9 New Year’s Resolutions for Photographers
Updated: Jan 3
Make 2021 your year for improving your photography game.
Regardless of where you're at in your photography career, there is always something you can do to make it a little better. And as we enter 2021, a hopefully better year for all, what better time to make some photographer New Year’s resolutions that will improve your skills. For beginners, maybe it’s time to step away from auto mode and master the manual modes you've been planning to learn for years. For amateurs, maybe it’s time to perfect your lighting techniques. For professionals, maybe it’s time to expand your business.
If you’re struggling with inspiration when it comes to picking a New Year’s resolution that fits you as a photographer, I hope you find the following useful.
New Year’s Resolutions for Photographers
1. Shoot Less
Eliminate some of the “spray and pray” that all photographers are guilty of from time to time.
Slow down, work on your process and “create” an image rather than “try to capture” it. Focus on your artistic process, and it can vastly improve your photography overall.
Get out and shoot more in 2021, but at the same time be more methodical and deliberate in the way that you work in order to try and create finer images. Quality over quantity.
2. Try Something New
Something new can come in many forms. Always shoot portraits? Try shooting landscape. Always shoot landscape and dislike portraits? Try macro. Scroll Pinterest, Instagram and 500px for some inspiration and break your own mould!
3. Start or Complete a Personal Project
Personal photo projects are a brilliant way to encourage yourself to get out and shoot more. They also serve as a powerful tool in giving your photography some special meaning. The key to photo projects is finding something that will keep your interest and push your creativity. Keep in mind that many of the most successful projects span many years, so perhaps the resolution is to just find a meaningful subject, and a resolution for the future might be to finish that project. Creating a book (be it published or not) is a great way to organize and display your project.
4. Learn a New Process
Learning a new approach or process is a great way to breathe new life into your photography (or even resuscitate your love for the art). A new process can be as simple as finally learning how to dodge and burn or a little more advanced such as incorporating luminosity masks into your workflow.
This doesn’t have to be relegated to the world of post-processing as it can be something you focus on in-camera. Maybe composition, focus stacking or even just learning how to extend dynamic range.
5. Get your Backups in Order
Backing up your photos is one of the most tedious, but important parts of being a serious professional photographer. If you’re not prepared, a single accident or tragedy can wipe out years of work. You want to make sure that you have copies of your photos, as well as another copy that lives somewhere else, like in the cloud or on a hard drive at a different location. This is also a good time to check the health of your hard drives, which can often be done using the software that came with the drive when you bought it.
6. Keep Your Gear Maintained
We all love our cameras, but many of us also have a tendency to take them for granted. After all, who wants to go through the trouble of putting everything away after a long day of shooting? But, you can’t do the work you love, if your gear isn’t in tip-top shape. Set up a routine for keeping your photography equipment clean and serviced and don’t be afraid to get microscopic when it comes to cleaning. Make a plan for keeping your batteries charged and your memory cards properly formatted. Your kit will appreciate it and last that much longer.
7. Print your Photos
Most images we look at every single day are on screens, but we don’t print nearly as much as we used to. Looking at a photo as a physical object can give you a completely new perspective on the image, an oft overlooked & valuable learning tool. Making a large print of your photo will let you really examine its strengths and weaknesses, and improve your work going forward.
Increasing your printing will also allow you to share your photography with others in a real way, while helping to ensure that work you really like won’t live forever unseen on one of your hard drives.
8. Re-Discover Your Photography Passion
It is far too easy to get distracted these days and lose sight of the reasons why you picked up a camera in the first place. Take some time to re-focus on your passion for photography, and you will find that it will pay you dividends going forward.
Think back to when you first fell in love with the craft. What were you shooting? What made you enjoy it? If you’ve taken the plunge and made photography your full-time profession, then this is an extremely important resolution for you.
9. Don't Chase the Likes
This one is a great one for a list of New Year’s Resolutions for Photographers! The true value of a 'like' is actually very small. Interaction is wonderful and certainly beneficial, but far too often photographers value or devalue their fine work based on how many likes it got on social media.
An excellent resolution for you as a photographer in 2021 is to focus on what it is that makes you happy behind the camera and keep doing that. Chances are that your creativity will shine through brighter and your work will be even better, when you focus on liking your own work & your process, first.
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