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With each passing year, it feels like there just isn’t enough time to do everything I plan. I just accept it a lot easier than others. It’s become a modern cliché to have one or more New Year’s resolutions. For some it’s about quitting smoking, for others about being more motivated, thriving for more success, or just having more time to spend with family and loved ones. Whatever resolutions you may already have for 2014, here are some that I think are applicable to photographers, both young and old.
Have your photos in an exhibition
It might be a collective exhibition or even a private one. It could be local, national or international. If you have mastered the basics of photography and are by all means a decent amateur or better, you should start to consider showing your work the old fashioned way : in a room, on some walls , for real people. A good exhibition can help you in many ways, but some of the most important are visibility, self-confidence and motivation. You shouldn’t do it at the local mall if you honestly feel that your work is better than that, but you shouldn’t keep it exclusively online either.
Learn how to work with new gear
When I say new gear, I don’t necessarily mean the Nikon Df. I’m talking about something that’s new to you. It is most likely film, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It could mean starting to work with artificial lighting, editing software or a tilt and shift lens. Whatever it might be, there is always something exciting about learning to master a new tool, even if you know you aren’t going to use it professionally.
Take fewer photos
Many sources will tell you the opposite: keep shooting as much as you can because the more photos you take, the better you will become. If this is true, it’s sad for all those photographers who have shoot a half a million photos and still suck big time. Quality comes with scarcity. Shoot less, think more, and slow down.
Go get new clients
If photography is what brings you joy, but it also brings your bread and butter, perhaps it is time to expand your clientele. Having a few regular clients is awesome, but new professional relationships never hurt anybody. Reach out to the potential clients in your area. They might be looking for someone but have no idea that you exist. It doesn’t mean you have to put on a used car salesman’s jacket, but you should make an extra effort next year to find new work.
Sell some prints
I think one of the most interesting things about the life of a photographer is having people who are willing to buy your prints. It’s what brings photography closest to the rest of the visual arts. Sadly, many people have lost their appreciation for the real thing and are now contemplating quality photography behind screens. As good as a screen might be, there will never be anything quite as satisfying as looking at a physical printed photograph.
Shoot a different genre
As much as photography is a creative field, there are often times when shooting the same thing for a long period of time can lead to boredom, monotony and overall decrease in creativity. It’s time to start something new. The more different it is from what you’re doing right now, the better. Are you a wedding photographer? Try shooting some sports. Are you a stock photographer? Have a go at fashion. The point is to find a new challenge, because that’s what’s going your drive and ambition into high gear.