7 Photo Projects to Start on January 1st

31 Dec
Photo credit: Melina Souza

As soon as the ball drops and you’re done kissing your sweetheart, you are probably already wondering: What in the world am I gonna do in 2013?

How about starting one of these seven photo projects with the New Year? Project 365 is a classic choice, but you might want to peruse these twists on that classic long term photo project as well.

Find something just right for you this year, no matter what sort of commitment you’re looking for. Take a peek at these ideas and select the perfect one to help your creative juices flow like champagne on New Year’s Eve.

7 Project Ideas to Start off the New Year

p.s. We’re re-posting our most favorited Tweets of the year! Follow us on Twitter to see what our best photography projects, stories, and tips of 2012 were.

1. Project 365

ingred-smThis is the time honored photo-a-day challenge, and it definitely deserves a mention. Fair warning: it’s not for the faint of heart.

Never fear though, we’ve got lots of tips on how to do it. If you’re in the habit of taking pictures all of the time anyway, and you take your camera with you everywhere (and yes, phone cameras are REAL CAMERAS!) why not give it a shot?

Some ideas to make it less daunting:

  • Phone-ograph your days. Commit to an Instagram or Hipstamatic 365, and odds are you’ll never be without your camera.
  • Pick a theme. Photographer Kelly DeLay honed in on clouds, with beautiful results.
  • Look at details. Even the mundane can become interesting from the right perspective, like this yarn that’s part of Mark Seton’s 365 collection.


ingred-sm If you’re crafty, this might be just right for you. Project Life is a scrapbooker’s answer to documenting your days. It’s almost like a grown up yearbook!

Our friend Jodi McKee has been using Project Life this year to keep track of everything from her baby’s firsts to internet meetups.

  • Instead of whole pages for a single event, a binder full of divided pages marks weeks as they pass.
  • look at the pictures on your camera and create your pages based on what you’ve shot during that time period.
  • The great thing about this is that it can be done in retrospect.


paint-smProject 365’s baby bro, a weekly photographic project. Anything you can do with Project 365, you can squeeze into a package 1/7th the size.

  • A jumping off point if you’re a newbie looking for photographic goal this year.
  • If you’re looking for inspiration you should check out Lucia’s collection of unexpected self portraits.
  • Melia also has a set of colorful and fashion-y pics, check her out if you want to be influenced.


paint-smInstead of committing to a specific time frame, commit to an object to record over time. Kevin Day did this watched (and documented!) the landscape changing around this tree over 5 years.

  • Use cameras specifically made for time lapse shots.
  • For another spin on this idea, pick a public place to photograph and follow it as it fills and empties of people.


Try your hand long (we mean LONG) exposures like Michael Wesley has in New York. He captured 3 years of construction in a single frame!

  • Learn how to shoot low light long exposures with this tutorial.
  • Shoot long exposures with your camera phone (apps like Slow Shutter help).
  • Try layering with double (or triple, or more!) exposure images.


paint-smInstead of shooting every day, make it your goal to collect a picture from each hour of the day. This will flex your photographic muscles, and make you work with all sorts of conditions, like low light.

  • Explore what photographs can look at at any time, light or dark, rain or shine.
  • Give yourself a week or a month or even a whole year to do it.
  • Establish as many (or few) rules as you want!


There are so. many. apps. that can help you stay motivated to keep up with these new projects.

Here are just a smattering:

  • Get blasts from your photo past with Timehop and the Photojojo Timecapsule.
  • Collect is an iOS app that helps you track a photo a day.
  • If you want to go the self portrait route, don’t forget Everyday app.
  • For journaling, Day One is a great alternative to a diary that lets you attach an image to your recollections.

Photo credits: 1. Melina Souza, 2. Kevin Day, 3. Kelly DeLay 4. Mark Seton, 6. Jodi McKee, 7. Lucia on Flickr, 8. Kevin Day 9. abnormalbeauty on Flickr

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