In the quest for “new year, new me” lies an opportunity to look inward through a literal (and figurative) lens. Photography can help you reflect on the past year and be more present in the year ahead. So how will you get to know yourself and the world around you in the new year?
Photography invites us to become introspective, explore the world around us, and artfully document the beauty of both the extraordinary and the mundane. By taking a moment to pause, observe, and capture the essence of these moments, you can better understand yourself. In addition, by documenting it all, you create an opportunity to take inventory of these moments for reflection and planning.
Whether you are a professional photographer or a human with a smartphone, try adding one—or a few—of these photography reflections to your New Year’s Resolutions.
1. Start a 365 photo diary
Journaling or keeping a diary is a beloved way to check in with yourself, process thoughts and feelings, and keep a private or public record of the daily happenings of your life. A 365 photo diary offers similar benefits.
Set a goal to take one photo each day for the entire year, and file them somewhere. This can be an album on your smartphone or desktop, an app, or by printing them out and pasting them into a journal. You can add brief notes to go with each photo to enrich each entry. For example, express the feelings or sensations of each moment, or describe the abstract close-up you captured.
Be sure to capture the small moments, too:
- A steaming morning coffee on a cold but sunny day
- Your children playing in the backyard
- The flower arrangements at your friend’s wedding
- A perfect sunset on your evening commute
- Your family’s feet in their new matching winter slippers
- The way the afternoon sun hits your kitchen table just right
- A close-up of a texture or design that charmed you
Furthermore, treat each photo like an act of gratitude. Making an effort to file at least one photo each day in your diary will help you bring yourself into the present and take a closer look at the world around you, including the things you don’t always notice.
At the end of the year, you’ll see how much you’ve grown as a person and a photographer. It’s easy to miss in the everyday, so a 365 photo diary will help you see the bigger picture.
2. Set photo goals for the year to nurture your photography skills
The new year can be your year to elevate your photography, whether you’re working with a DSLR or a smartphone. So when you’re planning your goals, take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses.
Do you take lots of pictures of your children but very few of the outdoors? Are you working on mastering motion photos? Dreaming of learning your way around post-production photo editing software like Lightroom? Are you great at floral photography but rarely share your assets?
The new year is a perfect time to set these goals along with benchmarks. You could organize it by monthly benchmarks or simply resolve to dedicate more time to your craft.
Feel free to add some of these ideas to your goals:
- Take a photo editing course or earn a certificate.
- Invest in new equipment such as DSLR lenses, a new smartphone with a great camera, a tripod, a photo printer, or software.
- Set out to take less quick selfies and more intentional photos. Instead of taking a selfie with your front camera, make it a goal to set up your phone on a timer. As a result, this can increase the quality and give a fresh take on people-centered photos.
- Learn to use a new photography tool, such as a drone, lens filter, or time lapse.
Above all, be sure to track your progress. Check in on your photography goals regularly to see where you can improve or if it’s time to move on to the next goal.
3. Use progress photos to showcase your growth
Will you take on any new projects or hobbies this year? Capture each stage of a project or process through photos to appreciate your growth to the fullest potential.
This could be an art project, a new skill, or a hobby you’re determined to dedicate more time to. It can also be a kitchen renovation, a green garden harvest, or a closet makeover. Similarly, could even be life changes that happen over time, such as your children’s milestones or moving into a new home. Take a photo through each stage of your process.
Keep each set of progress photos in a folder (digital or printed). Then, wait until the end of your process to reflect.
Here’s one example of what this might look like:
- A photo of the barren earth
- A photo of yourself planting seeds
- Several photos of your garden growing, from seedlings to adult plants
- A photo of your garden full
- A photo of your family or friends helping you harvest
- Your bounty in a basket
- Your vegetables and herbs being cooked and eaten
4. Make more time to venture outdoors with your camera
Use photography to bring yourself out of your routine and into new environments. You can venture down a different route home, test a new hiking spot, or find a new point of view. Doing this will bring you into the present moment and offer a break from the mundane. Take a visual and mental inventory of your surroundings, seek out the beauty, and capture it.
Also, use the weather as your muse in outdoor photography. You’ll be able to play with different kinds of natural lighting:
- Dusk and dawn
- “Golden hour” (the hour before sunset)
- Direct and indirect light
- Cloudy and clear
- Snow, sleet, or ice
- Heavy or misty rain
- Fog and heavy clouds
- Direct summer sun
Hang on to this list and make it a goal to test each one in your photo shoots for the year.
5. Turn a road trip into a rolling photo op
In addition to making time for outdoor ventures with a camera in your day-to-day life, you can plan a road trip to diversify your outdoor photography portfolio. This could be a day trip to another part of your county, state, or region or a longer trip to somewhere more far-flung. Again, push yourself outside of your normal routine.
If you are a planner, choose to be more spontaneous on this trip. Go with the flow, ask locals for recommendations, and bring your photographer’s eye along to capture these spontaneous moments.
On the other hand, if you’re more free-flowing, try making a plan this time by doing some research in advance of the best flora and fauna of the area and creating a potential list of shots you’d like to capture. Then, use it to guide your trip, and remember to enjoy the essence of your destination as you capture it.
6. Capture special, candid moments
We all know the feeling of, “Wow, I wish I got that on camera.” Make it a goal this year to capture the candid. Never miss a photo op by being ready whenever those moments arise.
You can be ready by having your phone camera open or by having your DSLR pre-set to the aperture and ISO of the environment, with a high shutter speed to capture quick movements. In other words, don’t miss a moment because you were fumbling over the camera.
When the moment comes, you’ll feel it. In addition to the obvious photo opportunities and spontaneous selfies, shoot the organic moments. Capture more laughter, more tranquility, more off-guard smiles, and hugs. Apply this to your everyday life and big events like baby showers, family outings, and weddings.
Moreover, if it helps you prepare, envision what the event or moment will be like ahead of time and imagine the candid memories. Be ready for those moments.
7. Display your photos—the special and the artistic
Share the meaningful moments of your life in your home.
Make it a resolution to turn your photography into stylish home decor. Throughout the year, regularly compile an album of the most special moments and vibrant visuals. Then, whittle them down into a group of photos you’d like to print, display, and style accordingly.
When you’re ready to print your photo decor, you’ll want to choose a trusted brand that’s professional, polished, and easy to use.
Showcase your special moments and hard work throughout the year with Fracture glass prints in your home.