10 New Year’s Resolutions…for Photography

It’s the thing to do, isn’t it? A new year comes around and everyone starts talking about their New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs), so you feel compelled to make some for yourself. After all, you don’t want to be the fool who’s decided not to change anything during the coming year.

Some studies seem to show it’s worthwhile setting yourself a list of NYRs. After 6 months, 46% of those who had an NYR were still toughing it out, versus only 4% of those who decided to make a change in their life, but not as part of an NYR.

“You need to specifically state what it is you need to do in order to accomplish your goals.”

The main reason people fail their NYRs, or indeed any resolution, is that they do not properly state their goals. It’s not enough to say I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to work harder, I’m going to improve my relationship with my siblings. No, those are not concrete goals, they are just generalities; vague, lacking in determination, they are destined for failure. You need to specifically state what it is you need to do in order to accomplish your goals. You need to quantify and qualify. For example, the previous resolutions would be substituted with these: I’m going to lose 15 lbs of fat, I’m going to increase my sales by 5%, I’m going to call my siblings at least once a week and visit them at least once a month.

Having goals that you can quantify and/or qualify will make you more likely to reach them as your progress towards success is measurable. When you lose 7.5 lbs you know you’re half way there; if come June your sales are up by 3% you can be almost sure of surpassing your goal if you keep on going. Does it make sense? It does to me, which is why I’m setting up my Photography NYRs clearly and concisely.

Another tip for success: Make yourself accountable. If you tell everyone of your resolutions you are much more likely to succeed. You can justify failing to yourself, but can you explain to all your friends and family that you’re a loser because you couldn’t keep in touch with your sister once a week?

One of my goals for 2009 is to improve my photography (isn’t everybody’s?). Following my own advice, I am setting clear individual goals for myself that will help me improve in different ways, however small. And I’m letting every reader of this blog know what they are. If I fail, I’ll have to explain to you all why. That would be a bit embarrassing, which is why I’m not planning to fail 🙂

Without further ado, I present to you my 10 New Year’s Photography Resolutions, in no particular order:

  1. I will process my RAW files within 5 days of shooting
  2. I will shoot at least 1 roll of film every 6 weeks
  3. I will buy no more than 5 lenses in 2009 (boy is this one going to be tough…)
  4. When I publish Part 1 in a multipart series of articles, I will not take more than 1 week to post Part 2
  5. I will post at least twice a week on this blog
  6. I will put up my own website
  7. I will sell all my redundant and unused gear
  8. I will calibrate my monitor
  9. I will go out shooting at least once every weekend
  10. I will stop laughing at Leica owners

So what are you going to do this year to improve your photography?

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11 Responses to “10 New Year’s Resolutions…for Photography”

  1. You are brave ! 🙂

  2. Your goals are ambitious and I think they can be quite some achievable aims though.

    The one goal that interests me is the rule to promptly add Part II and III to a multiple series. This will keep readers interested 🙂

  3. Well, I don’t know about a top 10 list, but let me see what I can come up with.
    1) Learn to use the equipment I already have to its fullest.
    2) Set a budget on how much money to spend on Photography this year and stick to it.. Not like years past.
    3) Do more street shooting by increasing my daily walks from 1-2 miles to about 3-4
    4) Do some night shooting.
    5) Use the 4 lenses that I have never even taken out of the box.
    6) Use the 645 system I bought a few months ago, that I have yet to use.
    7) Learn to develop my own film
    8) Rebuild my website
    9) Shoot more birds, not just ducks
    10) Get glasses or eye surgery

  4. Mis, maybe you should restate #3 to buy no more than 5 more lenses than you sell.

    Those are all really good resolutions. My list could probably be obtained with selecting merging of your list and Javier’s. I am seriously contemplating launching a photo-related blog of my own, I guess I should post resolutions of this kind there.

  5. Ewan O'Sullivan Says:

    I think #3 and #7 are going to be by far the toughest for you – I’ll be interested to see what your definitions of “redundant” and “unused” are 🙂
    #2 I should probably adopt myself…

  6. Andrew, you’re already doing a 365 project, a photo blog is peanuts compared to that (I think).

    Javier, print them out and put them somewhere that you will see every day!

    Ewan, ha ha ha, you have so little faith in me… :-p

  7. Mis, Project 365 is done shooting as of the new year (thank god), though one of my resolutions is to *finish* it by posting the images I took but never posted. I have about 100 that didn’t get tagged/pp’ed/posted. See your resolutions #’s 1 and 5.

  8. This is a tough assignment. I spend way to much money on everything, not just cameras & lenses – and part of my overall new year resolution is to better track my expenditures to really know what my monthly budget is, instead of being very nonchalent with my shopping with only extremely few balance checks… (yes – this can be problematic)

    So – having this thought in mind – I would like to say my photographic goals for the year would be:

    1) to define a map of what lenses are really important to me and ones that are less so; go through my collection and revisit all my lenses to decide which ones can ‘disappear’ (either permanently or through lending out to others) and buy only lenses that fit my new budget plan.

    2) use my film cameras more regularly – shoot a roll of film (at least one per month)

    3) set up a monthly photographic learning project, each month. – Try out new techniques, lighting, filters, etc.

    4) Lens of the week – to set one lens on the camera per week – and stick with it. (write a lens – pros and cons analysis before changing lenses?)

    5) do more regular post processing.

    • Rosey, #4 is a good one; it will help you figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your lenses. Keeping track of your photography expenditures is crucial, whether you can afford it or not.

  9. My resolution is to buy NO lenses and camera equipment in 2009…It’s Feb and I’ve got the shakes.

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