December 29, 2021
Photography Resolutions 2022
How can you improve your photography in 2022? Here are 10 resolutions you can make to take better pictures
The end of the year is a time when you can look back and think about what might have been. Better still, it’s an opportunity to look forward and make a few changes to make the next year better than the last. Many people vow to drink a little less, eat better and exercise more (I must do those things). Why not make some New Year Resolutions to improve your photography? Here are a few suggestions that may give you food for thought.
What’s that you say, Rich? We were going to do things that would improve my photos, and now you’re telling me not to take as many photos? Trust me; there’s a method in my madness. In the good old days of film, we had 24 or 36 frames on a roll of film. So, now and again, pretend that you only have one spool and restrict yourself to shooting 36 pictures in a day. Make every shot count; think about the composition and the technical settings before you press the shutter. That little bit of thinking time will help you understand what you want to accomplish from the shot. Prioritising the planning of your photos rather than just firing off hundreds of pictures will definitely improve your photography.
It’s so easy to flick through Instagram or scroll down Facebook feeds and ‘like’ photos. Forever hitting the thumbs up is the photography equivalent of fast food. Why not, instead, spend some time thinking about what it is that you like about a photo? Have a pen and a piece of paper next to you the next time you check out an Insta feed and write down the elements of the images that you find pleasing. Could it be the use of light on the subject or the depth of field? Consider what focal distance the photographer has used and how this has helped the photograph. If it’s a scene you already know, ask yourself how the taker has positioned themselves to get a view that you like. Do this several times, and you’ll start to see the kind of things that you find attractive in other people’s shots which you can then apply to your photography.
Go somewhere new
Over the last couple of years, it has been a little harder to find new places to shoot. Fingers crossed, 2022 will be easier for us, so now is the time to find a location you haven’t visited before. Make it one of your resolutions to take your camera and maybe a couple of lenses and explore new surroundings. But, more importantly, bring an open mind and seek out exciting photos. It’s best to restrict the number of pictures of a location that you look at beforehand. That way, you’ll improve your creativity as you seek out subjects and capture the images.
Shoot on a prime
A prime lens is a type of lens that has a fixed focal distance. You can snap up a cheap new 50mm lens for around £150 or head to mpb.com, and you can get a second-hand model for about half that. Most prime lenses have a very wide aperture – anywhere from f/1.8 to as low as f/1.0 on more expensive models. Often new photographers will dial this aperture in and enjoy the bokeh performance that wasn’t available in their kit lenses. However, the benefit of a prime lens on your photography is the fact that it doesn’t have a zoom. It means that you have to use your legs to achieve good composition instead of simply zooming in and out from a fixed position. Every three months or so, I like to spend a day with my nifty fifty attached to the camera and re-dial in how I think about composition.
Take a shot a day
Practice makes perfect, so the more you practice, the better you will get. Before going full-time as a photographer in 2014, I did all I could to improve my capability, despite having a busy full-time job. Since 2011 I have been challenging myself to take some kind of photograph every day. Occasionally it may have been a phone shot, but most times, it has been a picture taken with my DSLR. I’m still doing it today, and I post my photos on the Blipfoto platform. Why not make this one of your resolutions and sign up this year and try to find something to shoot every day?
Learn something new
It’s very easy to channel your photography hobby into one distinct style. Some people slip into just taking landscapes; others can’t stop snapping wildlife. It’s great to try and perfect a particular genre, but it can be pretty limiting. Why not expand your skills by trying out something new? In the last 12 months as a PR photographer, I have been engaged to take portraits in a dark but reflective environment, product photography of everything from jewellery to chocolate and views of train stations. I can turn my hand to such a diverse set of challenges by practising different techniques in advance. I’ve also helped others to do the same thing. My private workshops are available to help you improve any aspect of your photography. Get in touch to tell me what you want to learn, and I can plan a session and follow it up with material to help embed your new knowledge.
Shoot something different
Another way to expand your creativity is to take pictures of things that you wouldn’t normally do. A fun way to do this is to take part in challenge groups. The principle is that an organiser sets a theme for a photograph every week or month. It could be a technical challenge such as depth of field, something based on composition or subjects, or even something as opaque as using a particular colour. I run a small group on Facebook where we have these monthly challenges. It’s a safe space to experiment as I have made it a rule that nobody can be nasty about another person’s photos. We work on a one strike, and you’re out principle (and thankfully, I have never had to use it). Sign-up and see how you can meet the challenges in 2022.
Clean your gear
There is nothing worse as a photographer in getting to a scene in perfect conditions, getting the settings spot on, taking the shot, and then rushing home to find a myriad of dust spots all over the ‘perfect photo’. You can reduce the likelihood of this happening by maintaining your camera with a regular routine. There’s a handy guide to a cleaning regime here, and 10 minutes every time you come back from snapping will save you hours editing out dust from your photos in the future.
Start a project
I’m sure that many of you have an interest outside of photography. I do, and it’s my job! Why not combine that interest with your photo hobby as one of your photography resolutions and create a photo project that joins the two together? Start by writing a one-paragraph brief about what you are looking to achieve. You never know what may result at the of the project. Perhaps you might self-publish a book, or you could even use the images to gain a photography accreditation, such as the Associate of the Royal Photographic Society.
Get a photography friend
The last in this year’s resolutions can take photography from an individual pursuit to a social activity. Many photographers like to have their own time to concentrate fully on what they are shooting. However, consider going out with a few photographers, and you’ll soon find that you can swap perspectives on what and how you take photos. This year, I have decided that I will give up three or four days to organise a social meet-up. The idea will be to go to a location with an open invitation to join me. We can all bounce off each other’s ideas, and I am sure that I’ll learn just as much as others that attend. Sign up for my monthly newsletter, and I’ll let you know when the free events are going to happen.
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About the author
As well as running Edinburgh Photography Workshop, Rich Dyson is a professional photographer. His photographs are regularly used in newspapers such as The Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph. He also had two solo exhibitions as well as being featured in a members sponsored exhibition in the Scottish Parliament. You can see and buy his photography at richdysonphotography.com