With a blank slate in front of us, 2018 is ours to shape and color. This is the perfect time to access where you are now and set some goals to grow your photography.
Where do we start when we want to improve our photography?
First, let's look at what we captured in 2017. Browse through your favorites from the year and ask yourself a few questions;
- What do you like about the images and what could be better? Try and pinpoint the specifics; composition, technical, variety, quantity, etc.
- Are your technical skills on par with your goals? We all start at the beginning but over time we learn and grow. Are where you want to be or think you should be?
- How about the subject matter? Are you photographing what you want to? Do you find your collection lacking in certain subjects that you want to capture more of?
- Is your gear limiting you? Are your images falling short in specific ways that different gear could have helped you with? Perhaps your lens isn't getting you close enough or wide enough or your camera falls short in the ISO offerings?
- Are you setting aside enough time to photograph, learn and practice?
Based on your answers to the above, here are a few tips that may help you grow your photography to the level you want.
Join a camera club or an photography association
Join the camaraderie of like minded people, find support, enter competitions, take advantage of the education, submit images for critiques, enjoy member benefits and so much more.
Take a class or workshop in an area which you'd like to improve in.
Everyone can benefit from further education and no matter where we are with our photography, we never stop learning! There's nothing wrong with trying to teach ourselves new skills or techniques but a quicker way to learn is to tap into the knowledge of one more experienced with the skills we want to learn.
Plan a schedule to photograph (hopefully weekly but at the very least monthly).
The more you shoot the better you'll become and the more you learn about your own photography. Think of shooting as practicing.
Push yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
Move past what you do all the time, change it up and you'll find it rewarding to try new things.
Commit to a photo project.
There are a million projects geared to challenge photographers from 365 (a photo a day) to 52 to A to Z to 100 Strangers to Pick a Subject and so many more.
Find one that speaks to you and go for it.
Get a photo critique.
Getting an experienced photographer or photo judge to critique your work is enormously helpful tool. We are too emotionally attached top our own images but an unbiased eye will see what we can't.
Enter a competition.
When entering, you'll be submitting your best work so this pushes you to look at your images with a critical eye. Getting a photo critique of the images you want to submit can be helpful. https://www.photocontestinsider.com/
Give yourself rewards when you achieve goals.
Want a new lens or filter or gadget? Make that the reward for completing something. Maybe you entered a contest or have been diligent about shooting weekly, etc. With a goal achieved, reward yourself, this will give you more incentive to actually complete more of them!
Its a new year and we've got 364.5 days to grow our photpgraphy, Enjoy the work you'll do and pat yourself on the back come December 31, 2018!
Black and white photo by Beth Haubach from her 52 Project.