10 New Years Resolutions for Any Photographer

By Ash Davies
December 31, 2010 from Blog,Tips and Tricks

‘Photographer’ by jj8rock

A new year is in the loom and throughout the world people are deciding what they want to change for the year ahead. So what should us photographers aim to change? Here are 10 resolutions that can help us all become better photographers in 2011.

1. Never use Auto mode.

One of the first steps involved in improving your photography is taking control of your camera. P mode is great as it automatically controls your exposure but it lets you meddle with white balance, ISO and a great range of other options that can help bring your photos to life. In 2011 I will never use Auto mode.

2.  Shoot more in RAW

I personally believe there is a time and a place for RAW. Lately though, I’ve been neglecting the format. RAW is an uncompressed file format that retains all of your photos information. As a result you can continue to adjust white balance and other camera options when you’re back at your computer, and your photo retains details that otherwise would have been lost in JPEG. In 2011 I want to shoot in RAW more often.

3. Take control of your flash.

Your camera’s built in flash can be a bit unkind sometimes. On Auto Flash mode the burst of light can drain the colour and vibrancy from your photo. Most camera’s these days have multiple flash modes that can help you to use your flash creatively. In 2011, if I’m ever using flash, I’ll consider what flash mode will best do the job and switch it off auto.

4. Take your camera with you more often.

I’m often complaining about the size of my camera. It’s too big and heavy to lug around sometimes, and I often opt for a small point and shoot when I’m on the move because it’s more portable. In 2011, if I’m ever going anywhere even slightly interesting, I’ll take my camera with me. It may be a hassle at times but I’m sure the photos will make up for it.

5. Shoot more in the rain.

I think photographing in the rain has a great deal of potential. Usually people are scared off by the rain and tend not to use their cameras in fear of getting them wet. Heck, most sane people avoid even getting themselves wet. This though means that the world in the rain is an unseen world. Grab a raincoat and a plastic bag or some other form of camera protection, head out in the rain and see what you can capture. In 2011 I won’t let a storm scare me off. I’ll head out and photograph the sights that people wouldn’t normally see.

6. Never use the camera’s Black and White mode.

If you select the black and white mode on your camera, your camera simply desaturates your image and discards colour information. Typically, the end result is a flat image. If you want stunning black and white photographs you need to photograph in colour and then play around with the colours in photoshop or Lightroom. Here you have an astonishing amount of control with your black and white transformation because it retains colour information. This means that if you want the sky to stand out in your black and white photo, by adjusting the hue or saturation of the blues in your photo you can make your sky pop. The photograph will still be black and white but these programs remember your colours to give you full control over lighting, shade and the texture of your subject. In 2011 I will never use the camera’s black and white mode, and I’ll do it all myself in Photoshop or Lightroom.

7. Develop a photography series.

Pick a subject or topic, get out there and create an amazing collection. It could be bikes in the city, people’s hands, the contents of people’s handbags or some other idea I haven’t thought of. A photography series can be a great thing to share and look at, as well as a fascinating insight into the abstract qualities of life. In 2011, I’m going to pick a different, fascinating subject and photograph the hell out of it.

8. Stop the car.

Every now and then while driving along I spot a stunning landscape that just begs to be photographed. I always think ‘that would make a great photo’ but I never stopped for a closer look. In 2011 I’ll be sure to stop at any opportunity, get out of the car and photograph that stunning landscape. Don’t let these opportunities pass you buy.

9. Use filters.

Filters really can transform your photos. Whether it’s a polarised filter or an ND filter, putting another piece of glass in front of your lens can provide you with a world of new opportunities and some pretty stunning results. PhotoGuides can of course tell you all about the three essential filters. In 2011 I’ll invest in ND filters and other sorts as well, and I’ll see just what filters can do for my photos.

10. Don’t forget the people.

As a landscape photography enthusiast it’s often easy to ignore the people and go for the stunning scenes. In 2011 I’m going to try and take more photos of the important people in my life. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, great photos of people are always the ones you’ll cherish and remember. If there’s one resolution that we all take on board, I think it should be this one.


Happy new year everyone! What are your new years resolutions for photography? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

  • Exilist

    Use all your Lenses, if not, sell em.

  • http://www.kevincharlie.com Kevin Charlie

    Shoot more FILM! Film rocks and if you really want to improve your photography, slow down and think about what you’re doing – shoot film. You will become more methodical in your approach to composition, how you read/see light and whether you shoot in black and white or colour, you will see things differently.

  • http://Website(optional) Craighton Miller

    My news year resolution is to get both a 50mm and some type of telephoto, like 55-250mm. I seem to be needing to use a lens like those a lot.

    Also I want to get a proper flash.

    So short and simple I want to prepare myself with the right gear.

  • http://briancareyphotography.com/ Brian Carey

    Lots of great ideas thanks!

  • http://Website(optional) Alan

    For 2011 I plan to shoot that roll of Kodachrome I’ve been holding onto for years. Ooops, too late! :)

    For shooting in the rain, Pentax DSLRs are weather resistant. Match the body with a WR lens and you don’t have to worry about rain, snow or duststorms.

    Great list. Thanks!

  • http://Website(optional) John

    You are right, the number one thing is to take the camera. I have only just started to feel a bit more comfortable taking my Canon with me. I no longer feel so much like a “dork” lugging a big camera.
    The best thing I did was to join a Camera Club.

  • http://www.designstraw.com Design Straw

    my new year resolution is to buy a new telescopic lance and a new Nikon mark 5 with wide angle and macro.

  • Warren

    Thanks for these tips and your other articles. I like #2, I always (when my camera allows) shoot in RAW now, it makes me lightroom/photoshop it a bit before I release the image and the results are always better. Equipment is not the key, getting out and taking photographs is.