10 Nature Photography New Year’s Resolutions for 2023
Do you have any plans for your nature photography as we come into the new year? This is a great time for reflection on your work as a photographer and to look ahead at your upcoming projects.
To get you inspired for the year ahead, here is a list of nature photography New Year’s resolutions:
1. Shoot what’s on your doorstep
It’s so easy these days to get caught up in the excitement of wildlife and nature photography opportunities abroad.
Experiencing a totally different climate and photographing in new conditions, with the opportunity to see species you would never see at home, is thrilling. But, as we come into the new year, challenge yourself to shoot what’s on your doorstep.
There is always nature to be found in your home country, and even quite literally on your doorstep!
If you’re based in a city, look for urban wildlife or signs of nature pushing through the ‘concrete jungle.’
If you’re located more rurally, spend time exploring your local area – even if you feel you’ve already exhausted a location, there will always be something new to see, and a unique way to photograph it.
Challenge: Photograph a place or a species at least once a month that you can only access via walking. See what you can create with your local landscape and wildlife opportunities – you may find a new appreciation for the wild world on your doorstep, and even get inspired for a long-term project!
Read more: Urban Wildlife – How to Photograph Wildlife in the City
2. Find your weaknesses
As nature photographers, we are continuous students. The great thing about this industry is that no matter how long you’ve been at it, there’s always something new to learn!
It’s important to continue to work on your skillset, and to look for ways to improve your work, whatever level you’re at. After all, the only way is up!
The new year is the perfect time to think about the areas you may need to work on in your photography. There may be improvements to be made to your technical skills, but also to your business….
Are you confident with your gear? Do you need more practice with external lighting? Are you up to date on the latest equipment? Are you promoting your work effectively?
Are you reading enough nature photography-inspired content? What could you do to improve the weak links in your workflow?
Challenge: Write a list of 5 aspects of your photography that you feel need improvement, whether technical or business-related.
For each weakness, write at least two ways in which you could improve those areas, no matter how small! Pin that list somewhere you can see it, and check off each task as you complete it.
3. Improve your workflow
It’s time to get organized. No more putting off those tasks you’ve been meaning to get around to all year.
Back up all of your most important files on a hard drive – or two! You may want to look at an automated backup system.
Reorganize your files: make sure everything is in the right place and separated into folders that will help you save time when it comes to editing.
Do this by date, by subject, by client, or by some other means that works for you – but make sure you do it! Having an organized portfolio will help you save time and improve your overall workflow, and ultimately allow you to spend more time out in the field.
Challenge: This month, pull up what’s on your hard drive(s). Is everything where it should be? Can you find all the files you might need to access this year? If not, glue yourself to your desk for a day and get organised. You’ll be thankful for it later!
4. Sign in to social media
While social media is not always a photographer’s favourite place to be, it can be a vital tool. It’s a place to get inspired, to support your fellow nature photography community, and to make new contacts and connections for the future.
It’s also a chance to share your work with a wider audience, and get feedback on your images.
Try not to get hung up on the numbers – they aren’t the important part of this platform. Instead, focus on getting your favourite images out there, and showing kindness and encouragement to others in this industry.
Challenge: Try posting every day for a month. It will boost your engagement, and encourage you to share your images.
While you’re at it, leave a positive comment on another photographer’s page, or share an image you found inspiring. Others will do the same for you, and we all need a confidence boost from time to time!
Read more: How to Choose Your Best Images After a Shoot
5. Get inspired by others
On that note, it’s time to get inspired!
Social media is a great place for this, but have a look for other online communities too, or local camera clubs or photography organizations. Find places where you can both share your own work, and see the work of other people.
There is no shortage of incredible nature photography out there, so make time to find the people that inspire you and your work. And if you like someone’s work, let them know. They might even be willing to offer advice on a particular style or subject matter.
Challenge: Find 5 other nature photographers whose work you feel inspired by. Write down what it is about their work that you like so much.
Is it their editing? Their use of light? Their subject matter? Research and experiment with the ways that you might be able to incorporate these elements into developing your own style.
