10 Tips for Jumpstarting Your Photography in 2014

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A new year brings with it a lot of New Year’s resolutions, and it’s no less so with photographers. And though we are always well intentioned, we can easily let life get the better of us. However, keeping our commitments to ourselves doesn’t have to be so difficult or challenging as long as we have some idea of how to achieve our photographic goals. Here are a few suggestions that may help you to be more creative and productive in 2014.

Schedule Time for Your Photography

Make a commitment to regularly schedule time for your photography. It can be once a week, bi-weekly, even monthly. Mark it on your calendar and stay as committed to it as you would to a deadline at work, a doctor’s appointment or an outing with the kids.

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Find a Photo Buddy

Having someone to share your passion with helps to both inspire us as well as make us accountable. Whether it’s someone in your city or online, this person can help encourage you to go out and shoot and make your next best photograph.

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Take a Walk

Finding time for photography can be a challenge with our busy schedules, but it’s not impossible. Take a 15-minute walk as part of your lunch break and take a camera with you. It can be your DSLR or just your smartphone, but get into the practice of seeing and making images. You’ll be amazed at what you might find.

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Go to the Library or Bookstore

Nothing can be more inspiring than looking at great work. Visit your local library and bookstore and grab several monographs of photography you would like to practice. Spend an hour slowly perusing through the pages and really take in each photograph. Decipher how these photographers used light, composition and contrast to create their photographs and think how you can apply the same to your own images.

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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Spend time shooting with your least used focal length or lens. If you usually shoot at a normal focal length, spend time just shooting with a wide-angle or a telephoto focal length. Though it may be uncomfortable, the challenge will help you to develop new ways of seeing.

Editor’s note: please also refer to our Useful Photography Tip on switching lenses every so often.

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Attend a Photowalk or Workshop

A group activity such as a photowalk or a workshop not only helps us to get out and shoot, but it also provides a great opportunity to be around other photographers. Enjoy the time to make photographs, learn, and most importantly make friends who will help inspire and encourage your photography long after the official event is over.

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Make Prints

Though we are often quite happy to look at our images on a computer, there is a special feeling that comes along with actually seeing our best photographs on paper. Whether you print using your home printer or use a local or online lab, a print allows us to feel really excited about the photographs and can help spur us to produce more.

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Provide Feedback to Others

When you are browsing through images on Facebook, Flickr, Google+, 500px and other social media, make a comment on the images you like and explain why. Go beyond, “great capture” and express what it is about the composition or the lighting that makes the image work for you. It will help you to develop the skill of analyzing photographs, but may also help you to nurture a relationship with another photographer.

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Photograph at Home

You don’t have to leave your home in order to make good photographs. Grab your camera and hunt for the light and see how it reveals the everyday elements in your environment. Evaluate how the light changes during the course of the day and how it changes the appearance of your space and all the elements in it.

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Always Carry a Camera

It’s easier to make images at any time of the day if you always have a camera with you. Make it a habit to take your camera phone, a compact camera, or even your DSLR everywhere with you. So when you see something you can take a quick snap. Invest every waking hour with the possibility of a photograph.

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