Long time no see…
I’ll be writing all about where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to next week, but for now, I wanted to take the time to talk about something that’s going to be a large part of my life for the foreseeable future. I’m sure you’ve read the title, so you know that I’ve decided to undertake a 365-day photography challenge and I am extremely excited about it! I am actually on day 5 of the challenge because I just could not wait to start until this blog post went live! I have been waiting to start a 365 challenge since 2017 when I first went to The Photography Show and learned that they were a thing, but I was never able to commit to one because of school and other such things going on in my life. However, I have just finished college, I’ve moved out for the first time, and have a whole year to do whatever I want before I head off to University, which was exactly the opportunity I was waiting for to finally put this idea into action. You will discover over the next year that a whole hell of a lot of things are going to finally be put into motion now that I am free of outside responsibilities! If you want to keep up with all my other projects, I suggest you follow me on Instagram: @thephotographydragon and on YouTube: Samantha Drage because I post much more consistently there.
Enough chatter and self-promo! Let’s get into talking about the 365 challenge, so I can tell you all about it!
What is a 365 Challenge?
As the name would suggest a 365 challenge is (usually) a creative challenge that takes place over 365 days – aka your average year. I’m sure there are probably non-creative versions for things such as learning a new language, but my focus is photography. To put it simply, the challenge is to take one photo every day for 365 days. This sounds simple, but I’m not talking about an Instagram story of my morning beverage; I’m talking about a proper photoshoot every single day for a year.
This is a fairly big undertaking because, although I’m no longer in education, I still have other commitments like my YouTube, my other projects, upkeeping my new house, and of course taking care of myself, which is a full-time job due to my disabilities. I’ve also got a fair few trips to go on that got put on hold due to the pandemic and I’ll be house hunting and moving across the country to attend Uni in about 9 months, so I do still have a lot going on, but I love a challenge! In essence, I’m going to be attempting to do a full photoshoot every single day for the next year whilst still juggling the rest of life’s responsibilities.
What do I hope to accomplish during the challenge?
After reading this you might wonder why I’m adding such an enormous task to my already rather full plate, but I had all those same responsibilities a few months ago when I was still in full-time education, so all I’m really doing is replacing college with this 365 challenge to keep me busy during my year off. Aside from wanting to keep busy during my year off, there are some other more specific reasons I wanted to undertake this challenge:
- Build my portfolio
- Improve at my craft and learn more about my chosen career/medium
- Have fun and be creative
If you’ve read my 2021 goals post then you’ll know that building my portfolio is one of my main goals this year, largely because I was unable to complete it last year due to good old ‘Rona. I was stuck inside all year just like everyone else and my parent’s garage that I called a bedroom didn’t leave me much space to shoot, so I have some making up to do on that front. Perhaps being stuck inside and forced to collect all of my ideas to complete once the pandemic was over was actually a blessing in disguise so I could use them in this challenge…? Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I try to make the best of things!
Every artist is constantly striving to improve and I’m no different, but I want to really focus on actively improving my photography this year and I feel this challenge is definitely the way to do it! Consistency is key, so undertaking a challenge that has me practicing my craft for several hours a day is a pretty good place to start. I’m also going to be experimenting with all of the techniques I can find, as well as learning the ins and outs of all the technical aspects of photography too. Lighting and specifically studio lighting is one of my weaker areas purely because I have only had access to studio lights since I started college 2 years ago and much of that time was marred by the pandemic, so in reality, I’ve probably used proper studio lights for maybe 48 hours total in the last 2 years. It’s a shame because getting to use a proper photography studio with professional gear was one of the things I was looking forward to most about college and yet another thing that was lost in the mess that was 2020. I now have a whole year to practice and research lighting to my heart’s content before I move on in my education and I intend to take full advantage of that. I have a couple of flashguns and a whole load of lamps that are going to be getting a whole lot of use this year!
My final and main objective in this challenge is to just have fun. I have studied photography for 4 years now and will be going on to study it for a further 3 years in 2022 and while I’ve loved every minute of my courses, having to create for a brief can be limiting at times. I’ve always excelled at school and have often felt held back in the education system because of it, so it’s always been essential that I undertook other more enriching activities outside of school. I wasn’t able to do that during my secondary school years because my mental health took such a dive, but it’s high time I get back to it and spend my gap year being as creative as I can, so I don’t go into Uni feeling constrained in any way. I have so many ideas for photoshoots and other projects that I’ve had to put off for 5+ years because of school and the terrible effect it had on me, so I’m ready to actually bring some of them to life!
I made an ideas board as a reference point on days I’m feeling a little uninspired that I thought I would share, so you know what I’m working from. Would you be interested to see how I brainstormed all of my ideas for this project?
How you can follow along
Since this is such an involved challenge, I’m going to be posting the results of every photoshoot on the day over on my Instagram, as well as sharing some behind-the-scenes stuff in my stories as it happens. I’m also going to be posting weekly updates on this blog every Saturday at 7pm in case anyone misses out on the daily Instagram posts. Next weeks post will have twice the amount of content because I will of course be sharing the last 5 days worth of content as well, but from then on it will be a weekly summary post of all the photos I took, behind-the-scenes photos, editing tutorials, moodboards, and sketches! I’m really going to be spoiling you all! If you want to know any extra details about a specific shoot, then you can feel free to leave it in the comments of that post and I’ll endeavor to expand as best I can.
And that’s that. It’s safe to say that I’m going to be busy, but it’s sure as hell going to be fun too! I hope you’ll join me on this journey!
Goodbye for now
Over and Out