Before I get into my personal Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for my photography I wanted to confess that normally I’m not one for making a New Year’s Resolutions list. So if it’s not something I normally do why am I making one now? Indeed why do we make New Year’s Resolutions? Well I suppose that I’m not that different to most people in that I know I would most likely not stick to the ‘typical’ New Year’s Resolutions. That doesn’t mean I don’t have willpower because I think I do. I guess it means I’ve never felt passionate enough about a needed change before to commit to it in writing.
Towards the end of 2016 I sold my travel related business. I’m hoping to remain self employed and earn an income in a few different ways. The aim is that photography will form a part of that new income. I know enough about photography to know that it’s a very competitive business. There are those with great talent who never make it and those with only moderate talent who do well because of great marketing skills. The market and audience for photography is huge but it can be exhausting trying to keep up with all the marketing channels and social media platforms that could get you noticed. So in an effort to make sure I give it my best shot in 2017 here are my photography based Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions.
Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Photography
- Take my landscape photography to the next level.
It’s not that often I find myself in a stunning landscape all on my own with the time to really photograph a place at its best. Being realistic I know to remedy this in 2017 will mean being able to respond to short term weather forecasts and being disciplined to be at locations when the light is at its best. This means early morning sunrises and staying out late for the golden hour. When I sell my current vehicle I’m hoping to replace it with a small campervan. Having transport that can also double up as your home for a few nights will allow me to both keep costs to a minimum (no accommodation) as well as be in place for the best lighting.
- Use social media to get my photography noticed.
In some ways I’ve already made a start on this. I’m relatively active on Facebook and have a decent number of followers on Google plus. The problem is there are just too many different social media platforms and it can be hard to know which ones to concentrate on. I have accounts on Instagram, Flickr, 500px, Twitter and Pinterest but in all cases I’m either not active on them or I’ve only just recently opened the account. I’d be interested to hear from other photographers what they feel are the best social media platforms for photographers (please leave a comment below the post). I’ve heard people say Twitter has been good for getting business. I also have a gut instinct that I should focus on Instagram and Pinterest. What works best for you?
- Have access to a portrait studio.
The third of my top New Year’s Resolutions 2017 is to have regular access to a portrait studio. Ideally this would be at home but currently we don’t have a spare room large enough. A loft conversion would be too expensive and the ceilings not high enough. The same applies to the basement. A large shed in the garden might be the best plan. I’d rather have access to my own studio so that I can use my own lights. Knowing your own equipment inside out can allow you to concentrate on the image making more and the lighting setup less. An alternative might be to join a local camera club if they have access to a studio.
- Try out some new photography techniques.
When I look at some of my images I notice that there are some techniques that I rarely, if ever, try. Sometimes there might be a good reason for it. For example the selective colour technique has been done so often. Maybe the technique looks good but is just something that does not sell or has never previously interested me. In any case trying out new techniques can often spark you in other creative ways. Also it doesn’t hurt to try something different every now and then to stop you getting into a rut. Feel free to suggest some techniques in the comments section but a few I’d like to have a go at in 2017 include the following. Selective Colour technique, panning technique, zooming technique and miniature / tilt shift effect.
- Finally try astrophotography
The 5th of my New Year’s Resolutions Ideas is to try out Astrophotography. Ever since I saw some milky way images on websites like Lonely Speck I’ve wanted to give it a go. My sony a6000 body and Samyang 12mm f2.0 lens would make an ideal astrophotography combination. The main reason I’ve never tried it is because I don’t live in a dark sky region. Also having read some guides on the subject it seems I might need to learn some new processing software though some of this can be free.
- Learn some new post processing techniques
One Top 10 New Year’s Resolution I’m really determined to complete is to learn some new post processing techniques. Recently I’ve settled on some favourite ways to process my black and white images. I also have a specific way of processing graffiti images and my HDR technique seems to follow a certain pattern. Often I’m using the Nik collection of plugins which Google decided to give away for free early in 2016. I don’t use all the plugins though or indeed all the options within a plugin. I seem to have settled on a couple of the options in Silver Efex Pro and perhaps 2 of the filters within Color Efex Pro. I’m keen to try out some other post processing techniques or plugins. Maybe there is something else within the Nik collection I will grow to like or perhaps there is something in the Topaz collection that will appeal to me.
- Find alternative places to sell my photography
This website has a gallery section where I sell photographic prints and ready to hang wall art. It’s still a new website though and will take time to improve its visibility in search engines. There are a number of other ways to sell your photography and I would like to try a few in 2017. I’m currently looking at Etsy as one option and hope to have my own Etsy shop ready very soon. I’m also considering selling my images on a stock photography website like Dreamstime. Online channels like these have some advantages in that they are global and the whole world could be your customer. The problem is it’s incredibly competitive so I am thinking about trying some more traditional ways of selling my photography too. Maybe there is a local coffee shop who is looking for artwork for their walls. I could supply them the framed prints for free as exposure and if and when they sell I replace them with new images. The coffee shop gets free wall art that changes from time to time and I get the chance to display my photography. Maybe 2017 is also the year I should attend my first art fair. It would be good to hear feedback from passing customers and find out what sort of photography is currently most in demand.
- Visit more photogenic events
I’ve visited a number of photogenic events before and enjoy them for a number of reasons. From a purely photographic standpoint I find that you return from such an event with a much larger number of good images than from any normal trip away of a similar length. From a business standpoint these events are often hugely popular and sharing your images on the events social media pages often gets you large numbers of views. Examples of some events I hope to attend in 2017 include the following. Whitby Goth Weekend in April 2017 and Sheringham 1940’s Weekend in September 2017. I’m not sure how often I will be able to go overseas in 2017 but if it’s possible I would also like to visit the Venice Carnival again.For the last couple of years I have been telling myself that I should visit a top airshow but they have usually clashed with something else. There are a number of good airshows in the summer months, this year I intend to visit at least one.
- Try telling more stories with photography
The 9th of my Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions is to try and start taking more images that tell stories. As I write this I’m not exactly sure how I will achieve this but I have a few ideas. If I look back at photographs I have taken over the last couple of years, many are eye catching, some hopefully have the wow factor but hardly any tell a story. So in 2017 I aim to take some photographs that makes the viewer think more. Rather than just admire a well taken scene it would be good if the viewer had an emotional connection to the image.
- Work on a long term project
For the final of my Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions I will try and come up with a project that I can work on during the course of the year. What that project will be is a mystery to me. Hopefully I will have some idea by the end of January. Whatever I decide it will have to be something that I can achieve so is likely to focus on something in my local area.
Well that’s my Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions. Time will tell how I get on. If you are a photographer and have made a similar new year’s resolutions list feel free to comment and let me know what some of your resolutions are.