It’ll be 2018 soon, and that means we’ll have a whole new year to improve our photography.
If you’re like me, you look at the new year as an opportunity to further develop the skills you already have while also expanding your horizons.
That’s what this post is all about…
If you want to step up your game in 2018, here’s a few ideas for New Year’s resolutions for photographers.
No one has ever said, “Gee, I spend too much time taking photos.”
The more photos you take, the better the photographer you’ll be.
That’s because you’ll have a chance to work with more subjects, in a greater variety of conditions, and potentially with more varied gear as well.
In 2018, stretch your boundaries. If you usually shoot landscapes, try portraiture. If you like wildlife photography, try macro.
You can even set a goal to take at least a photo a day for the entire year, or if that’s a little too much commitment, try doing a weekly challenge in which you take photos every day that fits into a theme.
Whatever you do, just commit yourself to getting behind the lens more often.
They don’t say “practice makes perfect” for nothing!
Shoot More Comfortably, Too
If you’re still clinging to the camera strap that came with your camera, you’re doing it all wrong.
Those cheap, flimsy straps offer nothing in the way of comfort, nor do they help with your workflow, either.
When I first started in photography, I don’t know how many times I got that damn strap caught on something as I was walking around.
But, now, that’s not a worry because I use the Spider Holster SpiderLight.
The SpiderLight puts my Sony a6300 right on my hip, where it’s both out of the way, yet easily accessible.
I shoot a lot of landscapes, so it’s nice to be able to walk around with my hands free in case a rock or a tree root jumps up and tries to trip me.
I also like the fact that the SpiderLight keeps my camera safe and secure. Even if I do stumble on a trail, my camera won’t go anywhere.
But don’t think that the SpiderLight is just for landscape photographers…
I use it when I’m taking portraits of my family, when I’m in the city for some fun street shoots, and even when I’m traveling.
I use my holster with the SpiderLight Hand Strap, too, that way when I’m taking shots, I have a good, solid grip on my camera and a strap to act as a failsafe.
Just like the SpiderLight Holster, the Hand Strap is designed to stay out of your way.
The unique shape makes it easy to slide your hand in and out, and it puts your hand in the ideal shooting position so you can reach all the needed buttons and dials on your camera.
Together, the SpiderLight Holster and Hand Strap have helped me transform my workflow, and be way more comfortable as I work, too.
- Get the Specs and Pricing on the SpiderLight Holster and SpiderLight Hand Strap
- Good and Bad Ways to Carry a Camera
Get More Feedback
When I say “get more feedback,” I don’t mean ask your Instagram followers to tell you what they think…
Instead, I mean to get more critical feedback from other photographers.
That might require you to join a photography site and upload your images to galleries or joining a photography club in your local area.
It might also mean asking photographers you respect for some feedback or finding a mentor to help you develop your skills.
However you go about it, getting constructive feedback on your work will only help you grow as a photographer, and by the end of the new year, you’ll see much-improved results.
Get a New Lens
A great way to challenge yourself in the new year is to learn how to shoot with a different lens.
The things you can do with your kit lens, for example, are vastly different than the things you can do with a 50mm f/1.8 or a 200mm f/4-5.6.
By outfitting yourself with a new lens, you can develop more improved compositional skills, develop your creative eye even further, shoot in more varied lighting conditions, and take photos of more varied subjects.
And don’t think that you have to spend a lot of money to get a great lens, either.
If you buy a pre-owned lens from Lensfinder, you’ll not only get a great lens but you’ll save some money as well.
Since Lensfinder uses advanced fraud filtering for both buyers and sellers in their marketplace, you can trust that the lens you buy is exactly as its described.
You can communicate with the seller right within the Lensfinder platform, read seller feedback (and leave feedback once your transaction is complete), and even pay via PayPal in the platform as well.
It’s easy, convenient, safe, and you save money. What’s not to like?
- Find a Pre-Owned Lens for Your Camera
- The Top 3 Lenses You Need to Buy
Commit Yourself to Honing Your Post-Processing Skills
I remember a time when some people thumbed their nose at the idea of processing their images. Somehow, it was viewed as cheating.
Well, if you ask me, processing isn’t an option these days, as there are so many incredibly powerful tools available to improve the quality of your photos.
