I’m very much an advocate of the year-in-review photo post as a step on the path to self-improvement. Landscape photographer and YouTuber Mark Denney has an even better idea you should consider, though.

In his last video of the year, Denney talks about ways to improve as a photographer using Instagram. No, it’s not about making a post, optimizing images, or gaining followers. It’s about real, honest reflection with yourself, your work, and the work you engage with on Instagram.

The first piece of advice Denney has is to take a look at your feed, go back to about a year’s worth of posts, and pick your five favorites. By doing so, you’ll be able to take a look and quickly see what you liked about your photography and what you didn’t like. For instance, Denney suggests, maybe all your photographs are wide-angle photos, which signals the need for using a telephoto sometimes for a different look. Whatever it is, it’s worth noting the strengths and deficiencies of your work in this exercise.

In some cases, it might not be technique at all. I know that a cursory glance at my Instagram feed reveals that I should stop mixing photos of my kids, landscapes, photojournalism, and social justice into one feed, but there you go.

The second main piece of advice that Denney offers up is to look at the work of your favorite photographers and then go through a similar exercise, though in the name of keeping it positive, he doesn’t suggest pointing out weaknesses, but rather the strengths that drew you to the photographer’s work in the first place. It’s easy to get lost in your own word of Instagram posts and Reels such that you forget to check out the work of other creators that you respect. And if you don’t have any, it’s time to find some.

Now, if only there was an easy way to do this with video.

Do you have any end-of-the-year self-improvement tips for photography? Share them in the comments below.

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