Holiday Tips for Professional Photographers

Holiday Tips for Professional Photographers

Well, it's that time again; we're nearing the end of another year, which means that for most photographers, business out in the field is slowing down, and computer work is taking over as the main priority. This time of year is when we need to shift our focus from capturing shots to reviewing the work we’ve done throughout the year and planning the new year ahead. So, let's go over a few of the most important considerations when it comes to mapping out the holiday season so that we can make sure we capture those precious holiday moments in a meaningful and memorable way.
We first need to come up with a plan for the new year, and that’s an important task that shouldn’t be rushed. We need to take at least one full day to determine what we want to accomplish in 2022. Now, that doesn't mean we need to labor day and night for the next two weeks. In fact, taking too much time can lead to us overthinking things. Just set aside one day, shut your phone off and commit to mapping out the holiday season ahead.
It always starts with Creating a SWOT analysis, which in case you don't know, stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This type of critical analysis is what separates the wheat from the chaff and forces us to take an honest look at what’s been good, what’s been bad, and what’s been downright ugly for us this year. It’s what lets us recognize what’s working, what isn’t and make the necessary adjustments so that we can take ourselves to the next level both personally and professionally.
When we allow ourselves to recognize and acknowledge the bad, we can implement the required changes and fix issues that have crept into our work. The first time you try this, you may find that you end up with a huge list of strengths and only a small handful of weaknesses; this is a sure-fire sign that something is very wrong. We need to focus more on what’s not working rather than what is. Be uncompromising. Hold yourself to a higher standard; dare to be great.
Tear down everything you’ve built up over the year so that you can rebuild anew in the year ahead. This is how we improve; this is how we go from bad to good to great. This is what world-class professionals do regardless of their vocation. It can be painful; it can be daunting, tiresome, and at times even depressing. It’s not about making yourself feel good; it’s about making yourself a better photographer. When done correctly, you should feel like you're hovering right on the brink of destruction, staring at a void of unknowing in front of you; on the other side of this void is success, recognition, and excellence. Inspire your clients with studio samples>

Now, just because the weather is changing, it doesn't mean we need to isolate ourselves indoors and confine ourselves to months of being stuck inside. Some of the best shots are those that nature offers up in the colder winter months. Whether you decide to take a stroll in the woods with your furry friend, get outside and take advantage of the ample opportunities to participate in your favorite winter sports and activities, or simply search for trees that exude the essence of the spirit of the season — you’ll have countless reasons to take out your camera and put yourself to the test.
If you are lucky enough to be in an area where there is seasonal snowfall, then rejoice; it means that the whole area is a blank canvas just waiting for the stroke of your paintbrush, the snap of your lens; your own personal interpretation of what it means to be out in nature at this time of year.
Here is a pro-tip that takes many people years to learn: capturing falling snow can be quite tricky but can also lead to some of the very best winter shots. You’ll be most successful by avoiding any direct sunlight; instead, try to capture peripheral light, allowing your lens to show the distant winter sun indirectly.
Also, focusing on a vibrant object, such as a jacket or a sled, for example, can bring much more lifelike contrast to your photos, causing them to seem more vivid, alive, and real. Remember, after you’ve captured your snowy winter shots, you can always bump up the contrast in post-production to bring out the whites and artificially achieve the effect of direct sunlight. Shooting in the winter is hard, but it’s well worth the effort; don’t make things any harder than they need to be, give yourself the freedom to capture what your eye desires and use your technical prowess with the computer to tweak things and make them just the way you want.

Re-Inspire yourself. This is of the utmost importance at this time of year because it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of feeling overworked and burnt out. Ask yourself, "what am I doing to keep my creative juices flowing?" "How can I bring back the creative spark I had when I captured my best shots this year?" Take the time to allow yourself to separate yourself from the technical side of your work and remember why you chose to be a photographer in the first place. By rekindling your love for the art of photography, you will be inspired to improve, and your work will thank you for it moving forward.
On those days when it’s truly too cold to be outside, don’t force yourself to get out there. You need to feel inspired to be in the field, you need to want to be out there, or your work will feel compelled, uninspired, and unnatural. Instead, spend those days inside, cozied up next to your computer with a hot cocoa, studying new lighting, posing, and compositional techniques on your own personal family photos. Your family memories deserve to be in print >

Take an online course, read new materials, review the work of your favorite photographers to see what they've been up to this year so that you can incorporate their techniques into your own work. Remember, it's okay to borrow from others. Photography, like all creative work, is collaborative in the meta sense of the word.
We lean on and learn from others. You're not the best photographer in the world, but by examining the differences between your role models and yourself, you can improve dramatically. By being honest with ourselves and being critical of our work while acknowledging those who are better than us, we can elevate ourselves to the next level.
Chances are that if you do this year in and year out with an open mind and brutal honesty, you will be in that role for someone else. You don't need to reinvent the wheel; you only need to turn it in your own unique way to inspire those who aren't as good as you and pursue those who are better relentlessly, with passion, humility, and most importantly, determination.
Take your time with each shot and allow yourself the time to master the new techniques you're learning. It doesn't happen overnight; like with all new skills, it takes time. Don't rush the process; let yourself be a part of the machinery rather than the clockmaker, and before long, you will gain insight into why those techniques work and how they can be used to better your work and take your shots to a whole new level.

During the slow season, it's a good idea to attend conferences, meetups, and get-togethers with other photographers. Take notes, compare shots, tools, and techniques. By surrounding yourself with other like-minded professionals, you'll not only learn a lot but you'll be inspired to improve yourself and your craft. Not only will you be able to learn from others who are better than you, but you'll be able to inspire those who have not yet reached your current level, which can help you feel like part of a community which indeed you are. Back to Holiday Specials >