Goals for 2011

For 2010 I had a few specific goals in mind for my photography.  Here they are –
1. Be more methodical and deliberate; be a more thoughtful photographer
2. Organize digital files better
3. Purge digital files

1 – partial win.  I did envision specific photographs ahead of time and go into the field to produce them.  This kept me focused and less distracted.  I didn’t do this with every shoot though and often went into the field without a plan so only a partial win here.  Overall I think my planned sessions went better than my unplanned.  Scouting is something I’d never done before, but I found it invaluable.  The ability to visualize a certain image that you’ll need to come back for is the germ of a good plan.  Becoming familiar with a location leads to ideas and, hopefully, mastery of your shoot.  This is not to say I’ve abandoned spontaneity, a couple of my best shots were completely off the cuff.  I only mean to say that not every photo can be done this way and I needed to incorporate a more deliberate approach to my usual from-the-hip style.

2 – partial win.  I should have looked at more Lightroom tutorials before using it.  As the year went along I found myself stymied and frustrated by my lack of organization.  Some things I did right, like keywording and using a semi-organized folder structure, but it wasn’t enough.  For 2011 I have improved my workflow in some key areas and hopefully will have a more productive year post-processing-wise.

3 – fail.  I got a 2 TB drive so who needs to purge?

So what’s up for this year?

1. Improve composition; read a book or two, podcasts, tutorials, essays etc.
2. Strive for more distinctive images
3. Maintain post-processing workflow discipline

Number one is a next step in my more deliberate photographer goal which is still in place.  I frame and compose by instinct; basically do I like it, does it work for me – that kind of thing.  While this works sometimes, it can be sloppy and inconsistent.  I need to be more mindful of the artistic and technical elements that go into a successful composition.  When I get my eye to the viewfinder the rules don’t even cross my mind and they should at least some of the time.  I also had a better habit when I shot film – I walked around the subject a lot.  I moved.  I changed angles and locations.  For some reason, I’ve gotten lazy and I really need to step out of my own restraints.

Number two is part of honing my personal style.  Over the years I’ve taken some pretty clichéd images.  I’d like to make a more concerted effort toward originality.  Part of this may include post-processing, but I’m not sure.  I tend to process each image as an individual, not pursuant to a constant style.  I think this works to bring out the special qualities of each image, but may not do much in terms of creating an identifiable style.

Number three is about good habits and taking a little time at the beginning to save a lot of time after the fact.  I think I’ve got a good workflow/organizational method worked out and I just need to stick to it.

Well that’s it.  I hope that I can keep these goals in mind over the next year and have at least some more partial wins.

This blog will hopefully be part of the equation.  I plan to incorporate more posts about how I’m doing relative to each of these goals.  I don’t know if that’s something other people want to read about, but it’s something that will help me keep focused on them, so that’s what you’re gonna get.


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