As 2017 edges closer, it’s time to start thinking about what the next year will hold for you. Could it be time to take your love of photography to the next level? Could you be in a job that absolutely love by this time next year?

Here, we look at photography as a career – where this could lead, which courses to take and ways to use your spare time effectively in this pursuit. Don't wait for your New Year's resolutions to make a change, the time is now!

Which path?

Being a professional photographer can take many different routes. Shooting for fashion, wildlife, weddings and other occasions, product photography and photojournalism are just a few of the avenues open to you.  And with talent and hard work all can offer you the opportunity to make a decent living.

Although most images tell a story of their own, photojournalism is purely about bringing people’s stories to life though photography. It is a well-respected field of work and has the potential to take you around the world documenting life as it happens.

Take a photography course

Most local colleges will have courses to start off your training for a career in photography, teaching you the basics and some practical skills for turning this passion into a living. After this, you may want to go further with a photography degree, to really add to your skills and give your CV some gravitas.

These are the top-ranking universities for UK photography degrees, according to What Uni?

Join a camera club

As well as furthering your education in this area, you could also use your spare time to join a camera club. This gives the opportunity to meet like-minded people, to be creative, a sounding board for new projects or competition entries. You may even discover interesting ways to collaborate with other members and perhaps produce a series of canvas prints together.

If there isn’t a club running in your area, why not think about setting up your own? Check out the Parrot Print guide to setting up your own camera club – it’s not as daunting as you might think! As long as you are open to criticism and learning from others, this will be an invaluable experience for you.

So, does a career in photography sound up your street? Consider your options before the new year begins so you can start 2017 with clarity about your career. Each photoshoot creates more chances of capturing a beautiful shot – potentially one that will take pride of place in your own home, or even as gifts for loved ones in a small canvas print form.