It's about a week into the new year. How is your photography project coming along? Some people start out with grand ideas of a “365” project – one that would allow them to photograph and publish one photograph each day of the year. Most fall off that wagon pretty quickly, including myself. Have you tried your hand at something like that? How about a “52” project; one photograph a week for the entire year? Again, people rarely stick to it.
Want to know why? There is no accountability. There is usually no one to hold you responsible if you start to slip. And when you do start to slide, you go down pretty quickly until that point where you don't want to have anything to do with the project.
The muse exits the building and you go back to spinning your wheels and feeling frustrated.
Yes, ideas we have aplenty, but executing on them is the toughest part. So, there is an easy solution to all this – one where you are guided to photograph weekly and get feedback on your work. If you are a parent or a photographer who happens to have kids, I want to tell you about a community online called ShootAlong.
Over the course of a year, you can learn (or re-learn) the fundamentals of photography with other photographers who are also documenting their families. It's a wonderful, low-pressure online forum that allows you to flex your creative muscles and get constructive feedback from other photographers. Last year, while I didn't participate on a weekly basis, I received their emails and really enjoyed how lucidly everything was presented.
I spoke with Heidi Peters, one of the co-founders of ShootAlong about this new forum. Like her business partner, Amy Tripple, Heidi runs a busy portrait photography business in the suburbs of Chicago. If lack of time (more like, a lack of focus) is an issue you are encountering, just see how these two ladies are rocking it with their businesses and running ShootAlong.
The first thing you will see when you log into ShootAlong is the “pinterest-style” Member Board (see above graphic). Your posts will show up here based on when you published it. You are able to tag the post under the week's category (see below for “rule of thirds”) or share your image(s) just for fun. If you are really in need of a critique, you can also tag your post with “critique requested” and the community members chime in.
Want more in-depth discussions? ShootAlong has those too, like a traditional forum you can post a question or an observation and get feedback that way too. One of the things that is new to ShootAlong this year are short inspirational tips via videos.
It's January 8th today, but don't feel like you can't join ShootAlong. At only $79 a year, it's an incredibly valuable resource especially if you are feeling unmotivated and need to get going in the new year. Start with ShootAlong, stick with it and watch your craft shift gears. Once you start seeing results, everything else magically starts to fall into place.
Happy New Year to you all!