For many, the beginning of a new year signifies a fresh start, but it can also bring into sharp focus a list of should haves, could haves, and would haves that had long been left to fade somewhere in the midst of the prior year. Shots you should have gotten. Clients you could have taken on. Wisdom you would have gained.
Go ahead: take a few moments to reflect on all the things you wished you’d done. Put your past year’s grievances on paper, then take a good, hard look at them. Don’t spend too much time on it, though—there’s little to be done to fix the past, but you’ll at least have a reference for future resolutions.
Last year’s list of did nots can turn into this year’s list of will dos!
Speaking of will dos… We asked our team of pros, amateurs and novices to share how they resolve to grow as photographers in 2016. Read on to see what they said.
New Year’s Resolutions for Photographers
1. Finish a Previously-Started Photography Project
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to finish up a project I started some time ago… I started routinely taking pictures of my favorite waterfall and only recently realized I’d captured every season except for winter. It’s become a personal mission to capture those final shots and perfectly piece all the seasons together.”
– Amanda, Graphic Design
2. Develop a New Series of Images
"I resolve to develop a new series of images in 2016. To observe more intently with the ultimate goal of capturing a complete arc of a visual story. I resolve to redouble my commitment to my art and be fully present along the journey it takes me."
– Sally, Repairs
3. Get Comfortable with a Variety of Cameras
“It’s been a while since I’ve used any of my actual cameras—I’ve been resorting to the convenience of my Samsung Galaxy phone. But, I just got a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 for my birthday and remembered the handful of different cameras I have sitting on the shelf at home. I want to start familiarizing myself with them again, and learning what the benefits and pitfalls are of using each and every one of them.”
– Carole, Marketing
4. Spend More Time Photographing with Family
“It hit me the other day that my wife and I will be an empty-nesters soon and then I will not be able to teach or influence my children as I have in the past. My daughter has been out of the house for 2.5 years, but whenever she comes home the main topic is photography. This past summer before my daughter went to study abroad in Italy (including a class in film based photography), we took a couple of days to go out shooting and then came home where I showed her how to process film and paper. It was like a mini class before she took her class for credit. She ended up as the lab assistant for the teacher, learned a lot and made an A for her class. She still talks about that time we spent together.
My son is also into photography and is the co-editor on the yearbook staff at his high school. Like most 17 year olds, he doesn't think his dad is all that smart, but he does realize that I do know photography and related items. He saw what my daughter and I did together and her prints from Italy and commented on us doing some of the same, so I want to make time for that. Some of the best times we have had together involve photography, and I want more before he goes off to college.”
– Larry, Inventory
5. Shoot More Just for Fun
“I want to take time out of my schedule to go to new places and step out of my box to photograph things I haven’t seen before.”
– Kristina, Product Photography
How to Avoid Abandoning Your Resolutions
Determining your New Year’s resolutions can be a fun and challenging exercise, but make sure you’re not setting yourself up to abandon your goals from the get-go.
Try to be as specific as possible with your resolutions, and limit yourself to a few (or even just one) to avoid feeling overwhelmed and frustrated as you work towards accomplishing them.
Alternatively, being too ambitious in your goal setting might also prove to be a setback, so start small and build momentum with minor achievements. Take time to revel in your accomplishment, then use the confidence boost to set a new goal and start working towards it.
Finally nailed your resolution down? The trick to making sure you stick to it is simple: share it! Make a post about it on Facebook, and ask your friends to share theirs as well. Even better, make it a group effort so that everyone who participates is responsible for keeping tabs on the others.
Last, but not least, track your progress! Take time each week to recap what you did to work towards it. If you’re challenging yourself to take a new photo every day, make sure to share it on Instagram or on your blog so you can visualize what you’ve done. Even the smallest of steps count!