New Year’s Photography Projects: 365 & 52

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New Year’s Photography Projects

If you’re new to the photography world, or a seasoned photographer, as the New Year kick’s off you’ll start seeing sightings of “P365” and “P52.”

Photography Projects

In typical New Year’s fashion, the days leading up to the actually day of January 1, are all about setting our goals and intentions for the upcoming year. As photographers, we have our own goals and projects that we want to accomplish each year and sometimes those goals or projects include a Project 365 (P365) or a Project 52 (P52).

Both of these projects are year long projects that help you grow as an artist but slightly different in terms of learning, creativity, and time commitment. In this article we will define what each photography project is and how to choose the best project for you.

Photography Projects Details


What is a Project 365? What is a Project 52?

Photography Projects

Before we dive into the each of these projects, it’s worth noting there are aspects of these projects that are similar. However, they are two distinct projects. One project will leave you with 365 images and the other with 52. This does not mean that you couldn’t do both at the same time because people do ALL the time (in that case, you’d have 417 images). You just have to be intentional about your work and organization. So let’s dive in!

Project 365

The goal of a photography project 365 is simple, taking one photo every day for an entire year (hence the name P365). This year, 2024, is a leap year, so we will do a P366 instead of a P365.

A P365 is there to challenge you to get creative even on those days you feel less than inspired. I’ve tried a variety of P365s and they’re all structured slightly different depending on who is running the project. Here are a few examples that I’ve run across and how I would personally categorize them:

  • Creative P365: This project gives creative control and encourage you to take one photo everyday of anything your heart desires.
  • Weekly Themed P365: This type of project gives you a weekly prompt to photograph each day of the week.
  • Daily Themed P365: This project is a different theme, or word, every single day for you to interpret as you wish.

The most important part of a 365 project is your commitment to take one photograph and edit it daily. If you truly want to improve your photography and push yourself, then you need to be using your camera as much as possible!

Project 52

The goal of a photography project 52 is taking one photo each week of the year, which would total 52 photos over the course of the year.

A P52 is also there to challenge you creatively but with more flexibility as it’s not an every day but rather just once a week.

I’ve both taught and participated in a variety of P52s and again they’re all structured just slightly different. Here are a few examples that I’ve ran across or taught:

  • Creative P52: This project allows you the creative freedom to pick your theme each week on your own.
  • Weekly Themed P52: This project has one theme prompt for each week of the year. The themes for these can vary depending upon the leader of the group.
  • Personal Themed P52: This project becomes more of a personal project as you get to decide what the focus of your project will be each week. Usually you’ll pick a theme or story and your photographs each week will reflect your theme.

When does it start?

When does this photography project start? Are there hard start and end dates?

Project 365

Most people start their P365 on January 1 as it is easy to track. If you start on January 1st then your project would be complete on December 31. However, you can start a P365 at any point in the year. If you join an P365 accountability group, most will start January 1.

My first completed P365 was actually started on a Nov 13th. If you start on a day other than January 1 it can be hard to keep track of days, so I recommend having a system planned out ahead of time to keep track.

I logged my P365 on instagram my first year tagging each photo 1/365 clear through 365/365. You can do this a variety of ways though and will want to find something that works best for you.

Project 52

A P52 traditionally starts on Jan 1 and like the P365, runs the entirety of the year, ending the last week of the calendar year.

Similar to the P365, if you are doing a P52 by yourself, you can start this project any time you’d wish but most accountability groups will start on January 1st.


What equipment is required for this photography project?

Project 365

When you are completing a P365, there is no “required equipment.” Some people will set out to do their P365 with only their “big camera” while others do a mix of their “big camera” and their camera phones for their daily photos. Remember, it is your project, so set rules that are realistic for you.

Project 52

The equipment for a P52 can vary depending upon what “type” of P52 you decide to do. Again, you’ll create the “rules” to make this project work for you. I have had friends do an entire P52 on their phone cameras, on film, and some even select one specific lens to shoot with the entire time. All this to say, there’s really no hard rules on specific equipment, it is all up to you.

Why You Should Do a Photography Project

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve
me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

If you’re looking to grow as a photographer, I cannot recommend a photography project enough. I contribute so much of my photography growth to my P365 work. When you are photographing and editing daily, you learn so much.

How to Choose Project

The type of project you choose is ultimately your decision. I can promise you from personal experience that you can’t go wrong with either project. They’re both great goals to have over the course of the year and you’ll see growth with each of them.

What These Photography Projects Are NOT

I think it’s important to keep in mind that these photography projects are not designed to be in depth workshops. If you are joining one of these projects to receive feedback and critique on all your images, you probably won’t find it within these groups.

You may receive feedback here and there but these are designed as creative projects and accountability groups.

If you are looking for feedback on images, you’ll want to look into actual foundational photography workshops.

Photography Project Reviews

As with any project, I always think it’s fun to hear other peoples experiences. It’s one thing to read and know what projects are but to hear others talk about their experience is always valuable which is why I reached out to a few of my friends to provide you with their experiences with a P365 or P52.

I’ve done three P365s and I swear it is what finally had all my photo knowledge click. Shooting intentionally every day helped me grow leaps and bounds for my photography and it helped me document so much more of our day to day “real” life than I ever had in the past. At first I only did a 365 because I knew that for me, I needed the consistency of a 365 over a 52. But then on my second year, I tucked in two different P52s within my 365 project (one with the theme of Self and one with the theme of Siblings) and I am forever grateful for those images. This year I am probably not going to do a full 365, but I am going to pick back up on a more intentional P52. My kids are older and in school most days and I have been working in my photography business a lot more, so shooting for myself really only happens on the weekends now.

