The start of a new year is always a good time to reset, make some plans, and actually do all the things you’ve been putting off for ages. If you’re looking to push your photography further, we’ve got a few suggestions for New Year’s resolutions you can make.
Try film, or something else new to you
If you’ve only ever shot digital photographs, we encourage you to try shooting with film. It’s a great way to force yourself to slow down and get more deliberate about your craft. Not seeing the image immediately really makes you think carefully about how you’re going to capture each shot. Plus, you also get the rush of looking through a set of prints or scans for the first time.
And if you do shoot film, don’t think you’re off the hook. You too can try something new. If you’ve never developed your own film, give it a go. Or grab a Polaroid camera and take a few instant shots. Or even just shoot a wild film stock, like LomoChrome Turquoise.
Go through your old photos and see if there’s anything you missed
Your photographic eye continues to change and develop over time. One fun project is to take an afternoon going through a set of old images and seeing if there are any awesome shots you missed. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised at what I find when I do it.
Sometimes, all you need is a bit of distance from a shoot to see things differently. You stop trying to chase the photos you wanted to capture but missed, and see the shots you really did take.
Re-edit an old photo
Related to the resolution above, find an old photo of yours you really like and re-process it to see how you do things differently now. Your taste and Photoshop skills may have changed a lot over the years, so the results can be pretty dramatic.
Print your photos
Photos aren’t meant to only be viewed on screens or, worse, not viewed at all. They’re meant to be printed out as big as you justify and hung all over your house.
So do it.
Take the time to find a few of your best images and print them out properly. Then display them somewhere, or give them away as gifts to your friends and family.
Trust me, it will change how you see your work.
Check out a gallery or museum
Related to the above point, just as you should see your photos hanging on a wall, you should seek out opportunities to see other artists’ work displayed properly.
If there’s a big art gallery or museum near you, go and check out a photo exhibition there.
And if there’s only a small art shop, go in there, talk to the owner, and check out the works hanging on the walls.
Pick up a photobook for inspiration
Related: The best photography books of 2021
And galleries aren’t the only place to see great art in person. Pick up a photo book from one of your favorite photographers.
I love having a few lying around the house to pick up and peruse when I’ve got a few minutes to myself.
Plan a trip to just take photos
Photography can be a hard hobby to fit in around regular life. It rewards you when you slow down, take your time, and just work through a gradual process—not when you rush, because you’ve got somewhere else to be.
One of the best ways to give yourself the time to take great photos is to plan a trip just to photograph something or somewhere. This can be a day trip or a full-blown photo safari—whichever you have time for.
Backup your photos
Look, I’m assuming that every Popular Photography reader has a rock-solid photo backup plan in place. None of our readers would ever be at risk of losing all their images because of a broken hard drive or spilled drink.
But on the off chance that this is something that has slipped your mind, we encourage you to take the first weekend of the year to set one up. It’s the most important resolution you can make for your photography. Here’s a guide to get you started.