Photographers’ New Year’s Resolutions

The words 'new years resolutions' are displayed in the center of a page on a vintage typewriter.
Photo by Matthew Henry via Burst.

It may seem trite to talk about resolutions for the new year but, really, it’s as good a time as any to challenge yourself.  Are there things you can do to improve your photography?  To improve your business?  To increase the satisfaction and enjoyment you get from your photography?

1. Set goals. If you have a photography business, take a close look at your business plan.  (You do have one, don’t you?)  Maybe you need to make some revisions.  Choose more audacious goals.  Even if you don’t do photography as a business, what are your goals for this year?  How will you know you are on track for a great year without specific goals to benchmark your progress?

2. Learn something new. You can’t spend much time around other photographers without hearing about something unfamiliar that piques your curiosity. Whether it’s a new technique, new tool or new type of photography, nothing stretches your creativity like learning. NANPA webinars (see the Members’ Area of the website) cover a variety of topics, from photographing birds to smart phone photography to book design. Take a class on Lynda.com (many public library systems have subscriptions) or any of the many online tutorials.

3. Start a YouTube Channel. The importance of video in building your brand and marketing your photography will only increase. And there are so many choices of cameras that record stunning video. Maybe it’s time to dive in and learn how to make compelling videos.

4. Start your own blog or write an article for a photography blog like NANPA’s. Having articles posted online increases your visibility and credibility as a photographer and subject matter expert. We can even help you write your first article for NANPA by providing a ghostwriter. Got an idea? Contact us at publications@nanpa.org.

5. Go on a photography workshop. Whether you’re learning landscape, wildlife or portrait photography, there are workshops just for you. NANPA offers Regional Field Events and workshops led by NANPA members. There’s nothing like a concentrated dose of photography with a bunch of other photographers to get your creative juices flowing and really learn new techniques while honing old ones.

6. Network with other photographers. Nature photography can be a solitary pursuit, out in the field for hours or days, waiting for the decisive moment.  We don’t get much chance to interact with each other, share ideas, trade stories. Join a local camera club. Get involved in a photography Meetup Group (NANPA sponsors regional Meetup groups). Go to a photography conference like NANPA’s Nature Photography Celebration, in Asheville, NC, April 19-21, 2020.

7. Streamline your gear. Go through your gear closet. Is there anything in there you didn’t use in the last year?  Get rid of it or challenge yourself to use it creatively in a project this month.; Have a “nifty fifty” lens you haven’t used in a while?  Try shooting with that one lens for a week or month. You can try unloading excess gear on ebay, but also consider donating what doesn’t make the cut.  High school photography classes might be able to use your unwanted gear, as could non-profit organizations that use photography to give youth a voice.

8. Update your website. Unless you have a regular strategy of adding new content to your website, it’s all too easy to let the site get stale. Is your site displaying your best work?  You latest projects? Does it accurately reflect who you are as a photographer (and businessperson)? Is it time to change the look and feel with a new template?  Don’t have a website? Then start one.

9. Get inspired, not discouraged. If you’re looking for inspiration in other photographers’ work, don’t let their skill and talent discourage you by comparing your current work to theirs. Instead, focus on the inspiration their images provide and concentrate on how you will improve your own work. NANPA member Jaymi Heimbuch’s website has a good discussion of this resolution. NANPA’s annual Expressions is a great source of inspiration, with all the top photos from the year’s Showcase competition. Look for past issues of Expressions in the Members’ Area of NANPA’s website.

10. What are your photography resolutions for 2020? Send us your goals and resolutions and we’ll publish a future article with your ideas. Email your thoughts to publications@nanpa.org.