How to Document Your Year with A Photo Project

How to Document Your Year with A Photo Project

If you’re like me, you’re starting every new year with a slew of resolutions. My list features everything from learning Italian (ciao, fotografi!) to trying film photography to writing more creative fiction.

As I was reflecting on my 2020, I realized that I didn’t document my year nearly as much as I wanted to, so I added another resolution to my list: do a year-long photo project! By sticking to a designated photo project, I’ll be able to hold myself more accountable. Then, at the end of the year, I’ll have so many more memories to look back on.

Join me with a photo project of your own! If you’re feeling stuck creatively, or don’t know where to begin, check out these seven photo projects for inspiration:

documenting your year with a photo project

1. Photograph every day with a Project 365.

Project 365 is exactly what it sounds like: taking one photo every single day of the year. So as to not completely overwhelm yourself, you can make your own rules for this: use your DSLR or your iPhone, go with a theme or don’t, et cetera. Practicing your photography skills every day will make you a better, more thoughtful photographer. Project 365s are also great for really showing all of life’s moments – even the messy ones!

Still don’t think you can commit to 365 pictures a year? Start off slow with a Project 52, or one photo per week!

capturing your year through a photo project

2. Stick to one specific subject outside of your norm.

I bet if you look through your camera roll, you’ll see a common theme. For parents, it’s probably your kids. For pet-owners, it’s most likely your furry bff. Go outside your comfort zone and do a photo project highlighting one specific subject. Some ideas are: bridges, windows, one color, the golden hour, lines, and shadows.

guide to a year-long photo project

3. Go through the ABCs.

There are two ways to do an ABC project. You could try taking a picture of something that starts with the specific letter (i.e. photographing an apple orchard for the letter A), or you could photograph something (like a shadow, a gate post, or some type of signage) that looks like the letter itself.

documenting the year with photography

4. Recreate your family history.

I can’t get enough of looking through old family photos (my sense of style in the 90s was impeccable, to be honest). Pick out your favorites and try to recreate them! Get the subject of the original photo and try to replicate it as best you can. Alternatively, if you’re working with sets of generations, you can have the child portray the parent, for example. You may discover just how deep the genes in your family run!

creating a photo project for the year

5. Document a typical day in your life.

Try doing a day in your life every month! This is similar to a Project 365, but it doesn’t have quite the length commitment. You can pick days that are jam-packed with activity, or a lazy Sunday. Mix up your compositions and play with light to keep things interesting.

Documenting Your Year with A Photo Project

6. Master the selfie game.

Selfies are unfairly vilified (in my humble opinion). Commit to self-love this year and go beyond the mirror selfie by taking self-portraits throughout the year. By being your own model, you can discover what poses for portraits work more so than others as well as perfect your lighting and composition skills.

7. Try a new artful medium.

Every month, try a new type of art photography. Create refractive art using the way light bends in water. Re-imagine your food photography using a lightbox and a macro lens. Try to freeze water droplets as they're in motion! These types of photography will strengthen skill areas that will help your normal photography. Plus, it can be fun to try something new!

At the end of your year, you'll have so many great memories to look back on. Don't let them live in the cloud! Make sure to print your favorites.

What photo project are you excited to start this year?