Welcome to 2022! A new year has arrived and it’s a great time to reflect on your own photography and to think about what the future might bring.
New Year’s resolutions can be a bit tackey, we all know, but self-evaluation is an important aspect of growth. I’m guessing for most reading this, photography is your passion and a major driving influence in your life.
And if you’re like me, you want to be the best photographer you can be – you want to visit new places, learn as much as possible, and inspire others with your work.
Personally, I’m thinking towards 2022 and evaluating what I want to accomplish and/or experience. I put together a list of things that I’ve been thinking about, and you may find the list below to help give you some direction and considerations for the New Year – call them the New Year’s resolutions for nature photographers.
Plan a Trip – Get Out There!
One of my favorite things about the photographic process is planning trips. I love researching new locations and unearthing new spots at locations that I’ve been to prior. Obviously, the best way to improve your photography is to get out there and shoot. And the best way to get out there is to plan a new trip.
It’s nice having something on the schedule, something to look forward to and focus on. It can be a great driving force to keep you motivated and involved with photography, even when you’re not out shooting or haven’t been for a while. It’s fun to do research, whether it’s on the best locations in an area or the best place to view wildlife during a certain.
So, for the New Year, get something on your schedule, something you can look forward to.
Improve your Post-Processing
We say it all the time in blogs and on trips – there’s more to a great image than just pressing the shutter. Ninety-five percent of a great shot takes place in the field, but the 5% of post-production is a BIG 5%.
Committing to taking a step forward with your processing is difficult. As photographers, we love being outside, exploring, taking in the fresh air, so sitting at a computer and battling with programs to edit can be discouraging. But, trust me, putting in the time with processing programs like Lightroom and Photoshop will pay dividends for the quality of your work.
I think of it as a multi-step process. First, you need to break the learning curves of each program (specifically Lightroom and Photoshop), which takes time and frustration. Once you learn the programs, you can focus on using the tools to achieve your creative vision.
Winter can be a good time to dedicate some time to learning too. Cold day? Bottle up inside and take a few hours here and there to work through the programs. I consider myself well-versed in processing, but there’s always something to learn!
Try Something New (gear, print, lens)
Self-explanatory, but try something new in the medium. Too often we get set in our comforts and that can limit creativity and the overall scope of work.
For myself, I shoot way too much with an ultra-wide angle. I don’t spend enough time using a telephoto lens to seek out patterns and tighter shots. That’s something I want to do more of this year. I love those wide landscapes, but I want to expand my work.
For others, it might be something different. Maybe you’ve never printed your work before, maybe there’s a lens out there that you’d like to try, maybe a specific genre you’d like to test, maybe a new website.
In 2022, do it. Try something new.
In 2021, I expanded my horizons with videography and drones for video/stills. Both things were very unknown to me, but they’ve become things that I love to do now and they’ve helped me grow as an artist/creator.
There’s a lot of talk about G.A.S.(gear acquisition syndrome). Many photographers get frustrated because there’s a point where new gear means relatively little to your photography output. They’d rather have the discussion on image quality instead of gear quality (rightfully so).
For instance, upgrading from a Canon 5D Mark IV to a Canon R5 doesn’t really mean that much. Yes, the R5 is a better camera in many ways and does enable a photographer to do things that perhaps the 5D Mark IV cannot. But, the most important thing is who’s behind the camera. Photographers have been creating compelling photographs for a long time. And trust me, film cameras weren’t able to shoot at 30 fps.
With that being said, I love gear. I love reading about it, seeing new features, etc. And if you want to buy a new camera, just because, or because you want the latest/greatest features – do it. I think it keeps you invested in your passion. It brings excitement, and maybe that new gear inspires you to take a trip somewhere or to learn a new technique.
So, know that gear isn’t nearly as important as the time you put into learning photography, but new gear isn’t a bad thing either. If it comes down to a trip or gear, I’m picking a trip every time. But, if you’re able to swing some new gear in 2022 – pull the trigger.
Master Your Craft – Expand Your Passion
This is more of a daily resolution versus a year-long resolution. It’s something I focus on a lot, and I think all photographers should do the same. Every day, try to become the best photographer you can be. We’re all at different skill levels, with different interests, and different goals. But, focus on yourself and don’t worry about others.
I constantly try to digest info related to photography. I read articles, watch videos, browse work from my peers, and research new locations. I’m always trying to do something to make myself the best photographer that I can be. Some of those things seem small, but they all add up.
Photography is my passion. I can tell you from experience that constantly trying to improve your own craft will help your passion grow. Sometimes it feels like progress is painstakingly slow but I’d encourage you to keep at it. Be the best photographer you can be in 2022, even if that just means doing something small each day.
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.
Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.
As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.
You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com