A Photographer’s Resolution: Do More By Doing Less

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New Year's ResolutionPhoto by Eustaquio Santimano, on Flickr

For 2012, I’m taking a different approach to the business of my photography: doing less work, but in the right areas.

You’ve probably heard many variations of this – “time management” and the art of making the most out of your day. In the past year I’ve taken on many different projects with my photography, and in retrospect I’m happy I went in so many directions. It taught me what’s worth my time, and what should fall by the wayside. For 2012, I think it’s time to take what I’ve learned and only invest in things that yield the results I want.

Social media is a good example. How can someone possibly work full time, shoot on the weekends, and then invest hours of networking on Twitter, Facebook, and G+? As daunting as it may seem, you can always find time to balance your life and your photography – the key is spending your time wisely. More time spent on being productive on social sites…even if it’s just flipping through the recent work of a talented photographer for inspiration instead of redundant news…will yield incredible results for your work – or at the very least, get you brainstorming.

Also, keep this important fact in mind – the most successful photographs are the ones that people haven’t seen before. This means that the creative genius behind it most likely went above and beyond what the average photographer would do. Simply put, the more time you invest in your photography, the greater the output.

If you’re at a point in your photography where you’ve mastered the technical aspects of your camera (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.), then try spending more time planning a shoot that will have an incredible impact. Get models, find a location, and rent the gear you need to create the image you want. Wake up at 3am for that incredible mountain sunrise that few photographers are willing to capture.

In short, the more effort you put into your images, the more satisfaction you’ll have with your own work – and the recognition you want will come automatically.

Another fantastic way to prioritize your time is to filter what kind of information you want to be exposed to. Go through your emails and unsubscribe to everything that you don’t absolutely need, and unlike fan pages that flood your feed with redundant or pointless news. You’d be surprised how you can lose hours going through updates that stemmed from an email you don’t even need to receive in the first place.

Remember – these are your incoming streams of information, so you decide what it consists of. If you want to think photography, replace your subscriptions, Likes, and Follows with sources that give you high quality info – and delete the distracting ones. Your time is valuable, so decide where you spend it and if it’s worth it.

TIP: Google+ is an absolute gold mine for photographers of all levels – hobbyists who want to get inspired, or professionals who want to connect with other industry leaders on a personal basis.

By surrounding yourself with content that inspires you – not distract you – your level of creativity will skyrocket.

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  1. Nigel

    Couldn’t agree more. In all things, less is usually more. In photography, paying attention to the composition first and technicalities second, is imperative.

    • Reply
  2. Libby

    The social media stuff was fun in the beginning, not so much anymore. It’s getting harder and harder to sift through the noise. I often wonder if the multiple per day posters have time to do anything else.

    A shooter I know is currently going through a crisis of sorts. He’s so worried about all the tweeting etc he hasn’t picked up a camera in two weeks. And while I myself am guilty of not shooting enough for personal projects, at least I find other pursuits more important than the time sucking black hole that is social media. I finally did have the common sense to put stuff into an RSS reader, and even there it’s become a bit overwhelming, so I’ll do some cutting back by culling some feeds.

    Realizing good value for time spent is the most important tip. Thanks for posting and Happy New Year.

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  3. David Wahlman

    Thanks for the article Chris! It’s a good reminder of how easy it can be to do something that seem’s beneficial, but really isn’t that productive. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
  4. Fred Dakin

    I think this article is directed to me who has been spending too much time on wasteful topics. I am culling again this eeek so this is a very timely article. Last week I was unsubscribling stuff, this week, deleting back emails that really don’t need to be read again or answered ..
    thanks,

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