Happy New Year! Self-Improvement, Photography Style

‘Tis the season of self-improvement, and what better way to improve oneself than setting a creative goal like becoming a better photographer!  But ‘better photographer’ is pretty vague, isn’t it?  Sometimes it helps to come at these kinds of things sideways.  We often advise our students to try a project for a set period of time if they feel like their photography is in a rut.  The project should be as detailed as possible, with a finite time and a measurable goal.  You also want your project to be realistic so that it is achievable.  Many shooters were inspired by the ‘Daily Snap’ project Darwin took on at his old blog in 2010 but photographing every day may not be realistic for all of us.  A good project that is very effective but a bit less time-intensive might be to choose a nearby location and visit this spot once a week for several months, making images at different times of day, in various weather and when you are in different moods.  This kind of a project helps you learn to see by challenging you to find something worth photographing even after you become familiar with (and often desensitized to) a location.  It also improves your self-awareness of what motivates you to click the shutter and how your state of mind influences your photography.  By keeping your images, you’ll have a ‘photographic record’ of your evolution through the project…and maybe even an image or two that you are proud of taking and that is worth sharing.

How do you continue to develop your artistic skill as a photographer?

McDougall Church near Morley

© Samantha Chrysanthou

 

McDougall Church near Morley, Alberta

© Samantha Chrysanthou

About the Author

Photographing the incredible beauty of natural things, filming quirky videos, trying new foods with unpronounceable names, curling up with a good book, sharing ideas on how to live lighter on the Earth...these are a few of my favourite things!

14 Comments

  1. Karen Punnett
    January 1, 2012

    After completing the photo a day challenge I have been searching for a new one. I really like the idea of one location at different times and weather. Thanks, I think I just might try that one. Happy New Year.
    Karen Punnett
    aka: picsbymekarenlee

    Reply
    • Samantha
      January 3, 2012

      Hi Karen,

      I’m glad the project has intrigued you…if you do your own, drop us a line and let us know how it is going!

  2. Anne Jutras
    January 1, 2012

    Hey Samantha, this is a fine exercise you’re proposing here, I will try it.

    For me, become a better photographer is to go beyond my limits, not in a technical sense, but more in my self confidence, in my comfort to take photos in a public area, especially when there are lots of people around. 😉

    You wrote an article on that, (cannot remember where…), but it makes me realize that I’m a shy, maybe that’s explain why I choose nature photography. lol

    Happy New Year to you, Samantha, and to Darwin!

    Reply
    • Samantha
      January 3, 2012

      Hello Anne!

      Happy New Year to you as well. I’ll be pleased to see your project unfold in the new year.

  3. Gordon Dalgetty
    January 1, 2012

    “Happy New Year”

    Reply
  4. Olivier Du Tré
    January 1, 2012

    Happy new year guys!
    If you ever go to Morley, don’t get rid of my pinhole camera I hung up there! 😉

    Reply
  5. Craig Taylor
    January 1, 2012

    I recall Darwin doing a Blurb book with images he took of his once-a-month visits to Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. I live 15 minutes away and I still couldn’t do once a month. I guess the lesson is that no matter what kind of project you give yourself you need to make a commitment to it and stick with it to the end.

    A friend of mine just finished doing a two-year picture a day project. Now THAT is commitment. 🙂

    Reply
    • Samantha
      January 3, 2012

      Wow, that is commitment. You’re right, it has to be a priority. Even if something else, like watching tv after work, has to go! A friend of mine from law school–who was first a doctor–said she was never as organized as when she had to do her law final exams with a new baby!

  6. It’s a new day! | Pickled Memories Blog
    January 1, 2012

    […] And this has a differnt spin, go to the same spot over time, doable!http://oopoomoo.com/2012/01/happy-new-year-self-improvement-photography-style/ […]

    Reply
  7. Dee Cresswell
    January 2, 2012

    Great advice Sam. My photography suffered last year (pesky day job!) so I’m determined to do better this year. So far my PaD plan is off to a flying start, but I like the location project idea too and I have a new fave location that would be perfect. It’ll force me to get some exercise too. Love the new website btw. Happy New Year Shooting!

    Reply
    • Samantha
      January 3, 2012

      Hi Dee,

      We’re happy you like the new website! We sure are having fun with it. Let us know how your project is going sometime!

  8. Royce Howland
    January 3, 2012

    I think one thing that helps the commitment to create & improve is to have a good audience for one’s work. Whether the outlet is online through regular blog posts, showing results from scheduled photo meet-ups, commercial projects for clients, pulling together an exhibition, or whatever — nothing focuses attention like an external deadline. 🙂

    This year, one vehicle to help with my creative goals is participating in a bi-weekly photo review group organized by a few friends. (Technically we jumped the gun & started meeting in December.) We’re initially modeling things on Paul Butzi & Ron Hammond’s “Monday Night Manifesto”. I’m looking forward to sharing work in progress in this group… which means I’ll need to regularly produce some prints to bring with me. 🙂
    http://www.butzi.net/articles/manifesto.htm

    Reply
  9. rkpowers
    January 5, 2012

    I haven’t yet read the entire blog. but my answer (so far) to the last line is

    “You keep lookin’…you keep letting yourself be surprised'”!

    Reply
  10. Alex Khoo
    January 29, 2012

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!

    Reply

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