New Year Photography resolutions
… and speaking of resolutions – I meant to post this awhile ago 😛 just been getting a bit swamped (see the bit later about decluttering).
It’s the beginning of the year and there are large amounts of challenges that people take up with the idea of building up skills, creativity and keeping the photographic mojo going. I’ve never done any of the structured sorts of photography challenges. Here is just a small snippet of what is available:
- 365 day challenge
- 52 week challenges
- Black and white
- There are loads of themed challenges around posing a specific subject or other task on a regular basis. Just look at pinterest, it’s drowning in challenges.
My opinion about challenges:
- I think it’s good getting out and making sure that you are exercising the creative eye.
- Has the risk of making it a chore and having a negative effect
- Regularly shooting something each day/week etc. is good – as we repeatedly do – however, only if you are getting what you want out of it. If you’re after improvement, have a look afterwards and work out if you could you have done anything better with it. Perhaps get some constructive criticism from people you respect.
I think that if you choose to do a challenge:
- You Should do it purposefully, rather than a seemingly random selection. Have a longer more defined goal set in mind – why are you doing it?
- It doesn’t have to be a matter of buying more gear.
- Have a few goals in mind and then chunk it down into smaller components for you to develop. Then you can work out how are you going to achieve it for the year
The how you’re going about it is important.
If you consider the different learning styles – visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic – similarly – the benefits of a photography challenge will vary depending on what learnings you’re trying to get out of it. Maybe for some photography challenges – you’d actually get more out of it if you did it with someone else for the peer pressure?
Don’t limit the exercises to in camera – there is so much to learn with post processing techniques nowadays and many people find it intimidating.
Based on your learning style – would any of these be beneficial in building your capabilities?
- Personal experimentation
- Obtaining a mentor – good thing with a mentor is that is typically objective based – working out the parameters and objective of the mentoring arrangement
What are the barriers to getting it done?
- Time – life for me feels very overwhelming at times with too much noise coming through. Over the past month or so I’ve been going through a lot of decluttering (not just physical). I am a firm believer that there is enough time to do everything important. I have made sure that I’ve been getting out, even when I initially haven’t had the energy to do so.
- Money – money to get gear, go places, models etc. A lot of my initial photography was around making sure I got enough done with what I had. It almost felt like a bit of a betrayal to myself when I moved from a crop sensor camera to a full frame. There are many cheaper ways to get interested in things – close up filters or extension tubes before going into macro, cheaper filters, black carding or post processing for landscapes, natural light (and options) and “cheaper” speedlites for portraiture, friends (haha – I’m a landscape photographer :/ ) to help with models (I’ve been using myself or a foam head on a stick a lot of the time, now my oldest daughter is helping me out here). You don’t have to go to Antarctica to get a good photo. Travel somewhere less expensive and budget/save for a bigger trip. Don’t have to get everything done this year.
- Skills and Knowledge – everyone has to start somewhere don’t they? As noted earlier – there are different ways that people learn. I’m back on the self-teaching side trail with a lot of experimenting – supplementing with doses of you-tube and books. I have attended a couple of workshops in my time (less than the number on fingers on one hand) but made sure I went out to see one recently which I enjoyed. Also options like finding a mentor can help. The advantage of having a mentor is they can help build an timeline and skills review.
- I have far too many objectives – but I’m going to be focusing on a limited number of them and then holding some out for a future period. I’ve already worked out my key areas that I want to develop this year and am breaking it down into steps.
- I’ve worked what benefits this will have for myself (and what is important to me) in developing these skills (and for me – sharing what I learn)
- Done an equipment assessment and acquired a few key items to assist me (yeah – I have got some stuff after all).
- Working out schedules to achieve the objectives – building up the timeline, who, why, where, when and how, and working out visualisations
- Running more workshops, blogging, videos and so on – setting up a schedule for these. These actually help me in bits because it helps make me think.
- I haven’t made up my mind yet about shooting more with others or mentoring. Might just play that one a bit more by ear at this point.
Photo from my first shoot for the year.
I’m really behind in post processing 😛