20 Apr 2008 What I Got From the Shoot Daily and Contribute Nightly Challenge
The Shoot Daily and Contribute Nightly Challenge was tough. I struggled to discipline myself to shoot when life got in the way. Even though I didn’t meet my target of contributing 15 new photos each day, I gained a massive amount in the attempt.
Ideal First Challenge
It was no accident that the first challenge was simply about volume and daily effort. Once in the habit of regular shooting and contributing everything you learn and each new idea can be implemented rapidly. Subsequent challenges will focus on different areas of creating and selling photos which will be more beneficial with frequent and consistent shooting.
What I Learned
- It gets easier. The first day I had to push myself to start and to get through to 15 shots worthy of contributing. I also had to get myself organized more on the first day than on the last. So doing a short burst like this has some advantages over slowing building your quantity.
- Planning helps a lot. After the first day I decided to plan my shoots for the rest of the week. This made it much simpler to schedule and make it happen.
- Technique improves very quickly. By doing a short burst, I crammed a lot of learning about photography into a small period, which made it easier to progress. Learning the equivalent quantity over a month would have been less memorable. The downside to this is that on Friday I felt like deleting the photos I took on Monday.
- It helps to take weekends off. I know others doing similar challenges aim to shoot and contribute every single day, but I prefer to focus on shooting and contributing Monday to Friday, leaving the weekend for relaxing (and writing blog posts!). Having worked on other tasks the prior weekend, I was motivated and ready to go on Monday.
What I Created
I only created 46 photos worthy of contribution during the week. I re-shot all Monday’s shots on Tuesday after learning a few tricks, didn’t shoot at all on Wednesday, and reverted to my comfort zone of shooting in the city on Friday. Despite not meeting the challenge quantity I chose, I created 46 more photos this week than the previous week. I’m also now firmly in photo creating mode – which was the purpose of the challenge. Now I just need to maintain this level of output and improvement.
While there’s still scope for improvement, my still life shots went from embarrassing to passable during the week. I came across many issues which I had to troubleshoot via online research and a few trips to the hardware shop. After shooting I browsed some similar shots in the microstock market. Seeing the gap between my shots and the top sellers of the same genre was depressing, but at the same time it’s inspiring to see what is possible and start aiming for that level.
Here’s a couple of examples from one of the quick-to-review agencies:
Did you meet the challenge quota you set yourself? What did you learn and get out of the challenge?