This is a take off on an old exercise. It used to be something like, “shoot one roll a day.” Or some variation of that. The idea was to force you to keep an eye out for some possible shot during the day, especially while you went about your normal business.
The 35mm roll has 36 exposures.
My exercise is much easier: shoot 20 digital shots every day for 30 days. The part of the exercise which is most important is that you have a camera with you at all times. No, unless your cellphone camera is what you normally shoot with, you’ll have to use your normal shooting camera.
But this leaves you with what. What can you expect to get from this, and what are you going to do with all those pictures.
The first lesson is that most photography is an adventure with failure. Typical for me, as an example was last week where I was asked to photograph a Halloween parade. I shot about 400 captures. From that I could say that about ten would suit the purpose of the assignment, and that one was actually what I would call “good.”
If you think of photography as a zen-like practice, you know that to be mindful you must meditate every day. Shooting is the same thing. You are trying to move into a state of visual mindfulness. And by forcing yourself to shoot every day, you’ll take a step towards that goal.
As part of this zen photography (that may be a stretch, but it’s not a bad way to approach it) you will want to show your work to someone. If you are a beginner, see if you can control this urge for a month or two but whether you can or can’t, I consider that your ability to take criticism and praise without being influenced important.
I try to leave my students with the idea that I am wrong quite often with my opinions about my own work. My life has been filled by critics and praise and I learned to take them both with a grain of salt. I’m not talking about technical stuff – anyone can see that a picture is out of focus or underexposed. But when you take a step up from that and begin to approach the expressiveness of an image – even in terms of how it might be cropped – that’s when you are stumbling in the dark.