A Photography Lesson That Will Last The YearJan 09, 2024
It's the New Year, and for most of us, there have likely been, even if only fleeting, thoughts about our photography goals and plans this coming year.
The other day, I was listening to my small business mentor, who discussed the importance of planning your success. The part about planning your success might sound familiar to many of you because planning is one of my fundamental pillars for successful landscape photography. So, his chat on this topic immediately caught my attention. As I listened, he talked about how to be successful this year at anything. He stated that to be successful, you should begin with the end in mind (this is your goal) and then take small steps, whether daily, weekly or monthly, towards your end goal.
Have you ever heard this saying? "He's bitten off more than he can chew." Those significant end goals can feel overwhelming. There's a lot to chew on unless you have a plan on how you are going to get to your destination.
One of the most disappointing things I see as a photographer educator is people give up before they get started. They begin with the end in mind, but then they don't plan for their success. Don't let this be you. Instead, make this year your most successful year. I encourage you to begin with the end in mind by setting a goal or two, then break this goal down into smaller steps you can tackle as you work towards your photography aspirations. This reduces the overwhelm of that big end goal so that you don't give up because you feel like you've bitten off more than you can chew.
ISO 64, 16.5mm, f8, 1/50 sec
Look at your larger photography goals as if they are a finished puzzle. The final puzzle is the completion of your successful aspiration or where you want to end up many months away from today. But to create that puzzle, smaller pieces need to fit together. Focus your attention on those smaller pieces or steps. The action of doing and moving toward the end with those small steps is what will get you the results you want.
I recommend purchasing a learning notebook or keeping track of your goals via a digital document like your iPhone Notes. First, jot down your more significant aspiration. Then, plan for your success by considering the actions you need to take to help you achieve that end goal.
Here's an example of how you can set up your journal as you begin with the end in mind and plan your actionable smaller steps to facilitate your success this year.
I want to learn how to manage exposure in landscape photography so that all my images are correctly exposed.
How I will achieve this goal:
- I will read an article once per week about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO
- I will practise what I've learned for 10 minutes a day
- I will take an online workshop that focuses on capturing high dynamic landscape photography scenes
- I will sign up for a mentorship that offers feedback on my photos
Notice, if you will, that the end is the completion, and the planning of those smaller steps will take you to where you want to go. With every goal you conquer, you'll be one step closer to becoming the photographer you want to be. But remember that it does take work and time to get to an end. So make sure you enjoy the ride along the way. Have fun with photography and allow it to fill your life with the benefits that it can.