One year, 365 photos: an update

Just over 250 days ago, I wrote on this blog about my 365 toy photography project. At the time, I was on photo #39. As of writing, I just published photo #295!

Over the last 8 months, I’ve taken a lot of photos, many of which are consigned to the recycle bin. I’ve been to Sweden and played with Duplo, I overused breakfast items from the Ninjago minifigure series and I broke out ‘Pop’ figures and Playmobil for a change of pace.

I spoke about accidental themes in my photos last time, and about finding my style. I’ve been doing a little bit of both of those, with a prevalence of a certain winged skelly figure, and a lot of light play over the summer months. A summer style certainly developed, with lots of light, bright photos that really made me smile.

Minifigure photographer at play
A little light play

Too much of a good thing?

However, it’s all become a bit much.

Work has been really tough this year, and the (admittedly self-inflicted) requirement for a daily photo means that they have often been taken and thrown up onto Flickr and Instagram with little thought. I’ve been nowhere near as active on G+ as I wanted, and I’m missing the engagement that I felt during the early part of the year.

The whole experience of a year of toy photography has left me feeling slightly empty and I’ve had some serious ups and downs. I’ve photos I love, and photos I hate, but now I’m struggling to make myself take the photos at all. The joy is beginning to fade. It feels a little too much like work.

Stormtrooper cleaning floors
Working hard or hardly working?

So what now?

I will make it through the year of toy photos (because I’m stubborn like that), but then I need to take a step back from daily photos (I’ll probably be aiming for weekly).

I want to start to think about the photos I take, to work on composition, lighting and meaning. I want to tell stories with my photos. I want to get more involved with the community and ultimately, I want to reconnect with my photography again.

By taking the aim off of daily photography, and allowing myself more time to contemplate what I am doing, I hope to improve and produce more photos that I am happy with, rather than a whole lot of photos I don’t particularly like.

Spooky girl with a magic wand
Make a little magic

Only 70 photos to go.

Have you felt lost when in the midst of a long project? Did you overcome it? How do you keep the fun in your projects? Answers on a postcard please (or you know, in the comments!)

– Lizzi

P.S. I’m actually not quite as despondent as I sound! Seasonal toys are starting to bring me a little inspiration and I’m looking forward to breaking the Christmas LEGO out!


  1. Hi Lizzi. I enjoyed this piece and am sad it’s been tough for you. I feel your pain. My aspirations are so far from my reality with toy photography these days, and it disappoints the heart. In any case, I’ve really enjoyed your pics and your posts. May you find the joy.

  2. Sacha

    Sounds like my first attempt to do the Challenge. Where I gave up after three month. But last year I completed and I even felt that there was so many ideas I hasn’t tried, so I began year two and now I’m not afraid of doing it another year. The key to me was planning and writing Down ideas.
    So you Can do it!

    • Thanks Sacha! Well done for getting through a year (almost two!) That’s huge! Can’t wait to see more of your photos!

      This is actually my 3rd year of back to back 365s and my 5th one all told!! 😮 They were not all toy orientated like this one, but I know I CAN do it. It’s just the motivation and reasoning as to WHY I’m doing daily photos is fading! I have tried writing and planning ideas, but then new ideas come along or I just can’t stick to a plan!! I’m going to try using Trello to list all my ideas so I can always find something to shoot! 😀

      (Sorry for excessive exclamation marks. Apparently today is an excited writing day!)

  3. Kevin Thai

    I’ve started a bunch and completed just one 365. They’re tough, it. Ode dry spells are really good for your creativity. You’ll discover some new techniques and new styles you wouldn’t have done before. And its always okay to redo a photo. But keep it up, it’s work, but remember its work that you love.

    • Thanks Kevin! Well done on your 365! They can be so tough, especially when life gets in the way! I’m certainly looking for more things to try in photographing toys. I have a backlog of ‘well that didn’t work’ shots to look at when I get some time – possibly with re-shoots to get the idea right. Something for the new year!

  4. Great write up – I am sure a 365 challenge could be difficult. That being said I guess I really don’t feel it would be challenge for me as I tend to do it without thinking about it. When I go out and shoot toys its usually only for an hour at the most. I wind up with 5-6 photos I really like from about 30-40 shots. Doing that daily really has overwhelmed my hard drive (seriously, I need a larger drive now). I have a back log of about thirty or so images that I liked enough to edit and watermark but I always find myself wanting to post my newest shots. It is somewhat helpful having a backlog of shots just in case I have a day I am too busy to get out. so I guess my question is this: Is the 365 day challenge a challenge to take at least one toy photo a day or post content everyday? Taking photos everyday would be hard. Posting content… not so much.

    • Thank you Joe!

      Generally, and this is what I am doing, is that you take the photo everyday. So every day for a year, you need to take a picture of your choice. I chose to focus on toy photography this year, but last year I did a mixture of things. The first time I ever did it, way back when, I did it as a self-portrait project (very tough, possibly harder than toys!)

      I agree, I could easily post content everyday, but it’s that daily aspect of getting the time/space/energy to take (and edit) photos everyday that is the hard part for me.

  5. Excellent post, Lizzi! I’m sorry to hear that the 365 challenge is wearing you down, but thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve always been intimidated to take on such a challenge, so I commend you for sticking with it and getting some great shots!

  6. Hi Lizzy,
    Thanks for this blog post.
    Reading this post makes me feel a bit relieved. As you, I also had that crazy idea in January to start a lego 365 challenge. At the beginning it was all fun, I was motivated to make special photos. But then the struggle started, I wasn’t satisfied of all the pictures posted on my Instagram account and it became more and more a burden. Being as stubborn as you, so it seems, I’ll also finish what I started but often wonder what after that?
    What will happen after I finished that ‘damn’ 365 challenge? Will I still make a picture for each day? Will I post one once a week, perhaps once a month? What do I want? Still so many questions that are not answered.
    One thing I know is that I want to share my love for toy photography and I sincerely hope that one day we will be taken serious by many others photographers out there.

    Kind regards,
    John Van Regemortel (aka @johnvanre)

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