10 New Year Photography Resolutions... To help improve your skills in 2017
While most of us admit to making new years resolutions we might not end up keeping, the actual process of deciding Challenges for the year ahead is a good discipline.
CH Photogs is here to offer you ten great Photo Resolutions aimed at widening yours and our skills in the year ahead. Pick your favorites and make sure you try your best, we sure will!
1 - Creative Family Photos
Smart phones have become the mainstay of family photography, understandably given their improved image quality, not to forget convenience. But make this year the year to be different, pocket the mobile in favor of the DSLR and aim for creative family portraits.
Try setting up a studio or learning how to craft natural light for better results, perfect your means of persuasion to position the kids in the ideal settings or pick up some tips on how to prepare and stage your candids. If simply developing your skills is a bit behind you, you could also plan a shoot with props and poses, or take it a stage further with mastering composites.
2 - A Playground in your Garden
With life being so busy, it's understandable that it can be a struggle to find time to head out on a day-long photo adventure. Why not make a resolution that when you've an hour or two to spare, you'll take the opportunity to explore your garden for photo possibilities. When you think about it, the potential on offer in even a modestly-sized garden can make for fantastic images.
In the winter months when trees are bare and flowers are dormant, you can put up feeder stations and try capturing some frame-filling shots of garden birds. In spring, you'll have an abundance of flowers starting to bloom. as well as the emergence of small creatures from their winter's sleep. Summer has plant and wildlife in full swing, so you won't be short of colorful picture possibilities or as you extend into the autumn months.
And don't forget, you should also use your garden as an outdoor studio, making it the ideal location for trying out daylight or flash-lit portrait techniques.
3 - Get Organised Online
It may still be 2016 but it's never too early to begin a 'spring clean', so start the new year with a clean slate. If you've not been over-efficient at organising your images, clearing your memory cards and most importantly, backing up your files, now is the time before you add another 12-month's worth of images.
Once you've done that, why not kick off 2017 with the goal of improving your photographer's profile. Joining communities such as Eyeem, Gurushots ,Flickr and 500px allows you to showcase your best work, gain the attention and recognition you deserve and maybe even some constructive feedback on how to improve further. Social networking isn't just for the young and innovative, it's a necessity for anyone wanting to get their images seen and potentially make some money off their talents.
Aside from raising your profile, being a part of an online community like a forum can provide a wealth of inspiration and opportunities to learn from like-minded photographers. You might be amazed at how your image-making gains new life once you have your finger on the proverbial pulse of the global photographic community.
4 - Choose a Light Source
Light is the basis of photography, knowing how different qualities and types of light affect your images and how best to expose for them are essential for controlling the results of your pictures. Although available light is often the preferred source for many enthusiasts, as well as professional portrait photographers, it is not because it's easier to work with or to manipulate for top-quality results.In fact, some would say it's somewhat harder than using flash as you have to know how to get the best from what you have. Off-camera flash and studio flash may seem harder to understand as they're not a constant light source, but once you grasp it you can shoot everywhere and anywhere.
Understanding the colour temperature and behavioral certain sources of ambient light, or how natural light interacts with a subject depending on the cloud coverage, time of day and surrounding location, means there are far more variables to strategically consider before you take a single shot. This year, make the resolution to really learn one type of lighting inside and out. It could be how to use off-camera flash and eventually how to create dynamic location portraits by balancing ambient and flash light with ease. Or it could be to use only ambient light and to find ways to capture stunning images no matter the type, how bright the sun or low the light levels.
5 - Shoot all 4 Seasons
One of the great things about shooting landscapes is that no two days at a location are ever the same. Why not make a point of visiting a favorite spot in each of the four seasons and trying to capture it as best you can to show off its transformation through the seasons.
We'd suggest a location with trees or foliage to really show off changes in colour. If you start now and make winter your first in the set, you may be lucky to find your location smothered in snow (for the overseas folks). If it all looks bare and boring, then try for a moody black & white. Set your camera to Raw+JPEG, then select Monochrome as the picture style/setting, as you can view the scene in b&w on the screen, while having the Raw with all the information to convert to mono once you're back home.
