How Are You Going to Improve Your Photography This Year?

A new year always reminds us we need to make goals if we want to keep moving forward. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and I wanted to publicly issue a challenge. To you. And me. What are your photography goals for 2014? Not business-wise as in I want to book X number of shoots, but technically. What do you want to improve upon? How are you going to push your skills and knowledge forward this year?

I think we, as photographers, often get too comfortable and stop growing and improving. We settle for good enough because our clients are happy and the money is coming in. We like where we are at so we coast. I’m guilty of it, too. But there’s always a voice inside me saying You could do more. You could be more. So how do we get there? How do we make goals that are attainable?

I read somewhere recently that a goal without a plan is just a dream.

How true is that? So not only do we have to figure out where we want to go (or what we want to do) and then we have to figure out specific steps that will get us there. Otherwise, we’ll just be wishing we were better photographers instead of becoming better photographers.

So what are some of my goals?

Goal: More Quality, Less Quantity.

We all know that with digital cameras, it doesn’t cost anything each time we press our shutter button (as opposed to film, where each frame counts). But that doesn’t mean that because we can, we should. I have a serious problem of overshooting (also known sometimes as “spraying+praying”). I’m sure a lot of you out there do, too. Seriously, I will take 10 frames of the SAME SHOT. Why? I have no clue. It is such a waste! It’s a waste of space on my memory card, a waste of my time during the shoot, but most importantly, IT SUCKS TO CULL. I despise culling my images because it takes so long.

How?

Well, for starters, I need to slow down. I need to shoot more like film. Plan my shots out more. Wait for the good moments, not shoot a million of the so-so moments. Take 2-3 frames of a shot and move on. I need to nail my exposure on the first try by using a light meter. The fewer images it takes to get my exposure correct, the fewer images I have to go through in post. Because I won’t be shooting a gazillion photos of each pose or setup, I’ll need to get more confident in directing my subjects as we will move through poses faster. Sounds like a lot, huh? Guess I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Goal: Learn to Shoot Studio Work

Not like family portraits in a studio. Like fashion studio stuff or portraits you see of celebrities. Where they have crazy awesome lighting setups and high-key and low-key images. Oh my gosh, it’s just all so awesome.

How?

Practice. Sounds lame, but that’s really the only way you really figure it out. Study images that I like and try to dissect the lighting setup. Where is the main light source positioned? Is it soft light or hard light? Are there other lights (background, fill, kicker)? Then grab a friend and try to recreate the setup. Experiment doing different things. What happens if I did this? Or that?

Your turn!

What are your goals for 2014? How are you going to achieve them? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! :)

(And to prove that I’m already starting to work on stuff, here’s a couple images of my gorgeous cousin that I shot with off-camera flash. I’m still learning and experimenting with that, as well, but oh my, I totally love it!)

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  • Tomas Haran - Great question! I’m hoping to switch completely to Fuji and to work harder with my black and white photography and available light as well. Lastly I’d like to work more with off camera flash and see what it can do.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - My goal this year is to play with new lenses, shoot photos until my finger falls off in order to better myself at the craft & to learn more about off camera flash!

    Nicole
    http://www.hausofharnois.blogspot.comReplyCancel

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