A New Year with New Goals

I think the development of a photographer is quite incredible. The embodiment of being a photographer has two correlating journeys, one in technique and one as an artist. Photography techniques can continuously improve through practice. Art is also ever-evolving. I think that's exciting and it is also one of the things I love about this never-ending journey called photography. The ability to continuously learn and grow is attractive to me. 

The beginning of a New Year is undoubtedly a time for self-reflection and one in which personal goals are often set. As a means to help you move forward in your development as a photographer, goal setting is an excellent idea. Here are a few things to think about this year as you begin to set your goals.  

1. Set small goals

As noted, the development of a photographer is never-ending. There's no finish line, and there's a lot to learn. Set small, attainable goals. This will help you from putting too much pressure on yourself, which will only lead to frustration and disappointment. I recommend purchasing yourself a learning notebook and keeping it close by. Write down a few goals and work towards achieving those goals. When you've attained those goals, jot down a few more. Seeing the results in your growth is very empowering. 

ISO 400, 200mm, f3.2, 1/1600SS

2. Practise 

Malcolm Gladwell tells us in his bestseller, Outliers, that to become an expert, it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Picking up your camera and experimenting will go a long way in helping you reach your photography goals. A photographer friend of mine once said, "There's no elevator to the top. You have to take the stairs." Practise photography as much as you can.   

ISO 1000, 35mm, f2, 1/200SS

3. Take a break

Keep in mind that it is okay to take a break from working on your photography goals. Spend some time with another hobby of interest. You might find inspiration in that hobby that'll influence your photography when you pick up your camera again.

ISO 1600, 135mm, 3.2f, 1/800SS

4. Don't be afraid of critique 

Critique is invaluable when it comes to goal setting. Ask a photographer friend for feedback or even someone who is not a photographer. This will help you see your images differently. You can and should take what others say as an opportunity for learning, but remember critique only provides you with a different perspective. Ultimately your art is your own, and the final results of your images are solely yours.

ISO 800, 170mm, f3.2, 1/640SS

5. Celebrate your accomplishments, even the little ones

You should always celebrate your accomplishments. There's a lot to learn in photography, and if you've set and accomplished a goal, make a note of it. This will help you from feeling defeated when you aren't having a good photography day. You should be proud of your efforts as you grow into the photographer you are meant to be. 

ISO 100, 35mm, f2.8, 1/2500SS

6. Shoot from your heart

There's incredible talent out there in the photography world. One thing you have that everyone else does not is your uniqueness. Your photography is a reflection of who you are as a person. Remember that ultimately your images are apart of the culmination of your past, present and even your future self. Capture images and set goals that speak to who you are as a photographer and as a person. Always shoot what you love in a way that speaks to you. There's no right or wrong way in which to develop as a photographer. 

ISO 1000, 35mm, f2.8, 1/250SS

I hope that you'll set some photography goals this year. Work towards them and then set new ones. Celebrate your accomplishments and capture your beautiful memories while you take steps to become the photographer you are meant to be. 

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