New Years Resolutions for Photographers

30 Dec

It’s that time of year… The holidays are slowly disappearing in the rearview, but we’re still buzzing from the fun, festivity and egg nog. Why not harness those positive vibes and make a New Years resolution for your business?

In the spirit of simplicity (for the upcoming 1.1.11) we’ve compiled a few ideas to help you streamline your business, become more productive and get more of your life back!

Get it together

Unless you’re über efficient, or some kind of Rainman-esque genius, keeping all the details from your weddings, portraits and events is a daunting task. Emails, texts, facebook messages, voice mails, contracts, tweets, notes written on scraps of paper… it’s a lot to remember and document. And recalling specific info on the fly – like names, contact info, dates, locations, personal details, payment schedules – is almost impossible without some serious time and effort.

While it would be amazing to hire a studio manager to take charge, it’s not a realistic option for many. There are, however, a few excellent online tools out there that can become your virtual studio manager – by helping you get organized and stay on track! Here’s a few we like:

Trim the fat

We’re not talking fitness, people! We mean your camera bags, drawers, cabinets and storage closets. Are they cluttered with old gear you don’t use, random gadgets you picked up years ago or extraneous batteries and CF card holders?

If you have this (or more!) taking up space it’s time to declutter and reap the benefits! Clear out what you don’t need or use. If there’s gear or gadgets that haven’t seen the light of day in months or years – get rid of them!

Donate to charity or offer them up to needy photographers and budding newbies. Post gear you want to sell on craigslist, ebay, usedcamerabuyer or bring it to your local camera shop. Calumet buys back gear in exchange for store credit, so you can turn that old stuff into new gear you’ve had your eye on!

Learn a thing or two

Whether it’s learning more about technology, lighting, posing, marketing, new software, new hardware, album design, social media trends, wedding trends, blogging or one of many other things photographers need to keep on top of, there are many ways to grow creatively and professionally. One of the biggest benefits, however, is streamlining those processes.

Work towards mastering skills you aren’t the best or most efficient at. Though it may sound counter-intuitive to spend time in order to save it, in the end it can make your life easier. Perfect your images inside the camera; learn new software to make retouching and editing more efficient; get your lighting just right and experiment with new products or techniques; find an untapped market, or reach new clients and partners through social media. Consider focusing on one and spend a few hours each month to improve your ability in that area. Here are some resources for classes, workshops and conferences that might get you on track:

Photography Training:
The B School
Carla Ten Eyck Workshops
Cliff Mautner Photography Bootcamp
life {as an artform}
One-2-One Workshops
The Roots Workshop

Software Training:
Jared Platt Workshops
Kelby Training
Lynda.com

Conferences and Tradeshows:
PND PhotoPlus Expo
PhotoShop World Conference & Expo
WPPI Conference and Tradeshow

Get a makeover

Remember that old saying “Messy room, messy head?” There’s a bit of wisdom in it – after all, clutter can suck the time, inspiration and productivity out of your day.

The thing is, cleaning isn’t really an exciting activity. So, why not have an office makeover instead? It’s an instantly fun, creative project!

Real Simple has great tips for organizing, as well as redecorating your home office, that are sure to get you motivated.

Unclutterer can give you a daily dose of organizational enlightenment, if you want to ease into things.

Even if you do a little cleaning, don’t have a boatload to spend, but are a bit crafty, you could make some fun stuff to spruce up the place and get your creative juices flowing! DesignSponge has tons of cool, DIY projects.

Make new friends

Being a photographer is awesome! You meet lots of cool people, get hired to be super creative, snap a bunch of photos and voilà – it’s done!

Well, that last point may be a bit misleading. Back here in reality, hours of post production takes up a lot of our time – and we only have so much to go around. Many photographers today have full-time jobs, side gigs, children, families, volunteer projects and other important obligations. By outsourcing your photo editing to a local artist or professional post production company, you get more of your life back…as well as your sanity!

