Become a Better Cinematographer in 2016 with This 52-Week Challenge

New Year's is about 3 things: champagne, drunk midnight kissing, and making resolutions that you'll forget by the end of the first week of January.

I can't lie, I'm notorious for making New Year's resolutions that dry up faster than I do on New Year's Day. A lot of us are guilty of that -- you probably are, too. However, if you want to ring in the new year the right way, with a fiery passion to become a better you, you might want to take a crack at bolstering your cinematography skills.

Dogwood Photography has shared a fantastic 52-week challenge (for photographers, but we're all on essentially the same team here) that aims at pushing you to your creative limit all year long. Every week you're given an assignment that will focus on one of three categories (from Dogwood's site):

  • Portrait: Portrait photography is really about capturing the essence of a person in an image. A portrait image can range from a classic portrait to candid, or from street photography to a selfie. Each time this category comes up we will dive into a different area of portrait photography. The main focus should always be a person/persons (or maybe a pet).
  • Landscape: In the context of the #dogwood52 photography challenge, this category is pretty broad covering both traditional landscapes, and some non-traditional areas such as urbanscapes. Don’t be afraid to really explore your surroundings in this category. If the focus is the environment you are in, it will qualify as Landscape in this category.
  • Artistic Impression: When this category comes up, you really have room to express yourself. You can interpret the assignment literally or figuratively. Unlike the other two categories that are more focused, the main focus of this category is to let your creativity shine.

You can check out the list of assignments on Dogwood's site, or you can download it below.

Clearly this challenge is aimed at photographers -- even the assignments require you to take "portraits", but with a little imagination and some minor adjustments, you can use it to shoot some pretty fantastic pieces of video. I'd even suggest creating a year-end compilation of all of the shots you captured throughout 2016 to see how your cinematography skills have grown.

Good luck and Happy New Year!     

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Your Comment


This is an excellent way to force yourself to keep learning and creating, specially for the ones who tend to procrastinate (aka Me). Thanks for sharing!

January 1, 2016 at 11:16AM


So... you inspired me - thanks a lot! I have never made something like I did after reading this article. Here is my self portrait from the first week of challenge:

Thank you!

January 4, 2016 at 1:50AM, Edited January 4, 1:50AM


This is great! I'm definitely giving this a shot as well! 52 might be a little bit of a stretch, but hey, it's already inspired me to complete one (which is more than I have accomplished in 2 years)!

Hope this challenge gets more people doing what they love to do!

January 6, 2016 at 7:27PM, Edited January 6, 7:27PM


52 weeks is a lot of work, but divided by 2 is already pretty well - and this is my challenge. I created a group on vimeo - feel free to add your videos ;)

BTW - well done (your 1st week video)!

January 7, 2016 at 3:48AM, Edited January 7, 3:49AM