Timetracker

We’re now in phase four, which means time is wide open for us to work on our project and use organizational tools to help us do so.

One tool that is highly useful is our Gantt charts (timeline). A Gantt chart is a visual timetable of scheduled tasks. Each one is set to take a certain amount of days and be completed on a specific date. Once you complete a task, the chart will fill up with the percentage finished. There is also a vertical line that shows which project day you’re on, which helps you to know whether you’re on track or not.

In my own timeline, I have four key points (milestones) to complete during the process of my project. My first one was to come up with ideas for my photoshoots, find models to use, and purchase any materials I would need. My second and third points are to execute twelve photoshoots and edit them in editing software. The final milestone is to format my photobook. It will include my selected photos along with short pieces of writing that correlate with the photo theme, and then it will be ordered and printed.

My project Gantt chart

Currently, I am on track with my timeline. I know this because the chart fills up each task you have completed, and all of mine are filled up and have been finished on the days they were set to be done. My completed tasks line up with the current project day; thus, I am on track and right where I’m supposed to be. Yet, I would like to try and be ahead of my timeline by a few days, in case I need any extra time.

During the next few weeks, I will be wrapping up my last three photo shoots and editing them in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I will also complete the last three of twelve writing pieces that are going to be accompanying my photographs. I will format my photobook through a website called Bookwright, to make it organized and aesthetically pleasing, and it will be ordered and printed. While I am waiting for the book to arrive, I am going to organize a small exhibit to showcase my work, after my final presentation. That will include five to ten large photograph prints and my pieces of writing for people to observe and read.

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Now Entering: Phase 3

We are now in Phase 3 of our journey at Propel. Which means it’s finally project time. We’ve broken down our projects into pieces and created a timeline with those pieces. The timeline will help us with the organizational part of our project, so we stay on track. We’ll work on each of those pieces separately, or sometimes together. Once you’re finished one piece on the timeline, you move to the next. Of course, there’s a certain deadline you’ve put on the piece too since it is a line of time.

For my project, I’ve broken it down into four pieces. First, I’ll be planning and preparing for my photoshoots. That means creating the ideas/themes of each photo shoot and putting together details like the sets, outfits, and makeup. As well as finding models and arranging times to shoot with them. For my second section, I will complete the photoshoots and sort through all the photos to get the ones I want to use. The third piece of my project is to edit the photos I’ve chosen from all the photoshoots. Last, I’ll be putting those pictures into a photo book.

I think breaking my project apart this way really helped me to put it all into perspective. Before I was just winging things. I would come up with a photoshoot idea, find a friend to shoot the pictures with, edit them, and then wait around until I did that again. Now, I’m planning the photoshoots beforehand, so I won’t have to rush and be messy. They’ll all be sorted out. That way when I move onto taking the pictures, everything will be ready. After taking the pictures I’ll have designated time to sit down and edit them, and then they’ll be prepared to put in the book. I personally think this is the simplest way for me to get my project done in time without grand difficulty. Of course, there will be bumps along the way, but so far everything looks clear with the help of this timeline.

In the next few weeks, I will be starting the completion of my photoshoots. Currently, I have two more shoots to plan, and then I’ll start taking pictures with my models. Besides the timeline, I made my own schedule/plan. It includes the themes and details of each shoot and the dates and times I’m going to be doing them. Along with the name of the model. For feedback on my pictures and photographing skills, I’ll be sending my pictures to a family friend who is a professional photographer. I’ll also ask fellow classmates for their input on which pictures they think are the best when selecting which ones I’m going to use.

During POC week after I switched my project idea, I was feeling off, and wondering if I’d made a mistake. But now after laying things out and taking a far look at this project, I’m excited about it and I don’t feel any regret. I know I will be proud of this project however it turns out, and I‘m ready to get down to business.

