Creating a collection of photographs is a great way to commemorate the year and think about the past 12 months. It could also be used as a way to look forward, think about the months to come and what you hope they might bring. Below I’ve listed a few ideas for a New Year photo shoot to get your creative juices flowing, whether you’re looking back, forward, or living in the now. Play around with these suggestions and get snapping!

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Looking back: New Year photo shoot ideas for reflection

Idea #1 – Through the ages

New Year is always a great time for reflection, not only on the previous 12 months, but over your life in general. Creating a ‘through the ages’ new year photo shoot means digging through your wardrobe and pulling out some of those old garments that haven’t seen the light of day for a long while (maybe for good reason)! Have fun with this one, get friends or family involved too, and really get into the spirit of recreating the past. You can let your childish side out, make sure to style your hair, find props, and pose!

You could even try to recreate actual photographs from the past, if you find similar clothing and backdrops, putting the old and the new side to side is a great way to compare and notice the time that has passed between then and now. Simply choose your childhood people, get your siblings together and recreate the poses from back then!

A New Year photo shoot involving two siblings - a baby sitting in the arms of his sister
Try finding a cute (or better yet, silly!) photo from your childhood and recreating it with the same outfit, and position (if you can find the same location) and facial expression!

Idea #2 – A photo for every month

This New Year photo shoot would involve 12 photos. Think about the past year and the most influential stand out moments in each month. They may involve friends, certain places, movies you watched, meals you ate or events you attended.

You don’t need to perfectly recreate every memory, but think about how you could capture the emotion or essence of that time. For example, a romantic dinner could be captured by a set table with candles, or a birthday party by a balloon. A cocktail party could be represented by the outfit you wore, and a holiday by a suitcase. Get creative and think outside the box to create a photoshoot to encapsulate the past 12 months.

Hands clinking their champaign glasses together in the air celebrating New Year.
Was a celebration of … a wedding, a birthday, the new year… your defining moment of e.g. November? Then a photo from the evening such as this could work!

Idea #3 – Thanks for the memories 

This new year photo idea involves considering who you are grateful for. It’s a healthy practice to remember to be grateful in general, and creating a visual representation of this gratitude means you will be able to look back on it and keep it forever. I definitely recommend asking loved ones to be involved. But also anyone who has been helpful or kind to you over the past year would make a great inclusion, from a kind barista at a coffee shop, to a neighbor who sent a Christmas card. You will need to ask for their permission, of course, but it would be wonderful to have a collection of photos of all the people who have made your year a little brighter.

4 people in bright orange and pink coats standing for a photo shoot with backs to the camera
For instance, if you’re particularly grateful to a set of friends, you’ll want to include them in this New Year photo shoot idea!

Looking forward: New Year photo ideas to inspire you for the year ahead

Idea #4 – New Year’s Resolutions (what to focus on next year)

This is a new year photo shoot idea intended to inspire you in the coming year! What are your goals for the coming year? Maybe you want to exercise more? Start a new hobby? Or spend more time outdoors? Whatever the goal, create a photo shoot to ignite that spark inside you to keep you motivated throughout the rest of the coming year.

A group of three friends laughing and hugging out on the street
Your resolution involves seeing friends more regularly? Then your photo shoot should involve good times with them!

Idea #5 – New Year Fashion photos predict the New Year

This is a fun one for any budding fashionistas out there. How do you think fashion will change over the year to come? Will pencil skirts be back in? Return of the pinstripe? Or maybe the swinging sixties’ flower power hippy vibes are set to hit the streets?! Have a think, and create a fun fashion-forward new year photo shoot just for you, or with friends, predicting how you think the face of fashion might look by the end of next year!

A woman dressed in a sparkly dress celebrates with confetti and balloons during a New Year photo shoot
New Year photo shoot idea: Make it a party and gift everyone a disposable camera to take photos on and enjoy. The only rule: everyone must arrive with their fashion prediction for the coming year.

In the now: New Year photo shoot ideas to celebrate the moment

Idea #6 – Winter Wonderland

In countries in the Northern Hemisphere, New Year and the months of December and January are some of the coldest. This new year photo shoot idea makes the most of that, and takes on a wintry theme. Wrap up warm, get outside and start snapping. There are so many things that look vastly different in the depths of winter as opposed to warmer months. Nature changes drastically, so any photos of scenery or even close-ups of bare deciduous trees or spider webs can look dramatic and beautiful. In the city, you can use photography to note the difference in people’s clothes and stature, too.

If you happen to live in a Southern Hemisphere country, you could always do the opposite. Celebrate your summer by taking photos of flowers in bloom, clear skies with bright sunshine, or people in shorts and sun hats.

A close up photo shoot showing the fine show on a tree branch with blurred people in the background.
Try capturing fine details and creatively including people in the background instead!

Idea #7 – The countdown

A cool new year photo shoot idea is for the actual day of New Year’s Eve. This can work well if you prefer taking candid shots rather than posed photographs, and there are several ways to do it. The first idea takes place during the countdown. You can set up a camera somewhere that is facing wherever you will be celebrating, and set a timer to take one photo every second during the countdown to midnight. This way you will get a cute series showing the anticipation in everyone’s faces as the clock ticks down, and you can even let it continue so that you get the very first photo of the year as it changes.

There are other options though. If you’d prefer, you could take one photo every waking hour on the hour of the last day of the year. This way you get photos in different places depending on where you happen to be at that time throughout the day.

Or you can play around with the timings some more, every ten minutes of the hour preceding midnight maybe? It’s totally up to you!

A group of people celebrating the countdown to New Year during this photo shoot idea
Set up your camera in advance to get the maximum angle and a good shot.

Bonus Idea – New Year photos throughout the year with a photo a day

My last idea for a new year photo is not a shoot exactly, but the beginning of one. Start ‘a photo a day’. One portrait, every single day, for the whole new year. It can be of yourself, a loved one, or even a pet! But once it comes to the end of next year, you will have a beautiful collection that shows just how much has changed in 365 days.

A woman smiles at herself in the mirror.

Nothing to do but start your New Year photo shoot!

Sometimes the best thing to do is simply start shooting and see what ideas you encounter along the way. If you’re looking for more ideas on photo shooting, check out these articles.


Hiya, I’m Maud. I’m an English girl who's moved to Berlin - because who wouldn’t fall in love with a country which has words like ‘Kummerspeck’ hidden around every corner... I love traveling and finding out the quirks of each country - and what better way to remember them than on a postcard?

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