A couple years ago, I challenged myself to complete a monthly photo project. What I discovered along the way was a greater appreciation for the beauty in everyday, ordinary life.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like life moves at rocket speed (that is once I got past the sleepless nights with a newborn baby and the toddler stage). It can be easy to get caught up in the demands of daily life, not to mention all the other pressures we place on ourselves. When that happens, it’s easy to miss out on moments of everyday beauty and joy. Photography helps me to slow down and savor moments that I want to remember. But it wasn’t until I started doing personal photo projects that I discovered photography could help me see beauty I might have otherwise missed.
Several years ago I started keeping a Photography Journal. I’d jot down ideas for personal projects, techniques I wanted to explore, and skills I wanted to develop. One of my ideas was to do a color project. I thought focusing on capturing several images of the same color would challenge me to notice subtle differences in light and tones. My goal was to push past my creative blocks and create a cohesive collection of nine images for every month of the year.
On Instagram, I discovered The Color Chase Challenge, which seemed like the perfect project. I joined their Facebook group, which includes a schedule for the year, with a different color assigned to each month. Many participants post photos daily (on Facebook and Instagram), while others post only a grid of 9 images at the end of the month. I’ve found Facebook and Instagram wonderful sources of inspiration!
A nice thing about the project is that it’s open-ended and photographers of all skills can participate. It’s so fun seeing others’ interpretations of each color and just how many shades there are of a single color!
For this challenge, I didn’t impose any rules about the subject matter. I knew that trying to capture a creative image of my son several times a month would be too much pressure, especially given he doesn’t exactly welcome having his photo taken!
Since I love flowers and nature (and they don’t run away when they see my camera-lol), I photographed these subjects often. In fact, this project gave me the perfect excuse to buy fresh flowers every week from Trader Joe’s in Westfield! But I also photographed more mundane things like my morning cup of tea or coffee and other objects around my home. I began to notice how the sun streaming in my kitchen window created a beautiful pattern on my table. Even the texture of clothing, like lace and chunky knit sweaters became pretty to me.
I found the months with colors that I especially love, like green (March) and blue (July), were the easiest. Other months were harder. May’s color was grey or silver and I wasn’t really inspired to shoot those colors during the spring months when everything outdoors was in bloom.
As a photographer, I’ve become acutely aware of how different types of lighting affect skin tones and the colors in the image. I know that various factors like location and surroundings, time of day, and whether the sun is out will all have an impact on skin tones. But this project taught me to see more subtle differences in how those factors impact color and tones in my photos.
For example, there are many shades of white, but photographing the same white item at various times on my kitchen table resulted in subtle differences not just in the shade of white, but whether it had a warmer or cooler hue.
Since my goal was to create a consistent look in each of my grids, I became more intentional, both when shooting as well as editing. I found that shooting at the same time each day made a big difference in being able to achieve consistency in color and coolness or warmth from image to image.
Participating in personal photography projects has become an important source of inspiration for me. It motivates me to pick up my camera and try something different and in doing so also allows me to continue to grow as a photographer.
I encourage anyone who has thought about doing a personal photo project to consider joining the Color Chase Challenge group on Facebook or follow along on Instagram. It’s a fun way to stay inspired with your photography and learn along the way.
To see more of the colors I captured during this project, follow along my personal account on Instagram.
Have you participated in a personal photo project? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below or shoot me an email!
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Winner of the Westfield Area Most Loved Family Photographer award by Hulafrog two years in a row, Debbie Camba Photography is a New Jersey Family Photographer based in Scotch Plains. She specializes in capturing candid and meaningful moments that reflect the love and wonder of childhood and family life.
In 2022, Debbie was awarded a Master Photographer Certification by the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) for demonstrating excellence in the craft of child and family photography.
She photographs outdoors and in homes throughout Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield, Mountainside, Cranford, Summit, Madison and the surrounding area, including Basking Ridge and Bernardsville, as well as Morris County and Middlesex County. She is available in other locations upon request.