A Concept to Prove

After two weeks, most of us have finally moved out of Phase 2; Proof of Concept (POC). Proof of Concept is the testing of your project/idea. Essentially, we created a smaller version of that bigger project/idea and checked off a list of tasks surrounding it. The purpose of this is to see if you can take on what you are hoping to and to prove that your project is possible.

During POC week I learned a few things. I learned more about DSLR cameras and how to use them on manual instead of automatic. I made a mini studio on a budget and in a time crunch by using dollar store supplies and set up in my basement. As well as some ways to compose photographs too. Regarding self-evaluations, I learned that I need to fix habits like procrastination and negative thoughts towards my art. I also need to stick to my ideas and stop changing them in fear of doing things wrong.

POC has helped me a good amount, but of course, I still need to make plenty of improvements. I know now that I should plan ALL my photo-shoots beforehand instead of only a few at a time because that gave me poor results for those few. What I did for Proof of Concept has made me feel more confident in my camera operating and photographing skills. I know I will be able to control my images to make sure they turn out in the ways I want them to.

When my project is in its final days, I’m aiming for my images to be aesthetically pleasing, full of color, diverse in models, and have a variety of sets and locations. I want my project to be something that I am proud of in the end. I am ready to kick procrastination and self-doubt in the butt and make sure I receive these outcomes.

Thoughts and Feelings

The weeks leading up to Propel, my friends and family were excited for me, but I was not excited for myself. I can be pessimistic in the case of new beginnings; they aren’t easy for me to grasp. So when I found out I was accepted into this program, I regretted pushing myself to sign up for it in the first place. But I can now say that that is not the case anymore.

The first two weeks of Propel were a refreshing contrast to traditional school. Especially from last semester, which was not a great one. My mental health and grades got to a point where I never thought they would be. Not too sound dramatic but Propel has been healing for me. After the first half hour on the first day, I could tell that signing up for this program was the best decision. The environment was new and intimidating but comforting. The way everything is thought out and organized, but still has that unpredictable feeling excites me.

I’ve never been fond of the traditional school system, so breathing in the air at Propel has been wonderful. The first week was full of information, but I absorbed it and didn’t feel like I was suffocating. Unlike I would somewhere else. We learned more about the program and what we’d be doing, and we even did an Escape Room; We did an Escape Room on the second day?! This program has a great balance of fun and hard work, which is exactly what it’s been so far. Our lessons all fit into the theme of Propel which is growth; within yourself and your work. I actually enjoy lessons now and feel like I’m getting benefits out of them.

The majority of the second week we did introductory presentations. Let me tell you something real quick – presentations = my biggest enemy. I’ve had a terrible history with public speaking. I knew beforehand that there were going to be a lot of presentations. That was the main reason I wanted to run away from this program before it had even begun. Silly, I know. But I didn’t, and I’m now very glad that I didn’t. I’ve always wanted to be able to speak for others and not breakdown and become a mess, and this is the perfect place to do it. There’s even a public speaking program that we’re given so I would be dumb to continue to let the fear stop me. I did my intro presentation for 27 people. A whole 3-4-minute speech, hooray! The rest of week two was long, but once again wonderful.

In week three, we started Purposeful Play. We had lots of time to experiment with project ideas and started to put everything into place during that week. I started with eight ideas and have now narrowed them down to four. I’ve also started to talk to people this week, which has been great. I very much enjoy the company of everyone at Propel.

Thinking of the weeks to come has me anxious, but a good kind of anxious if you get what I mean. This place is giving me the opportunity to take action instead of only thinking about doing it. I can already see and feel the growth that I’ll experience. I can hear the laughs and the sobs too. I know this isn’t going to be easy, and for once that makes me feel motivated instead of discouraged. I know I’m supported here, which means a lot to me. In the next few weeks, I’m going to push myself out of my comfort zone, expand my knowledge and give this my all. Starting with next week, diving into more Purposeful Play. I want to settle on one out of my four project ideas and work on reaching out and taking feedback well. I can’t wait to keep improving.