Have you been wanting to improve your photography for a while, but never seem to find the time? It's a common problem for all of us. Life seems to get in the way.
What I've consistently found is that if you consciously practice a skill every day for two weeks, you'll not only become great at that skill very quickly, and the skills will stay with you. You're also much more likely to include it as part of your daily routine long after the two weeks.
My aim is to help as many people as possible take much better photos - including YOU! So I'm starting what I'm calling a "Photography Dash". It's a way to accelerate your photography skills by practicing something new every single day in a supportive environment.
[Updated: Registration for The Dash has now closed. But I'll be running it again - Register your interest!]
The Dash is designed for beginner and intermediate photographers. It will be immensely useful if you know nothing about cameras; already know your way around a camera; or just want a refresher. Each day you'll learn something new, and have a chance to apply that new knowledge with a photographic challenge. There will be lots of bonus challenges too if you are feeling more adventurous (or already know all the basics).
If you don't think you can commit to 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks, there will also be a 2 month version with new challenges every week. This will be more a Photography Amble than a Photography Dash, but you'll still get the same results.
The Photography Dash starts on November 12th, 2013 and will last for 2 weeks. The Amble starts on the same day and will last 2 months. There will be a nominal $20 cost to participate. The charge is because I know that when you are invested in something, you're much more likely to complete it. And I want everyone to use the Dash to improve their photography.
What happens each day?
(For those on the 2 month 'Amble', replace day here with week)
I'll email your lesson and assignment for the day to you (and post both on Google+). Each day will be on a different subject building from previous days. Usually there will be an article or two to read, a video, and optional additional reading material.
There will also be a challenge relating to the day's subject so you can get out and apply your new skills. I highly recommend you upload your results to the group (even if you're not happy with them) as you'll get feedback and support. If you have any problems or questions, you'll be free to ask at any time.
Each day will include super challenges for those who want to push themselves. These are entirely optional and won't be easy to complete - but will be very rewarding if you do.
At the end, you'll get a certificate of completion if you have uploaded photos for at least 80% of the challenges.
There's only a week to limber up for the Photography Dash, and there's a few things you can do so you can hit the ground running.
- Register for the Photography Dash here.
- Set aside 30 minutes a day between 12th November and 26th November. Mark it off in your calendars NOW so you won't accidentally fill that time of the day with a shopping trip. If you're taking the Amble, I recommend 1 hour a week between 12th November 2014 and 12th January 2014 (with some time off during the Christmas week).
- Check your camera gear is in full working condition, and you have plenty of memory cards. If you have a tripod that you never use, get it out of storage. Dig out those filters your brother gave you for your birthday that you have never used.
- Sign up to Google+. Once the Dash starts, I'll setup a private group so we can all help each other out, and share in your triumphs. You'll be able to upload your challenge images here too. And once you've signed up, add Digital Photo Secrets to your circles. Find out more about Google+ here.
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the Dash start and finish? The Photography Dash starts on November 12th, 2013 and will last for 2 weeks. The Amble starts the same day with weekly challenges and until January 12th (with a week's break at Christmas).
How much will it cost? There will be a nominal US$20 cost to participate. The charge is because I know that when you are invested in something, you're much more likely to complete it. And I want everyone to use the Dash to improve their photography.
Do I need an expensive DSLR camera? No. The Dash is designed for all cameras including Point and Shoot and Phone cameras.
You mention tripods and filters. Do I need those? No, but as a general rule, I highly recommend using a tripod as it will greatly help your photography.
How will I receive the material? I'll be emailing your daily lessons and assignment, and you'll be part of a private Google+ community where you can share your images and stories with other participants.
Can I use a tablet or phone? Yes, you can use either to both access the materials and take photos (although you'll get better results using a dedicated camera).
When can I sign up? You can signup right now!.
Didn't you originally say 8th November? I've delayed the start a few days because I realized it will take a few days for everyone to sign up get prepared.
I don't know much about my camera. Is this for me? Absolutely! In fact, this is especially for you. Each day's lessons are designed for beginners and intermediate users alike.
Do I need to have an image editing program? None of the daily challenges will require any photo editing software, but having one will be useful for touching up your masterpieces, and for some of the more advanced (but optional) challenges.
I'll be away for some of the time. Can I still participate? Yes! If you have Internet access where you are going, being away is a perfect time to participate, as you'll be able to explore your new location with your camera. If you won't have Internet access, I recommend you take the 2 month 'Amble' rather than the 14 day 'Dash'.
Can I see a list of topics? There is a partial list of topics on the Photography Dash page.
Do I need to sign up to Google+? I don't like signing up for things I won't often use. You will be able to follow all the course material and do all the assignments without signing up for Google+. However, you won't be able to participate in the group sharing aspect (where you can share your photos and see those of others doing the same Dash). That part I think will be one of the most valuable as you'll get feedback from others as to your progress. I chose Google Plus because it's the best free software for sharing and collaboration. You can always sign up to Google+ for the Dash then close your account afterwards.
I don't live in the USA. Will that be a problem for participation? Not at all. I plan to send the new day's content at the same time each day - around midday Australian Eastern Daylight time, which is 1am London time, and 5pm in California the previous day. You'll have until midnight local time the next day to complete each assignment. So if you live in Australia, you'll have 36 hours for each assignment, with 12 hours overlapping each assignment. So there will be plenty of time for uploading and interacting with others. I won't be closing off the galleries for previous days either, so you can still view images and upload your own. There's no penalty for being a little late.
Have a question I don't cover here? Please ask me.
I can't think of a better way to supercharge your photography. Let's do it!
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