I'm going to confess something. I never finished my second 365 project, I only made it to Day 250 or so. There are a number of reasons for it, but I just drifted away from photography for a time. Then, a year later, I started the 365 Reloaded with intent to reach the "final shot" a second time.
Today is Day 254, which means I'm drawing close. November is when I reach the end, so I've begun the planning of Day 365. A year's amount of work all ends with the final shot, so it needs to be good. It's what everyone's been waiting for, your grand finale. You don't want to phone this one in, you deserve a good photo at the end. Don't let yourself down with something lame.
Things to think about when planning your final shot:
What theme or themes do you have in your 365? Is there a type of photography or technique you used most often? Maybe certain people have made guest appearances pretty often, and you want them involved somehow. You've been shooting a lot, there has to be something in common with all or most of your photos.
Think about the space. What kind of location would you want to use? Outdoors, a closet, bathroom, bedroom, garage (what I used in the photo above), or abandoned warehouse? If you have an idea of technique, that helps you determine what space works best for you. My idea for my final photo was bringing all of these digitally imprisoned photos into the physical world through small prints. Since there are hundreds of them, I needed a wall to hold them all as well as enough light to make sure you could see them all. The garage ended up being a great place, the walls are huge and bare and I was able to open the doors to bring in tons of light.
Write down your ideas, then combine them. There's one idea I've had for a while, and I would love to make it a reality, but there are too many variables. I want a photo where I get every single person who guest-starred in the 365 in one photo, however, since I went to Hawaii to see friends this year, that's not really possible. Maybe there's a way I could compromise and morph something out of that. Play with your thoughts, think of something, then morph and twist it.
It's hard to think of something creative or know where you will even be on Day 365. We're humans, always on the move, doing something one week, then something completely different the next. Sometimes, you'll have an idea that you'll stick with, but when the day comes you'll completely change your mind. It's almost impossible to have every single thing planned for your final shot. The goal is to think of your 365 as a whole, which will lead you to what photo it ends with. What would round out a year long project?
n college, (and probably high school but I didn't really listen) I learned that your conclusion sentence of a paragraph is supposed to point back to your topic sentence, then the conclusion paragraph to your intro paragraph. Think about your 365 as a year long photo essay of your crazy life. Make the final photo point back to the first in maybe a conceptual way, or a more literal way. There's no guide to a perfect final shot, because your 365 is your personal journey and it ends in the way you believe to be the best.
The end of the 365 Reloaded is going to be big. My goal is that it makes up for the failures of 365 Season 2, as well as lives up to the Reloaded in its name. Maybe I'll take my own advice and listen to some of my own suggestions. (I realized that I needed this last paragraph to point back to my introduction after calling out that grammar rule earlier. Man that would have been embarrassing if I didn't.)