Here’s a short end-of-year checklist for photgraphers.
Make sure you have up-to-date backups of your files. If you don’t have any backups, now is a great time to start. The general rule is that you should have 3 copies of your data with at least one offsite. The offsite copy could be a hard drive at the inlaws house or in a safety deposit box. You can also use a cloud provider like Backblaze or Crashplan. If you don’t have any backups, you can buy an 8 TB external drive for as little as $150.
If your files are a disorganized mess and you can never find your old pictures, start off 2021 with a resolution to keep new photos organized. A simply way is to put new images into folders named by date & event. e.g. “20210120 - John Doe Portrait”. You also should give each image a unique ID e.g. 20210120_0001, 20210120_0002, etc but other naming conventions work well too. You can use Lightroom (Library >> Rename Photo) to create a preset to do this.
Update your camera to automatically add “Copyright 2021 Your Name” to the metadata of your images.
Review your goals that you made for 2020 and create new ones for 2021. As always, goals should be specific, clear, and measurable.
Figure out any important dates for 2021. E.g. for astro-landscapes I look for moon & sun alignment dates, meteor showers, eclipses etc.
If you have any electronic equipment like flashes, led panels, star trackers, etc. that you haven’t used in months check the batteries. If your equipment uses AA batteries, take them out of the device and store them separately as they are prone to leakage. For lithium-ion batteries, I would charge the device fully and then run it down to 50% before putting it back in storage.
If you run a photography business, consider any capital purchases you want to make for 2020 (still some time left) and 2021. Also look at section 179 (covers expensing the full amount when an item is first placed into service).
Revisit your insurance situation. If you don’t have any consider if it makes financial sense. Usually the rule of thumb is to get insurance if a financial loss would be a hardship to cover by yourself. If you already have equipment insurance make sure to add any new purchases to your schedule. If you provide services to clients, you probably need at least general liability and errors & omissions coverage.
If you have a website, review your site and make a list of changes for the new year.
AA batteries can leak and ruin your devices. Photo from Wikipedia/Binarysequence.