My latest project has been a “perpetual” photo calendar, made up of pictures of letters to represent each day of the week and all the numbers from 1 to 31 to be arranged and rearranged for any month of the year. It was actually surprisingly painless to shift from May (pictured here) to June because I was able to just unclip the top and keep the numbers in two main sections. I do have one or two numbers I’d like to replace eventually, but for now I’m just enjoying the feeling of being done.
Please note that I don’t actually plan on displaying it on the grass, it’s just that my boring white walls really weren’t doing it any justice. Anyway, this was a really fun project and I’d wholeheartedly recommend trying it yourself. With that in mind I do have a few tips.
This might be really obvious, but first of all it helps if you keep notes, either digital or physical, of the numbers you already have and/or the numbers you still need and bring them with you when you go out shooting. You might think you’ve been keeping track in your head but you don’t want to be going through your latest finds and organizing them on your computer only to discover that you already had a great 30 but you still don’t have anything in the 24 to 29 range (not that I did that). Sunday mornings were my favorite time to go out and take my number pictures, but that’s probably more a matter of personal preference.
I soon learned that a little bit of Photoshop can be your best friend for a project like this. I know at first there were some numbers I didn’t even bother trying to take pictures of because they were too close to other numbers. That’s where my dear friend content aware fill comes in. It didn’t work every time (trying to deal with shadows eluded me) but overall it was awesome being able to lasso any intruding bits and just delete them away. I also developed a new appreciation for hue adjustments, as well as any other color tweaks that saved adjacent pictures from the terrible shame of being too similar to their neighbors.
Even though I wasn’t inclined to spend the money at first, I ended up caving and buying RadLab (it was on sale, plus I had a coupon; there was really no resisting it). I created my own recipe that’s basically my dream instagram filter and applied it to every single photo; I feel like applying the same action or effect to everything really helps pull it all together. Since I’m rather pleased with myself, here is a before and after for my recipe which I named “Calendar” because I’m clever like that:
Now I guess I need to find a new project…