It’s that time of year—when everyone begins their resolutions for the new year. Maybe it’s to eat healthier (for us that means upping our consumption of dark chocolate), travel more, or learn a second language. We asked our employees what their 2016 resolutions are and, of course, they revolve around the love of photography. Are any of these resolutions on your “to-do list” this year?
1. Family matters.
No matter how much we love them, for some reason we love to take photos of other places, things, and people (and food) instead of family. Last year, a group of six SmugMug employees made a pact to document the lives of their families. The rules were simple: one photo once a week, honest and unfiltered. Not only did they succeed, but they plan on continuing the project in 2016. You can check it out at Family Project.
No family living near by? Get creative with Facetime or Skype and take photos while conversing or have some fun with Photoshop and screencaptures. You can also adopt a grandparent at a local retirement home or volunteer at a local animal shelter and take photos of your new wolf pack so they can find a furr-ever home. As Mr. Feeny said, you don’t have to be blood to be family.
2. Go for the gold.
So you’ve been working on your craft for awhile, and you think it’s darn good (and it is!). But maybe you get a hint of intimidation when you think of entering a photo contest and all the amazing competition you could be up against. Well, what your mom told you is true—the answer is always “no” if you don’t try! We believe in you; go out and kick some butt and enter a few contests with confidence! Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of 2016 photo contests to get you started. And when you win that gold medal please let us know!
3. Make it official.
Despite the relative ease of filing a registration for copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, many photographers procrastinate. But with the agency now accepting e-registrations, it can’t get much simpler (a government miracle!). And don’t despair—you don’t need to register each photo individually! You can submit a group registration of either published or unpublished works (but you can’t mix the two—and they need to be from the same calendar year). For all the details check out their Circular on Pictorial Works.
Is copyright law confusing for you in general? Don’t worry, U.S. copyright law protects your works whether they’re registered or not. But registering your work is important if you ever find yourself going to court over an infringement. If you have lots of questions, the U.S. Copyright Office is more than happy to answer them for ya’.
4. Tag like you mean it.
Keywording photos can seem like a beast when you’re getting started, but luckily after a little love and time upfront, it becomes a much faster process. Think of all that time spent looking for “that photo” and let that light the fire under your butt! As an added bonus: it’ll significantly increase the possibility of your photos being discovered by others (also called SEO). After all, we shoot to share. Plus, when you add keywords you can easily create a ton of cool features on your site, such as creating galleries based on keywords, generating a map of all your photo locations (a favorite of world travelers), and much more. So what are you waiting for? Release the Kraken (of keywords)!
5. Click more.
You don’t have to go on an epic adventure, have a party, get up early for a sunrise on the beach, or rent smoke machines and flame throwers to take more and better photos. All you need is a little challenge to get your creative juices flowing. For 2016 why not give yourself a daily creative photo challenge? Make it as complicated or as easy as you like. One day shoot something green. Another day take a photo by placing your camera on the ground. The next day take a photo holding the camera above your head facing behind you. The next day photograph a sound. Giving yourself a little push every day can help get you out of your comfort zone and into the creative zone.