This post maybe a bit premature given that it is only mid-September but Winter and a new year will be upon us quickly and we all know that a new year begins with resolutions. Stop doing this, start doing that. Make a to-do list and check it twice. We all want to be better or grow in some aspects of our life and there is no better time for the Winter months to step back and develop our plan. If your fortunate to live in an area of the country where you can shoot outdoors almost year round that is great but where I live the long Winter months keeps us hibernating inside preventing the camera was leaving the camera bag more often than we would want unless your fortunate enough to have a studio. Clients seem to hibernate as well so it freezes your business activity level just like the ground outside.
In order to help warm up our inspiration and get us prepared for when our activity thaws out, consider the following three areas to focus on.
Review your business plan
If we don't have a plan, we risk the chance of not going anywhere. Our plan doesn't have to be perfect but if you take the time to sit down and simply write our your goals and where you would like to see yourself this year I guarantee that you will move in that direction. I know, we may not all have the same goals to grow a business or to even start one but I believe the passion of photography for all of us is very similar and we all want to be better. No matter at what level we are, a plan can help us get to where we want to go. Pick up a pen and a page and start moving forward.
We have all heard "we can never stop learning" right? Well, as much as I got tired of hearing that from others throughout my life once I picked up a camera it taught me the truth to the statement. Today, there is countless resources for education from websites to trade shows and workshops and the following is only three areas of which I find as my go-to content for learning.
One of my personal favorites to be fed information on a daily basis from various blogs and websites is the NetNewsWire app. Today, most photographers blog and so do the informational sites such as fstoppers and CreativeLive. Using a news feed reader not only brings information to your device right off the press but it also reduces the amount of time to search the content of individual sites.
YouTube is probably already your friend as a resource and there you can find good educational information on just about any entity of the photographic process. A quick tip is to use notifications from your favorite YouTube channels so that you can be alerted when they post their latest content. Another time saver. There are other sites, such as KelbyOne, that offer very informative tutorials for a membership fee but you may find that the price of investment is minimal for the return and advancement of your skills.
Living in the Cincinnati area, most of the top talent in the industry do not schedule work shops in our area but we are very fortunate to have the PhotoProExpo come to town in January each year. This is an incredible three days of education, demonstrations, and inspiration so if you haven't already investigate what could be available for you locally. You might even be surprised to find one day workshops being offered in your area that are affordable and fits your schedule.
We all have heard this one before, right? "Practice, practice, practice". "Practice make perfect". But, as quickly as we dismiss these phrases because we have heard them so many times the simple truth still rings true. Practice is important. None of us want to show up to a session with a client and engage in practicing a new technique or trying something for the first time. Practice for all of us will be different. I have found there is no certain block of time that is the end all prescription of hours needed. We are all unique and need to find our own rhythm and areas that we feel we need to improve on and go for it.
If it is camera settings, take your camera with you wherever you go and just take photos. Even if it is outside and the landscape is dull and grey from the Winter, there are things to shoot and there settings to practice. If it is flash or speed lights you are not comfortable with, there are many objects right in your home that will work for practice. Last year, I made sure I had a mannequin head so that I could improve on lighting the face and finding what I desired in regards to highlights and shadows on the face. Round objects such as apples and oranges make great objects to practice lighting techniques as well.
This list could go on an on but we should all realize that there really is no excuse to not grow and position ourself to move forward when the cold months settle in. Sure, it creates quite the obstacle but with a little thought and perseverance any obstacle can be removed. Or at least we find away around it.
Good luck on your photography journey and I would love to hear what you do to keep yourself and inspired during periods of downtime.
Imagine. Capture. Create.