While walking the family dog last evening, a gift of nature spurred me to start thinking about New Year resolutions. The setting sun cast a coppery glow over the bare branches of our sweet gum tree. Against the fading daylight, the naked lifeless appendages took on a festive, shimmery glow. I marveled that if our walk had been delayed by only a few minutes I would have missed the glorious color and a picture-perfect scene.
I resolved to spend more time exploring in 2015. Exploring with color, shape, texture and lighting—that is going to be my photography resolution for the coming year! As I sat on the porch with a cup of hot Wassail I made a mental list for expanding my photographic territory in the coming year. Maybe sharing my thoughts will inspire you to step out of your daily comfort zone and push your imaginary boundaries.
1. Experiment with AnglesIt’s easy to get trapped in the same, standard camera angles. Next year, I want to try every angle from lying prone on the ground to shooting from the top rung of a twenty foot ladder and side shots from fifteen degrees to one hundred and eighty.
2. Play with LightLighting has always intimidated me a bit. As a result, I tend to stick to a few basic lighting set ups that I’m comfortable with. This year I really want to focus on understanding how light works more by experimenting and pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I want to compare every type of lighting setup I can think of… natural light vs. studio light, soft light vs. hard light. The more I understand about lighting the better I’ll be at taking advantage of it in my photos.
3. Financially Invest in My PhotographyIt’s no secret, photography can be expensive, especially when you’re first starting out. Although having nice equipment alone won’t make you a better photographer, having the right tools available and understanding how to use them can open up new outlets for creativity. This year I plan to make a conscious effort to invest in myself as a photographer, saving and budgeting money specifically for equipment, lenses and other photography tools.
4. Change My BackdropsThe next photography resolution that came to mind is changing up my studio backgrounds. Playful backdrop designs can make portraits unique and can spark fun ideas. Thinking about lighting, for example, lead me to sequin backdrops which can create a beautiful, shimmering effect under the right circumstances!
5. Master CompositesI’ve experimented a bit with composites and other similar post-production techniques, however I definitely have room to improve. This year I will aim to spend more time in post-production, watch online tutorials and be more open to new technologies and techniques.
See Also: A Beginner’s Guide to Newborn Composites
6. Focus on ColorGoing hand-in-hand with photography backdrops, is color! Color is an amazing element that can establish the entire mood of a portrait. It’s easy to stick to the standard neutrals. This year I want to push myself beyond my color comfort zone.
8. Join a Professional Photographers AssociationNetworking with others in the photography field will expand my exposure to other talent and new perspectives.
7. Use Props More StrategicallyI love working with props, especially when photographing kids! If I’m not careful though, it’s easy for me to go overboard and the photos end up looking cluttered. This year I want to spend more time researching ideas, laying out the backdrop and props together, pairing colors and just being more aware of prop placement and color combinations.
See Also: How to Use Props to Enhance Your Images
9. Be SpontaneousI resolve to take more pictures in the moment. It is easy to relegate photo taking to scheduled times and places, especially with portrait photography. I promise to take more pictures, just for the taking. Experimenting with everything and reviewing all of the shots for missed opportunities and captured treasures.
10. Find My PassionFinally, the last of my New Year resolutions is to create with passion. I want to find my niche. Everyone can take a clear picture with enough practice and point and click camera. I want to find my passion —this year I promise myself to explore and experiment with new equipment, new settings and new surroundings to find my place in the world of photography.
There you have it— my photography resolutions for 2015. What will you do?
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
Interested in learning more about becoming a better photographer? Check out Tips on Becoming a Great Photographer!
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