Make your top priority for this New Year to become a better photographer.
You do not need a new camera to take a great picture. Learn to use your camera and study the User Manual as the first step. Take the manual with you or download a digital copy to your portable device. Understand all the controls. Shoot often and rate your photos. Then reevaluate your favorites frequently. In Lightroom, save your favorites in a Collection to make this easier.
Shoot in aperture priority with exposure compensation to make adjustments in exposure as your go to setting. Learn to use manual when you need greater control, such as the studio setting with accessory lighting.
Knowledge is everything. Never stop learning from reading, taking workshops, on line tutorials such as Kelby One Training. Photography is ever changing and there is always more to know. Learning lighting – available light to strobe (flash or studio) is important.
Composition and design elements are the key to making your photograph compelling. Michael Freeman’s “The Photographer’s Eye” is an excellent review and a great investment.
I always shoot in RAW, save as DNG’s and process and organize my images in Lightroom. I still do use Photoshop CC when needed, especially when adding texture layers, masking, creating book covers with text overlaying an image or doing extensive dust or pollen removal. But then save, not save as to bring the image back into Lightroom. A big advantage to Lightroom is that it is nondestructive and you can always get back to the original by choosing Edit Original. Lightroom history saves all. In Photoshop you would need to always use the Smart Filter option. I occasionally use SilverEfex Pro for B&W conversions and some other Nik or Topaz filters.
Critique is Key to improvement. And not from family or friends. Enter competitions, juried shows, portfolio reviews and become active in art association photo interest groups. Don’t let Facebook become your only focus group.
Please let me know what I can do to help. Would a Lightroom Boot Camp or "Learning to See the Light" tutorial help? Group or individual instruction is available. firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy New Year, Judith