7 Tips to a Successful 365 Project on Film

Can you believe we are already in December?  Gosh, where did the time go?   While the halls are decked out in Christmas or holiday best, it's also the time when we as photographers start thinking of our next personal project.

It was around this time last year when I decided I was going to jump in and attempt a 365 project again.  Yep you heard it right! "Again" because I had failed so miserably in the last two...or three times when I tried to take on a project like this.  The game changer this year was recruiting two of my best photography besties and 365 project veterans, Heather Chang and Jen Golay to join me in this scary yet exciting venture.  

Now one year later since I made the decision to shoot daily for one year on film, I must say I have learned tons!  As most 365 project veterans will tell you, the best part of this project is growth!  Not only I grew as a photographer, technically and artistically, I also discovered who I am and what I love as a photographer!  It is this project that steered me in a new direction to pursuit my heart and soul: documenting my life and family, and teaching.

Today, I would like to share a few tips I have learned during this past year with Little Bellow fans, and this is not all!  Are you thinking of a project for the new year?  I would like to invite Little Bellow fans to join me in a Little Bellow 365 project for 2016!  More details at the end of this post!  Now, let's get on with the tips:


Proper gear is essential! It doesn't have to be fancy, but it does need to be in proper working order.  If you purchase an used gear from KEH or eBay, I highly recommend to shoot a roll through before adding it to your lineup.

Simplicity is also important to assure project's success.  My 365 gear includes a handheld light meter (never ever leave home without this bad boy), a camera body with ONE lens and a couple of extra film stocks. Using only one camera lens forced me to learn how to shoot creatively and strategically.


You might be wondering how you can shoot with just one film stock for a long period of time when the weather, lighting and scenery change before you can finish a roll?  My solution is to load at least two cameras with different film stocks to prepare for the unknown.  For instance, I would load one camera with a 400 speed film, the other with a 400 speed film in anticipation to push one stop in process.  Or, I would have different format cameras (35mm, 645, 6x6 or 6x7) loaded so I can shoot creatively without limiting myself to only one format.


Don't forget about the instant film option!  I LOVE Fuji Instax cameras, and my kids too.  It's like a point and shoot camera.  An instant gratification for the film photographers!  I use it often in place of my other film cameras for a quick trip out in the park or during a coffee shop run.  Because my kids constantly argue over who gets keep the pictures, I make sure to scan and save a copy on my hard drive to share later.


One of the most important advice I got from my 365 project friends is don't stress over shooting one image everyday.  

"Whuuuut??  What do you mean?  This is a one-photo-a-day project, right?"

Yes, technically speaking, a 365 Project's goal is to shoot one image daily for 365 days.  But you know what? Life happens!  Give yourself some grace for missing a few days if you have a sick toddler or just simply feeling...bleh.  Having 4 boys, running a household, homeschooling and teach a workshop, I had many "bleh" days when I just plain "don't feel like it".  Knowing it is okay to take a break then make it up later will help relieve the stress of falling behind during the project.

Remember, don't get hung up on the "rules"or what "should-be-dones".  Give yourself a break and just relax and enjoy!


Find yourself a friend...or a few to partner up on this project!  Be an accountability partner for each other so you can spur each other on when you feel uninspired.  Having Heather and Jen as my partners couldn't have been a better blessing for my 365 project this year. Actually, they are one of the main reasons that I am nearing the finishing line!   Seeing their beautiful film images daily encouraged me to get out and shoot more! 


Make it a family project!  Get your kids, wife/husband or even parents involved in the project.  Having support of your family, it becomes a collective effort so you don't feel so alone.  Besides, when you need a model or a new idea for an image, they all eagerly wanting to help out.  As photographers, we know nothing is better than a willing model :)


Share your 365 project with others!  I highly recommend sharing through a social medium that is easiest use and more streamlined.  I LOVE using Instagram!  I post all of my 365 project using my own hashtag #jkang365 and with my 365 project partners using #filmdaily2015.  

"So, when should I start a 365 project?"

The answer is easy:  WHENEVER YOU WANT!  Most people start on January 1 but many start the project on other dates.  It can simply be a day that's significant in your life.  

So, who wants to join me in Little Bellow 365 Project 2016?

Earlier in the post I mentioned that I am kicking off the very first collective 365 Project on Little Bellows...so who is with me?!?  Let's encourage each other in growth and excellence in 2016 in this amazing project!  Here are the details:

  1. Instagram is the official social platform to share the Little Bellow 365 Project 2016:  Please use hashtag #LBFilm365 to share your project with us.
  2. All Little Bellow 365 Project 2016 images must be shot on FILM or instant film (ie. Instax, Impossible Project film, or other instant film).
  3. I will be sharing your Little Bellow 365 Project 2016 images on Little Bellows every Friday so share your project images with us as you receive scans from the lab.

I can't wait to start this incredible project with all my Little Bellow fans and be inspired by you all!!  Let's do this!


xx Joyce