Well, my friend, here we stand at the beginning of 2012. Kind of a neat feeling isn’t it? This year is still all potential, no baggage.
So, before we get all the way back into the grind, and the weeks start slipping by, let’s take a second to think about how to photograph 2012. After all, the world might end this time around the sun. If that’s the case, at least let’s make it a great year, photographically speaking.
Here are a few ways to make 2012 a fantastic year for your photography!
You can always be shooting more. Bring a camera with you everywhere, even if it’s an iPhone, or a compact system. Use it every chance you get. When you look back at the end of this year you’ll be glad you took lots of photos. Trust me.
If this is something that’s resonating with you, you might want to consider doing a Photo A Day project (or a 365 as it’s also known). You’re a few days late, but I’m sure the universe will forgive you and still let you play!
The shooters I’ve seen complete a 365 ended up improving their skills, taking a ton of amazing shots, and having a lot of fun in the process.
Shoot for Yourself
If you’re a pro, you’ll know what I mean when I say that client work has a way of taking over your life. You’ll look back on a year and realize you hardly shot anything that wasn’t for clients.
Don’t get me wrong, client work is awesome. But you need balance.
So this year, carve out time to do your own personal work. And be proud to be shooting for yourself.
If this sounds good to you, then pick a specific project that you’d like to shoot for yourself this year. It can big, little, or in between. Just define it, and start making it happen. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn, and how much the photos mean to you.
Pick A Theme
Photo projects with a core theme are always so fascinating. They can span over the course of the entire year, and even further. Having that thread that ties the images together creates a cohesive power. A story. A purpose.
The best theme is the one that interests you the most. What has your attention this year? It can be anything. Seriously. And it definitely doesn’t need to be about photography. Use photography to get you closer to the other things you’re interested in!
For example, we’re interested in “work”. More specifically, the people who have a deep passion for what they do. Last year we approached a local coffee roastery that we really admired. We took photos for them, and the experience was incredible. We learned more about coffee (which we’re pretty obsessed with!), learned more about caring about what you do, and met some amazing people. It’s a theme that we are really excited to keep exploring!
Identifying a theme helps you focus your shooting, and keeps you interested for a long time. And it gets you thinking more about your work. Lots of good stuff with themes.
So what are you really interested in? Like, really interested. What is it that makes the wheels in your head start turning? Think about how you could turn that into a theme for your photographic work, and then start shooting!
Go somewhere you haven’t been before. And take your camera. You literally can’t even imagine what you might come across (I mean, you’ve never been there before right??). Chances are you’ll find yourself in the middle of an adventure well worth photographing.
Now this place could be anywhere in the world. If you have the means, and the time, book a flight to a country you’ve always wanted to go to. Seriously, just book the tickets and the rest will fall in to place. Trust me. We’ve traveled around the world a fair bit, and it always, always, always begins with just getting the tickets. Remember, the world might end this year, it might be your last chance to check that incredible place out!
If you’re unable to make that dream trip, don’t worry for even a moment. There is so much to explore closer to home. Go on an adventure in your own country. I guarantee there is so much to see there!
Or, it can even be in your city! Go somewhere in your city you haven’t been before. Act the tourist in your hometown, and you’ll find tons of adventures worth photographing. Promise.
So, where are you going to explore?
This is simple. Push yourself to do something with your photography you haven’t done yet.
Use film. Try out a different camera. Use natural light only. Use flash only. Shoot landscapes. Shoot portraits. Shoot alone. Shoot with someone new.
Get out of that comfort zone. You can do it.
Spend time reading this year. And not just about photography. Read up on a ton of different subjects. Maybe on the theme that you’re going to explore, or the country you want to travel to.
Read philosophy. Business. Psychology. Fiction. Study science. Graphic Design. Renaissance Art.
Get your mind exploring all sorts of different topics, and I guarantee it will feed back into your photography in all sorts of wonderful ways.
If you haven’t yet, make sure to get yourself a library card and start going regularly.
Give yourself time and space to just think about photography. Meditate on it. It’s totally worth the effort.
I get the opportunity quite frequently because I write these articles for you, and I’m so grateful for it! I learn so much about myself as a photographer by doing this. So I can promise you that if you give yourself some space to think about photography, you’ll be amazed at what you come up with.
Make sure to write down your thoughts. Use Evernote. Seriously, this part is really important. Value your ideas, they are always worth it!
Perhaps most important of all, make sure to enjoy shooting this year! I think it’s pretty simple. If you aren’t enjoying shooting, why would people enjoy looking at the photos?
Here’s to a great year everyone! We hope you’ll keep checking out our site as you make 2012 an awesome photographic year. We’ll have lots of awesome stuff here to help you out!
How are you going to make 2012 photographically awesome? Share with us in the comments now, we wanna know!