With spring comes colour, so be ready to capture the same scene bursting into life and keep an eye on weather conditions. Spring showers offer the chance of broody skies for added drama. Summer isn't the best season for landscapes, but fit a polariser and shoot on days filled with blue skies and puffy clouds for pictures with impact. Autumn's transformation needs no explanation to its potential. We'd suggest visiting the scene on numerous occasions in this season to make the most of the golds and browns that transform the landscape. Finally, if you're really ambitious, why not include a mini-project and try to capture a sunrise or sunset for each season.
6 - Take a Trip
From the remote views of the Isle of Skye and the coastal beauty of Cape Town, to the city that never sleeps and the cultural haven of South Asia, the potential of places that awaits avid photographers is stupendous whether you stay in SA or fly further afield. It's not just landscapes and cityscapes that should attract you, people, festivities and food have just as much potential in a variety of destinations.
Saying that, maybe 2017 is the year to experience that long-awaited safari in Botswana, to visit colourful Cuba or trek around Bhutan during its festival season. A photography trip requires a different approach to a holiday. To get the best images you need to research events, landmarks and even viewpoints for potential photographs. You should plan your accommodation around your photo opportunities for golden-hour light and swat up on crime and safety, considering that you're likely be carrying a lot of equipment maybe even at night. If you're not confident enough just yet to go it alone, consider joining an organised photography workshop or holiday.
You get to learn the ins and outs of a well-planned expedition. get expert advice from professionals and you're almost guaranteed to leave with fabulous images knowing you've been taken to the right place at the right time.
7 - Master the Pro's techniques
Hobbyists are well aware of the high standards set by the professional photographers contibuting to the community. The likes of Lee Frost, Helen Dixon, Ross Hoddinott and Brett Harkness regularly give expert advice and tutorials on how they captured inspirational images.
Set yourself the goal to pick your favoutite image from your favourite photographer and attempt to try shooting it using the pro's technique. If you're an avid fan of Ross Hoddinott's close-ups, grab your macro lens and try to recreate one o f his macro marvels.
If Helen Dixon's stunning sunrises are more your cup o f tea, set your alarm dock. get up eany and see if you can capture dawn's beauty too. Every photographer has their own way of shooting, but following a pro's technique is a great way to master new skills.
8 - Set creative goals
Broadening your range of photo skills isn't always easy but it should be fun. Make a list of the different creative techniques you've seen and wish you could do, then set yourself the target to give one a go each month. That’s a fairly ambitious target, but the only way you’d get better at more creative techniques it to keep trying them and learn from your mistakes.If you find you're not able to master your chosen technique, don't give up on it but continue practicing into the following month and push back the next one.
As you get better you'll find your frustration gives way to enthusiasm and use this to spur you on to the next challenge. So, what should you try? Well the list is endless. Using extreme ND filters for long exposures has been very popular for the last couple of years, so if you've not tried that, give it a go. If you already have, then why not look at trying adding intentional camera movement during exposures to blur the entire scene, or try out multiple exposures or give high-speed flash photography a go.
9 - Fill your Calendar
Setting yourself challenges such as using only one lens, shooting a single colour or an image a day for 365 days’ is fine and dandy if you need to refresh your style and change your skills, but what if that's not enough motivation.
How about a challenge that potentially engages other people in your work, rewards you financially or, at the very least, fulfills you with a new experience. Photography competitions can do that as well. So fill your calendar and get snapping.
10 - Learn how to craft
Whether it's natural light, studio flash or flash guns that you regularly use for portraits, learning ways to sculpt your light source will deliver results worthy of the work. For landscape photographers, a photo resolution might be to use ND filters to create long exposures or to shoot in different weather conditions.
Or could it be for mastering your exposure technique in manual mode to ensure you have the skill set no matter the conditions thrown at you. Sounds like you've a lot to get on with - good luck!
Article from the Digital SLR Photography Magazine