It’s the new year and for many, time to make a fresh start, energised by the prospect of new beginnings and opportunities, now is the time to set in motion all those things you’ve been putting off and give your photography that boost to take it to the next level. So here are 10 new years resolutions, you could pick one to put into practice, or you could even pick all 10, just don't miss the chance to develop your photography!
Learn a New Technique
Have you ever seen a shot and wondered, how did the photographer manage that, or wanted to trying a new technique but never had the time? Well now is your chance, whether it’s as simple as experimenting will long exposures or wide apertures or something more complex such as configuring a multiple strobe set up, take the time to read up on the technique and then head out a give it a try.
You don’t have to get it right first time, and you’ll learn from your mistakes, so persevere and soon enough you’ll have added a new technique to your expanding skill set.
Introduce New Equipment
I’m sure many of you will have received some new gear for Christmas, or have treated yourself to a new piece of kit, maybe a new camera body or posh lens, but it’s often the smaller things that will allow you to try new creative ideas for the first time.
For a landscape photographer, investing in a set of filters and a sturdy tripod will make a world of difference to their shots and if you shoot portraits or still life, then that extra flashgun will allow you to light subjects in a way that you just couldn’t achieve before.
Trying Shooting New Subject Matter
It can often be the case that us photographers get into a rut of shooting the same subject over and over, and whilst it can be of benefit to be well practiced at photographing portraits, or landscapes, it can result in a lack of inventiveness and creativity in our work.
Why not try working with some subject matter that you’ve not worked with before extensively, maybe something such as food, wildlife or coastal photography that will pose new challenges and require new techniques.
Take More Photos
Within my own work, I’ve found that one of the best practices is to have a camera with me at all times, which allows me to never miss an opportunity to capture a moment. This offers chances to take a greater number and a wider variety of photographs.
However, it’s also important that you schedule regular shoots to give yourself a structure to your work, whether they be for commercial work or personal projects, which will allow for more chances for development in your work.
Take Less Photos!
Now it may seem as though this point will directly contradict the last, but actually, it is possible to do both. The previous paragraph was an encouragement on a larger scale to give yourself more opportunities for taking photos, but my point here is to emphasize, that within each shoot, it may be more beneficial to take fewer photographs, but of a higher quality.
When I used to work with film, the process of taking a photograph would be far slower than now when I am working with digital. This slower process allowed for time to not only consider the exposure settings, composition and framing of the shot, but also to allow for timing the shot to perfection so you capture the perfect moment.
Reach Out to Potential Clients
If you consider photography your livelihood, it’s essential that you endeavor to create work opportunities for yourself. It may also be the case that up until now, you’ve considered photography as merely a hobby, but now may be the time to start reaching out to potential clients within the local area to try and secure some working opportunities.
You’ll need to make yourself look professional, use headed paper, get your website and portfolio up to scratch and do some research regarding the rates at which you should be charging so as not to undercut other photographers!
Get Your Work Seen
Once you have a body of work or personal project that you are pleased with, it’s time to work to get it seen by those in the photographic industry. The first step might be to submit some images to a magazine for potential publication, but you could also consider hosting your own exhibit or getting in touch with local galleries or stores that may consider displaying your work.
If you’re working to a professional standard, then it may even be worth getting in touch with potential agents. Use whatever means you feel suitable to make contact with these various establishments, whether that be visiting in person, by email or it may be that the best point of contact is via twitter!
Get to Grips with Your Editing Software
One of the greatest developments that I made in my work was to purchase a new editing suite and to learn it inside out. This allowed me a whole range of post-processing options that previously weren’t available to me.
It increased the quality of my final images. If you’ve invested in a professional level camera and lenses, then it’s also well worth spending a decent amount of money on your software. If you can’t afford Photoshop, then Lightroom or Aperture offer a vast amount of tools to increase your creative options.
Study Your Favourite Photographers
One cannot help but be influence by the work of other photographers, and it’s to your detriment if you do not take time to study and appreciate that work of others as it will significantly improve your own understanding of photography and the images that you make yourself.
Through books, websites and exhibitions, it’s possible to engage with the work or world renowned photographers, to study their style and to understand what makes the images that they take so engaging,
It might be the subject matter, the composition, the location, the techniques or the equipment they used, understanding what you appreciate about someone else’s images will significantly inform how you take photographs.
Subscribe to Blogs, Sites and Magazines for Inspiration
In a similar vein, it’s very helpful to have regular points of inspiration, images to observe, tips and techniques to study and ideas that will find their way into your shoots. There are a huge variety of blogs, websites and magazines that you can engage with, it’s simply a case of finding the publications that you enjoy reading, suit the type of work that you do and which inspire you to keep on creating!