I’m not fond of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t bother making them and I’m not sure why anyone else does; there’s so much baggage and pressure tied up in the process of making and attempting to keep a resolution.
It’s great to have goals, though. I suppose talking about the difference between goals and resolutions requires a tiny bit semantic wiggle room, but I believe the perceived weight of a word can sometimes have a significant impact on our actions.
So forget about resolutions. Do you have any goals for your photography you’d like to fulfil at some point this year? If not, here are 5 easily attainable achievements that you might want to pursue. No pressure, of course.
1. Backup Your Images
I know, there’s no excitement in this but backing up your work is vital to your mental health. Can you imagine losing everything you’ve ever shot? No? Keep your backups on point and you’ll have peace of mind.
There are different strategies you can employ to back up your photos — redundant copies, offsite storage — so do some research and pick something that works for you. Bad things can and do happen. It’s to your benefit to be proactive.
2. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
What’s your “thing”? Landscape, street or architecture? Portraits, macro or sports? Whatever it is, set it aside long enough to learn something outside of your comfort zone.
If you typically shoot portraits in a studio, try shooting outdoors in natural light. If you’re a landscape photographer accustomed to the solitude of nature, try your hand at street photography.
Trying new styles and techniques can open up new creative lanes and give you new ideas to incorporate into your regular shooting habits.
3. Start A Long Term Project
Unlike having to produce multiple short term projects, a long term project allows you the freedom to come up with fresh ideas and make changes along the way. Your project can take place over a number of months or an entire year.
Of course, you should have an idea of what you want the finished product to look like, whether it’s a website, a book or a gallery show — but you should also use a long term project to help alleviate the creative demands of daily work.
4. Print Your Photos
Too many people have the bad habit of hoarding their photos; digital photography sort of lends itself to this behavior. What good are photos that you never look at after you take them off your memory card?
Instead of letting so many photos sit uselessly on your hard drive, find some of your favorite shots, print them and hang them in your home.
A printed image has a way of inspiring that images on a screen can’t quite match. Hanging prints also allows you to easily see and appreciate your own work on a daily basis.
5. Worry Less About Gear
It seems there’s another camera update every month. There’s no way you can keep up with such rapidly improving technology, nor should you try.
I’m pretty sure the camera you’re using right now is more than capable of doing everything you need it to do. Even the most basic camera and lens combination can be used to produce stunning photos.
Sharpness, high ISO performance and dynamic range are only part of the story of a good photo — indeed, the smallest part.
If you feel your photos aren’t what you want them to be, don’t blame your 16-megapixel camera. Forget about gear and upgrade your skills.
See, these resolutions goals don’t seem so out of reach, do they? Setting goals for yourself shouldn’t be something you only do at the start of a new year, it should be a regular part of your life.
Stay focused, stay driven and keep creating on your own terms.