Never leave your camera at home. You will never miss an opportunity if your camera is always at your side. It might be some what of an extra hassle to keep it with you at all times, but you will develop a greater sense of observation by being aware of your camera constantly. If you don’t want to lug around your SLR for eternity consider purchasing a small compact camera to keep in your purse or pocket. You could always use your cellphone too.
Shoot a photo a day. I’ve written a great article about 5 fantastic photo projects to help you get started. If you don’t want to commit to a yearly challenge and publish it, you can still try and do it for yourself.
Take a class. For most of us there is all sorts of college classes, distant learning, or photo worships happening all around us and usually designed to fit into any budget. Some workshops focus on one area and some are more broad. People of all ages and skill level actively take part in these types of programs and theres no reason why you shouldn’t if you want to get serious and increase your knowledge. You don’t even have to do it locally, get away for a weekend and practice what you learn in a new city.
Create postcards to send to friends. We rely on electronic communication these days. Think about how happy you feel when you get a package in snail mail..now think about how your over-joyed your friends and family would be when they open the box and see your smiling face. Time to take out your Christmas card list and surprise someone. You don’t have to send to everyone all at once, choose a few people each month and brighten their day. Who knows they might even send one back! It’s a subtle reminder that you’re thinking about them, plus they will save and cherish it forever. I mentioned before a lot of my digital prints never see the light of day, now they can.
Develop a workflow. Staying organized is a key element in being successful. So developing a system is a good idea to mess around with. Often after a big trip as much as I look forward to post-processing my photos its time consuming and keeping on track can be tedious. You should have a plan before, durning, and after the shoot and stick with it.
Have a monthly giveaway. At the end of each month pick your favorite shot and design a simple and functional monthly calendar. You can convert it to .PDF and put it on your blog or website, pass it around to friends at work, or send to previous clients. Each month you will be reminding people who you are and what you do, plus it’s a really nice thing to do and people love FREE.
Build a website. Registering a domain is cheap and not as scary as you think. You don’t need to pay thousands or even hundreds of dollars on a great design. There are TONS of free options for you to take advantage of, most of these places allow for upgrades to remove ads, or add benefits. If you already have a blog you can redirect your domain to it. Overall it increases your “street cred” and gives enables you to easily share your work with others.
Display your work. Local cafes, government offices, and even some galleries are usually interested in supporting local artists. It’s worth it to send a quick email or phone them to see if you can showcase your talent. If you are lucky the venue will allow sales and will refer the interested party to you directly so be ready to give prices.
Get Published. Although it’s super rewarding to see your photos in a print publication, online blogs and galleries hold just as much water. Always be on the look out for opportunities to submit your photo for publication. If you have something that meets what someone else is looking for don’t be afraid to pass it along. Make a list of a dozen blogs or local print publications and then submit your work. Be persistent -but make sure you follow up respectfully without being annoying.
Read a photography book a month. The facts are in. You can never learn enough. It’s impossible to know it all so you need to keep an open mind. Instead of buying your coffee out for a week save all of that extra cash, brew at home and buy a new photography book. If you’re on a strict budget, I hear the library let’s you check them out for free. Get a specific book each time and put your skills to work for that month, after a few weeks you may find you’ve near mastered that subject or technique. Practice makes perfect.