How to Make 2022 Your Most Successful Year as a Photographer

Heading into the new year, everyone has different hopes and expectations in mind, but one thing we all have in common is the desire for 2022 to be better. As photographers, some of the most important ways we can have a better year are by finding new success in our business and growing in our creativity. These big, somewhat abstract goals are totally attainable, as long as you know where to start.

Be True to Yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of what we “should” be doing when we want to find success, no matter what we want to find success in. Our first instinct is often to look at how other people have become successful and try to follow in their footsteps, and this can be useful to some extent. Learning from the pros is never a bad idea, but if you get too focused on mimicking every little detail, you’ll never figure out how to make those successful methods your own.

The most successful photographers are the ones with a clear personal identity, so in the new year, be true to yourself in your photography. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut, put your emotions into your work, and explore new ideas. As your photography style evolves and becomes more specific to you, people will automatically be more drawn to it, because it will be something real.

So as you plan for where your photography will go in 2022, try to keep this bigger picture in mind. Don’t worry about making the “right” decisions; make the right decisions for you.

Keep Studying

When we first start to learn a skill, we often imagine an ideal future in which we know all we need to know, or at least one in which we’ve learned as much as we can from others and need to discover things on our own. The reality is that you can never stop studying your art if you want to improve as an artist, especially with photography. The field of photography is constantly evolving, not only because of changing trends in photography and editing techniques, but also because of advances in the technology used for equipment and editing programs.

One of the best ways to keep up with the industry-standard photography editing programs, like Lightroom, is to take Lightroom editing courses from experienced editing pros. Courses like this give you the skills you need to use Lightroom in a way that fits with your personal editing style, while also leaving you the room to explore new styles and techniques.

Prep Your Skills and Your Equipment

The new year is a great opportunity to clear some dust-out, both literally and figuratively. If you haven’t given your equipment a thorough cleaning in a while, this might be a good time to do so. You can clean camera sensors, lenses, bodies, etc on your own if you know-how, and if you don’t, you can either learn or take your camera to a professional to be cleaned. No matter which way you choose to do it, proper maintenance improves the function and increases the lifespan of your equipment, so don’t overlook it!

This is also a great time to check in with your photography and editing skills that you might not use every day; you don’t want those skills to sit in your figurative toolbelt gathering dust. Take and edit some photos just for fun, to give you a chance to remind yourself how those less-used skills work or even take a new photography course to expose yourself to a new perspective on those skills.

All of this maintenance requires only a small time investment, and it will be worth it when you’re prepared for whatever comes your way in 2022.

Set Useful Goals

It might sound silly, but people are not naturally good at setting goals. We know where we want to be, and we think that’s enough, but complicated, long-term, and abstract goals are often difficult to work towards or make decisions about. If you set the goal of “becoming a better photographer” or “making your photography business more successful”, while it might be a great goal to have, it’s going to be really difficult to achieve without setting smaller goals as stepping stones.

Useful goals are specific, measurable, time-sensitive, and realistic. So, “become a Lightroom pro” is not a useful goal, but “learn to use the new Lightroom features from the October update in two months” is a useful goal. Keep these criteria in mind when setting all of your New Year’s resolutions, photography-related or not, and you’ll see a lot more success this year.

Enjoy the New Year

Above all, remember to have fun in 2022. We are photographers because photography is something we enjoy, and even if it’s also a career, putting too much stress on it is a surefire way to kill our passion and our creativity. I hope that these tips are useful to you, but I also hope that you don’t take them too seriously. Your spirit and your individuality are what will ultimately find you success as a photographer, and these tips are just to make the journey easier.

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