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Shoot Your Shot! Why not make photos more beautiful?


As 2021 is coming to an end, I find myself reflecting back to this time last year and wondering what I was doing, what I was thinking, and who I was.
I mean, I know what I was doing, but I want to *feel* it again today.
Naturally, I reach for my phone and open my camera roll in search of that experience.
As if it could read my mind, my phone asks me if I’d like to see the album it conveniently curated of my pics from exactly a year ago. Well, yes, of course I do.
I open the album and see a pic of my father’s long-lost brother and my first cousin, a video of my son playing with our quarantine kittens, a shot of a label for one of the framed prints I hung in my booth at the newly opened Mercantile, and pictures of products I borrowed from fellow Mercantile merchants to photograph for a course I was building.
Woosh. I’m right back in December 2020.
Now my brain wants to come back to 2021, so I open my camera roll and swipe through the images I shot over the last few days. I see a pic of a bathroom I took for a client, our Christmas tree, styled shots of my framed prints in my studio, me dropping a gift certificate into a client’s mailbox, and pics of inspirational rocks I found on a walk that I gave to my kids (until we put them back out for someone else to find).
I’m amazed at how different life looks today than it did a year ago. Even more moving though, is how different it feels; an experience I’m able to have thanks to my camera roll.

Did you know that each of us takes an average of 20 photos a day, and that according to the Rise Above Research 2021 Worldwide Image Capture Report, it’s expected that everyone in the world will collectively take 1.4 trillion photos in 2021 – a 25% increase from 2020. That number is expected to rise to 1.5 trillion in 2022.
Photos are clearly an integral part of our daily lives and serve as invaluable documents of our existence for generations, so why not make them beautiful?
Welcome to “Shoot Your Shot”! A monthly column dedicated to helping you level up your photography game.
Each month, I’ll explore topics focused on the tech, the art, and the business of photography. You’ll find the information helpful if you’re shooting with a DSLR, mirrorless camera, film camera, or an iPhone and you’re editing those photos in Photoshop or Lightroom.
Send any burning questions (accompanied by a photo) to me at and I just might feature you in an upcoming piece!
See you next month!

Natalie Napoleon is a photography educator and career pivot coach for creatives. You can see her work and a list of the classes she offers at