A year in pictures – 365 Portraits – July 2011 – July 2012

Now that I’ve had some time to heal my wounds and separate myself from the project that consumed me for an entire year, I have some final thoughts and observations that I wanted to share.

  1. Take time for your family. –  Probably the biggest regret about the entire project was my inability to prioritize my time. All of the hours spent on the project were hours not spent with my wife and kids. In many cases editing the day’s Portrait would take precedence over everything else, even sitting down to eat dinner with my family. This was a huge sacrifice for me and one that I will not be making again.
  2. Take time for yourself. – This is something I failed at miserably. I can’t begin to tell you how many late nights and hours of lost sleep I’ve racked up in the past year editing, blogging, emailing, and planning.
  3. Laughter is good for the soul. – The way you laugh, if it’s real laughter, reveals a lot about a person’s personality. Especially in a photograph, it makes the difference between a good portrait and a great one.
  4. The camera looks both ways. – I became very deliberate about choosing my attitude and being present for each session. For many of the Portraits this was the first professional image ever created of them. That is very special to me and I treated the honor as such.
  5. Take time to get to know someone. – I believe I was successful, in part, because I had to walk to many distant locations with the individual for the sessions. I was able to practice the art of conversation every single day with someone new. People are more relaxed and look more natural when they’re comfortable around you.
  6. Word of mouth is your friend – I’m still amazed at how quickly word spread about the whole thing. At one point I was booked up to 60 days in advance. That made my life so much easier. It helps when you become known around campus as the guy who creates awesome Facebook profile pictures.
  7. “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Robert Capa – Looking back, it took me a while to break out of my standard mold. I wasn’t taking the risks early on that I should have. It takes courage to get into someone’s space to really capture them. Once I figured out how to do that, I think it made a world of difference.
  8. Enjoy the journey. – For too long I was focused on finishing, now that it’s done I miss it. Do I want to do it again? No, but I do have very fond memories of just about every single day from the project that I will cherish for years to come.
  9. People are amazing. – It took 365 people to make this happen, many of whom I didn’t know and didn’t owe me anything. I have never felt so supported in my life as I have been by everyone who helped me out and encouraged me to keep going.
  10. Follow your heart. – I am proud of what I have created. I hope that my friends and family are too. I’ve created something that my children will be able to show their children someday and that was very important to me. “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you a year in my life:

F a c e b o o k