Friday, January 6, 2012

6 Tips for Personal Photo Projects

I've been involved in my own personal project for over a year now.  I call it Project 150 ... Close to Home. All the images in this project are photographed within 150 feet of my front door.  So far, I've taken hundreds of photos, and around 50 of them have made the first cut.  My goal is to have a total of 150 images for a coffee table book I will self-publish.

John Paul Caponigro just posted an article on this topic in his blog that deeply resonates with me.  In it, he provides concrete advice for photographers about how to undertake a project.  One might feel overwhelmed by the task of moving from the idea to the implementation to the completion.  John Paul's advice is concrete and straightforward.  Here are the most important tips I distilled from the posting.

1. Make a commitment
2. Show only best work
3. Set a quota
4. Seek feedback
5. Set a timeline
6. Establish priorities

I've been pretty good about following five of these six tips.  The only one I'm deficient in is #5. I have no idea when I'll reach project completion.  It might be in a few months, or it might take several years.  My only criterion for completion is reaching 150 first rate images that I'm proud to share with the world.  I feel no time pressure, since the only one I report to is myself. But, as John Paul implies, the only way to keep myself going is to hold myself accountable.  And these tips help me do that.

I've found tip #4 has given me the most impetus in moving my project forward.  A friend who holds nothing back in her constructive criticism have been helping me with decisions about selection and image editing. Just as importantly, having her travel with me in this journey keeps me energized and visible.  I can't hide when from her when my output slacks off, and I can't make excuses for sloppiness.

Read John Paul Caponigro's posting, commit to a project, and get started. This might be the best way to jump start your creativity.

No comments: