Photography Goals Checkpoint
I wrote up a list of photography goals back in February. I’m a list, goal setting kind of person therefore this sort of thing works well for me. For some reason, when something is written out on paper it gives me a sense of accountability. It also helps give me focus when I feel a little all over the place. Anyways, since it’s more than half way though the year I figured it was time to pull out my goals and see how I was doing. I have been in full manual exposure since February, yahoo! I switched back to automatic once to see if I would really notice the difference and within two minutes I was back to manual wondering why I didn’t make the switch to manual earlier. Manual has given me so much more creative freedom and therefore made me way happier with my images. I am continuing to learn and grow in my skills, but am way farther along than I was back in February. Yep, there’s hope.
I have continued to print off at least two 5×7’s each month. I usually put these up on my fridge to share and enjoy.
I have yet to learn how to take great back lit photos. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that the time of day is very hard for me to get out and take advantage of the setting sun. Dinner time, bed time…photos just aren’t a priority at this time of day. Several times on vacation I had good intentions, but either it was cloudy out or I was too tired to go out and get creative. That being said, I have gone out once to take back lit photos, unfortunately my little one was crying and done just as the sun got low enough.
I am happy to report that I’ve printed off eight photo books since March (my goal for the year was four). I’ve been printing with Picaboo since Groupon has made it possible for a book (printed and shipped) to cost between $15-30. The quality isn’t the best ever, however I’m happy with it for vacation and special occasion books. One of my books is from Shutterfly (like the quality a little more). I still plan to make our family blog into year books through Blurb. I’ll get caught up, slowly but surely.
I did a mini styled shoot for my eldest daughter’s birthday back in April, however I wouldn’t really put this in the same category has the styled shoot that I was originally hoping to do. I would still like to do a styled shoot with one of my kids, however this just hasn’t been a big priority. I’ve realized that my focus needs to be more on learning and mastering basic skills versus planning grand photo sessions. There’s always time for that later on. Learn and understand your camera manually first, as well as composition and lighting.
I have been much happier with my indoor photos lately than I was when I set my goals. I have a much better understanding of the exposure triangle, white balance, lighting, etc. I feel like I am slowly taking the guess work out of my photos and really taking control. A year ago I was hoping for a lucky shot, now I can usually figure out how to get the image I want in camera. I still feel like I have a long way to go, however I’ve come a long way! I’m not yet sure what my style is, however I like bright, clean images.
Another one of my goals was to post photos regularly on facebook. Not a whole album of similar pics, but ONE photo that I love. I’ve been learning that more is less. This has been helping me to learn the qualities of a good photo. I have also realized that I don’t need to expect to get a ton of great images everytime I pick up my camera. If I can get one or two that I love then I am happy.Amazingly, I have continued to do this. In some ways, the more I do, the more I feel encouraged to do. People’s likes and comments help build my confidence and remind me that my photos are being seen by others. I believe that photos are meant to be shared with others (whether by photo books, online, etc). My photos do little good just sitting on my computer for no one to see. I have also continued to post on our family blog regularly as well. I have been surprised by the accountability that posting has given me as well. If I miss a week or so, there are always people asking why I haven’t posted or where my pics are (especially the grandmas).
My last goal was to be more intentional of taking photos of my extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc), especially of them with our children. After living out of the province for three years and not having a lot of day to day photos with family, this became really important to me. I wanted more photos that captured the relationships and connections between our children and the special people in their lives. I also really wanted to be intentional about taking photos of my grandparents. I recently spent a morning with them (without kids) just following them around taking photos of them, it was wonderful!
I continue to be a work in progress, learning and growing. Sometimes I get discouraged and wonder if I’m getting any better at this whole photography thing. I’ll look on other people’s blogs or websites and feel like I have such a long way to go. I really want to take amazing photos of my children. I want to see light and beautiful composition. As silly as it may sound, I really do want to be an amazing photographer. Then I remind myself that everyone has had to start somewhere. I only took this whole photography thing seriously 7 months ago. That’s not a long time at all! If I keep at this, practicing and learning regularly, I have a great chance of being where I want to be two years from now. I did get my DSLR a few years ago but stayed on auto mode for most of that time. I ventured into aperture priority mode summer 2011 (just over a year ago). It wasn’t until I went manual and started spending time intentionally learning that I started to see growth.
Now it’s your turn…have a look back at your goals and see how you’re doing. Are you reaching most of them or not? If you are, consider adding some goals. If not, ask yourself why you aren’t. Was it just too much? Are you spending enough time practicing and learning? If you’re in a slump, consider trying a personal photo challenge to get you out (daily project, once a week, black and whites, indoor only, horizontal pics, one style of composition each day for a week, etc.
Don’t have any goals? It’s never too late. Remember that we can’t get somewhere if we don’t know where we want to go. Pull out a piece of paper and jot some down.
Please feel free to post your celebrations and challenges. I would love to hear them!