Ali Vrbas (Sound Roots Photography)

I completed a P365 in 2018. While many people tout extraordinary growth for a P365, I did not find that was the case for my own body of work. Oftentimes I just took a photo to check the box for the day. However, the following year, I did see immense growth that would have been unlikely if I hadn’t done a 365 the year before. Doing a 365 allowed me to experiment with different genres and techniques and I was really able to home in on where my style was after examining the portfolio. I think it’s important to realize that much work during a 365 will be uninspired, but the mere act of picking up a camera every day helps to solidify the habit of looking carefully at your surroundings on a regular basis.

I just completed a P52 for 2023 and found it great to collaborate with others working through themes and techniques. I don’t think a freeform P52 is particularly difficult; most photographers have no problem shooting something once a week. But with a set of limits, themes, or parameters for a weekly photo can really help you develop in ways that daily shooting might not.

I am looking forward to a year on film (a less structured P365) and a digital P52 for 2024. Although working on both will be daunting, I am a better photographer overall for having done both projects in the past and am excited to see what I find in the next year.

Molly Carstater (mollylovesphotography.com)

I’m a few days away from completing my first 365 and excitedly jumping right into my second one. There is nothing like looking back at a years worth of pictures. There have definitely been hard days that I didn’t feel like taking out my camera but at the end of the day it’s more than worth it.

Sara Zupnik (Frame It Photos)

Where to Find Your Next Photography Project

Once you’ve decided which project you’d like to participate in it’s time to decide, will you go on this adventure alone or will you join an accountability group? If you’re looking for an accountability group here are a few I’ve ran across the past few weeks:

Project 365 Accountability Groups:

  1. Click Photo School: This P365 is run by Karlee Hooper in the Click Community Forum. You must be a registered member to participate but the project is free for members. Memberships for Click vary based on your subscription, it’s currently $15 monthly, $95 yearly, or $265 a lifetime membership. If you’d like to become a member you can register HERE.
  2. Click Love Grow: This P365 is run by the Click Love Grow Team and is a guided project. You must be registered in their CLG Creativity Club to participate which is $597 for the year. In addition to the P52, the CLG Creativity Club includes access to: Every Workshop they run live in the next 12 months between Jan 1 and Dec to participate in and keep forever, special added bonuses, and the CLG Annual Magazine.
  3. Fat Mum Slim 365: This P365 can be bought as a bundle package or you can follow along for free. The bundle includes 366 Photo A Day Prompts, an ebook on how to take better photos with your phone, and a photo a day journal. If you’d prefer the free project you can follow along on their instagram where they share their daily prompts.
  4. Unraveled Academy: This P365 is run by Anna Hurley through Unraveled Academy. It’s $15 per month and includes all lessons in the Unraveled Academy. In addition, you have a private FB community where you can share and ask questions along with bonus videos.

Project 52 Accountability Groups:

  1. Tandra Nicole (P52: Little Stories): If you’re here, you probably already know I’ll be hosting a “themed P52” this year free for anyone who wishes to participate. You can find our accountability group here on facebook.
  2. Click Photo School: This P52 is run by Sue Bahen in the Click Community Forum. You must be a member to participate but the project itself is free for members.
  3. Click Love Grow: This P52 is run by the Click Love Grow Team and is a guided project. You must be registered in their CLG Creativity Club to participate which is $597 for the year. In addition to the P52, the CLG Creativity Club includes access to: Every Workshop they run live in the next 12 months between Jan 1 and Dec to participate in and keep forever, special added bonuses, and the CLG Annual Magazine.
  4. Hello Storyteller: 52 Clicks: This P52 is a weekly prompt P52 run by Angie Mahlke and is $45 to join. This P52 bundle includes a PDF, videos, and a private FB group.
  5. Our 52 – A Lifestyle Project: This P52 is a FB accountability group run by Anna Hurley with weekly themes posted each Monday.
  6. Wild Rose P52: This project is a FB accountability group and IG engagement group. Each week Zephy and her team post the themes for you to follow along with.

If you are hosting, or know of a P365 or P52 I’ve missed, please let me know and I’d be happy to update this blog post to reflect new photography projects.

Photography Project Reminder

One reminder I want you to keep in mind if you decide to embark on a photography project… Even if you don’t end up completing a project, you are not a failure, it was not wasted time.

I see time and time again, “I failed at my (insert photography project here).” I’ve even said this before myself. It took me 3 times of trying a P365 before I completed my first full project. Although I didn’t finish the project the first two times, I wasn’t a failure and neither are you.

These projects are meant to inspire us and push us, and even if you only make it through a few weeks (months or days), that is a few weeks of work you’ve accomplished that you wouldn’t have otherwise: I consider that a success.

Another thing to note, if you are doing either of these projects and find yourself missing a day (or photo), it doesn’t mean you have to quit all together. You can pick up right where you left off, don’t let it leave you feeling defeated. These projects are meant to be enjoyed!

Happy New Year!

Regardless of what photography project you choose or don’t choose, I wish you all the best in creating this upcoming year! May your creativity be unleashed and your talent given the love it deserves.

If you’d like to learn more about the P52 I’m hosting you can read all about here.

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