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:

Apples in Scales at 123rfSpanish Bible at 123rf
How Did You Go?

Did you meet the challenge quota you set yourself? What did you learn and get out of the challenge?

  • Alfonso - Phosy
    Posted at 10:36h, 20 April Reply

    I am lazy and I was not able this week to make any single shot 🙂 Anyway, A lot of non-photographer work these days so I think I will not be able to start the challenge until mid-May.

    But it is good to know that the method seems to work. I know that with only 11 photos in my portfolio I will never retire with it 🙂

  • Rasmus
    Posted at 16:40h, 20 April Reply

    I very much enjoyed reading about your experience with this, which inspired me to write something about challenges and give some thought to doing more things like that myself. I hope we’ll see more challenges and results from you as well in the future.

  • Jan
    Posted at 04:16h, 21 April Reply

    Hi Lee,

    your posts about the challenge are very inspiring. I am now doing this as well since a week. But my goal is a little lower. I just try to submit as many images as iStock will allow me to submit.
    All the best meeting your goal and thanks for your continues blogging.


  • Orson
    Posted at 05:22h, 21 April Reply

    Hi there, nice article about the challenge and the result. Im more graphic than photographer now, so i made a decision (few months ago), that will submit at least 10 illustrations / week and i did it! Since this time my sales went up quite quick. Nowdays im normally putting there nearly 20 a week.

    For normal people, who are normally working and have family (child) is quite hard to submit (or do) something every day. The weekly basis is much much better 🙂 – of course, the last day of the week is sometimes quite hectic :)))

  • Matt Antonino
    Posted at 15:18h, 21 April Reply

    I’m on pace…I need to kick it this last third of the month but my goal has always been 450 submitted and I should get there. It’s tough some days but when we do a model shoot we try to break it down into a few components so I can submit 15-20 from one part, do something different the next few days then submit the other part later on and still have shots for that day.

    Agree witht he planning bits – it helps a lot to know what you’re shooting and you dont have to spontaneously create 15 new images from thin air.

  • Han Cheng
    Posted at 21:24h, 24 April Reply

    I usually shoot on saturdays and sundays. Weekday after work, I am too tired to shoot.

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