Traditional Lion Dancers / Bellevue Square, WA
Leica M-P [Type 240] w/ 50mm f/2 APO Summicron ASPH
1/180 sec @ f/4.8 ISO 1250
Gung hay fat choy!
I’m waaay behind with my writing this year so I thought I would post this article to coincide with the Chinese Lunar New Year. That being said, along with all of the New Year Resolutions that many of you are making (and likely breaking by now…), I thought I would add a list of resolutions that you might actually enjoy. Here are my Top 10 Photo Resolutions for 2015…
1) Start a 365 Project
This is a challenging project where most photographers start off strong capturing a daily photo, but then fade after about four or five weeks. It’s demanding and requires diligence, but it also prepares you to view the world with a heightened sense of awareness. You’ll become more attuned to your surroundings always on the lookout for a worthy photo to post. One of the best places to post your project is on Blipfoto which is designed specifically to accept one photo per calendar date. It’s free and the community is very supportive and complimentary towards its members.
2) Print Some Enlargements
The digital age with all its benefits and advances has a major drawback when it comes to viewing images. Most photographers are storing their images on their computers (more on that in #4 below) rarely to be seen unless it’s posted online somewhere. One of the best ways to preserve your images and share them with your friends is to print some enlargements and frame them. When you run out of wall space you can then…
3) Make A Photo Book
There are a lot of options for producing a slick photo book, ranging from very basic to custom masterpieces, that’s only limited by your imagination. All of the major self publishers (I like Blurb) offer a myriad of templates and designs that suit most occasions and themes. You can make a book for vacations, birthdays, and holidays then, at the end of the year, create a retrospective annual of your family’s activities. To manage all that you’ll need to…
4) Get Organized and Back Up Your Images
This resolution may not be fun, but the time and effort invested in organizing your photos will pay off in the long run. I organize my family images in an annual folder (Family Photos 2015) with numbered monthly sub-folders (01 January 2015, 02 February 2015…). This narrows the search based on the date of the event and saves a lot of time otherwise spent clicking and opening folders and files.
This is also the perfect opportunity to purchase a couple of external hard drives and archive your images on a daily basis. If there is one true adage in the digital age, it’s this,
“It’s not a question of “if” your computers’ hard drive will fail, but “when”.
Save yourself a lot of heartache, dirty looks from the family, and endless self-loathing by making the effort to back-up and archive your files. Check out my Back Up Your Memories article for more detailed information regarding storage and archiving solutions.
5) Share, Post, and Publish
The internet is a great way to share your images with family and friends and there are lots of online resources to facilitate the publishing of your photos. Facebook, Flickr, Twitter are the “Big 3″ and they all offer options for sharing, posting, and adding comments. It’s a great way to share news of family events and to get feedback on your latest images.
A cautionary note: Facebook and other online services implement strict Terms of Service (TOS) that explicitly give them all rights to use your photos as they deem fit. It’s mostly a protective legal measure but you need to be aware of it …
6) Take Your Camera Everywhere
Just do it… You can’t take great images without a decent camera, and a cell phone doesn’t quite cut it. It’s certainly better than nothing, but a real camera will provide more creative options that will produce higher quality files and allow you more control over shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.
7) Embark on a Photo Safari
One day, one week, one month… it doesn’t matter. Plan a trip somewhere with the sole purpose of photographing the essence of that location. Treat the excursion as a photo assignment where you must deliver images to an editor that provides a variety of different angles, views, and subject matter from that locale. Be sure to include some people shots and to change lenses and locations often. This mindset will help you capture many different perspectives of the area and prevents you from getting into a rut and returning home with 317 photos of the same statue…
8) Enter A Photo Contest
Photo contests are a fun way to keep your creative juices flowing and maintain a competitive edge. The odds are stacked against you, and the judge’s choices often defy all logic, but it’s still a thrill to enter. Start out with contests that are free, but consider reputable fee-based contests that offer more prestige and recognition. Always be aware of what the rules require, and what rights the sponsoring organization claims when you submit your photo (usually Rule #6). Most newspapers also sponsor a “your best shot” type of contest that is easy to enter. The Seattle Times offers the Reader’s Lens contest that can be entered online here.
TIP: Don’t even think of submitting a sunset shot to a photo contest. Trust me, I’ve judged a lot of contests and most sunset shots go straight into the trash…
9) Try a New Photo Technique
Panoramas, black & white, infrared, pinhole, 3D… There is a wide selection of different techniques and effects that you can experiment with to keep the creative juices flowing. If you prefer to do something unique and different with pictures you already have on file, then I recommend purchasing The Photojojo Book. It contains treasure trove of creative DIY type photo projects that will keep you busy on those days when it’s just too bleak to go outside and shoot.
10) Take a Class or Workshop
The best way to learn or improve any skill is in a hands-on environment at the feet of a Master. You can watch all the YouTube videos you want, but attending a workshop is the most efficient way to hone your skills. I offer a series of classes each month on a wide variety of topics ranging from Basic Photography to Advanced Speedlite seminars. I also lead several “destination” workshops each year in various locales around the US. Check out the Workshops section my website (www.jeffreymgreene.com) for the latest updates.
There’s your top 10 photography resolutions for 2015. I look forward to doing many of these items myself and hope you do too. Happy New Year!