How to Start the Year Right With Your Photography – Don’t Forget These Tasks!


2018 is already here and 2017 has moved to another photography year stored on our hard drives, external drives, prints and memories. Between holiday gifts, parties, vacations and some deserved chill-out time, hopefully you are spending time behind the lens. The fireworks celebration of a new year gives us time to think about what we want to leave behind, want to keep and start doing as we game up our photography.


When transitioning from one year to the next, many of us try to make resolutions that we'll keep. The trick to keeping a resolution is selecting those that are easy and fast to do. If they can be accomplished within a short time frame, even better. So here's a few quick ideas on clearing out the clutter and making way for the new. Plus, we want to ensure we are maximizing our productivity so we can spend more time shooting.

Note to self: you don't have to do them all, pick one or two!

What Should We Leave Behind?

Let's finish out 2007 with 2 – 3 hours in purging the junk in the trunks. Here's 3 easy actions that will help get a fresh start in 2018.

  1. Delete the bad files from 2017…the really bad ones.  If doing the current year makes you a bit nervous, try taking the action on files from 2016.  The great news with digital is that we can take numerous images to review and select for post processing. The bad news? We can take numerous images of the same subject to reveiw, select, post process and keep indefinitely. Take advantage of the tagging or rating system in your post processing software to prioritize your favorites, next in line to those you don't think you'll spend anytime post processing.  Review the later subset one more time and delete the clutter.
  2. Scrub (ok, wipe down) the camera bag.  How many times does your gear go in and out of your camera bags?  Every time we zip and unzip, take out and put back our gear and add new gadgets –  non-digital ‘artifacts'  find their way in to nooks and crannies.
  3. Spread some photography love.  Recycle/sell old and damaged computer and photography equipment.  As your photography evolves, so does your gear.  If you have old lenses, cameras that don't see the light of day, create a gift box for those with less.  There are organizations and non-profits that can put your gear to good use.


What Can We Do Today

You're a photographer. Your work represents your creative side, your passion for your subjects. What are you doing to share, view and protect your work?

  • Our best photos – print them!  You love what you do, others enjoy seeing your artistry. Bring a smile to others and brighten a wall or two. Where to go for printing? Local camera shops, Costco, Walgreen's and other local retailers offer photo printing services. Print on demand companies like Bay Photo, Whitehouse Custom Color, Whitewall and others also offer printing services on a wide variety of products.
  • Our best photos – organize them!  Each year we take thousands of photographs. Having an organization plan up front is half the battle. If it's a retro organization process, start with one of your older years to purge out the bad (and find a few goodies too).
  • Our best photos – sell them! (don't give your work away!) If you haven't created a website yet, set up a free trial and create a gallery. Zenfolio, Photoshelter, Smugmug, Wix and others offer turnkey sites you can further customize that look professional and clean. You'll have several days to decide if it's right for you and which plan works. From free to fees, there's a wide array of options available.
  • Keep and protect your files with a solid backup plan – Protect your work with a backup system. Using external hard drives keeping one in your home and one in another location is one method as long as your consistent with backing up the offsite drive. There's also Backblaze, a cloud based storage plan that's designed with photographers in mind. For a monthly or annual fee, it's an insurance policy in the event something catastrophic happens. Check out:  Protecting Your Work.
  • Write a blog summarizing your best photography moments of 2017 – Blogging may or may not be your thing.  However, taking the time to blog about the highlights and lowlights of your year may just surprise you.  It's a formal way of remembering and sharing what happened and what you learned.  Plus, you may inspire others too.  Imagine Having a Photography Blog


What Do We Want to Start in 2018?

By reading this, you've already started.  Here's a few  additional ‘action item's to consider as the sun sets on 2017 and rises on 2018.

  • A great attitude!  This will be my best year yet!
  • Take some intentional, outside of your comfort zone photographs on a regular basis.  New subjects can offer a new perspective.
  • Write or re-write your business plan.  It's ok if you don't meet every milestone, progress is 75% of the battle.
  • Learn 2 Advanced Photoshop or Other Plug-in Techniques.  Keep improving and honing your craft with new and inspiring techniques.
  • Take photo's for next year's holiday cards and calendars.  Get ready for next year's holiday cards by taking photo's this holiday season.
  • Invest in you, your education.   Try a workshop, a youtube video, local photo meet up session with other photographers.  You are the creative vision behind each of your images.

From all of us at Light Stalking – a very happy and creative 2018!

About Author

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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