Now, we realize this may be a sticky subject for some. It’s so easy to say “It’s just a few hundred (or thousand!) images – I can handle it.”I just don’t think anyone else can do it the way I can.“I save money if I do it myself.” Don’t be scared – you can do it! These professionals are exactly that – pro’s – and many can do it better, and faster – which makes YOU look good! Many companies offer a dozen or so sample images free. So try them out! What do you have to lose? Better yet, what do you have to gain?

Below are a few tips on teaming-up and finding the right person for the job.

Local graphic artists and fellow photographers

There are many highly qualified artists in your area who can lend a hand. You just have to find them. Post a quick message on facebook. Check out craigslist posts or list one of your own. Email close friends and colleagues who might know other creatives. Look to local art schools or colleges and universities with design and photography programs. With a little networking and searching around, you can sniff them out!

Online post production companies

Many professional digital media post production companies have popped-up in recent years (some started by photographers who related to being overwhelmed by editing) that offer a wide variety of services like rough editing, RAW color processing, RAW to JPG conversion, retouching, customized artistic editing, proofing, synching images, archiving and more! Here are a few with proven track records:

Find enlightenment

It’s so easy to get into a rut. Part of that can be a good thing – it means you have perfected and defined your style – but every artist needs a pick-me-up to keep their work fresh. In an industry where technology changes by the minute, there are tons of resources out there to help you stay on the cutting edge with your images and challenge your muses. Here are a ways to get inspired:

If you want to keep it simple:

• Subscribe to a photography magazine like Aperture, American Photo, fStop, Rangefinder, B&W, Popular Photography, PDN or Shutterbug and get a monthly dose of inspiration delivered right to your door.

• Subscribe to a magazine or publication of interest to your clientele or personal photographic style – in categories like fashion, fine art, travel, the outdoors – to think a bit more outside the box.

• Visit local art museums and galleries.

• Spend a few minutes each day looking at a photographer’s blog that you really love to see how their work is evolving.

• Get involved in your photography community (Photo Betties, anyone?) to network, collaborate and grow.

Take it to the next level and resolve to:

• Master a new technique (such as HDR imaging, moving pictures, creative lighting effects, etc.)

• Introduce a new sense of style to your repertoire.

• Invest in a new set of actions and see how your post-production vision changes.

• Second shoot for a photographer with whom you’ve never worked before to see how their approach can motivate you.

• Attend at least one workshop this year, either online or in person.

Get some help

When you try to do it all, you inevitably can’t.

If you haven’t yet partnered with a professional hosting company like Pictage, Collages, Zenfolio, SmugMug, Bay Photo or PickPic, you could really be missing out. These companies have customizable galleries that display your images with class; fulfill orders so you don’t have to deal with credit cards, shipping and emailing back and forth; keep an online email database of all visitors to your galleries; offer valuable cloud storage as back-up in case disaster strikes and help market your work with promotions and gift credits geared towards guests to the website. Not to mention less stress, more free time and added productivity.

So that’s our take on tackling the New Year with a plan! What’s yours? Answer the poll at the top of the page, or post a comment to share how you’re resolving to improve or enhance your photography business in 2011. Don’t forget to include additional tips, ideas, links – whatever inspires you!

And whatever your resolution, we hope that 2011 develops into a magical, exciting new year!

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3 Responses to “New Years Resolutions for Photographers”

  1. Brittany Ostrov January 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    My new years resolution for 2011 is not only to grow my business but to build my network of other photographers. It is so important to build a great network because you can always bounce ideas off one another and help each other out. I want to be known in the photography community as someone who is greatly involved and is a good resource!

  2. Natalie January 5, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    My new years resolution is to meet more photographers! So often I feel stuck behind my computer editing or running from one shoot to the next – it’s a busy life, but having friends to share ideas and have fun with is so incredibly important! In two words: networking & friendship!

  3. hdipiazza January 5, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Hey ladies! I totally agree – networking is definitely key! One of my biggest resolutions for 2011, which I just realized last night accidentally – is that I want to work on reconnecting. With vendors, clients, other photographers, and in a larger sense with life outside of work, with my family and friends, and with myself in a larger, creative sense.

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