A Shot a Day — Deliberate Practice


For Christmas 2014, I got a new Manfrotto monopod. On the way to my aunt’s house to celebrate for the day, I decided to get some shots to have fun and start learning how to use my new monopod.

Deliberate Practice

After making Holiday ’14, I knew there was a lot I needed to learn about my monopod. What are the strengths of a monopod? What are the limitations of a monopod? What does it take to get a great shot on a monopod? How shaky can I shoot and it still be usable? I need to intentionally practice with my monopod instead of just hoping I’ll improve over time.

The best way to learn something isn’t by studying it or watching videos online, but by actually going out and doing it. I need to commit to showing up every day in order to improve my craft.

So here’s my plan

For the next 6 months, I’m going to take a shot a day with my DSLR and monopod. At the end of each week, I’ll compile all 7 shots together in a 7×7 video here on the blog and write what I learned from each shot.

My goal is to master my camera and monopod. I also plan to use these shots to work on other things I want to practice such as color grading, camera settings and storytelling.

This past week, I spent some time shooting each day as I thought through what guidelines I should commit to. Taking time this week to shoot helped me decide on which limitations will best help me achieve my goals. The goals and limitations listed below will help me get the most out of a Shot A Day.


  • To get great shots with my monopod
  • Become confident in color grading
  • Establish a rhythm of shooting everyday
  • Study the use of various shots in storytelling (i.e. handheld vs. locked off vs. smooth motion)
  • Become more comfortable getting shots in public
  • Be able to explain why I used each shot and why it’s effective in the video


  1. 1 shot a day. Each week I owe myself 7 shots. If I miss a day, I still owe myself a shot to make the video. This keeps me from quitting if I miss a day.
  2. Shots don’t roll over. Let’s say one Wednesday I get 4 shots. Those extra shots don’t count for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I still owe myself one shot for each day. This helps me to establish a rhythm of shooting everyday.
  3. Monopod only. It’s very tempting to shoot handheld since it’s convenient and doesn’t take setup time. However, the goal of this project is to master my monopod. The rule is every shot must be taken on the monopod.
  4. Teaching and Evaluation. Evaluation is the key to growth. Every week I will evaluate each shot in a blog post to see how I can improve my shots. I’ll also share tips so you can learn as I’m learning.


Deliberate practice will make me a better visual storyteller. Each day I will improve my skills behind a camera and each week I will improve my editing and color grading skills. At the end of this project, I will be a better at taking the ideas in my head and translating them into great videos.

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