While I’ve long since given up the idea of New Year Resolutions, I do still make myself a list of Photography related goals (to go along side my general Life Bucket List – which seems to grow the more I experience what our planet has to offer)
While my life Bucket List has a number of photography related items, a number of them are either long term ambitions or something which I know will take time to plan towards.
Setting goals for my photography allows me to both look back and look forward. By looking back I can evaluate how I’ve grown (and hopefully improved) as a photographer in the past 12 months. Looking forward allows me to set certain standards to achieve.
Some tips for setting your own photograph goals?
1) Don’t pick too many – at the start of the year we are all full of inspiration and making plans for the year ahead. It can be all too easy to set yourself a list of 20 goals. A list so long can make it difficult to focus on one particular area from one week to the next and this can lead to apathy when it comes to achievement. I’d say a maximum of 5-10 is probably more than enough – if you have picked challenging enough goals, working on these will be an achievement in itself.
2) Don’t think all photography related goals have to be about getting a particular shot. They can be about learning a new skill, visiting a new location or even entering a competition or joining a camera club. Think outside of the box on how you can improve.
3) Hopefully you have not already started, but personally speaking I’d avoid taking on a 365 project – especially self portrait related. It not only takes some serious dedication, but you also have to be ready to shoot pretty much every waking second. The trouble with 365 projects is normal day to day stuff can get in the way meaning you first think about your daily shot around 11pm at night – I’ve often laughed when looking at some incomplete 365 projects. January normally has a good array of different types of shots, February you start to see more and more of the same thing, normally the person at home at night, and then by March the feed normally comes to a halt. The pressures of a 365 project can actually take the enjoyment out of your photography.
3) Pick at least one goal which will sit you outside of your comfort zone. One of my goals this year will do exactly that and I think it’s good to do this from time to time as it helps us grow not only as a photographer, but also as a person.
4) Laminate your list and carry it with you. It can be your daily or weekly mantra. A bit like a study guide. Check back on your list of goals often and ask yourself, have I put in the hours this week? What can I do different in the coming week to dedicate some time to my li
5) Have fun. Don’t make photography too serious and if you don’t get to accomplish all of your goals by the end of the year don’t worry. As long as you can look back, and without excuses, say to yourself that you gave the list your best shot.
So without further ado, my own personal list. (I won’t go into detail for each one but I’m sure throughout the year you will be hearing more about these from time to time)
- Print more of my images
- Enter at least 5 photography competitions (I’ll be talking about Photography competitions in a future blog post)
- Work on my 52 strangers project (comfort zone warning)
- Photograph Battling Stag Beetles
- Keep up with my monthly photography newsletter (not a subscriber? Then drop me an email)
- Improve my strobe photography, especially when it comes to Macro
- Working on diving kingfisher sites (I have a couple of Kingfisher sites in mind and hope to work them tirelessly in 2014)
So there you go, my own personal list for 2014. Of course on top of this I’ll have my first full year of the #BritainsBig5 project to contend with, but these are some stand out items which I’d like to work towards in 2014.
Got your own list for 2014? I’d love to hear about them.