Photography has been a passion of mine for almost 10 years now, but never more than a hobby. I started when I moved to Tokyo and traveled around that beautiful country taking hundreds of thousands of pictures.
Shortly after I moved to Atlanta in 2009, I took a picture of the downtown Atlanta Skyline and posted it on Flickr. Someone later contacted me asking if they could pay me for the photo and have it be on the cover of the magazine they were working on. Of course I said yes, but I also said to myself, I should think about improving my photography skills. And since I hate studying, I figured the best way to do that would be to ensure I took more photos more often. To keep me honest and going, I decided to start a 365 project.
A 365 project is when you take a photo a day for 365 days. The only two rules are that you can only choose one photo a day regardless if you took 5 or 5000, and the photo you choose had to have been taken on that day. The great thing about a 365 project is that any other rules are self-imposed. Some people do 365 selfies which are a year full of self-portraits, some do iphone photos only, some do macro months, some do theme contests where they take their inspiration from the day’s theme on Flickr groups, etc. I left mine wide open – any kind of shot, any kind of camera – because I purposely wanted to get better all around.
I am just about to wrap up year 2 (actually this year was a 366 project), and pretty sure 2013 will be year 3. I love this project. I feel like it has made me a much better photographer. It has helped me shoot more than just landscape work including macro, portraits, selfies, abstacts, etc. I have over 100 pictures on sale at Getty which has helped finance my growing collection of bodies and lenses (my gear is listed below). And it has given me a wonderful sort of diary that I can look back on and remember where I was and what I was doing every day for the past two years, including some amazing travel, some late nights, some fun projects, and the birth of my second daughter.
One of the other things I have learned, or really just reconfirmed, is that beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Many of my favorite shots get no love on Flickr, Facebook, or WordPress, and some of the shots I thought were just OK have become very popular, one even became the most popular photo on Flickr for the day (and I just thought it was average…). I’ll include some of my favorites below. I’d also love it if you liked my page on Facebook or followed me on Flickr – the support gets me through the times when I lack creativity or time to shoot.
And being a huge fan of Coke, there may be even more pictures of Coke than of my family in this project…
SLR Bodies in use now: Canon 5D Mark III, 50D
Lenses in use now: Canon 24-105L, 16-35L II, 70-300L, 50 1.4, Tamron 90 Macro
Filters in use now: B+W UV on all lenses, Singh-Ray Vari-ND Filter, PL rarely
Other cameras used in project: Canon 30D & Canon Kiss (both since sold), Canon s90 & s100, Sanyo Xacti (underwater), iPhone 3GS (sold) & iPhone 4S, MacBook Pro Screenshot
AJ Brustein is Innovation Accelerator Director at The Coca-Cola Company. To see even more great pictures, visit AJ’s overall best photos account on Flickr.