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5 Ways to Invest in Your Photography Over the Next 365 Days

5 Ways to Invest in Your Photography Over the Next 365 Days

Happy New Year! I love the new year. It brings forth hope, aspirations, and positivity.

Metaphorically, it is like the slate has been wiped clean and you have a chance to chase some of your most amazing and lofty goals. So why not use this new year to invest in something that you really love as well – your photography. Here are some simple easy ways to invest in bettering your creativity and your craft over the next 365 days.

Sunset golden hour photo - How to Invest in Your Photography Over the Next 365 Days

#1 – Create smart goals for your photography

Let’s drop the myth that only professional photographers who are in business are allowed to have photography goals. I don’t care if you are just beginning to learn photography or have been doing this for years, one of the best ways to improve at anything is to have realistic goals for what you aspire to and want to achieve.

Goals can be things like learning to photograph in manual mode, selling stock images or booking your first wedding client. No matter what your goals are, I encourage you to take it a step further and create SMART goals. A SMART goal is defined as one that is;

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-focused
  • Time-sensitive

So for each of your goals, add additional parameters to convert them to SMART goals by figuring out how to measure them, how to achieve and execute them, and what specific timeframe you want them to be completed by.

Jaipur Lake Palace Photo - 5 Ways to Invest in Your Photography Over the Next 365 Days

A SMART goal to travel and explore my home country has lead to some amazing opportunities. All because I really thought through what I wanted to do, how I wanted to execute it, and what outcomes I wanted from those opportunities and really working towards those goals!

#2 – Plan to do at least 4 personal photography projects

I really believe that personal projects are the cornerstone to helping you improve your photography. Once you take the pressures of working with clients out of the equation, you are free to explore, get creative, and challenge yourself. This creative freedom is bound to reflect positively on your work.

Personal projects can be short exercises directed to help you improve in some area of your photography or extended self-assigned projects that really take you completely out of your comfort zone to try something different. You can choose to space out your personal projects throughout the year – perhaps even commit to doing one per quarter.

No matter what you choose, have SMART goals on what, when, and how you are going to execute your personal projects. You can see more details on the importance of personal projects in this previous article.

Ocean views from the caribbean - 5 Ways to Invest in Your Photography Over the Next 365 Days

One of my ongoing personal projects to learn and master film photography because it provides so much more room for learning and improving my photography in general. I even went so far as only taking a 35mm film camera on vacation to the Caribbean.

#3 – Practice photography every day

One of the easiest ways to practice photography every day is by signing up for a 365 series. Quite simply put, a 365 series is a commitment to creating one photo every day for 365 days. You can use a DSLR, a point and shoot camera, or even a smartphone to work on this series.

You can even take this a step further by joining one of the many online groups available. They are created solely for the purpose of encouraging you to photograph and post a single photo every day for 365 days straight. They even provide photo prompts to help you stay on track so you are constantly thinking of what to photograph every day.

Small waterfall photo - 5 Ways to Invest in Your Photography Over the Next 365 Days

A picture a day is literally just that – a photo a day. Get as creative as you want with this exercise. Use it as a way to get out of the house, meet fellow photographers, or just as some quiet time to reflect on who you are as a photographer and what motivates you.

#4 – Share your work online and offline

Join online groups or even local camera clubs to meet and socialize with other photographers. Many clubs have critique nights where members submit photos and comment on each other’s work. This is a great way to not only have your work be seen by others but also to get unbiased feedback on your work, which can be used for improvement and growth.

Many times we are our own worst critic and downplay our talents and skills because we are afraid or maybe lack the confidence in our photography. And you know what’s the best part? Having a group of like-minded people that you can talk photography about with all day long without them tuning you out within the first five minutes of any conversation (Can you tell this is how my family is when I start to talk photography!?).

Photo of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai at sunrise - 5 Ways to Invest in Your Photography Over the Next 365 Days

I have made some amazing friends via online communities – we have collaborated together, referred work to each other and bounced life and business challenges off one another. But most importantly, I have made some incredible friends who I know have my best interests at heart.

#5 – Attend a photography workshop, conference or take an online course

Like most other professions, the photography industry is continually evolving and changing. New products, techniques, and styles are constantly being introduced. So attending a photography workshop or conference is a great idea.

Plus you never know who you might meet there in terms of future friends, potential clients, or even referral opportunities. There are numerous workshops, seminars, and even free online events and tutorials to keep you busy learning new things.

Keeping abreast of the latest in any business is a good thing. It shows your clients, both present, and future, that you value your business and skill, enough to invest in it.

 Mirror reflection of an alpine lake in Oregon - 5 Ways to Invest in Your Photography Over the Next 365 Days

Workshops, and conferences are another great way to expand your professional circle, make industry friends and learn new skills/techniques. Make sure you do your research prior to committing funds to attend an event/workshop or conference.

What will you do with the next 365 days?

I hope these tips were helpful to you as you plan out the year. Remember, getting your photography to a level that you are proud of takes time and a lot of hard work. Make this your year to shine with your photography.

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Karthika Gupta
Karthika Gupta

is a culture, people and travel photographer, based in the Chicago area. Her images are fun, fresh and natural, and her love for nature makes it way into most of her images. She also has a Free Travel Photography Demystified E-Course, a 5-Day video series to help you improve your travel photography.

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