Dear Holy Father, who art in Heaven, please help us get our butts in gear this year. We are photographers – artists, and as such, we are not always organized. We request the work ethic of Mrs. Beyoncé Knowles, the creative risk-taking of Solange, the blunt force determination of Tina, and the wisdom to know when to wield each. (For some real world help, check out these recommended resolutions.)
Clean Your Gear
It’s astounding how many photographers forget to clean their gear. Just grab a lens cloth and a bit of lens cleaner, for goodness sake! Use circular movements to clear spots of gunk off your lens. Swipe a Q-tip in all the crevices of your camera and a blower to quickly and easily remove spots of dust that gather inside the body. Take everything out of your camera bag. Yes, dump it! Pick out all the abandoned memory cards, pieces of lint, lost straps and accessories. Organize it, and put it back. No more excuses.
Collaborate With Other Photographers
Photography, like many art forms, suffers from director syndrome. We want total control of our final product, and so we shrink away from working with other artists. This is a trap! Collaborating with other photographers is one of the best ways to improve your work. Not only do other photographers have different skills and techniques to learn from (and different gear that you can use if you’re nice), but working together helps you reassess and reevaluate your own style.
Plan Long-Term Projects
Inspiration is 1% of art. The other 99% is hard work. Plan ahead. Putting together long-term projects will help you keep direction and momentum when inspiration falls flat. The year is long. Set goals.
Organize Your Files
If you don’t have a system for organizing files on your computer, get one. Find all your photos. This is easier said than done, as images can end up anywhere from downloads to desktop. Next, make a root folder for your images. Name it ‘Photos,’ ‘Pictures,’ ‘Images,’ ‘Pixel Party’ – up to you. Then, make folders within that folder to delineate years. After years, organize by major events and/or months. Dump your photos accordingly. It will take more time than anyone wants to spend, but once it’s done, it’s done.
Backup Your Photos on a Second Hard Drive
We cannot stress this one enough. Hard drives fail. Power surges happen. Flash floods occur on the way to the library, and your flimsy backpack will soak through. Backup hard drives are a lot less expensive than they once were, and the peace of mind is worth it.
Plan for the Gear You Want, But Use the Gear You’ve Got
It’s easy to think, “I could do that if I had the right gear.” Well, maybe you could. Make a game plan to save up for two or three new accessories to improve your craft in the New Year, but don’t let that stop you from working with what you already have! Envy is the enemy of creativity. Instead of saying, “I could do that, if…” try to do what you can with what you have.