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Three photographic resolutions for the New Year 

click to enlarge The Aero Liberator is a 4x5 camera with an Aero-Ektar lens made by photographer John Minnicks. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • The Aero Liberator is a 4x5 camera with an Aero-Ektar lens made by photographer John Minnicks.
Right now is a great time to take stock of the state of your work, to reevaluate your efforts and to think about the photographic direction you want to chart for the year ahead.

Here are three three “photographic” resolutions that I want to make reality for 2019.

#1 Make my first picture using my Aero Liberator camera

click to enlarge The Aero Liberator is a 4x5 camera with an Aero-Ektar lens made by photographer John Minnicks. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • The Aero Liberator is a 4x5 camera with an Aero-Ektar lens made by photographer John Minnicks.
I bought a camera several years ago and have never used it. This isn't any ordinary camera. It’s a custom-made 4x5 film camera. Photographer John Minnicks is the creator of this camera and makes it using one of the finest camera lenses ever made, the Kodak Aero-Ektar 178mm f2.5. This is a WWII-era lens built for aerial photography and used by the Air Force to bombing targets.

My Aero Liberator is named #13 and it's sat on my shelf unused for years. My plan is to make this camera a part of my working life in 2019.

#2 Photograph more using prime lenses

click to enlarge An image made at the Emma Crawford Coffin Races using my favorite prime lens, my Canon 50mm f1.2. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • An image made at the Emma Crawford Coffin Races using my favorite prime lens, my Canon 50mm f1.2.
This year was a real eye-opener for me when it comes to prime lenses. Prime lenses are fixed focal length camera lenses. They're made with such precision that photographers can shoot an extremely shallow depth-of-field with great results. My entire career I’ve used professional zoom lenses. But I’ve alway wanted to photograph using prime lenses. The results after several shoots using my favorite and only prime lens, my trusty Canon 50mm f1.2, prove the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks for me. This year, I plan to purchase two more prime lenses and make them my go-to choices for work.

#3 Witness more, talk less

click to enlarge An image made at the Emma Crawford Coffin Races using my favorite prime lens, my Canon 50mm f1.2. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • An image made at the Emma Crawford Coffin Races using my favorite prime lens, my Canon 50mm f1.2.
As a professional photographer, it’s all too easy to get caught monologuing. That is, telling my clients what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Constantly talking to them and telling them what to do to make the best picture possible. The pressure to make great pictures at a wedding or event can sometimes be overwhelming and that pressure makes it hard not to tell your subjects what to do. My experience after a couple of decades is that it's easy to get caught talking instead of watching events and moments unfold organically and quietly document those events. Doing this inevitably leads to better and more personal photographs for my clients. So this year I’m making the extra effort to avoid talking and to engage my subject matter by removing myself from the equation.

Leave your own photographic resolutions in the comment area below.

Happy shooting in the New Year!

Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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