It’s that time of year when your friends and family begin to bug you for your New Year’s resolutions. So, in this article, I’ll share with you some possible New Year’s resolutions for creative photographers.
Apparently, humans started making New Year’s resolutions four thousand years ago. So you’re in good company if you want to make some this year!
You might be considering pledging to go to the gym more or stop biting your nails (but we know you’ll never last past January). So instead, why not think about how you might use the new year to make some changes to your photography? You never know, they might even stick for longer than a month!
Reflect on the past year
Take some time to review the photos that you’ve taken during the past year. Pick out the ones that you like the most and try to think about why they make you feel that way. Are they perhaps full of happy memories? Or did they mark a moment when you understood a new technique?
Consider turning your favorite photos from the year into a photo book to permanently make a record of what you achieved. Think of it as being like a journal of your hobby that you can look back on in the future to see how much your approach to taking photographs has changed.
It could be that many of the things you enjoyed most about photography over the past year were the experiences. Maybe you enjoyed spending time with certain other friends who are into photography or going to different places. Make a note of those experiences you enjoyed the most, and we’ll come back to it later!
Don’t be afraid to take risks
Taking risks with your photography can be a useful tool to help you improve. Cameras are tools that are meant to be used and they can always be replaced.
But taking risks doesn’t have to be about putting yourself and your equipment at risk. Sometimes it can be about pushing your boundaries and taking creative risks.
The worst that can happen when you take a creative risk is that you get a photograph that isn’t as good as you hoped it would be. And if that happens, you don’t have to show anybody! But when a creative risk takes off… that’s when risk-taking really becomes worth it.
Take your camera everywhere
The famous hockey player Wayne Gretzky said that you’ll miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. He’s not wrong – if you don’t have a camera with you, then you won’t be taking any photos!
Two years ago, I realized that I wasn’t taking my camera out and about with me because it was too big and heavy. Shortly after, I ‘side-graded’ to a more compact camera that was easier to take with me everywhere that I went.
My photography improved almost immediately. I was simply taking more photographs and getting more practice. Over time I also found that I was finding more excuses to take photographs because I was enjoying photography more than I ever did previously!
Say ‘yes’ more often
It’s too easy to say no to opportunities that crop up. You might think about the other things that you ‘should’ be doing. You might think about the money that you could be using for something else. But how much would it really hurt if you said ‘yes’ a few more times during the upcoming year?
Say yes to a photographic adventure with a friend. Say yes to a new kind of photography. Also, say yes to new styles and techniques that someone offers to show you. And, say yes to things that are outside of your comfort zone.
You might not enjoy everything that you photograph as a result of saying yes, but then you’ll certainly know for the future when to say no!
Plan your year in advance
Each year I buy an almanac, and I first use it as a convenient list of key dates and celebrations that I might want to explore photographically. But a good almanac book will have so much more than just a calendar.
Divided into monthly chapters, almanac’s have tide tables, information about the night sky, and what flowers are in bloom that month. It’s a guide to what you should see in nature, and some almanacs even have seasonal recipes.
Imagine if you let the almanac be your guide for photography over the coming year? You’d shoot everything from seascapes, wildlife, and cultural celebrations to food photography.
Start a passion project
The first thing to know about passion projects is that they don’t have to change the world. They don’t have to be big, dramatic, and meaningful; they just have to satisfy you and your desire to take photographs.
I like to use passion projects as a way to help me be more attentive to the world around me or to work on skills.
This year I have been setting aside the time to shoot a self-portrait every month to improve my portrait photography. While working in London as a photographer, I documented my changing walk to work for several months, as industrial development happened around me.
Use it as an excuse to get out and about and photograph things that you might not normally photograph. A friend of mine, this year, has been visiting every UK Cathedral and photographing them all. He sees parts of the world that he’s never seen before – despite them being virtually in his backyard!
Set some goals
Setting goals for your photography can be a good way to figure out how you’re going to spend the next year. Goals can help inform the trips you take, the accessories you buy, and ultimately the pictures you make.
Take a few minutes to consider what you really want out of your photography hobby. Is it perhaps more time for yourself with a camera? Or do you want to win a local photography club competition? Think about what you wrote down when you considered what you’d enjoyed most over the past year photographically.
Once you’ve come up with a few goals, start thinking about how you can achieve them. Do you need to take a specific trip to photograph some wildlife? Or do you need to book a workshop with a photographer who’s style you love?
Whatever you write down, make sure you tuck these ideas away in a safe place so that you can keep looking at them throughout the year. That way, you’ll find it easier to stay on track and achieve your goals.
Take more photos!
Everything I’ve talked about in New Year’s Resolutions for Creative Photographers is just a way to try and help you shoot more photographs that you love over the coming year.
By working out what you enjoy photographically, and where you want your journey to go over the coming year, you can start to make a plan to help you achieve your photographic goals.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for creative photographers you’d like to share? What are your goals for the upcoming year? What are you doing to try and do differently? Don’t forget to tell us in the comments!