Planning the Direction of Your Photography
Photography can be technically confusing and just a bit overwhelming at times. Add to that the frustration of seeing thousands of images on social media each day that just seems to be that little bit better than yours – leaves you wondering if you are actually capable of achieving the same level of quality in your own photography.
Photography is a balanced combination of technical skill and creative development. You need to understand and master the technical capabilities of your camera in order to unleash your creative desires. So where is the starting point? Where do you begin this journey of self-improvement? Quite simply – you need to set some photography goals for yourself.
Those of you that know me, or have been following my posts, know that I am a big fan of working to a plan. I love to start each year identifying what I hope to accomplish and how I will go about getting to the end result. Creating a plan based on a set of goals is central to how I work. Setting goals is a great way to assist you with anything that you want to improve at. In this post I will explore a few ideas that I hope will assist you in setting your photography goals for the year.
A FREE Download of my Photography Goals template is available at the bottom of this post.
The Photographers Roadmap
Think of your goals as the roadmap that defines the destination of where you want to be and the steps that you have to take along that journey to get there. Setting goals is essential if you want to achieve the technical and artistic growth you desire in your photography.
Goals assist you to define and zero in on specific techniques that may be required to achieve the level of artistic quality you want to develop. For example, when I made the decision to have a go with portrait/model photography I needed to set a number of goals such as acquire and learn to use studio lights, learning to work with models and or course editing portraits. Each goal was a small step that assisted me in gaining the confidence to working and shoot with the models, which led to me creating a portfolio of images that I am really proud of.
Tips for setting your photography goals
Define what you want to achieve
Spend time specifically defining what you want to achieve; what genre of photography do you want focus on and what type of images do you want to be creating by the end of the year. Create a page or two of examples of the type of images you want to create and commit yourself to achieving it. It’s really important to be specific when setting your goals. Simply stating that you want to “get better at bird photography” is too vague and it doesn’t outline the specific actions you need to take to accomplish the goal. Instead you might want to set a goal that states “you will upload 10 new bird photos into a specific facebook group each month that can be critiqued by other members of the group”. To make your goals more specific ask yourself if you have defined the Why, Where, When, Who and How
Keep it realistic
Dont be too ambitious. If you set unrealistic goals you are likely to give up on them when it appears that you wont be able to achieve them. For most people, photography is a hobby, and as a hobby you will have a limited amount of time and resource that you can invest in achieving your goals. Defining the amount of time and money you have to invest in your photography will assist you in setting goals that are not overly ambitious.
Identify the specific steps required
Now is the time to define the specific steps you will have to take in order to reach you objective.
- Do you have the right photography equipment to take the type of images you want to take?
- Do you need to purchase and learn any specific post processing software and techniques?
- Which books do you need to read or what workshops can you attend that will help you on your journey?
- Is there a mentor you can work with that can guide you along the way?
It is critical that you write these specific steps down, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure your achievements. If you do this, you’ll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take satisfaction from having achieved it
Use a written plan to stay focused and motivated
Once you’ve decided on your initial goals and the specific steps to achieve them, keep the process going by creating and reviewing your plan on a weekly or monthly basis. Identify the small incremental steps that will assist you.
This may be something as simple as taking 20 images a day practicing a new skill or camera feature. It can include looking at other images from other photographers you admire or interacting with a mentor on a social media page. Small, incremental steps that help maintain your inspiration and enthusiasm for achieving you goals.
Celebrate the wins
Remember to celebrate when you actually achieve your goals. When you begin to create the type of images you set out to achieve, post them on line, show them to family and friends, or enter competitions. Take a moment to reflect on how you achieved it and begin the process all over again setting bigger more complex challenges.
Taking your photography to ‘the next level’ is all about setting goals for yourself and more importantly to keep shooting and keeping yourself open to discovering what you really love to shoot and the images you love creating.
Set realistic goals and strive to challenge yourself!
To assist you I am pleased offer you a copy of the template I have created to set my own annual Photography Goals. I have also included an example of a Photography goal and how to plan the activities to achieve it.
FREE Download – Photography Goals Template 2022
The Complete Pixel offers workshops and one-on-one mentoring that can assist you in achieving your photography goals. Our GOAL is to demystify the technical aspects of photography and unleash your creativity.