I can’t believe it’s already the end of the year. There are a lot of things I’ve wanted to do this year, but I never got around to them. Now I’ve got a whole list of resolutions for next year. It’s not some guilt trip, just a reminder that we can all strive to do a little more and make ourselves better at what we love. Here are some new year’s resolutions to help you improve your photography.
Take more pictures
How often have you driven by an impressive scene just to say to yourself, “oh well, I’ve gotta get home right now. I don’t really have time to get this shot.” I know I’ve done it a few times myself. This year, I resolve to stop, smell, and photograph the roses a little more.
The more pictures you take, the more pictures you have to choose from. So much of this is about curating a collection of images that just keeps growing and growing. When you stop and enjoy the scenery, you give yourself more material to work with.
Bring your camera to more places
Do you have a smart phone like an iPhone or Android phone? The newest smart phones are great because they also have pretty good camera. And if (like me) you always have your phone with you, you also always have a camera. Even if you don’t have a smartphone, remember that the best camera is the one you have with you. Take a few extra minutes to pack your camera in the car. You might be heading off to work or whatever. There is always something to photograph.
Rely on your equipment less
I’ve already gone through it in a number of my tutorials, but there are all kinds of do-it-yourself ways to create amazing photographic effects with little to no special equipment. Even if you have a standard point-and-shoot camera, you can use the white balance settings to give your pictures an added color boost (I like to use the “cloudy” setting on a sunny day to make everything orange, but that’s just one example).
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create images that pop. It’s more about finding the right settings with the equipment you already have.
Get into stock photography
This is a challenging one, but it’s sure to improve your photography if you dare to undertake it. Did you know that you can get paid for your photos when you submit them to stock photography agencies? The only downside (or challenge as I prefer to call it) is that you have to produce perfect images of a variety of subjects the stock photography sites don’t have enough of. This is like the Thunderdome of photography. If you can get in, you’ll emerge with images that nobody in the world could criticize. I'm getting into this myself and will elaborate on this more in my tips next year.
Take more weekend vacations
There are so many places to photograph, and they aren’t that far away. Find a few scenic places and go there on the weekends. I’ve got friends who live near the mountains of Colorado, and I’m insanely jealous of them. They’ve got this crazy goal to hike as many 14,000 foot peaks as possible. They’ve already done something like 23 of them, and they bring their cameras with them on every trip. As you can imagine, they’ve gotten quite good (plus they’re in much better shape than I am).
Photograph your kids more
If you have kids, you know they’re going to grow up sooner rather than later. Make this the one year you get some truly fantastic pictures of them. I know they won’t always be excited about it, but try to catch them when they’ve got lots of energy. It’s best not to make it a serious photo shoot either. Just take some pictures while they’re playing around in the backyard. There's a fantastic ebook available to help you get in the groove for taking photos of your kids. Read my review or click below for more info on the ebook.
Plus, if your kids are old enough to take pictures, start teaching them photography! Man, I sure I wish I had the opportunity to start at a younger age, especially with today’s equipment. What a great way to spend some time with your kids!
Never say never!
Is there an image you’ve always wanted to get, but maybe you didn’t take the time or invest the resources? This is your year to do that. I’m not sure what it will mean for you. Maybe you’ll have to save up enough money to buy a macro lens or a digital SLR (or become really good friends with someone who has one), and that’s okay. At the beginning of every year, I think about one of my favorite pictures, and then I go out and I try to take something like it.
Set simple and achievable goals for yourself. Those are mine. What are yours?
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