Although summer isn't quite over, my #12weeksofsummer2017 project ended last week. This was the first personal project I've done in collaboration with another photographer (Myriam of Farah Photography). With the past weeks still fresh in my mind, I wanted to put together a list of things I've learned to help get the most out of these projects.
1) Stay on track by partnering with someone else
I didn't always feel like carrying my camera or taking photos. Knowing that I was doing this project with someone else kept me accountable - the buddy system really does work. The proof - since finishing this project, other than for work and a birthday this past week, I didn't reach for my camera. Myriam and I were able to bounce ideas off each other, push and encourage each other when we were struggling. I had tried other photography projects before but had a hard time staying motivated. Having someone there who was counting on me is what made the difference.
2) Get creative
One of the best things about a personal project is that you don't have to please anyone but yourself. You can be creative, try new techniques and challenge yourself. Take a few steps outside your comfort zone. This really helps strengthen your skills, develop your style and discover ways to breathe new life into your work.
3) Give yourself a constraint
Start with a clear idea of what story you want the project to tell and stick within those limits so that you don't lose focus. Myriam and I had outlined certain general criteria for the photos we were allowed to submit. They had to be taken within the week (no cheating) and they had to include our children. We also decided to limit the project to 12 weeks which seemed manageable (and it was even if some weeks were easier than others!). Constraints can really force you to be creative.
This project resulted in not just these 12 photos but many more that I plan to put together in an album. It really helped me to both document moments with my family and reminded me of why I'm a photographer in the first place - to tell stories and to find beauty in the everyday.