Tis the season of New Year’s resolutions and if you’re anything like me, January is filled with all the best intentions. For amateur photographers looking to hone their skills in the new year, there are lots of simple ways to improve technique behind the camera and the images that you create. If you’re in the market for photography-related New Year’s resolutions, I thought I’d help inspire you to focus your attention on the skills and strategies that give you the most bang for your buck.
These are resolutions you’ll actually enjoy following through on, and I promise – not a single suggestions requires getting on a treadmill.
New Years Resolutions for Photographers
#1 Take out the camera every week.
“Take more photos” is a little to vague. Get specific and keep your camera handy in the family room, kitchen or mud room. Take it out each week and snap a few shots of daily life around the house. By the end of the year you’ll have hundreds of stunning candid shots to cherish.
#2 Pair it with a hobby.
Photography pairs fantastically well with other passions and when you combine interests your photos become more fun to take and keep around. Are you and the kids outdoors enthusiasts? Check out nature photography tips. Can’t tear yourself away from the kitchen? Research food staging techniques. Love to be active? Learn all about high speed shooting and motion effects.
#3 Snap Socially.
Connecting with other photography enthusiasts is one of the best things you can do to fuel your photo fun. Take a peek at Meetup.com and search for photography groups in your area or start your own. Practicing photography maybe the main focus of the social gatherings, or it may become the perfect excuse to enjoy new friendships.
#4 Find a new style.
In the professional photography world, there’s lots of talk about style. As a photo enthusiast the best thing you can do is explore different techniques and determine what your preferences are. Do you like documentary/ journalistic storytelling? Does color saturation make you swoon? Can’t get enough black and white? Are you drawn to dramatic lighting, natural backdrops, action shots, close-ups? Find a theme and explore it throughout the year.
#5 Keep your camera clean.
Many people today invest in fantastic photo equipment and digital cameras but skip over maintenance that keeps everything running smoothly. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this camera cleaning guide.
#6 Learn to edit your own work.
One of my favorite (free!) photo-editing tools for amateur photographers is a little program called Picasa. Picasa is far more user-friendly than Photoshop, allows you to easily edit images, while always saving a copy of the original on your hard drive. You can even share them on Google+ with friends and family if you like.
#7 Tame your photo files.
Are you staring at a pigsty of digital photo files made up of hundreds of indecipherable dates and “Camera Dumps” that simply don’t have a home? Try dividing files by year and creating folders with date and content tags. For example: 2014-09-08 Emma 10th Birthday. This is the same format I use to name all the photos in my own archive.
#8 Set a monthly memory card download date.
In nearly every house on the block, memory cards have become this techie version of the household junk drawer – equally chaotic yet small enough to fit into your pocket. Create a calendar date with yourself to download photos, organize them into files, and wipe your memory card clean for the next month.
#9 Create a convenient backup system.
A single mishap can result in a decade’s worth of photos down the drain. Choose a reliable external hard drive (or multi-drive enclosure), or cloud storage options. Just make sure to familiarize yourself with the software and get into the habit of backing up every time you download photos onto your computer.
Still looking for ways to take your family photography out of the dark ages? Stay tuned to my blog for news about upcoming Snap Happy Workshops and I’ll share with you trade secrets and help you conquer your digital camera conundrums in the process!
About the Author:
Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!