New Year's Resolutions: 15 Ideas for Photographers | Light Stalking

New Year’s Resolutions: 15 Ideas for Photographers

By Sheen Watkins / December 31, 2014

Happy 2015 Light Stalking readers! As we've said goodbye to the good, the best and the not so good of 2014, it's once again that time to resolve to do something. That ‘something' could be a simple task. That ‘something' could be a lifestyle change. Or, it could be to make no resolution at all. For those of you who are game, let's take a look at some potential photographer's resolutions.
We can pick one or two New Years Resolutions from the examples below, or even add one to the list. Resolutions are successful when it is something we enjoy. And besides, there is an inner satisfaction when we can truly say, “Resolution Accomplished!”

Happy New Year 2015
Photo by Jorge Almeida

1. Clean out your camera bag

You've traveled near and/or far and that camera bag has been with you through rain, snow, heat, good & bad drama (thinking weddings and people here), airports, trains and long car rides. Tip: Take everything out of every compartment, give it a good cleaning before reloading. It will feel like a new bag. Restock the lens cleaners, reorganize what lenses are the mainstay and be prepared for your next shoot.

2. Have your sensors cleaned

Saying that at the wrong time to the wrong person, could get you in trouble. As photographers, you get this one. If it's been longer than 12 months since you've done this, probably a good time as any. Nothing worse than zooming in and seeing clusters of gunk in your photos.

3. Before putting your camera away for the day, always reset the settings to your go-to settings

Prevent the “OMG” I forgot to reset my settings from my night shoot! Just to make sure you are good to go, always check your settings when you take your camera out of your bag too.

4. Shoot with a single prime lens all day

If you don't have one, stay committed to holding at a fixed focal length, no matter how tempting. 24, 28, 35, 50, 85mm are examples of primes.
7 Reasons Why Prime Lenses are Better thank Zooms to Improve Your Photography
Want to Fall in Love with a Lens, Try a Prime Lens
How photographers Can us a Prime Lense to Improve their Technique
Prime Lenses
Nikon 50mm 1.8G Lens Review
85mm Prime Lens is just Not for Portraits

This Magic Moment
Landscape using 50mm 1.8G. Photo by Sheen Watkins

5. Go for night photography shoots with and without a tripod

Night photography has it's own mystique. Translate your perspective by capturing images with and without a tripod to effectively translate the moment to the viewer.
After Dusk, What You Need to Know about Night Photography
Life After Dark Helpful Tips for Street Photography at Night
7 Cool Night Photography Tutorials for 7 Different Situations

Late Night Ball by ©Sheen's Nature PhotographyPhoto by Sheen Watkins

6. Photograph your family and friends if you're a nature photographer

You love your family and your friends, but as a nature, sports and ‘specific genre' photographer, you don't carry your camera with you to family outings, parties, and events. Surprise them, and you! Next time bring your camera and start snapping away. They and you, will have fun sharing the spoils afterwards.

7. Photograph animals if you are a people photographer

Furry creatures are quick to steal the scene. Find and photograph your own or your neighbors pets using anything from prime, macro to telephoto lenses.
Simple Pet Photography Tips and Fun Images to Inspire You

Regina by ©Sheen's Nature Photography
“Sweet Regina”. Photo by Sheen Watkins

8. Have someone take at least one picture of you with your family or friends at all special occasions, vacation events this year..because we're typically the ones behind the camera.

This was a special lesson by a childhood friend of mine. He shared that he and his wife intentionally always had their pictures made together at every vacation. This was after going through old family photos after his parents had passed away. He quickly realized that he didn't have too many of his mom as she was always the one taking the pictures. Your kids and grandkids will appreciate this one!

9. Bracket photos and play with HDR

Some love it, some don't. HDR encourages a different kind of post-processing creativity after the images are captured.
Beginners Guide to Dynamic Range plus Userful HDR Photography Tips
Getting Started in HDR Landscape
4 tips for Creating Compelling HDR Photography
Important Tone Mapping Tips

10. Convert a few of your images to black and white

Black and white photography adds drama and intensity that may not be noticed in some color images.
Convert Your Color Photos to Black & White in Lightroom Using these 4 Quick Methods
When to Shoot Black and White
5 Keys of Better Balck and White Landscapes
The Secrets to Compelling Black & White Portraits

11. Back up your work to two external drives, store one offsite, or backup to the cloud storage of your choice

If you haven't done this ever, or in a while, this should go to the top of your list. Computers and hard drives die. They get stolen. Precious files and work can be lost, for good. Take control of this one. If going with external drives, get two. Back up your files with the catalogue on each one. Store one in your home and one in an office or family members home (in the event of theft, house damage, etc). While it takes some time, particularly if you've been at this while, trust me, it's far less painful than losing your precious work! Check out Seagate's Backup Desktop External Drive. For $99, it's my work's insurance policy.

12. Attend a photography workshop

Go local or go global! Carve out some vacation time to spend with your special someone and potentially folks that share your interests. A fun, new destination with inspiring photographers will provide new contacts, a fresh perspective along with some great images and memories. Plan early as they fill up fast plus it gives you something to look forward too.

Shooter
Photo by Johng Dizon

13. Create a photo book as a gift for friends, your boss or your team

Flickr offers book specials on occasions and Shutterfly.com offers photo books and other gift ideas so you can share your work with others. I gave my team a book of “Made in Michigan” for Christmas this year. They really appreciated it!

14. Donate your skills, time and talent

There are many non-profits, local organizations that would appreciate your time or a donation of your work to help them help your community. Or help someone else become a better photographer through sharing your time and knowledge. For ideas the blog 5 Ways Photographers Can Give Back may provide additional inspiration for you.

15. Keep track of your lens cap

When removing your lens cap, put them in the same place each time so you don't lose them. If it's in the car – the glove compartment; your camera bag, the same pouch; and if you're walking and realize it's still on, your left pocket. (this came from my husband who has watched me too many times misplace only to find my cap a few hours later in a weird place).
Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Year filled with many beautiful photographs and memories!

About the author

Sheen Watkins

Sheen Watkins is a conservationist, wildlife photographer, instructor, author and photography writer. You can follow her photography on Facebook, Instagram and her website.

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