Ever since I downloaded Instagram to my phone, I've been obsessed with taking photos of anything and everything. I've found that having the ability to take photos pretty much anywhere has actually really helped me to become more present. About a year ago, I wrote an article called "A Picture's Worth a Present Moment," which focused on how photography really can help you to stay in the present moment. A year later -- and with the help of Instagram -- I'm finding the words I wrote to be more and more true.
And about two months ago, I started (a month late) Oh So Lovely's 30 Day Photo Challenge. After my boyfriend sent me the link, I thought it would be fun to give it a try. Looking back on it, I'm glad I did. When the 30 days were up, I actually missed it. Of course I could still take a photo every day, but I had enjoyed the direction that came with participating in a photo challenge.
The challenge also helped me to stay present. When I was participating in it, I was much more aware of my surroundings, always looking for something that I could snap a picture of. It made me realize how many cool and interesting things there are to photograph -- and that's why I created a photo challenge of my own. Below are the details. I hope you'll participate -- and I can't wait to see your photos!
30 Day Photo Challenge: Gratitude
What's a photo challenge and how do I participate?
For the next 30 days, I'm going to be taking photos of the items listed above -- and I'd like you to too! There's no real "challenge" to it; it's mostly just a way to motivate you (and me!) to stay in the present and focus on things that we're grateful for. All you need is a camera, the list, and some imagination to participate.
How did you create the list of items?
Every November, in typical American fashion, I tend to focus on being grateful. Each year I try to find ways to celebrate thankfulness in my life, and what better way celebrate that gratitude than through this photo challenge? The list of items above is based on things I'm grateful for in my life and I hope that photographing them this month will remind me of how lucky I am.
When will you share the Positively Present photos? Can I share mine?
I won't post the photos online daily (that would be a little overwhelming for those of you who subscribe via email!), but at the end of the 30 days I'll share them with you -- and I hope you'll share your photos with me as well! If you post your pics online, feel free to share the links in the comments section. If you want to send me some of your favorite pics, email them to email@example.com.
What else do I need to know about the challenge?
- You don't need to be a photographer or even all that interested in photos to participate. All you need to be is interested in staying present and focusing on things you're grateful for.
- It's not so much a "challenge" as it is something to inspire you to be present. Don't let the word "challenge" scare you and prevent you from participating. There's no reward, no punishment -- just an opportunity to be more present.
- You can take your photos anyway you want to -- with your phone, with a digital camera, with a DSLR, Holga, Instax, SLR, Polaroid. Anything goes when it comes to your photos!
- Feel free to start the challenge at any time. I started the Oh So Lovely challenge a month late and that didn't make it any less enjoyable for me.
- If you post your pics online, feel free to share the links in the comments section. Or if you want to send me some of your favorite photos, you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't wait to see your photos so please share!
- I printed out the challenge for myself and posted it on my wall. If you want to print and post the challenge, download the Positively Present Photo Challenge PDF here.
For those of you who participate, I hope you enjoy the challenge as much as I enjoyed the one I did back in September! Keep me posted on your progress! To get everyone started, I've shared my Day 1 photo below. I have quite a few favorite foods, but rainbow Goldfish are one of my favorites -- and they are the face of Fishful Thinking, a program that strives to promote positive thinking in kids. Can't beat that in a favorite food!
Want to keep up with the photos I'm taking as the challenge progresses? Check out the new Flickr account I just set up and see them all! Find Positively Present on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/positivelypresent.
Wondering how you can stay positive and present on a daily basis? Check out my book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present, filled with daily tips, advice, and inspiration for making the most of every day. Stay Positive is available in Paperback and PDF. Learn more about the book (and watch the video!) at StayPositive365.com.