On 1st January 2010 I uploaded my first image to BlipFoto. And now, as I head towards my second full year I started to think about what compelled me to make sure, on pain of death, that I always manage to take one photo a day. If you’re not familiar with the site, it has a very simple purpose, it allows you to record one photo a day. That’s it. Like all the best ideas, simplicity is everything.

I had heard of BlipFoto a good while before I joined. I had resisted joining as the (erroneously perceived) burden of taking a daily photo seemed a bit much and, after all, I took a lot of photos anyway. But, I decided to have a go and I’m very glad I did for many reasons, but here are a dozen of them because, in the same way as I love taking photos, the internet loves lists. And I’ve thrown in a few of my favourite blips to make this post slightly less of a text-fest.

Hopefully it will encourage you to do as I did and give it a go.

  1. To Make You Use Your camera

    This may be a blindingly obvious statement but the simple fact is that I know LOTS of people who have very good cameras that hardly ever see the light of day. I say to them simple things like “you should take more photos” and they say “oh, I don’t have the time” and I say “rubbish” and they say etc etc.

    I think the problem is pretty straightforward. You have to be in the habit of taking photos. If you’re not in the habit, life events pass you by and you get to the end of day saying “bugger, I forgot to take any photos“.

    By creating a BlipFoto habit you create the habitual urge to take photos. As a consequence you always remember to a) have your camera and b) use it. You will have many more photos to enjoy and good ones taken on your good camera – not just blurred nonsense on your phone ( although, as we will see, they’re allowed too).

    The habit’s thing in which we capture the conscience of the thing…

  2. See something new in your world

    Trying (if you want to) to take at least one photo every day can be a bit of challenge and I, for one, have had to often resort to blurred nonsense on my phone. But, if you at least attempt to keep the quality a little higher than that then you’ll have to work hard to see something interesting in your usual surroundings. You’ve been at work all day, you’re tired, you can’t be bothered getting up never mind going out. But you want a good blip. So you have to get creative with things you see every day (or if you’re like me and many others you start harassing your pets).
    Some of my favourite blips are things that I’ve come up with simply from a wander round the house. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t no William Eggleston, but with the right eyes in your head you can find a good blip almost anywhere and that kind of training will make you a better photographer.
    Quite often I made it a game with my daughter and we’ve had great fun hunting out a blip for the day, that’s how we ended up with pots on our heads and the floor covered in smarties.

    Playing With a Torch

    Yes, that's where that avatar came from

  3. Doesn’t have to be every day

    There is a key point to remember, you don’t have to do a blip every day. Obviously, the habit works best if you do but many, many people on BlipFoto don’t. You can upload when you have something cool, memorable or when you remember. Also, you don’t need to upload the day you took the photo. You can ‘backblip’ and the photo will go against the day it was taken, not the day it was uploaded, so you can catch up on 2 weeks of photos when you come back from holiday.
  4. To remember

    You don’t realise until you do it for a while how unerringly useful having at least 1 picture from a given day is. Sure, this may not be the only way to keep track of your life but as side benefit to all the other good stuff it’s pretty handy. On a number of occassions I have used BlipFoto to tie events back to dates. “When did we go to X?” “Hang on I’ll just check BlipFoto“.
    And, when you get over 1 year of blips to get a handy thumbnail link the picture on the same day in the previous year. It’s quite good fun to announce to a disinterested family “Did you know that on this day last year we were having a lot more fun than we are today?“.
    Memorable events can also drive your blips – here is a small selection of events that I represented by my blip on that day.
    When my Blip  was on the BBC website
  5. Channel your OCD

    If you’re going to be a wee bit OCD about things then you can do yourself a big favour by channeling it all into securing a blip each day.

    What a Fine Choice of Book

  6. Special events

    Every now and then the gang at BlipFoto will announce an extra special project where Blippers get to contribute to an art project or competition.
    Both Blip Together and Life Turns invited Blippers to contribute frames for a film. Have a click and see. There is a new project on the way soon.
    _unstaged and Momentum were photography competitions organised by Blipfoto in association with Channel 4.

    One of my _unstaged entries

    My favourite impromptu event was when a Scottish journalist suggested that people who Blip are all ponces. The reaction was swift and entertaining, we were all invited to take a photo of ourselves poncing about. This was mine.
    There is also a new bike related craze called Hubshot.
  7. Community

    Whether it is via subscriptions to people’s photos, comments or chat in the forum, BlipFoto has a very vibrant, helpful and happy community. I don’t comment as much as I should but many people take time to leave comments on your images. The forums have weekly challenges and lots of chat. A group of my colleagues also have our own themed weekend blip challenge.
  8. Built in Edinburgh!

    Only slightly parochial. I’m from Edinburgh, BlipFoto is from Edinburgh so, support the team, wear the colours. I first heard if BlipFoto when Blipper Scobes was spotted by us taking this blip of one of our charity bangers. To further reinforce the community aspect, he then kindly donated money to our cause.
  9. To explore the world

    I saw something recently that said there are now Blippers from 172 countries in the world. Not all will post a photo every day but you will get a great view of what the world looks like today or any day. Not only that, there are lots of great photographers all over the world and by posting their images on BlipFoto you get to see some wonderful views of the world.

    My Blip From Budapest

  10. To witness events

    The global nature of BlipFoto means that when there is something big happening in the world, there is usually one of more Blippers in the vicinity to capture a personal view on what is happening. A few such events stand out for me such as the New Zealand earthquake and the tragic events in Norway. As much as these events are covered in the news, getting a reaction from someone who is there is many more times powerful.
    As well as major world events, you can also dip in to many small things in people’s lives, birthdays, births, holidays and happy days – a wide variety of small windows on the world.
  11. Books!

    A fairly recent addition to BlipFoto, you can now get your photos from a year made into very lovely looking range of books and calendars. Have a look at the BlipFoto shop and you’ll see.
  12. Widgets and Apps

    Look to the left of the screen, you’ll see my last 3 blips displayed directly from BlipFoto by a script written by yours truly. Thankfully there is no an official version that does it much better! As well as a range of such widgets, there are also BlipFoto apps from Android and iPhone which makes getting that all important daily photo that much easier. You can see all the widgets and apps here.
Right then, you joined up yet?