June 8, 2012

Lessons from an Attempted 365 Challenge

Earlier this spring I began a 365 photo a day challenge with visions of creating a beautiful coffee table book upon its completion. That was in February. Flash forward to today where I have missed more days than I can remember and the coffee table book idea has officially been scraped. Although technically a failure, I am still calling the 365 challenge a success because it taught me a number of things about photography and ways to improve photos when using a point and shoot camera. Here are the lessons I've learned:

1. Yes, DSLR cameras are awesome, but you CAN STILL capture great photos with a point and shoot camera. All of the images in this post (and most everywhere else on this blog) were taken with my inexpensive little silver camera.
2. Bring your camera everywhere. You never know where that priceless photograph will occur.

3. Go beyond the auto setting. Does your camera offer an indoor, portrait, kids/pets, or night snapshot setting? Experiment with different settings and don't be afraid to try them in situations other than their namesake. For example, I frequently use the night snapshot setting inside during the day. Also, my camera's kids/pets setting is just awful. If a setting isn't working for you, don't use it!

4. Find the Macro button on your camera (it's that little flower symbol button) and use it! Search google images if you don't know what symbol I'm talking about. The majority of my craft photos are taken in this setting, and it has tons of other uses too, like those lovely close up shots with the blurry backgrounds. 

5. It's okay to cut off heads. Here, the emphasis is on her cute little hands and chalk scribbles.

6. Don't be afraid of the dark. Even the pitch dark. Here, my husband and daughter are playing with "star turtle" - one of those night lights that projects stars onto the ceiling.

7. Ordinary, everyday moments can be great snapshots of life, even if they don't seem particularly interesting at the time. In a few years they'll be priceless. This is what our playgroup looks like when we go to the park.

8. Shoot from multiple angles. The lighting, composition, and overall feel of the photo can be drastically changed by simply moving a few steps over.

image source
9a. Learn how to turn the flash off and on. It's almost always better off when possible, but sometimes a forced flash is helpful, such as eliminating facial shadows in full sun.

9b. Find the self-timer feature. Check if it has a custom mode (looks like a clock with the letter c). The custom timer is great for large group shots at holidays because you can set it to take multiple photos in a row (on timer!). This is especially great when trying to get young children to all look forward at the same time.

10. Don't delete all the bad ones. This image is blurry, yellow, and my eyes are closed - by composition standards it's awful - but it is capturing a sweet moment. A moment that she soon outgrew. You're never guaranteed a second chance to take a similar photo.

Linking up: Positively Splendid


  1. Great reminder that you don't need a fancy camera to take some really amazing pictures!

  2. I too am a 365 failure.. that is a lot of photos. You have some great ones in this post! And good tips too!

  3. so not a failure!! i have been wanting a "nice" camera for a while but it's not in the budget right now .. and you just reminded me that capturing the memory is what it's all about. even with my phone.. as i do a lot since i'm addicted to instagram now!