in B&W.
    The most rolls of film I shot in one day was at an airshow. Six rolls of 36 exposure film was my “budget” for that day; I had a few frames left after that day on the sixth roll. I started a new roll prior to the start of the US Air Force Thunderbirds and had to reload during their performance.
    For 2012, I shot over 60 rolls of film; Kodak BW400CN (now discontinued) was my film of choice for the convenience of developing locally, but I also used traditional silver based B&W film.
    If I start a 365 day project, I have a quandary: film, digital, or both? With film, the one per day may get published until a month at least if I do one per day. I have two film cameras and one DSLR, so I have multiple options.

  5. Kurt Langer Avatar
    Kurt Langer

    Without knowing your 365 project. I was wanting to do one this year. Being 2015 sounds a good year for one. I would like to say I got the idea from that film ‘the big year’, but had a feeling there was something out there as nothing is a new idea. And here I read it. Cool. Still may start just a bit late in the year. I think its a great idea. To admit I got the idea from a guy called Eugene from Aquabumps. He is amazing photographer. Gets up every day at dawn and photographs Bondi beach his local but does broaden his horizons to all beaches and surf around the world. He uploads at least half a dozen pretty awesome pics every day. Join his newsletter to see what I mean.