Copyright Scott Bourne – All Rights Reserved

We all get a fresh start. That’s my favorite thing about celebrating a new year. The old year and its problems are gone. What’s done is done. It’s time to look forward. For photographers, it’s a chance to start over. It’s time to reset and get cracking.

Here are five tips designed to help every photographer start the new year out right.

1. Learn Your Gear

Whether or not you got new gear as holiday gifts, it’s time to commit to learning the gear you have now. If you learned everything that your current camera could do for you, you’d probably be in a better position to make great images than you would with a 10 times better new camera that you don’t know much about. Work on reading your manual every day. Learn the ins and outs of ALL the camera’s features, including those you think you will or may never use. They will probably come in handy some day. Stop using lack of gear as an excuse. Learn to use what you have and move forward.

2. Learn To See

Photography is about vision. Vision is about learning to see what others do not. I have been to countless photo workshops where a student, standing at an iconic mountain top or lovely lake surrounded by lovely trees has claimed there’s nothing to shoot. Having a camera doesn’t mean you have vision. You develop vision by looking at lots of great photographs. Don’t stop there. Look at all kinds of art. Spend a day a month visiting art museums. Look at the shapes, forms and compositions that other artists use. Learn to see and then translate that to your camera.

3. Have A Good Attitude

If you’re surrounded by bad news, people who don’t support your interest in photography, online groups full of haters and trolls, do something about it. Make a change. Surround yourself with positive people. Develop a can-do attitude. If you want to be a better photographer, be a better person. This starts with having a batter attitude. The camera always looks both ways. Make sure that the person on the other side of the lens is seeing a smile on YOUR face.

4. Dedicate Yourself To At Least One Photo A Day

There’s nothing that can replace experience. Picking up and using your camera every day will absolutely, positively, without a doubt make you a better photographer. This is a great way to start the year. Make a calendar – shooting a photo should be the first thing on each day’s list. You can turn this into a theme-based project or simply shoot what you find, but shoot you must. Every day. No excuses.

5. Learn How To Properly Post-process Your Images

There are more choices than ever for those who want to take their photos to the next level in post. You can use Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop, iPhoto or any other program that suits you. Whatever you use, dedicate yourself to learning more about your software and how it works. There’s no excuse for not learning. There are dozens of great, free, online resources, not to mention books, videos and training DVDs. Get better at post-processing.

This is just a start. You can add to this list. Now’s a perfect time to refresh, reset and get started on a path toward making 2012 a great year for photography.

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