Is 2017 the year you finally become the photographer you know you can be? We think it is. So if you want to take your photography further this year, where do you start?
Good question. In this post we’ll suggest seven simple things you can do to ensure you’ll be a better photographer by this time in 2018. The key here is diligence and consistency.
Put a little bit of work in consistently over the next year and we’re certain you’ll be reaping the results of all your hard work in January 2018.
01 You’ll take more photos than you did last year
It goes without saying that taking photos is the only way to get better at taking photos. But putting thought into what photos you’re taking will be what elevates you to the next level.
Simply going out and shotgunning hundreds of images won’t help you image. But by planning more trips out with your camera, taking more images where you think about your photo’s composition and study the exposure, that’s where you’ll start to see improvement.
Memorising your manual will only get you so far. You need to get out there! Give yourself more chances to succeed… and also know that you will sometimes fail.
02 You’ll share more photos
After practice, feedback from others is the best medicine for any photographer looking to improve. And the best way to get constructive criticism on your images is to share your images with other photographers.
The more pictures you share online at sites like Flickr or 500px – or even your own blog – the more you’ll grow your skills.
Not every comment on your images will be useful, but often you can get some really useful pointers that might help you make a crucial adjustment to your workflow that will really turn things around for you – or even better, help set you off in a completely new direction.
It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t disregard the negative comments. And there will be negative comments. But as long as they are polite and coming with the best of intentions, it’s these negative comments that help you grow the most.
It’s also worth noting that to get quality feedback on your own images, you also need to leave insightful comments on other photographers’ work. It’s a two-way street.
03 There will be more new photographers to inspire you
Just think how many people will pick up a camera or smartphone in 2017 and take their first photos. Some will give it up quite quickly, but many will stick with it. And those photographers will only improve. You’ll see their images and undoubtedly be inspired by some of them.
Make 2017 the year you go out of your way to fully explore the photo sharing websites we talked about above. Or visit the big photo competition websites and view the winners’ galleries.
Or do what we do and try a Google Image search on subjects you’re interested in.
04 2017 is the year you’re going to do more photography projects
The thought of starting a photography project can be daunting if you’ve never tried your hand at completing a body of work along a particular theme.
But photography projects can be as big or as small as you’d like them to be. You could do a photo project on making the perfect lasagna, for instance.
Start small, build confidence, and then see where it takes you. Sometimes just shooting a simple project at home like a still life can be enough to get you going.
05 You’ll set yourself a goal
Setting yourself a goal gives guidelines to your work, as well as something you can work towards. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by choice, but if you go out to shoot with your camera and your goal is to shoot only things that are blue, for instance, this framework will help you build and develop a body of work.
What’s more, your goal doesn’t have to be subject related. It could simply be a pledge to master one of your camera’s features that you’ve always struggled with. Maybe 2017 is the year you learn to use your AE button.
Or maybe your goal this year is to enter a competition. It can be anything!
06 New technology will create new opportunities
In 2016 we saw a number of amazing camera innovations, such as Panasonic’s Focus Stacking mode and innovations to AF performance. This year promises even more great advances in technology.
What’s more, many manufacturers are now introducing regular firmware upgrades that enhance a camera’s performance. Likewise, photo editing software capabilities are gathering pace, with Adobe issuing regular updates and new software like Macphun’s Luminar promising more intuitive experiences.
This isn’t to suggest that gear and technology make the photographer. Not at all. A photographer still needs to understand the principles of photo composition and be able to recognise that all-important ‘defining moment’.
But advances in technology can eliminate some of the other distractions, freeing you to focus on these fundamentals.
07 You’re going to stop worrying about the gear you don’t own
It’s all too easy to lust after new gear without fully appreciating what you already have. You can look at that Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and its ability to shoot handheld for 2secs and think that not having this camera is what’s standing between you and the images you want to create!
But the reality is your gear isn’t holding you back. You might not have the ideal leans for portraits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take pictures of people.
Just shoot. Just get out there and start using what gear you have to make the best images you can within its abilities.
2017 is the year you stop worrying about what you don’t have, and start using what you do have to its full potential.