Read more: How to Beat Photographer’s Block When You’re Stuck for Inspiration
6. Invest in your learning
There are so many ways to learn photography and to improve your skillset nowadays. This website alone is home to thousands of tutorials, packed with helpful information and free to access.
There are eBooks and magazines published around the world, and many other online platforms, including Youtube, that can contribute to your learning process.
It’s always worth taking things a step further too – there are endless workshops out there led by professional photographers that are dedicated to specific skill sets, equipment, and subject matter.
Find one that is run by someone who inspires you, or one that is dedicated to an area of photography that you’d most like hands-on assistance with. In-person learning can be an invaluable experience!
Equally, there are online courses that you can enrol in that allow you to learn and get feedback on your work from home!
Whichever way you choose to learn, investing time, energy and sometimes money in your photography education is always worth it.
Challenge: Read at least one nature photography article a month, and sign up for at least one workshop or online course this year.
7. Set yourself a long-term project
It can be all too easy to meander through the year, shooting subjects when we feel like it, and acting only on those sparks of inspiration. But it’s important to put time and a level of dedication into a body of work.
Approaching a subject repeatedly will allow you to create a better and more creative portfolio of images, and undoubtedly improve your skillset in relation to that subject.
Sometimes, confining yourself to a space can provide you with new inspiration, as you are forced to think outside of the box.
Challenge: Pick a subject – ideally something that is relatively easy for you to access – and plan to dedicate at least one shoot a month to it. (Or more if you can!)
Try to do this throughout the year. If your subject is not available for so long, you may need to adjust the time scale, but set yourself the task of repeatedly returning to shoot the same thing over a period of time, as many times as possible.
Watch your compositions will get more interesting and the overall quality of your images improve!
8. Do something different
If you’re ever feeling stuck in a rut, have a go at trying something new! Attempt a new style, find an unusual subject, try a different editing process, or pick up a new piece of gear you’ve never used before.
Being in this ‘learning space’ can be so refreshing, and give you a new perspective on your own work. You might even find something new you enjoy, and apply it to your future projects!
Challenge: Once a month, do something you’ve never done this year. If you’re a landscape photographer, try shooting wildlife for a day. If you focus on macro photography, look for the bigger picture. Or why not have a go at astrophotography?
Borrow or rent a lens that you’ve never used, or try using filters or additional lighting! You never know what you might like.
9. Print your images
So often, our work sits on hard drives and computers. Sharing it on our websites and across social media channels is great, but it still doesn’t beat seeing your favourite images in print!
It is worth learning this process – especially if you are hoping to sell your prints. And it’s also worth doing for the satisfaction of something tangible after all of the effort you put into getting your images!
Creating a photobook is also a great way to see your images in print, and to showcase a wider range of your work as a hard copy portfolio.
It can encourage you to think about your images as a larger body of work and help inform your style, as well as point out any weaknesses or missing links.
Challenge: Print at least one of your favourite images this year. Create something to hang on your wall, or perhaps even have a go at a photobook!
Read more: Selling Photography Prints – Making Money from Photos
10. Make time for you
Finally, nature photography is hard work, and we all deserve a rest!
Make sure you make time to step away. If you’re feeling burned out, put down your camera for a little while, turn off your social media, and find inspiration at the heart of the natural world, and in other art forms and media.
It’s important to find a balance – whether photography is your career or a hobby, you want to keep your love for it, so don’t be afraid to take a break.
Challenge: Make time once a month to go out in nature and just experience it. Whether you go for a walk or a wild swim, allow yourself to enjoy what the natural world has to offer without looking through your camera lens. Refresh and reset!
Read more: How to Avoid Burnout in Nature Photography
Keep calm and carry on!
New year’s resolutions are easily made, but they can be hard to hold on to. You don’t have to apply all of these suggestions to your practice, but have a go at one or two that inspire you and you may find something that works for you.
The continued journey of learning and growing as a nature photographer has got to be one of the most rewarding things out there.
Remember to set down your camera from time to time and enjoy what got you inspired in the first place, and have a fantastic year filled with wild and wonderful experiences through the lens!