As with many other passionate photographers I have lots of things going on in my life that threaten to push my photography way down the list of priorities. I am eternally grateful for my family and my day job but I also feel that I need to find time for my photography. It is my creative outlet and the vehicle that I use to share and express particular feelings or experiences. It is therefore important for me to set targets to achieve my photographic goals; to complete an ongoing project, to start work on a new project, to explore an idea, to learn something new, etc. Although most of my photography work is project based I also feel that in addition to achieving project goals I need targets that just help me “do something” with my photography. The following are a few examples to illustrate the tools that I use:
My website is the window into my photographic world. It is where I post portfolios of my work and it is where people can find out about what I do.
I try to keep the content of my website relatively fresh. I remove bodies of work that no longer represent where I am going with my photography and post new, completed bodies of work. This keeps me focused on finishing projects, whether they are short term or long term and I try to target at least one major update per year.
My blog is where I post updates on projects that I am currently working on or folios of completed mini-projects. It is a platform that I use to describe particular thoughts about photography or an idea that I am interested in or am actually exploring. Often, the ideas that I put into words have formed the basis for projects that I want to explore and in some cases am now actually working on.
While a website is relatively static and relatively impersonal I think a blog can add personality. I therefore try to use my blog to provide a frequent update on what I am working on photographically. I target weekly updates, which I find helps me focus on a particular photographic theme or thought, which also usually means creating some images to accompany a post.
While I try to use my website and blog to provide a window into my creative world I use various social media platforms to present the less formal or philosophical side of me. Social media is where I can present who I am on a daily basis. It is where I can interact with other photographers, friends and people that inspire me.
My goal with social media is to set up a network of contacts who I can learn from and with whom I can share thoughts and ideas. Social media can be highly addictive and I try to “log in” once a day to see what is new. Social media helps me stay abreast of developments in technology and photographic processes and often there have been things I have read about or seen that have inspired me to try something new.
Although my website contains portfolios of my work the images are fairly low resolution. Additionally, although the images are presented in a specific sequence intended to present the story I am trying to tell, there is nothing to stop a viewer simply clicking on particular images out of the intended sequence.
Therefore, in addition to placing my portfolios on my website I am also currently working on eBook versions of my work. The eBooks will contain higher resolution images, which will result in greater image detail. Akin to reading the chapters of a novel in the correct sequence, the images in my eBooks will be sequenced and therefore viewed as intended. I have set myself a target to prepare eBooks for three of my existing, completed portfolios and also for two new projects that I am currently working on before the end of this year. The goal of creating eBooks and the target that I have set myself has the added benefit of keeping me focused on finishing ongoing project work.
I plan to make the eBooks available for download from my website.
Camera club competitions
I joined the Baltimore Camera Club a little over 4 years ago and it has been a great resource to me. Not only do I get to see the work of extremely talented photographers but I also get to understand the motivation and thinking behind their creativity. I have been inspired by many great photographers at the BCC and their work has given me many ideas that I have stored away in my mind to pursue at some later date.
Being a member of the BCC also gives me an opportunity to include my work in club competitions, which gives me a great incentive to take photographs and create new work on a frequent basis that is not necessarily part of a particular project that I might be working on.
I have made many friends at the BCC and there is always someone who wants to go out and shoot. It’s a great opportunity to simply go out and shoot something that is entirely new. Many of my photography projects would not have happened if I didn’t have the opportunity to go out shooting with other photographers from the BCC.
Photography magazine competitions and work submissions
The goal of many, if not all photographers is to “get work out there” to be seen (and hopefully appreciated) by folks that are not just your close circle of family or friends. Having work published in magazines is an excellent way to get in front of a wide audience. Magazines (both print and on-line) have a wide reach. Submitting work for publication or entering annual juried competitions are two ways of getting your work published, but they require hard work. Rejection of your work can be disheartening especially if this is the only “vehicle” that you use to try and get your work out there. For this reason, although I have submitted work to be published I use many of the other “vehicles” that I have mentioned in this post to get my work in front of a wider audience.
I am sure there are many more tools and resources that I could use to help me set goals and targets for my photography. However, for now I intend to stick with the current list and just see what happens…
This image is from a project that I have been working on for the past couple of years from near my hometown in the northeast of England.