How Will You Photograph 2012?

Upload from January 03, 2012

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!

Shoot More

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!

Your Turn

How are you going to make 2012 photographically awesome? Share with us in the comments now, we wanna know!

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photography ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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14 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post. You expressed exactly what I feel about the new year and what my goals and resolutions are! Above all I hope I will explore more and shoot more for myself and trust mor in myself.

  2. Thanks so much Steffi, so glad you enjoyed it! I love the idea of trusting more in yourself. That's fantastic, and so important! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post for the new year! I'm going to focus on shooting with more patience and confidence this year. In 2011 I found myself doubting my abilities at sessions only to come home and be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It's important for me to slow down and shoot with more purpose and less fear in 2012. Thank you!

  4. You are SO inspiring! I always love the start of a New Year to explore new ideas. Something I'm trying is to take a photo a day using my iPhone this year! I often forget about my iPhone camera and found this little app to help me with it. You can even set a notification to remind you take that daily photo. So far so good…it's January 3rd and I have 3 photos in the monthly calendar provided. :)

  5. I am in love with this post!! Seriously. I think our first two years of business, we were so focused on shooting clients & booking weddings, that we got close to forgetting WHY we were shooting. This year, we're taking 3 photos of our life (apartment, neighborhood, etc.) every Monday (our version of a 365), and being sure to travel the Pacific Northwest now that we're here. Remembering WHY we started this business has changed the way we shoot & live … this post is seriously perfect!

  6. So many great ideas Lauren! I just launched my business during the second half of 2011, and one of the best pieces of advice I've received from photographers is to SHOOT PERSONALLY! You really hit the nail on the head when you touched on this in your post! I've decided to take on a 365 this year to ensure that I am shooting for myself, and to make sure I'm picking up my camera everyday (practice makes perfect!). Here's my first post:
    Thanks again for the awesome and inspiring post!

  7. I love a new year and a fresh start. So many ideas and things to think about. I love reading your posts and always think about what you say for a few days before I write a response. Recently I have been interested in shooting film because I love the outcome. Years & years ago I shot film, but have been digital pretty much from the time digital cameras came out. Would you have any suggestions of where I can start with film? I am researching film cameras (but would probably buy a used one) and I feel a little lost.
    Thanks and hope 2012 is a wonderful year for you guys!

  8. I love this image you posted! Would you mind sharing with us how you shot it?

  9. love this post. It is so true, we all need to enrich ourselves outside the photography world. Inspiration is usually the world around us, current events and other forms of art, not other photographs.

  10. I'm ready!

  11. *@Claire:* Those are fantastic goals — patience and confidence. "Slow down" is something I write to myself before almost every session, and I still need to keep working on it. Thanks for sharing and reminding me how important it really is!

    *@Karin:* Wow, that sounds like a fantastic app, I'll definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing! Best of luck with your 365, I'm positive you'll have so many amazing photos at the end of the year!!

    *@Jim + Ravyn:* Thanks guys! I've felt the same way, forgetting WHY. I love your twist on a 365 and can't wait to see the results! The why really does change the way you see everything, doesn't it? :)

    *@Natalie:* Thanks! Congrats on starting a 365, that's so exciting! Your first photo is beautiful, love the glasses in the foreground. Keep it up!!

    *@Marcelle:* Thank you so much for the kind words! That's so awesome that you give yourself some time to think, and then come and respond. I love it! We actually did a post about getting started with film, you can "check it out here": Hopefully that helps!

    *@Melanie:* Thanks! To do these shots we use a tripod and a remote shutter release that lets us experiment with how long the shutter is open. The settings are 35mm, ISO 1250, f/2, for 31 seconds. Hope that helps!

    *@Stasha:* Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I agree, inspiration is absolutely everywhere once you start looking for it! It's a blast!

    *@Meutia:* Awesome!! :)

  12. "Push" is definitely something that I've been ruminating on. I find myself frustrated that people aren't hiring me–I want to shoot them! :) But of course, I'm not really doing anything to find them or let them find me. So I need to push myself out into the world a bit more and get into that awful M word (marketing-ugh).

    Also, I've recently started playing with outdoor flash, and ooh, so fun! I look forward to continue honing that.

  13. For 2012, methinks I will trying out a variety of new techniques and genres. Want to try out sound-triggered photography, painting with light (for automotive), maybe car rig shots, time lapse videos, and architectural interiors.
    And of course, we'll be traveling at some point as well.

  14. I am doing an instagram a day to document my year , hopefully doing a bunch of personal projects, and of course client work! Hope 2012 is the best year yet!

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