Get Out and Shoot More Photos in 2012

I’d like to get out and shoot more this next year.

Seems like a pretty simple statement.

And then reality hits:

Hey – I’m busy.

Now your busy is likely different than my busy.  And from Henry’s busy.  And from Helen’s busy.  But we’re all busy.

I’d like to get out and shoot more this next year.

Now – let’s just imagine for a moment it’s New Year’s Eve 2012 – and 2013 is just around the corner – what photos are you showing to family and friends – what stories are you sharing?  You know the ones:

… and then just as those cute little rhino babies were looking right into my lens – I hear behind me the grunt of a not-so-happy mother rhino as she breaks through the brush…

Yeah – doesn’t sound like any of my stories either …   🙂   but if that’s the type of story you want to be sharing – if those are the photos you want to show – now’s the time to put it on the calendar!

And that’s really the foundation to your game plan.

Newport - January 2012-4So – how do you do it?

Here are my 5 methods to carve out photo time:


I have a few events I try to hit every year – and they’re on the calendar early.  They include rodeos, hot air balloons, and some backpacking.  Sometimes – I find some music to throw in there – or another event that I can shoot with (such as Help-Portrait).

That way – once they’re on the calendar – I’m planning around them – not through them.  I become more prepared – gear essentials, photo lists, and general research.

I also tell my wife that where ever she wants to go – sounds like fun!  As long as I can bring along my camera.  Tulip festival.  Oregon Garden.  Butterfly farm.

And, then, as other events pop up  – it’s easier to add them – air shows, classic cars,  rugby games, ….

Sometimes, though, it’s tough to keep those big day trips in the calendar.  And that’ll force you to be even more disciplined with your time – cuz there’s always a big project at work that could use your extra hours or those beautiful days when the garage needs to be cleaned.


But it’s not always about the big trip or event – the next step I use to get out more – is using what I call “Zero Hours”.  Up early / up late.  Working when everyone else is in bed.  It’s that early Friday morning before work to the wildlife refuge to put some miles on that new glass – or up late after dark to get some fog + Christmas lights downtown.  It also helps that early and late often have the best and most dramatic light.

This is a tough one – as it will often squeeze out an hour or two of sleep – but I really think this is an effective way to schedule in a few more frames.  Two things to consider:  (1) know what time your local Starbucks opens  🙂  and (2) when shooting during off hours or in secluded areas – be mindful of your surroundings and safety.


Join a photo club or group of like-minded shooters.  If you’re having trouble finding one – keep an eye out for Kelby’s Annual Worldwide Photo Walk.


Volunteer for  a local festival or event.  Local festivals are often looking for photos to use in their next year’s advertising (or to tell people what just happened).  It really is as simple as calling up, or dropping an email, to the festival director.  These big local events are a great way to get in the game.  If portraits are more your gig – check out Help Portrait!


Another way to carve time into  your calendar is to schedule something that requires pre-payment – such as workshops and airplane tickets.  Few things keep days open on a calendar like cash.


So – what’s on your photo calendar for 2012?

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