How are we nearly in February already?!  Now we’re all well and truly back into our daily routines and we’re getting stuck in to not just a new year but a sparkling new decade no less!  I know I may be bucking the trend but personally I love January and February – I always find the start of a fresh year is a psychological milestone, a chance to purge the past and set new challenges for yourself with a tantilisingly clean slate. 

I seem to have given myself rather a lot of goals for 2020 – looking down the “to do” list, it is a touch daunting but I will certainly do my best to achieve as much as possible.  Close to the top of the list is completing my Wild Hearts project and launching the book with a gallery exhibition.  Another priority is continuing to experiment with and develop my use of photo-encaustics in both my fine art and client work.  The rich texture of this mixed media technique is just so expressive, it never ceases to amaze me with the stunning artwork it creates. 

Anyway, before I veer further off on a tangent, I’ll get back on track!  As a somewhat different take on the usual, I thought it might be fun to offer all of you budding amateur photographers out there a few new year resolution ideas to help with your own photography in 2020 so here goes:

  1. Never leave the house without your camera  – nothing beats the joy of capturing those everyday moments of spontaneous perfection.
  2. Don’t doubt yourself or your photography – if you want to take that photograph, take it
  3. Photograph close to home – there’s nothing like spending the afternoon in your own garden taking photographs to re-awaken your awareness of your own environment
  4. Don’t think too much before taking a photograph – be impulsive – some of the best photographs can be the ones you never meant to take!
  5. Photograph a loved one or pet for a whole year – documenting their life in pictures is a great thing to do and definitely one for the memory box
  6. Get down or get up to your pets eye level! Don’t be deterred no matter whether you have to crawl on your belly to photograph your chihuahua or stand on a (safe) mounting block to take a portrait of your horse. The trick is to photograph your dog or horse at their eye level without pointing the camera up to your horse or down to your dog! That simple technique alone will help you to capture your pets personality (it also helps avoid lens distortion too – which is a topic all by itself!). 
  7. And last but not least – go on a gentle walk and observe! It may sound a little kooky but a very well respected equine photographer told me this many years ago and it was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given.  In fact I find it so invaluable that I always pass this pearl of wisdom on to my photography students. It gives you the opportunity to really watch where the light falls at different times of the day, take time to pause and really notice how the light affects a subject whether it be a simple blade of grass or your furry friend. Light makes all the difference and adds so much depth and interest in your photography when you have mastered it.

Photograph your pet at eye level to capture their personality
Take a walk and really observe how the light plays on surfaces and subjects

I hope I have inspired you to dust down your camera and have some fun with it, I would love to see some of the photographs so please do share some of them on my facebook page and if you find yourself bitten by the bug, remember you can always book one of my workshops to develop your skills that bit further.  So, photography and animal lovers, let’s embrace 2020 and be the very best versions of ourselves that we can be!