We were full of big plans this time last year. We were going to learn to cook, run a marathon, and stop watching so much doggone TV. Now here it is nearly 2008, and weâ€™re still spending every night talking back to Trebek and noshing on Tasty Bite.
Needless to say, game show marathons and shelf-stable delicacies do not a Haile Gebreselassie make.
So much for 2007.
And hello, 2008! Weâ€™re planning to greet it with some kinder, gentler resolutions, and you can bet they wonâ€™t involve the kitchen, the remote, or running shoes. But they will involve a shutter.
We’ve come up with 19 photo-related New Year’s resolutions that’ll have you learning more, practicing more, and taking more risks in two thousand and awesome. (What is, “Fewer eyes trained on Trebek,” Alex?)
So here they are: 19 New Year’s Photo Resolutions. Pick even one, and you’re likely to leave 2008 with vastly improved photographic skills.
Whether you just got your first camera or you’ve been shooting for years, chances are you don’t know everything there is to know about photography.
1. Take a class! – Check out the course listings at your local community center or college. Some camera stores also offer classes at a variety of skill levels.
2. Self-guided study – Donâ€™t want to dole out the cash for a class, or just don’t have the time? Here’s a few places to start your self-guided study:
- Wrap your mind around the Twelve Essential Photographic Rules from PopPhoto.com
- Learn to speak your camera’s language and finally decipher all those hieroglyphics at PhotoNotes.
- Make like Photojojo reader Irene and hit the books. She’s resolved to “really read the how-to books” she bought. Got to be better than trying to read the manual that comes with the camera.
3. Learn by studying the greats – Great photographs not only inspire you to go out and shoot, they can teach you valuable lessons in composition, framing, and exposure.
- PopPhoto’s Images of the Year highlight some of 2007’s best photographic work from professionals and amateurs.
- We’ve mentioned our fondness for National Geographic before, and we’ll do it again. That little publication is doing big things, ya’ll. A great source for inspiration
- Photo editor Gary Hershorn offers insight into Reuters’ best shots of the year in his nifty audio slideshow.
Practice, practice, practice
Quantity doesn’t always lead to quality, but the only way we’re going to improve our photography skills is to take more pictures. We figure one of these projects could give us the impetus to pull out the camera more often.
4. Start Project 365 – Want to know the big secret to improving your photographs, guaranteed? (Or your money back!) It’s simple: shoot photos every. single. day. There’s a good reason that thousands of others have decided to start Project 365. Make this your year. Read our friend Taylor’s write-up for the what, the why, and the how. (And check out the Flickr Group.)
5. Shoot the most challenging subject: Yourself – A variation on Project 365 where you’ll only need yourself and your camera. Join the 365 Days self-portrait project and start snapping.
6. Take a photo a week of the things you’re grateful for – The 52 Blessings project will improve your outlook along with your photography skills.
7. Focus on the colors – Project Rainbow has you take 20 photos in each of the colors of the rainbow. Combine the results for a beautiful mosaic.
8. Take your camera everywhere – That tiny point and shoot of yours is small enough to slip in a pocket, so why not do it? You’ll never know when you’ll see that perfect shot, or have a spare moment to go exploring with the lens. (Need motivation? Perhaps our spiffy neoprene go-anywhere case will do the trick.)
Try Something New
After years of the same-old, same-old, it’s easy to lose that lovin’ feeling. But we’ve found that a dalliance with something new can bring back the passion. With just a little experimentation, you may find yourself falling in love with photography all over again.
9. Make your own fish-eye lens – A fisheye lens will give you a new perspective on life. Or at least on whatever you’re shooting. A DIY fisheye lens gives it to you on the cheap!
10. Experiment in unfocus – Learn to create your own bokeh and you can put that sparkle back in your eye manually!
11. Travel! – Follow reader Adam Lea’s lead and schlep yourself and your camera in search of a new horizon. (He’s hoping to see the Idaho landscape this year.)
12. Take photos of things that make you afraid – Shed your inhibitions! Photojojo reader Karol will be taking it to the streets in 2008 in an effort to be braver and shoot photos of strangers on the street.
Be a Copycat
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s also a good way to slow yourself down and really think about your photography. Here are a few photographers that might make you ask, “How’d they do that?”
13. Stage a photograph – Obviously, we’re quite taken with Jan Van Hollenben’s “Dreams of Flying” series. We’re thinking about taking the ground-as-canvas idea a different route by recreating our favorite work of art.
14. Capture the paranormal – William Hundley’s entoptic phenomena photos are fun and fanciful — once you know the secret behind them.
If hard drives had ears, ours would be up to them in jpgs. In 2008, we’re going to pull our favorites out into the real world. And we won’t be storing them in your a snore of a photo album.
15. Make your own photo journal – Keep track of your ’08 resolution successes in your own hand-made photo journal. We’ve got the full instructions.
16. Turn a photo into a coloring book – Put together a super-cool coloring book and set it aside for a rainy day. Or give it to a friend, or your favorite kid.
17. Print two photos as one – Make your frames go further with DIY lenticular images.
18. Create the most romantic photo gift ever – Or just keep your far-flung friends entertained with a mosaic-by-mail.
Back it up. For real
19. Back up back up back up! – Several of our Photojojo brethren have vowed to get organized and to make backups of their backups to ensure that their ’07 photos make it all the way through ’08. That might not be the most exciting New Year’s resolution, but it sounds like a lot more fun than a year of salads and jogging. (No offense, salad-eaters and running enthusiasts.) And you’ll be glad you did it if, like our friend Irene, you accidentally kill your external hard drive.
We’re serious. Please back up.
Drop by the forum and share your plans with us! Oh, and have a Happy New Year!
PHOTO CREDITS: Bubble gum blower by K Maziarz