1. Don’t leave your camera
You never know what opportunities will present themselves to you if your camera is always at your side. It may be a bit of extra hassle, but you will develop a greater sense of observation by being aware of your camera constantly.
2. Shoot a Photo a Day
No greater photographic progress can be seen than by a personal photo a day challenge. Watch your development over a period of 1-3 months and be amazed at how far you’ve come.
3. Smile: Photos in your daily life
Most New Years resolutions include spending more time with friends and family. Take a photographer’s spin on this one, and make it a priority to take casual photos of your friends and family on a day-to-day basis. Capturing memories for others is commendable, but capturing memories for yourself is priceless.
4. Prioritize your goals
Do you want to develop your business practices? Learn a new technique? Save for a lens? Allow your tasks and plans to filter through your long-term goals.
5. Read a photography book a month
Many professional photographers have tremendous resources for up and coming photographers. Check out this list to get you started.
6. Join or Start a photo club
Camaraderie between photo buddies and colleagues is a treasure worth investing time in. Gain invaluable advice, and accountability by joining a local photo club. And if you don’t have a photo club in your town – start one!
7. Subscribe to 5 new industry leader blogs
David Jay. Jasmine Star. Mike Cologne. Dane Sanders. Scott Roberts. . Ron Dawson. The list of industry leaders who enjoy giving back to others is endless. Glean from their wisdom and experience as often as you can!
Submitting your photos to competitions is one of the greatest ways to get your photos off your hard drive and into the sights of important judges and industry leaders. Remember, it’s not about who you know, but who knows you!
9. Plan a formal shoot a week
If you want to learn more about portraiture, schedule a months’ worth of weekly sessions with models, couples, or seniors. Take a few hours to set up a shoot with as many details as possible, and build your techniques and portfolio.
10. Share online
Facebook, Flikr, and other photo sharing sites are obvious ways to share your photos online, but don’t stop there. Set up private albums for friends and family on picasa albums, or other services that will enable ordering and downloads to the people you love.
11. Learn a new slideshow program
Windows Movie Maker and iMovie may be convenient, but they may not offer you all the tools you need to display your photos with wow! Take some time to learn another program for your slideshows to create the most professional look.
12. Create a photo book a month
What do you do with the photos you take every month? Instead of simply storing them on a hard drive, put them into a simple photo book. Use Blurb, , or Snapfish for easy and professional looks. You will be ecstatic when, at the end of 2010, you have 12 books featuring your work!
13. Build your website
Whether it’s a free template or a friend’s design, take the time to present your work on your own piece of the web. It adds to your credibility, and enables you to easily share your work with others.
14. Challenge yourself with flash lighting
Flash is bad – NOT! Flash may be a bit scary and intimidating, but a little bit of discipline and hard work, and you can become a flash pro. Check out some of these articles to join the ranks of the proud flash photographers.
15. Get a photography or business mentor
Sometimes it takes a little bit of assistance to get where you need to be in creative or business endeavors. Send
16. Inquire at a newspaper
Look for connections in unexpected places. Even if you don’t want to go into photojournalism full time, getting some work at a newspaper will give you some good connections, and provide opportunities you may not have had otherwise.
17. Display your work
Many local cafes and coffee shops are interested in supporting local artists. Make some appointments to sit down and inquire if the owner is willing to display your work on the venue’s walls. You may not be able to display them for sales, but you will generate additional interest and possible clientele.
18. Get published
These days, being published does not simply mean by paper medium. There are hundreds of blogs relevant to the kind of photography you want to create. Do some investigating. Make a list of a dozen blogs and submit your work. Then – be persistent! Be cordial, but follow through.
19. Take monthly photo walks
Do you take photo’s to relax? Sometimes amid the tension of photographing for business, or photographing for development, it’s easy to forget the enjoyment of photography. Return to the joy by scheduling an afternoon or an hour to walk through a new town, trail, or area and find inspiration. Your eyes will be opened in a new way, and you will remember the euphoria of creative discovery.
20. Plan a monthly calendar for next year
What one theme do you love more than anything else? Florals? Landscapes? Smiles? Eyes? Shoes? Find your favorite theme, and plan to shoot one photo a month in that theme, and put them together in a calendar for next year. Friends and family will love the calendar, and it gives you an excuse to display your work on the walls of homes!
21. Follow a regular photo blog-posting schedule
Photo-blogging weekly will develop your skills rapidly. Your readers will force you to be accountable to shooting consistently, and you will be able to see your development by leaps and bounds.
22. Teach a class
You are always one step ahead of someone else. Challenge yourself to host a photography class for a group in your area of influence. A church youth group class on composition. A low income after school program on creativity. A free reach out to professional amateurs on best business practices. You have something to offer, and sharing with others will also help you know your stuff as best you can.
23. Promote your work in an online Gallery
Can’t afford to print and frame dozens of pieces in a photo collection? Don’t have to. Using a hosting provider such as Zenfolio, Shutterfly, or Pictage, you can bring your work into the homes of others with the click of a mouse. Force yourself to use your photos instead of allowing them to sit on a hard drive, never to be used.
24. Give away monthly desktop calendars
There’s no better way to stay in the thoughts and mind of future clients than offering monthly calendar wallpaper for free download. Design something with a photo, and perhaps a special quote or verse. Post on your blog, and forward it on to friends and family. If it’s really cool, they’ll forward it on to others also. Suddenly, strangers will know who you are, and you will be competition on a different level.
25. Reach a hand
Get involved with HelpPortrait, or offer your services to a Boys and Girls club, or other nonprofit. These organizations are infamous for having low budgets for multimedia, and if you can offer your skills for their cause, it will bring your name out, and give you value and worth that you don’t otherwise have.
26. Develop a post processing workflow
Systemizing your work is the best way to a quick development for future work. Even if you are not in the business of photography, deciding on a good workflow for every single shoot will help you save time and energy in post processing.
27. Create a business plan
Want to start a business? Or already have? The best way to get a quick start on competition is to develop a business plan answering questions such as, “where do I want to go?” “What do I want my business to become?” and “who is my ideal client?” Even if you are not sure about starting a photography business, setting a few goals for jobs will help you pay for that new lens.
28. Experiment with new presets
Develop your own editing style by playing with presets. Start here for a good list of presets, and then adapt them to your own style. Your photos will become more cohesive and specific – causing you to have a brand with your images no one else can mimic.
29. Make personal postcards to send friends
Print mail is a rarity these days. Imagine how you would stand out if you sent out monthly postcards to select friends and family? No one can afford an entire Christmas List every month, but you can rotate the list of recipients by month. Your work will get out, you will bless others with your images, and once again, you won’t have images sitting on a hard drive, idle and wasted.
30. Take a workshop
There is no shortage of professional photographers wanting to give back through workshops. You can find workshops of all kinds, levels, and price points. Want to get away for a weekend? Or study at your own pace? You can find a workshop on location or online and continue the transformational journey of your photography in an unforgettable and rewarding way.
What are you photographic goals for 2010? Share some of them below!