I don’t know if you make New Year’s resolutions or not, but I think it’s always good to make a resolution to improve your photography over the next year. Landscape photographer Nigel Danson gives you seven simple ideas that will help you kick-start 2019 and stay inspired and motivated for creating.
No matter how much you love photography, you can sometimes get to the point where you lack inspiration and ideas. These are Nigel’s seven suggestions that will help you stay motivated and boost your creativity.
1. Go out
The first and the foremost: go out! Explore new locations, destinations, and new areas around the place you live. But also, revisit the locations you visited before. Spend more time outside, and spend more money on travels than on camera gear.
It’s good to spend some time at home, watch YouTube tutorials and learn. But make sure to actually go out and apply all that knowledge, and do more of it in 2019.
2. Look back
Look back on your images from 2018 and look at both your successes and failures. Think about what you could have improved or done differently. Nigel suggests that there are two main things to observe: location and lenses.
Think about what you could have done better at certain locations. Go back there this year and improve your shots, try something new, and plan better. As for the lenses, look at what lenses you used most in 2018. For example, if you used primarily wide angle lenses, try using the zoom lenses more in 2019.
3. Presentation of your photos
Get away from the digital world is another thing you can do in 2019. Don’t just post your photos to social media, but actually print your work. Nigel suggests making a scrapbook of your images, adding one printed photo each week. This way you’ll have something to look back at when 2019 comes to an end. You can also print a photo book made of your best images. Either way, having tangible images in your hands creates a different experience than just looking at photos on the screen.
4. Secondary genre
For Nigel, landscape photography is the main genre he focuses on. But in 2019, he suggests you spend more time shooting your secondary genre. For him, it’s street photography, and you do whichever genre suits you, of course. It will add some versatility to your work, help you stay motivated and grow as a photographer.
5. Shoot local
Find a location within a five-mile radius from your home and visit it throughout the year. Shoot at different times of the year, at a different light, with different lenses… This will make you go out more, and you won’t be so dependent on traveling to other locations.
You may not live in a picturesque neighborhood, I get it (and I sure don’t live in one). But it doesn’t have to be an obstacle. For example, I have my favorite place I visit often and it’s only 5 km from my home. It’s near the Danube, but it’s not the most beautiful place in the world. Still, I go there every time I need to chill out, and I love photographing it. Here are a few photos, all of them taken at the same place, with different cameras, lenses, and at different times of the year:
6. Take notes
If you haven’t done this so far, you can start in 2019: take notes. Write down the notes about a particular location and about a particular shoot. Making notes before the shoot will help you pick a good location and make the best of it. And after the shoot, write about the filters and tripod you used, the weather, reasons for using a certain lens… In short, anything that you won’t have in the EXIF data. This will help you be more efficient when you revisit the location.
7. Visualization and Lightroom
Nigel believes that 50% of the photo is in taking it, and the other 50% is in the editing and producing the final result. This is why you should be able to visualize what you want to make from the image before you even press the shutter. The way to do that is to become better at editing, so Nigel suggests that you spend some time improving these three things in Lightroom: curves, HSL sliders, and Luminosity Masks
I believe Nigel’s suggestions are more guidelines than resolutions, which is why I particularly like them This year I’ve decided not to make any particular resolutions, but I do hope I’ll spend more time outside with my cameras, both film an digital. What about you?
[7 SIMPLE photography IDEAS to KICK START your NEW YEAR | Nigel Danson]