It’s just 30 days. You can doing anything for 30 days.
This past January, I challenged myself to post a new photo everyday for a month. I had just bought a new camera in December, and I wanted to make sure I got in the habit of using it regularly.
I got the idea of doing a 30-day challenge from this TED Talk by Google employee, Matt Cutts:
It can be really intimidating to try to add a new permanent habit to life, but doing some for 30 days seems achievable.There is also the comfort in knowing that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Even if I had only succeeded in taking photos 20 out of the 30 days, that is 20 more than I would have taken without the challenge.
Obviously, the goal is to develop some habits that last beyond the initial 30 day period. I did not continue taking a photo everyday, but I have been using my camera more. I’m hoping to get back to posting a photo everyday in June, but it won’t be my official “30-day challenge.”
That’s because I’m hoping to start working on some new habits. My goal was to move directly from my challenge in January to a new one in February. I was thinking about something like “write for an hour everyday,” but I hadn’t full decided by the time February came around and…well, I’m writing this recap in May, so you can guess what happened.
To help avoid another lapse like this, I have planned out my next three months worth of challenges. I’m hoping to develop something that I call digital discipline, which involves being intentional about how I spend my time on the Internet. I want to be more mindful of the content I read/share, and the conversations I have online. I laid out my thinking around this topic and the details of my challenges here.
Finally, I wanted to talk a little bit about how my January challenge went. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes, I would find myself at the end of the day with no photo that I thought worth sharing. This helped me with two things.
First, I learned that is okay to post work that is not perfect. Sometimes it is more important to try and reflect on what went wrong.
I also learned to be creative in my own apartment. I ended up taking photos of myself, knick knacks, books, food, etc. Not all of these turned out great. The photo I took of my Captain America bobble head wasn’t great art, but I did learn a lot from lighting him different angles. A human subject would not have been as patient as good ole’ Cap as I moved lamps around him into different positions. Sometimes limitations and deadlines are all we need to get a little creative.
Below, I have sorted my January photos into three groups:
The “Best Images” were the ones that I felt had the best planned out composition. They were the most deliberate photos isolating a single subject with a unique look or story surrounding them.
The “Good Images” by contrast were more lucky, just taking photos of things that happened to be around. Lots of them are lacking a clear subject or fail to convey any story about the scene.
The “Bad Images” were all those desperate last minute images I took when I had nothing else to publish. They are generally of non-photogenic things or without any clear subject at at all