For me, 2016 was an incredible year as far as photography goes. I have had so many doors open up as a result of what I believe is a lot of hard work and dedication to constantly improving both my photography techniques and my post processing skills. When I look back on the year that was 2016, I have so many great memories of all the amazing people I met in the photography community, the awesome brands and people I have worked with, some of the amazing places I have been but also the knowledge inside of myself that the effort I put in to my own personal development was very much worth it. I am not one to dwell on the past too much though, and I have already set many personal photography aims for the year ahead. So here are my 5 new years photography resolutions for 2017.
1. Continue to grow Project RAWcast
Over the past 3 months or so, myself and Kieran Stone have put a lot of work into developing the Project RAWcast photography podcast. It all started from a conversation after Kieran and I took a pretty epic road trip along the Great Ocean Road together, and since then both him and I have been completely committed to growing it into something special. The support we have had from the photography community has been amazing. We are also incredibly thankful for the support shown from some amazing brands and ongoing sponsors like NiSi Filters Australia, Fstoppers.com, Australian Photography Magazine and Created For Life, with some more big names to be announced throughout 2017 . I absolutely love the technology side of photography and could talk all day to anyone who would listen to me. Kieran is one of Australia’s current best landscape photographers and knows his stuff. For a week just after releasing episode nine of the podcast we were sitting inside the top 5 of all technology podcasts on the worldwide iTunes charts. We have a long, long way to go with our knowledge of audio production, but just like our photography we are both certain we can continue to improve those skills in leaps and bounds, and I can say without a doubt we are both having a lot of fun along the way.
2. Shoot more aerial photography
Over the past 12 months I have been doing quite a lot of drone photography, but have also been extremely lucky to fly in both small planes and helicopters many times over the past few years. Most of the images that I now post to social media fall into one of two categories – long exposure landscapes or aerial landscapes. For quite a while I felt like my photography was becoming quite repetitive in the style of images I was producing – a lot of waterfalls and seascape images shot with tripods and filters to achieve a very similar look and feel to each image. When I looked through my Instagram feed I was noticing that just about every image I was posting had the same shooting and editing techniques applied to them, and also more often than not the same locations were being repeated over and over again. So to expand on that, I purchased a drone and never looked back. I have also been lucky enough to be able to get up into the air both for paid projects and for pleasure in just about every major region I have travelled to this year, and love the challenge of shooting quality images from planes and helicopters. In 2017 I am going to expand on my aerial photography portfolio and already have a few major projects lined up for early in the new year. I am about to start testing some new products from a couple of major drone companies including Polarpro (and one I cannot announce just yet) who have kindly offered their support of my photography, and also have multiple flights lined up for early this year which should allow me to capture some incredible images.
3. Get back into macro photography
Before I started to really take landscape photography seriously, I had a particular passion for macro photography. I really like to photograph things and bring out details that the human eye struggles to notice. Due to an unfortunate incident which led to the damage of the lens that I used for macro photography and it never being replaced, I haven’t been able to continue producing this style of images. In 2017 I am going to get back into macro photography and hopefully utilise the new techniques and post production skills I have learnt over the past 12 months to produce some great images and launch a personal project that I have had in mind for quite some time. I won’t be posting these images to my current social media accounts, but I would definitely like to develop a series of blog posts around the techniques used to capture some unique images. I also like the idea of challenging myself to learn about flash and other lighting methods as I think this is something that would be very useful across all forms of photography.
4. Continue to improve my post processing skills
For quite a long time I believed that using Photoshop for post processing went against the “purity” of photography. I cannot even begin to tell you about the countless debates I took part in which generally ended up going in the direction of Photoshop is used for image manipulation and is bad for photography as a whole. The moment I started to understand how to use Photoshop is the moment my photography started to improve substantially. I have always used Lightroom for post processing and still do for quite a large part of my photography workflow, but Photoshop has added a whole new dimension to my post processing and I now do not know what I would do without it for the styles of image I mostly produce. There is so much to Photoshop and I think quite often the hardest part is to know where to start when using it. This year I am going to continue to study and practise as much as I can about post processing and I hope to sit here next year and be able to see as much, if not more progress in my skills as the last 12 months has delivered.
5. Blog more about photography
If there is one thing I love just as much as producing images, it is talking about photography topics. The Project RAWcast podcast has definitely been a big part of that, but I have also been able to generate quite a lot of traffic both to this website, and to others such as Resource Travel and others through the long form content I have been producing. I have been able to develop some great relationships with travel and photography publications over the past 12 months, and this year I am promising myself that this will continue. As mentioned above already, I love the technological side of photography, and also enjoy passing on my knowledge of marketing strategies to anyone who is genuinely interested in knowing about this. Blogging gives me a great method of sharing both my knowledge and experiences that most social media platforms simply cannot replicate. It is also a great way to continue building a profile on a platform that I have complete control of.
So these are my 5 New Years photography resolutions for 2017. I have many more things I would like to achieve along the way and hope to have as much fun and success as I have had in the process during 2016. I look forwards to sharing many images and stories with anyone who is following along and cannot wait to see what the new year will bring!