The Great 365 Project – January

It’s an undisputed fact. The best way to improve your photography is to make more photos. A fun way to ensure that you pick up your camera every day is to participate in a 365 project. By participating in a daily photography project, your photography skills will improve — one day at a time, one photo at a time.

The rules of a 365 project are simple: pick up a camera (any camera, don’t make it harder than it needs to be) and make a photo every day for 365 days. If you miss a few days (or weeks) please don’t bag the whole thing. Celebrate how much you’ve accomplished, and pick it up again if you’re so inspired.

My first 365 project was in 2010. Recently I was flipping through the photo book I made at the end of that year. My first reaction was embarrassment at the quality of my photos. They were super dark and sometimes had no clear subject. However, I celebrated the memories that were captured and the natural improvement in my photography as the year progressed. By year’s end, I was much more satisfied with the quality of the photos, although there was still so much room for improvement. In the subsequent years I didn’t make a photo a day, but I did continue to pick up my camera on a regular basis. This coming year, I want to challenge myself again to do a 365. And since all projects are more official when preceded by grandiose wording, I am calling it The Great 365 Project!

Because I work better with creative restraints, I’ve created a prompt list for inspiration. This prompt list is a little different from others that you’ll find around the interweb. One of my goals this year is to improve my photography by creating deeper, more meaningful photos. Photos that tell a story. Photos that require me to be present. Some prompts will encourage practicing skills and concepts, so you’ll see “bottom third” and “juxtaposition”.  Some of the prompts will require you to google up the meanings. Which is good. Learning new things is always good. I also want to document our daily life, so you’ll also find prompts like “documentary”, “together” and “on the table”. I’ve thrown in some easy prompts as well, like “up” and “big”. In all, it’s an eclectic listing of photo prompts that will help you to grow and learn throughout the year. Bookmark this space, because I will post the prompt list for each month here on the blog throughout the year.

Use this list as you see fit. Do each prompt in order for the whole month, pick the one that speaks to you, pick a prompt at random, do them all, do a couple. It’s your Great 365 Project. Make it work for you!


Because I forget and lose focus easily, I created a phone background. Here’s a helpful phone hack: Remove all apps from the first page of your home screen and put them on the second and subsequent pages, leaving the first page empty. That way, when your phone unlocks, the only thing you see is an unobstructed view of the wallpaper.

Click here to get a downloadable photo sized for your phone.

Maybe having paper and pen is more your jam? Checking off boxes makes you happy? Me too. I’ve created a pocket guide with the January prompts for your photo prompt tracking pleasure!

Are you in? Whether your only camera is the one attached to your phone, you’ve just received your first DSLR as a holiday gift, or you’re a seasoned photographer with years under your belt, a 365 project can inspire you to create photos celebrating your life. When sharing on social media, use #TheGreat365Project and tag me @dianedownsphotography. I’d love to see your interpretations of the prompts and send high fives and encouragement your way! I’ll be sharing my photos on Instagram. I hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

Thanks so much for stopping by. If you liked this post, please use the share buttons below.

With gratitude, always.


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