Throughout 2023 I have been trying an experiment – to take a photograph every single day. We are halfway through the year so how am I getting on? You can view the results so far here . And I thought now would be a good to time to reflect on the experience. Is it a worthwhile exercise and how can it help my photography?
The first thing I have to say is that I have failed. I have not always been able to take a photograph every single day; sometimes something has got in the way or I have quite simply forgotten. But it doesn’t matter. This is a personal exercise and so I am not going to beat myself up for missing the odd day.
It has given me a moment to pause almost everyday and just look around me; it’s so easy to plough on head down without looking up but sometimes it can be good to stop to see where you are (literally and figuratively).
It has made me pay more attention to the world around me and I tend to look up and down to see what there might be so images have included blossom on the ground and the clouds scudding overhead.
Finally I feel it is honing my photographic skills, making me think of how to create interesting images out of the mundane.
From my experience, here are a few ideas on how to approach taking a photograph a day (and maybe I will follow this advice myself!)
Spend time looking
This process is all about observing, seeing how the light and shadow falls, the relationship of your subject with other objects. Give yourself time to do that.
Some questions that might help: Why did you pause to look at it? What drew you to it and why do you want to photograph it? How would you photograph it to convey all you have seen and felt about the appearance of the object and your response to it?
You can choose a set time of day to take the image or just wait until your eye is caught by something you want to capture. Whatever works for you. You don’t need to set any rules although you might discover there is a certain time of day when it is easier to take the photographs, maybe at lunch break or at the end of the day.
Look to the mundane.
We don’t all live in dramatic landscapes. I live in London with a view of a typical side street out the front door. This is an exercise in observing, noticing things you might take for granted. Take a look around your kitchen, maybe check out what you’re having for breakfast. How about the mug you drink your coffee from?
What do you plan to do with the images?
Think what happens to the images afterwards although you don’t have to do anything! This is a personal process. The act of taking the photograph, observing and recording, might be enough for you. You may want to take it further, though; perhaps to save the images and look them later, reflect on the moment you took the image. One thing I have been experimenting with is keeping a journal, printing a photo each day and writing a few comments about it (more about this in a later blog).
Photograph because you want to photograph
Finally, the key thing is to photograph because you want to. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day! Just pick it up again another day. To answer my question from the beginning I think it is a worthwhile experiment to help inspire me take photographs and it is one that I intend to continue albeit in my own erratic way. I would love to hear other people’s experiences. Please add them in the comments below or contact me direct.