At the end of 2015, I sat down in front of my computer to take a look through all of my personal images–the images that I captured not to earn money, but just to document the daily life of my own family. My husband and I have two little boys, Leo and Sam, 3 and 1 respectively. While I did end up with a ton of images by year’s end, I noticed a couple of things that I didn’t love. Instead of picking up my camera at home daily (or nearly daily), I usually only picked it up only a few times a month and went on photo binges to make up for lost time.
To cut myself a little slack, I did have a baby in July, who turned out to be very colicky indeed (the first three months of his life, we spent most of his waking hours trying to get him to JUST. STOP. SCREAMING.) And of course a toddler demands his own brand of very special attention.
The other thing I noticed when looking at my personal images…was the sloppiness. Lots of good frames that could have been great ones if I had only taken the time to move three inches to the left or back a little to include more in the frame. When I’m working with my clients’ families, I’m always looking for the best angles and composition, being careful not to chop off hands or let branches become horns–but with my own family, I wasn’t putting the same amount of thought and care into each image. Why hadn’t I been giving as much of myself to the people I love the most?
That’s where this 365 project comes in. If you’re saying “what the H is a 365 project?”, essentially it just boils down to producing one image every single day for a year. It sounds so easy, right? Yes, it does–but I assure you, it’s not! I’m over halfway through now, and it’s been a true challenge in so many ways (the biggest of which is trying to get great images with my baby strapped to my chest–which is a LOT of the time!).
But more importantly, it’s shown me how rewarding it will be, both personally and professionally. Friends of mine who have paved the way with a 365 of their own have emphasized the importance of setting goals for yourself, and keeping them reasonable.
Here are my intentions for this project:
- I’ll keep it family-focused. At the end of the project, I’d love to have a body of work that’s cohesive and documents what will be an incredible year of change for our boys.
- I’ll explore new types of shooting and test my boundaries. This is a year to refine my skills and come out the other end as a stronger photographer.
- I’ll accept the fact that there will be off days, and that’s ok. I can be pretty hard on myself, especially when comparing my work to others’ who I really admire. In order to keep going, I need to allow myself to have a bit of a fail now and then.
- I’ll share images regularly. I plan to share images (not all, but some) at least once a week on my personal FB page and Instagram (@jennybpenney, y’all!)
To give you a taste of how it’s been going, here are some of my favorite images so far in my 365 project. Hope you enjoy!