by Michael Brown – December 28, 2015 – fstoppers.com
Along with the new year comes an opportunity for a fresh start, the time of year when seemingly everyone looks at their life and what they can change. While it is certainly cliché to come up with goals for the new year, it is a great time to refocus your energy. By focusing on certain aspects of your photography, I believe that you can not only become a better photographer, but find better, bigger clients, grow your business, and follow your dreams. Check out the following simple facets of photography and how you can look at them differently, gain inspiration, and get after it in the new year.
Shoot More Than You Ever Have
I know you have heard it time and time again, but there is no hiding from the truth. You can take all the classes, seminars, or lessons you want; however, the only way to actually become a better photographer is to spend more time behind the lens. In today’s world of photography, the competition is fierce. If you want to get bigger clients or capture the most epic moments, you need to be completely dedicated to your craft. If you are a landscape photographer, you need to get up earlier, stay out later, and be completely ready when the conditions are right for a beautiful moment. If you are a portrait photographer, you need to continuously be looking for people to shoot with and plan time each week to experiment with new techniques, new lighting, and any other new equipment you can get your hands on. Nowadays, I always hear people talking about how valuable their time is. While I agree with not undervaluing or undercharging for your time, I think that photographers go way overboard with this idea. If you love photography and truly want to get better, I think it is important to shoot for the love of your craft. If you aren’t shooting with someone for the sole reason of them not being able to afford you or not being willing to pay, get over it. Shoot with them anyway, experiment with a new technique, trade time for prints, do whatever it takes to become a better photographer. While a few hundred dollars may seem like a big deal, in the long term, I can guarantee you that learning something new and becoming a better photographer will be much more valuable.
Edit/Retouch Again and Again
Technology is developing faster than you or I can stay up to date with. Editing programs are constantly being updated and new, better, and more efficient methods are constantly being created and discovered. I strongly urge you to spend time learning about what programs and methods can help you edit/retouch better and more efficiently. If you like the methods that you are currently using, take time to analyze your process and see if there are any changes you can make to make them more efficient. When you are working for yourself, time is money, and productivity is key. You do not want to sacrifice time for quality, but it is essential to make sure you are completing your work in as timely of a manner as possible. The less time you spend on editing, the more time you get to spend shooting, working with new people, and putting out new content. If you’re interested in finding new retouching techniques, Dani Diamond’s Complete Guide to Retouching for Free is a great place to start.
If you have found a new technique or method you that you like, don’t just start with your latest shoots. Go back to some of your favorite photos and re-edit them with your newfound technique. When I first learned frequency separation, I went back and edited photos from several of my favorite shoots with this new method. Not only did I love the results, but repeating the technique multiple times helped me become comfortable and memorize the process for future shoots.
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