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How to take on a long term Photography Project Part 1

Some Photographers enjoy taking on a long term photography project.  This is something that you may commit yourself to over a long period of time – it can be a month, 6 months, a year or even a few years.  An example of a long term project is a building renovation or photographing new buildings that are being erected.

It’s particularly interesting when photographing an area that is going under some kind of change.  Sometimes these images can take years to document from the start to the end but once they are complete, they show the change of an area and can be of great interest to press and for historians.

Another example of a personal long term project is photographing someone or something every day for a year.  For example some people have taken on projects where they photograph their newborn babies everyday for 20 years and once complete these images can be put together to show how they have changed over the years.  You can even photograph yourself for a few years and see how you change over time.

Here are a few tips on how to take on a long term photography project:

1.    Choose something that interests you

This is very important if you are going to commit to something for the long term – if you find it boring then you won’t stick to it.  You can even try a short term project to see if it suits you – for example, why not photograph a flower from being a bud until it dies?

Remember if you take on a project like photographing someone it will take a few years for there to be changes – same for building related projects.  Will you remember to go back and take photos or will you be moving around too much to remember to go back?

If you move around too much or you are forgetful you may want to try something slightly more short term or something that doesn’t require a daily photograph.

2.    Be Consistent

An important thing with long term photographs is to be consistent.  For example with landscape images you should use a tripod and if you can set it up in the same place – this way, the back ground will stay the same but the building changes will stand out.  You don’t want to take an image from various angles and it will be confusing for the viewer.

If you are photographing a person or yourself, keep it simple – use a plain background where you can, or your wall rather than doing anything too whacky.  Remember to keep the expression quite simple too – if you are documenting something like the aging process, it’s easier to see changes if your pose is natural.

Of course with children you can’t necessarily control how they hold their faces. In which case try to keep something consistent – the background or the composition quite similar in each shot.

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