Nine Ways To Improve Your Photography Over the Winter

Many photographers find the winter months tough to get through. Holiday card photoshoots are long over and spring sessions are still a couple of months away. But, that is no reason to let your gear, or your business, collect dust. There are several ways photographers can improve their skills and business savvy while waiting for the sun to re-appear.

2016-02-08-1454900616-9574891-MichelleTurner_Light0016.jpg

Photo: Michelle Turner

Update Your Website and Blog: Photographer Beth Wade drew on her experience in internet sales and marketing to create a successful maternity, newborn, and family photography business. Now, she teaches others about what she knows in her classes at Clickin Moms focusing on Wordpress and Website Creation and Internet Marketing, SEO, and Online Presence. To get started, Beth suggests, choosing signature colors, creating a logo that serves as your artist signature, selecting a unique name, and choosing a simple template to showcase your photos and sell for you online. Even if you are just shooting for yourself, the right website can provide a lovely forum to showcase your work.

2016-02-08-1454935096-3259981-klphoto.JPG

Learn to shoot families in their home as a photojournalist
Photo: Kirsten Lews

Learn to Shoot Like a Photojournalist: Photographer Kirsten Lewis specializes in Day In Life sessions. During these sessions she takes a photojournalism approach to documenting the families she is photographing. In her February CreativeLive course, Kirsten focuses on shooting like a photojournalist in homes. Winter is an ideal time to learn how to shoot in families' homes documenting their lives, weather you start in your own home or take this approach when documenting clients' lives.

Gain an Appreciation for the Everyday: Photographer Ginger Unzueta documents her life as a homeschooling Mom of four with beautiful images and teachers others to do the same in her Everyday Beauty in her Everyday Beauty workshop through the Bloom Forum. According to Ginger, paying attention to how light, composition, connections, and details come together can help photographer portray the everyday lives on their own families or the lives of their families in new and beautiful ways. Since the everyday happens all winter long, now is a good time to focus on developing skills to portray connections, details, and the other stuff of everyday life in a meaningful way.

Practice Creating Moments: Photographer Jesh DeRox and the photographers of the Beloved Collective that he founded make photographs that capture genuine connections and emotion. These photographers learn techniques that result in Moment Design so that the subjects in the photographs have heart-felt interactions during photography sessions allowing photographers to make meaningful photos that truly capture their subjects' personalities and emotion. There are several guides available to help photographers design moments from their clients including couples, families, newborn, and even solo clients.

Put Yourself through 30 Day Business Bootcamp: If your photography business isn't running smoothly and brining in the kind of money you would like, winter is the perfect time to focus on revamping your business. Wedding photographer Sal Cincotta drew on his business background to create an enormously successful wedding and portrait studio. His course on CreativeLive, Master the Business-of Photography can help you revamp your pricing, marketing, and portfolio in time to have a successful spring.

2016-02-08-1454900728-6927532-MichelleTurner_Light0007.jpg

Photo: Michelle Turner

Learn Lighting: Learning a skill like flash or continuous light, such as from Michelle Turner at Clickin Moms can not only help you get better images when it's dark inside and out but can open up new opportunities and creative possibilities. Even an affordable on-camera flash can transform how and when you are able to make good images. For more ambitious yet still simple lighting options, check out a Flashponit 300 LED panel that can be used for continuous light on camera or off or the more ambitious Flashpoint 1300B LEDBi Color panel that can be balanced for daylight or tungsten.

Learn a New Skill: : If you are struggling for clients or inspiration in the winter, it's the perfect time to stretch yourself to learn a new skill. Check out a CreativeLive course on something you have always wanted to try, such as food photography with Andrew Scrivani, product photography, or headshots, that you watch anytime and can practice at home.

2016-02-08-1454900913-4269311-_MG_3496.jpg

Winter can be a great time to learn food photography

Photo: Andrew Scrivani

Work on Low Light Skills: When there are more hours of darkness than light it is the perfect time to practice your low-light photography skills. Experiment with your camera to see how far you can push your ISO, train yourself to look for pockets of light with a Breakout workshop like Finding Light Among the Shadows with Allison McSorley or learn how to use a simple on-camera flash.

2016-02-08-1454900678-799870-MichelleTurner_Light0005.jpg

Winter is a great time to learn how to master flash
Photo: Michelle Turner

Tweak Your Editing: Even if you are not shooting anything new, you can still work on your editing skills by going back and perfecting old images. This is the perfect time to work on learning Photoshop with a class from Ben Willmore or hone your black and white conversions with a class from Chris Oriwg on CreativeLive. Or, try your hand at a Wacom tablet to see if it speeds up and changes your editing process.

2016-02-08-1454901503-7717226-03claire.jpg
Winter is a great time to work on black and white conversions
Photo: Jamie Davis Smith