I’ve decided that 2016 will be the year when I improve my photography and take it to a new level. I am making three resolutions to achieve this.
1. Take my camera everywhere
I missed a lot of great shots in 2015 because I didn’t have my camera on me.There was the amazing green hued sky right after an evening rainstorm that had disappeared by the time that I got home. There was a hedgehog rehab center where I left my camera in the car. And there were countless other times when I kicked myself for not keeping my camera on me.
2. Push my artistic boundaries
I tend to fall back on two genres of photography, landscapes and nature/wildlife. However, I live in a city, which makes it tricky to consistently find good subjects in these areas (I’m very jealous of people living in Alaska and Iceland).
These contrained genres not only limit the range of photos that I take, but also limit my growth as a photographer. Cities are full of lineas, shapes, and people that make great photographs if you can see them. Perhaps because I’m not so adept at capturing them I tend not to try, and this becomes a trap.
So, in 2016 I will be attempting to try other forms of photography that get me out of comfort zone. I don’t expect most of these pictures to be that great, but I hope that the quality of photos that I take overall will be significantly better in 12 months time.
I put together a page of photography exercises on this website, and I hope to find the time to try many of these this year.
I will also be taking part in photochallenges. Two 2016 photochallenges (for example) are the one PhotoChallenge.org, and another at here. If you’re looking for a challenge yourself, why don’t you join me?
3. Get feedback
Speaking of Flickr, getting feedback from other photographers is another great way of improving. Photo sharing websites such as Flickr and 500px are one way to do this, but their shear size makes them a little impersonal. People only tend to leave comments when they really like a photo, although there are some groups that foster a more critical commenting culture (Hit, Miss, Maybe, Why? is a good one).
(There is also a reasonably active Open Source Photography group on Flickr, although I’ve never got much feedback from it.)
A better way to get feedback is via smaller, more personal communities of photographers. The first book I every read on photography was by Tony Northrup, and its most helpful feature was the active Facebook group that you get access to. I received a lot of great criticism on my photographs from that group. Reading the discussions on other peoples photographs is also a great way to learn.
Pixls.us has a Critique subforum specifically for FOSS photography feedback. It doesn’t get a lot of submissions, but there is a lot of great feedback on pictures that do make it there.
And finally, there is always real life! If you live in a reasonably sized place, there is probably a group of photographers who meet up to share tips and get feedback. I first got into photography via a loose group of work colleagues who all had DSLRs, and I have subsequently found other groups through Meetup.com.
My goal for 2016 is to submit and interact in these forums much more regularly. I hope to see you there!