Whether you go with Photoshop or Lightroom, a newer player like Luminar or Pixlr, or do all your processing with smartphone apps like VSCO or Snapseed, dedicate yourself to developing a solid post-processing workflow so you can get every last ounce of awesome out of your photos.
Get a Better Computer for Post-Processing
Speaking of post-processing…
I’ve been an Apple fan for years, but they’ve fallen behind in terms of offering tools and features on their machines that make photo processing easy.
But you know who hasn’t slouched in that department?
I still have my MacBook Pro, and I still use it for some tasks. But when it comes to editing my photos, that job falls to my Microsoft Surface Book 2.
This thing is awesome, to say the least.
Not only does it have a glorious 13.5-inch detachable touchscreen (there’s a 15-inch version available, too) but it also has giant trackpad, an awesome backlit keyboard, and a high-end graphics card.
On the inside, the Surface Book 2 now has Intel i7 quad-core processors available for the first time, which translates into lighting-fast speed, even when you’re doing power-hungry tasks like editing photos.
You can get 8GB or 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, and it comes loaded with the surprisingly good Windows 10 as well.
On top of all that, the Surface Book 2 is the perfect companion to the awesome Surface Pen, which makes photo editing a total breeze. If you pick up a Surface Dial, it’s compatible with the Surface Book 2 as well.
That means that this thing is an innovative, power-packed, feature-rich workhorse that is incredibly versatile.
If you’re still using your old MacBook Pro for photo editing, I suggest that in the new year you give the Surface Book 2 a good, long look.
- Get the Specs and Pricing on the Microsoft Surface Book 2
- The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a MacBook Pro Killer
Get More Organized
I fully admit that my image files can be a hot mess. My guess is that yours probably are too.
In 2018, I’m definitely setting out to be more organized, to get all my images labeled and into folders so I can actually find the things I’m looking for when the time comes.
I’m also going to endeavor to dump my photos more quickly. I have a tendency to go shoot, and then by the time I get home, I just want to veg on the couch, which leaves my images on the memory card for a few days after the fact.
That’s a dangerous game to play, and though I’ve not lost any images yet, I’m certainly not doing everything I can to protect against image loss in the future.
If this sounds like you too, join me next year in getting more organized!
Give Time-Lapse a Try
When I need a break from the grind, I often go to YouTube or Vimeo and check out time-lapse videos.
I find that time-lapses of gorgeous landscapes helps me pause, take a breath, and get my batteries revved up to get back to work.
In short, I love time-lapses, but never really considered trying to make them myself, that is, until now.
Syrp, a New Zealand-based company, makes a little gadget called the Genie Mini that makes time-lapse photography loads easier.
The Genie Mini is a pint-sized motion control device that allows you to create smooth panning time-lapse videos (and real-time videos for that matter).
It connects wirelessly to your phone via a companion app, which gives you tons of control over what the Genie does and when.
And since you control this little guy from your phone, that means you can sit back, relax, and dial in your desired settings while you hang out and enjoy the view.
In addition to being small, lightweight, and packed with features, Genie Mini makes time-lapse videos a breeze.
That’s because the Genie Mini app comes with factory presets so you can shoot time-lapses right out of the box. You literally don’t need to know a thing about time-lapse video in order to make one!
Just mount Genie Mini to your tripod, connect your camera, fire up the app, and shoot away.
We’re all busy and short on time, so when you can try something new without having to invest every waking moment of your free time to do it, I say go for it!
- Get the Specs and Pricing on the Syrp Genie Mini
- Guide to Getting Started in Time-Lapse Photography
Help Out Other Photographers
It might sound a little sappy, but photography really can change the world.
In the new year, you can be part of that by helping other photographers realize their potential.
Maybe that’s getting your kid their first camera. Perhaps that’s offering to teach your kid’s class a little bit about photography.
However you go about it, getting other people involved in photography and helping them improve their skills is a great way to spend your free time in the coming year.
Additionally, see what you can do to use your photography skills for good.
Whether that’s volunteering to take photos of the animals up for adoption at the local animal shelter, offering to take some candid photos at your neighbor’s family reunion or something in between, see if you can pay it forward a little in 2018 in order to make the world around you just a little bit better.