New Year’s Resolutions

My aim for 2019 is to improve my photography. In this article I discuss the 3 New Year’s resolution that I have made in order to help me achieve my goal.

It is 2019. The start of a new year filled with photographic promise. But as landscape photographers what do we want to achieve? And can making New Year’s resolutions help us to meet our goals.

What do I want to achieve?

The start of a new year is the perfect time to take stock of the previous 12 months and to correct some of the mistakes that we have made.

We can make New Year’s resolutions to help us to achieve a particular goal. To be more healthy, to become financially secure or to lead a more fulfilling life.

I believe that the same can be said for photography and for me the most common goal, particularly for us amateurs, is to take better photographs.

The main elements of a photograph are the subject, the composition and the lighting. This year I am going to make three resolutions to help me improve these three components of my photographs.

Subject

When I take a photograph the first thing that I consider is what am I actually taking a photo of? What is the subject of my photograph?

It is the subject that grabs the viewers attention and makes them want to take a closer look, drawing them in.

In order to take better photographs I need to include more intriguing and engaging subjects. So how can I find more interesting subjects.

Answer is simple. Research.

Research

Almost anyone is capable of getting that 1 killer shot. The shot that defines their year and in some cases their whole career.

We all get lucky sometimes. Once in a while we can all be in the right place at the right time.

However, to take good images on a consistent basis requires planning. The best photographers do not just turn up on location for the very first time expecting to get the perfect shot.

The best landscape photographers know what they are going to shoot before they arrive on location. And that takes research.

There are many ways to research locations: books, Instagram and even YouTube but for me there is no substitute for actually being on the ground myself.

In order to improve my photography I am going to spend more time exploring new locations looking for interesting subjects.

Composition

Having identified my subject the next job is to decide how to position it and the surrounding elements in the frame.

When it comes to composition the photographer should always aim to present the subject in the best way possible.

Here it can be helpful to focus on what first drew you to a subject in the first place. What is it that you like about the subject and why do you want to photograph it?

I have long held the belief that when it comes to composition the simpler the better. I always try to eliminate as many distractions as possible.

In order to improve my photography I am going to focus on what interests me about a subject and eliminate everything else.

Light

In terms of landscape photography light can be the difference between a good photograph and a great one.

When starting out the books will tell you to photograph during golden hour at the beginning or end of the day.

This is sound advice; it is generally best to avoid photographing during the middle of the day when the light is harsh.

But not all subjects suit the warm golden light of a sunrise. What if you want to convey and a feeling of mystery or menace?

Throughout the year the position from where the sun rises changes. In order to get the best light for a subject you may need to consider time of year and not just time of day!

In order to improve my improve my photography I am going to match the lighting conditions to the subject of my photograph.


So to recap, the New Year’s resolutions that I am going to make this year that will help to improve my photography are:

  • Research more locations in order to find more interesting subjects
  • Work on compositions that focus on the interest in a subject and eliminate all distractions
  • Match the lighting conditions to the subject

Are you going to make any New Years Resolutions this year? If so why not share them with everyone by leaving a comment below.

Head over to my YouTube channel to see the video that I made about my New Years Resolutions…

9 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. I was reviewing the year’s photos to decide which were my favorites and finishing a lesson in the image analysis course and had the bright idea to combine the two. So. I’m looking critically at what I think is my best work from 2018 and writing a formal analysis for each one. (I’ve finished two.) I also realized that I got into the bad habit of bunching up the 365 photos, which misses the whole point of that kind of project, so I’m going to try to do a better job of actually taking am image a day on-topic for 365.

    1. That is excellent Thersea. I bet that will really help you to develop as a photographer. I have always fancied a 365 project but unfortunately my job simply wouldn’t allow it, particularly in the winter.

    1. I think that is an excellent resolution Tim. Next time you are out limit yourself to 3 images only. It will really help you to think hard about what you are shooting and take the time to work the composition. If you do try this, let me know how you get on.

  2. Chris, you do a great job of organising and composing your thoughts on this blog. The insight is very helpful! Here are my resolutions:

    The main goal is to improve my photography overall and I have set two specific goals for myself for 2019:

    1. To keep a logbook of my photography–make notes of things I’ve learned, tips, locations, etc.
    2. To take more time scouting and composing once on location before actually taking a shot

    Have a great new year! Cheers, Jeff

    1. Excellent Resolutions Jeff, keeping a logbook is a great idea though I think I personally would lack discipline to keep it up. Shame really because come the end of the year I bet it will make fascinating reading. Good luck mate, I hope you achieve your goals.

  3. My New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to slow down and be patient. Too often I scramble around to find a location, find a “suitable” composition, and before I’ve even relaxed and caught my breath the shot is taken. I need to find the “right” composition, be willing to wait for the light or even mood that makes a great picture. Quality over quantity…and not be afraid to go home without that great shot. And as a previous post mentioned, I am keeping a journal to record what went right, wrong, or what would make the location more conducive to a good photo.

    Man I have a lot of work to do lol.

    Keep up the good work Chris 🙂

    1. I think that is an excellent idea. It was on of the things that really helped me. More and more these days I find myself focusing on a single composition. It really helps to perfect your technique because it really encourages to think about how to position the key elements in the frame. Good luck!

      1. Thanks Chris, I’ll keep you posted as to how I am making out.

        Decided also this year to post my ventures more on my Instagram, good and bad, so I can measure my improvement as well as maybe pick up some constructive feedback along the way 🙂

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