Shift-4 Photography goals for 2014
that may or may not apply to life outside of photography
New Year’s Resolutions are lame. Well, let me rephrase that. The idea that you have to wait until the new year to accomplish something is lame. Almost as bad as telling yourself that if you mess up once, if you cheat on your diet once, if you make the wrong turn once, you’re not allowed to keep trying. I made a list of goals that are mostly professional but that can be applied to my personal life as well. It is 1 part resolution and 9 parts to-do list. These are things that I think I need to do to become a better and more successful photographer.
I skipped the obvious things like “book more weddings” or “be featured in a magazine”. Those are lame and everyone understands that those are professional goals that people might want to aspire to. So, I skipped them.
Without further delay…
• Travel more: Here’s one I’m sure my girlfriend is totally on board with. Successful photographers don’t shoot everything from their couch. I would love to get out of the state five times this year. I need to get into the mountains and capture the sunrise through the morning fog. I need to fly on my bike down rugged mountainsides with my brand new GoPro strapped to my helmet capturing every heart pounding second. I need that perspective. It’s not even that I HAVE to travel out of state. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the most diverse cities in the south and it’s a shame if I don’t explore that more. Freelancing might leave me with weekends placed on a Tuesday and a Wednesday so maybe I’ll take one of those days and just… go.
• Explore a social issue through photography: Like I just mentioned, Atlanta is one of the most diverse places in the south, if not the entire country. While that leads to a lot of great things like music festivals and sporting events, it can also mean there is a lot more of the things that we don’t need a lot of in this world. Atlanta is home to a large number of homeless people. Atlanta has a very large HIV/AIDS percentage, especially in poorer communities that have been largely forgotten about while the powers that be argue about stadiums and transportation to and from town. Atlanta, the melting pot of the south, is home to a large number of opposing views that can come to play out in the political field. From LGBT rights to marijuana legalization to education to poverty to the rising cost of higher education to… well… you get the point. Man, just like a Morehouse Man to get worked up over social change, right?
• Try harder: It’s not that I don’t try hard now. It’s just that I don’t always try hard enough. I need to follow more leads. Make more ‘cold calls’. Network more. I need to do things that I’m not used to doing in order to get results I’ve never seen. It’s really that simple.
• Read more: The Internet is such a wonderful resource. If there is ANYTHING that I want to know or want to learn how to do, it takes about 30 seconds before I can be reading how to do achieve that in some way or another. If I want 100 free books on how to be a better photographer, I can have them. Click of the button and they’re mine. In fact, that’s about how many I have sitting on my iPad right now. Everything from weddings to negotiations to children’s birthday parties. Most of which I haven’t even thought about reading yet. Those books, along with dozens of bookmarked links on my web browser, do me absolutely no good if I’m not using them.
• Fake my way in: One of the great things about being a photographer is that people rarely second guess you. But what good is this power if it is not utilized correctly. The photos that get recognized are hardly photos from someone doing something that they’re supposed to be doing. Exaggerating credentials in order to gain a press pass, pushing the limits of your welcome, and working around the red tape usually works in the advantage of the photographer. And a lot of times, depending on chance for injury or actually disrupting something of importance, people will actually let you get away with that. I need to harness my photography super power to make more extraordinary photos in 2014.
• Don’t get discouraged: As noted in my last post, 2013 came with a few, not a lot just not as many or as big as I’m used to, disappointments. Anyone who knows me knows how much I hate losing and extremely dislike being wrong. But you know what, both of those things happen. They’re going to happen in 2014 probably bigger and more disappointing than anything I experienced in 2013. Getting over it is much more important than the lost revenue or the disappointment (if that’s something that you can even quantify). The facts are that sometimes people are going to try and cheat me out of money. They’re going to want more and pay less. There will be people that, despite my best efforts, are not going to want to work with me. People that will change their mind right before the shoot or during the shoot or after the shoot and claim that they’ve felt this way the whole time. There will be people that piss me off. There will be people that dictate what I should and should not be doing despite the fact that they’re the ones that hired me to make those decisions. There will be people that don’t accept explanations. There will be people that flat out don’t like what I have to offer. And most importantly there will be times where I just mess up. But I’ve got to treat all of those the exact same way. I need to acknowledge, accept, and move on. Something that I was not very good at in 2013.
• Do something that makes me uncomfortable… and then do it again: Let’s get this straight. Trying new things is scary. It’s especially scary when there’s something on the line like money or a contract. But the best way to stand out is by doing things that other people aren’t doing or haven’t done or can’t do. So I guess if there was one way to sum up my goals for 2014, it would be “Step out of your comfort zone.”. It’s a pretty simple one that might not mean much to anyone else. But it’s something that I find is an issue with me and with my photography. Whether it’s shooting an event for a client who doesn’t play in to your normal clientele. Making great photos despite the circumstance, preconceived or actual, is something any decent, let alone great, photographer needs to be able to do.
And I’m not there yet.
But man, I’m on my way.