The year 2014 is upon us, and since you probably procrastinated and failed to set your New Year’s resolutions, we thought we’d help you out. Feel free to mix and match as necessary, and let us know if we’ve left anything out.
1. Chimp less
There is nothing wrong with checking your exposure (you are using the histogram, right?). But continually checking each frame is like the guy who can’t stand in an elevator for 2 seconds without checking his phone. It’s a crutch. You’ll miss what’s going on around you. Take more photos instead of constantly reviewing them.
2. Rent, don’t buy
You probably have at least one piece of photographic equipment that you swore you needed, but hardly use. The super long telephoto, the underwater housing, or maybe the overpriced lighting kit with the ultra short flash duration. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not using a piece of gear at least 10 times per year for two years, it probably makes sense to rent instead of buy. It also makes it easier to line item the equipment rental to your clients.
3. Become an expert Instagrammer
It’s not about Instagram per se. It’s about becoming an expert in the social media of photography and building a brand and following. There are thousands of lesser photographers than you who have amassed significant followings and understand the art of marketing. You should do the same.
4. Shoot and self-critique more
How many photos did you take last year? I took 60,000. I’m not bragging (you probably shot more). But taking more photos and learning to be self-critical of your photography is the best way to continue to hone your craft. Photography isn’t a thing you do. It’s a journey like any other creative endeavor, and journeys should take you to new places.
5. Learn a new technique
Light painting. Stitching photos. Experimenting with video. Expand your horizons, and potentially add another tool to your arsenal. It might even help you expand your business.
6. Try a medium format back
Don’t be the know-it-all who hasn’t really earned it. What does a 40 (or 60 or 80) megapixel back with true 16-bit look like? Is it better than your D800 for what you do? Find out for yourself.
7. Try a mirrorless camera
Maybe they don’t focus quite as fast. Maybe the lens selection is a bit paltry. Maybe the build quality isn’t quite pro enough for the beat down you dispense on a regular basis. But the mirrorless cameras have come a long way, and their size and inconspicuousness might change the way you photograph.
8. Have an answer when your friends ask you what camera they should buy
If I had an Amazon Affiliate commission for every time a friend asked me what camera they should get, I might be Jeff Bezos by now. Usually the conversation goes like this. “I’m looking to upgrade my camera.” To which I respond, “What’s your price range, and what’s most important to you, size or interchangeability?” Fuji, Sony, Canon and Nikon all make great cameras at different price points. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a simple answer.
9. Be Really Creative
Remember the dad who photographed his kid and went viral? Or the mom who created elaborate backdrops from sheets, towels and pillows and got a million hits? Why isn’t that you? You can’t force virality, but you can be disciplined enough to find a truly creative, personal project.
10. Take Care of Your Body
I’m not talking about your camera body. You’re lugging around 20 lbs of gear for hours at a time. Then you slouch in your chair to edit photos until the sun comes up while snacking on a McRib. That bum shoulder and tight lower back aren’t going get better by themselves. You need to eat right, strengthen your weak muscles, and stretch. It worked for me, now you do it.