Photography Resolutions

Just read an interesting piece by Mark Morris at Improve Photography that suggests a few things to do over the next year to improve one’s photography. Suggestions include:

  1. Creating a “My Top 10 Images” of the year
    Morris attributes this idea to Jeff Harmon whose podcast, Photo Taco episode spells out the technical side of how to do this using a workflow designed for Lightroom.

    Since I’m working in and learning more and more about Lightroom, I’m interested in working with Harmon’s  workflow and the “target collection” feature in particular. One of the problems I’m finding is that different photographers advocate different workflows and point to different editing areas of Lightroom as the best, and I haven’t worked with the program enough to know what to draw from their experiences and what isn’t going to work for me. I think I’ve finally established a strategy for organizing and storing and backing up my photographs that includes some basic import strategies, but in a course I worked through yesterday on presets, the teacher introduced the idea of importing presets and all sorts of other things I’d never considered. I’ll definitely need to work with Lightroom more before I even have a clue what sorts of importing and exporting presets I might develop.

    women-photography_00331863I’m getting better at culling my images right after importing them and have begun to use a star rating of 4 and 5 for those I think are really good. I’ve not rated the other images I plan to work with, but I think I will eventually use a 3 star rating for photographs that aren’t outstanding, but that I will definitely revisit and process. I know other people who use 1 and 2 stars to indicate keepers that need lots of work, but I’m not yet at the point to make those sorts of finer distinctions; I just keep everything that isn’t absolutely crap so I can work with it if I find time

  2. Creating and maintaining a photo journal
    Morris credits this idea to Ted Forbes, and highly recommends his YouTube channel. Something I’d like to do this upcoming year is to learn more about photographers and photography teachers who have YouTube channels.

    Here’s a a link Morris provides to Forbes’ kick-off video for the Photo Journal assignment.

    I’m not sure how to implement this idea, but I’m thinking about following Morris’s advice and get prints of my 5-star images–maybe 1-2 for each month. I think having the actual prints in hand rather than looking at them on screen will encourage me to keep working.

  3. Becoming a Student of a specific kind of photography
    Well, since I’m such a newbie this one doesn’t seem all that feasible. I don’t have a lot of equipment and am trying to work with the lenses I have now to really learn how to use them. I suppose I could choose a lens and focus on using it. Right now I want to shoot whatever I am shooting using different lenses in order to see what each one offers, but that involves hauling them around, changing them all the time, and sometimes missing an opportunity because I’m fumbling around trying to find or change out a lens. So committing to say landscapes and so my wide angle lens seems like a good idea.
  4. Observing other photographers
    Again, as a newbie I’m not yet a part of any photography community so I don’t know many photographers. But what I could do here is follow one or two photographers who blog and examine their photos and read about how they shot them and processed them. Right now I am reading books by various photographers, takings some online classes and pinning the hell out of tutorials on Pinterest, so perhaps being more focused  would be useful
  5. Shooting more of the things I love to shoot
    As I’ve read again and again, if you want to improve your photography, you have to shoot a lot. Again, as a newbie, I don’t yet know what I love to shoot. So far I’ve done some shoots at the Desert Botanical Gardens, in Sedona, of our pets, and of orcas in Seattle. If I could manage it, I’d go out and try to shoot whales everyday, but that would be difficult living in the desert, and would clearly interfere with my day job. I like photographing our pets, and I’m heading back up to Sedona next week to take some photos. I think rather than following this plan, I am going to work on taking one morning or afternoon each week and go on a shoot.

I’m not really one to make New Year’s resolutions because I almost never follow through on them; in fact, that’s why I’ve stopped making them. But I suppose these are photography resolutions for the upcoming year. Let’s hope I am better at following through on these.

So, any other photographers out there who have an improving your photography plan for the upcoming year? If so, please share your thoughts and idea here.

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