Happy New Year! I love this time of year, not because it's January and it's the middle of winter here in Chicago but because it's a new year! A clean slate! Anything can happen!
So this year, I have a few new resolutions to go along with "lose weight", "eat better", & "give up coffee" -- New Year's Resolutions I will actually keep! These new resolutions are photography related (see! way more fun than working out and sweating!)
1. Learn something new.
I will be learning about off camera flash this year. I prefer natural light photography so learning and actually using off camera flashes will be way out of my comfort zone.
The internet has a treasure trove of resources that can help you learn nearly ANYTHING! Become friends with YouTube. The possibilities are endless! Want to learn how to use your brand new DLSR you got for Christmas? There's a video for that. Want to learn how to take photos of food, or how to take long exposure photos? There's a video for that. Anything you want to learn, there is a video for it.
Here are just a few channels to get you started:
2. Work on a project.
I spend a LOT of time photographing products at work, and shooting for A Different Light Photography. I don't often get to photograph just for fun. Photographing a personal project will help you grow as a photographer and keep you inspired.
One of my personal projects to to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden and shoot only with my 50mm 1.8 lens. I resolve to learn to LOVE that lens! I would also like to photograph a certain tree/landmark/object from the Garden once a month and show the progression of this item during the year.
Here are several fun projects ideas to get you started:
Project 365 - This might be the hardest, but most rewarding. To do a project 365, you commit to take a photo every day for a year. Sounds simple enough, right? This project will force you to be creative and stretch your boundaries!
Project 52- A little less intense than taking a photo every day. With Project 52, you take a photo once a week.
Project 12- This project features monthly themed photography. This way, you have a month to think about and plan out your photo.
100 Strangers- Gather 100 portraits of complete strangers after getting their consent. A great way to overcome your shyness and to meet new people!
328 Photography Themes- Not sure what theme to shoot? This website has 328 to choose from! Close your eyes and pick one!
3. Organize your photos.
I have a problem. A Serious problem. I'm a digital hoarder. I don't ever delete images. Even the blurry and non-focused images. As a result, I have a several hard drives that are FULL of photos. This year, I resolve to delete the obviously less than stellar images & organize the rest in a more meaningful fashion.
This might take some time, but it'll be worth it in the end!
Check out these easy to follow tips for organizing your photos:
4. Learn to edit photos.
I spend most of my days at my real job in Photoshop. I think I have that covered. That being said, there are still a ton of secrets and shortcuts I can learn. I recently bought Lightroom and have been using it to edit my personal photos and my Portrait photos and I LOVE it. It's amazing. But I only know the super basics. I would love to uncover what this baby can really do! Only have Photoshop Elements? No problem! There are a TON of tutorials for that too!!!
Again, Google and Youtube will be your best friends in finding resources to help you learn.
5. PRINT YOUR PHOTOS!
I moved into my town house a little over four years ago. Can you believe I have no family photos hanging up anywhere? Not even our wedding photos. This year, I'm going to fix that. What good are all those family photos you have taken if you and your family can't enjoy them? Print out photo books for each year/milestone and have them displayed on your coffee table or bookcase. Send them to all the grandparents. There are very good quality places that don't cost an arm and a leg. Create a photo display wall in your home to be the focal point of a room. Print out photos for frames and decorate your home and office with them! Looking for other ideas? Check out my photo display idea board for a ton of cool inspiration.
6. Be in the photos.
As the photographer of the family, I'm always behind the lens. I'm sure you are in the same boat. As nice as it is to be bale to caputre those special moments of your family, think about how much more meaningful it is for your children (and future grandchildren!) if there are photos of you too. Make it a point to have professional family photos taken of you and your children. You can also set up the good 'ol tripod (or selfie stick!) and take photos that way. The point is to be in the photo once in a while.