New York Documentary Family Photographer {10 tips for your 365 Project}

April 04, 2018  •  8 Comments

The book is here! The BOOK is here!!!

My family was so excited to receive the book with the 365 Project pictures and notes last Friday.

Sonya, a bookworm who particularly loves biographies, is telling her friends: "I have a biography of my own now!" Well at least she has a portion of it, right?

Many of you were following my 365 project in 2017 as I was documenting a piece of my daughter's childhood - the year when she was 7 years old.

Many of you have found it inspiring and were talking about how wonderful it would be to do the same for your own kids! Today I want to not only share the pictures of the actual final product of all the hard work - the book, but also to share tips on how you can pull together a 365 project of your own. And you can definitely do it - being a photographer or not. There is only one requirement: the unconditional love to your child!

 

10 TIPS FOR YOUR 365 PROJECT:

1. The project is for your child and only for him/her! This is extremely important. It's not for your Facebook friends, not for grandparents, not for you or your spouse. You become your child's biographer for one year - 52 weeks - 365 days.

2. Stay motivated! And that's hard. What makes it easier is to do it with a group of friends. I suggest inviting your Facebook friends to work on the project together and create a small (maximum 20 people) group to share your daily images and notes there. By the end of the year you will know each others kids like your own!

3. Your notes / short stories that go along with the images will take the project to a completely new level! When writing those, address them directly to your child. Imagine that you are talking to him/her. One day your child will be flipping through the pages of the book you've made and hear your voice!

4. The goal is to tell the full story of this year in your child's life, not to take breathtaking images every day. In my project there are many days when I took pictures of my daughter's art work or poems or sometimes favorite toys or food. It doesn't have to be a portrait of your child every single day. In fact, please do not take a portrait every day! Think about all the things he/she would be delighted to find in this book many years later.

5. Don't forget to include as many people in your child's life as possible! Her 2nd grade teacher - what is special about her and why she loves her so much? What about the UPS guy, who became his best friend and chats with him for 15 minutes every day? Those people are the part of your daily routine now, but how awesome would it be to "re-visit" them in 20-30 years!

6. You are the big part of the story, yet you are always the one taking pictures and rarely the one in them. Ask someone to take a picture of you two doing something together, or worst case scenario use a selfie. In my case I was setting a timer on a camera and jumped right in!

7. Do you have a pet? If so include them too. Our cat rocked this project!

8. Stay organized! Ideally you should select each image daily. It didn't work for me as I was taking hundreds of images some days and simply didn't have time to go through all of them immediately. I ended up doing it once a week. I was saving selected images in a separate folder on my computer as well as on two external hard drives (back up your photos!!) and assigned numbers to them. I had a Word document for notes / short stories with corresponding numbers. I have a short memory, so when I noticed something worth recording for my daughter I would take my phone and write it down in the memo app, then transferred to the Word doc later. Sometimes the picture was the trigger for the story and sometimes the other way around!

9. What if you missed a day or two? Just keep going!! It's not about the exact number of days. It's about doing the real thing for your child! I was shooting daily for 200 something days and then the busy Fall season was here and I was taking as many pictures as possible, but it wasn't daily. Some days I could take few though! The book still has 302 pages and over 350 images.

10. If it's not printed it doesn't exist! From the very beginning you have to be clear about it - you are working on a book, not on a collection of digital files. Since the minute the book arrived, Sonya kept going back to it, flipping through pages, reading, laughing and asking questions. She even spent a good portion of her play date to show it to her friend. Best experience ever! Where to print? I created and ordered our book via Blurb. This was the only lab that could print a book with over 300 pages and it was important for me to have all images "under one roof"!

 

One day your child will be flipping through the pages of the book you made for her/him and feel all the love that went into this project. This is what makes all the hard work worth it!

Oh and I almost forgot to tell you: don't wait till January 1st. The best day to start your 365 Project is TODAY!

For more inspiration you can check all of my 365 posts here. I recommend starting from the first week.

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Comments

Jenna(non-registered)
So – this is making me want to have a kid, just so I can do this. Lucky lucky lucky your kiddo is! These are great tips for a 365 project – and I love the reminder to print. So much hard work shouldn't sit around on a hard drive!
Daphne(non-registered)
Hi Polina,

This is really awesome work Polina. Thank you so much for sharing (I love your tips also). I would really love to do it also. This will be a hectic year for me with two toddlers and a newborn soon in July. Big moments. Can't wait, your post was on the right time:-)
Alice(non-registered)
Your book looks INCREDIBLE! I'm sure your daughter will love it more and more with every year to come. What a wonderful thing to have given her.
Nataliya Yashchuk(non-registered)
I love it! The book looks amazing and the tips... well, they makes me feel I could do it, I could finish a year in photos.
Thank you for sharing :)
Kaleen Enke(non-registered)
Oh Polina, this is everything. Your daughter thinks this book is incredible now, but she has no idea how much she will love it in 20 years. Your tips are right on. I know this took a lot of effort on your end, and I hope you are both able to reap the benefits as you look upon the book in the future!
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