Education

What Are You Shooting For? 5 Goals That’ll Make You a Better Photographer

By EyeEm Team - 4 min read

Photographer Helena Price shares her “photo kick” New Years’ resolution

The turn of a new year may set you on a health kick, but what about a photo kick? We all need to give ourselves one of those once in a while, and that’s exactly what professional San Francisco-based photographer Helena Price has been up to.

“My approach to photography goals is pretty simple. Make one per year, and center your lifestyle around making that one thing happen. In 2013 it was to change my career, in 2014 to do stuff other than work, and in 2015 to focus.”

Self-portrait by Helena Price

1. Make time to make the work you love.

In 2013, part of my New Years’ resolution was to make or edit photos every single day, no matter how busy I felt. I would take my camera with me everywhere, snapping anything and everyone I found interesting, and would make sure I shot enough that I’d have photos to edit every day after I got home from work. By the end of the year, I had made enough work that I was able to quit my job to be a full-time photographer.

If making photos is what makes you happy, find the time to do more of it. Go shooting after work. Plan photo trips on the weekends. Carry your camera in your bag wherever you go. Resolve to make time for it, and you will.

Photo by Helena Price

2. Improve your craft.

What part of your photography do you most want to improve? Manual controls? Portraiture? Styling? Lighting?

Choose one thing ayear and go learn everything about it. There are a plethora of online classes and tutorials – not to mention good old-fashioned books – that can help you take your skill to the next level.

For me, I’m currently setting out to get really good at pro lighting. I’ve already spent hours on Strobist, bought and read through classic textbooks, studied the lighting setups of my favorite photographers, and bought the gear. Now I just have to go practice!

Photo by Helena Price

3. Learn from the greats.

If you want to master a type of photography, you might as well learn from the best. Find the best photographers you can in the category of photography you want to tackle – if it’s fashion, go buy a book on the history of fashion photography or just go buy a Vogue. Pick out the photographers whose work resonates with you, google them, and soak in their knowledge, whether it’s studying their portfolios or reading their interviews. In fact, magazines and newspapers are full of the industry’s best editorial and commercial photographers too. Grab a few copies, and get to studying.

Photo by Helena Price

4. Travel more.

It’s important to remember that working 24/7, whether it’s your day job or professional photo jobs, is going to lead to an exhausted, unhealthy, not-very-creative-feeling you. A good way to refresh your creativity is to get outta town.

Low on time and money? Take a low-budget weekend road trip a couple of times a month. Have lots of time to kill? Go live in a foreign country for a couple of months. Bring your camera, make tons of personal work, and come back feeling accomplished.

Photo by Helena Price

5. Be more focused.

Such was my 2015 resolution. We all spend a lot of time on the internet – it’s a treasure trove of inspiration, especially for photographers.

But it’s easy for us to be so busy consuming other people’s work that we forget to really focus on improving our own.

For me, that means spending less time reading internet articles and more time reading about studio lighting. Less time browsing photo blogs, more time studying the work of a handful of my favorite iconic photographers. It means making a list of brands I’d love to work with this year and figuring out how to meet with them.

Photo by Helena Price

Thanks for sharing, Helena!

Feeling motivated? Good. Now go out there and shoot.

About Helena Price

Helena Price is a full-time commercial and portrait photographer based in San Francisco, CA. Having started shooting on Wal-Mart disposable cameras at the age of 6, she first pursued a career in the tech industry before she went back to her passion and pursued photography full-time in 2013. Helena has worked with folks like Airbnb, Dropbox, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Rdio, Soundcloud, Square, Twitter and Uber.

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