Thursday, February 2, 2012

Photography Goals

Several of my resolutions/goals this year were about photography.

1. I will not compare myself to others when it comes to photography and I will not let some of the photographers around here get to me.

To explain a little, I'm sure a lot of you have noticed that pretty much everywhere these days, people get a new camera and think they should start taking pictures of people and calling themself a professional. It's one of my ultimate pet peeves and last year I wasted a lot of time venting about how much it bothers me. It still bothers me, because I honestly think a lot of people need to spend a lot more time with their camera and figure out how to actually use it and use it well before they start charging people and calling themselves professionals. I still don't call myself professional and won't for awhile, simply because I know there is a lot more for me to learn. Anyway, I don't want to compare myself to other photographers anymore either. There are some insanely talented people out there and I also have a bad habit of comparing my work to theirs. Not really a good boost to the ego, so I'm going to stop doing that too.

2. I will upgrade my camera

Ideally I wanted to upgrade my current camera (Canon Rebel XSI) to the Canon 5D Mark II. In terms that might better explain it, my camera is a generic brand mixer, while the 5D Mark II is a Kitchen Aid mixer. There are some features of the camera I want, that my camera doesn't have. Unfortunately, the 5D is also way out of my price range, but I still need to upgrade my camera. So..I've decided to upgrade to a bit of an older model, the Canon 40D and continue to save up for the 5D. I'm also trying to add a couple new lenses and an external flash to my equipment this year too.

3. I will do things that challenge me

Last year I started a Project 365, but failed somewhere around April. So, this year I started again, though I have yet to edit any of the pictures I've taken so far or post them. I'm hoping that will happen this weekend. I swore when I first started doing portraits that I'd never do a wedding. For one, weddings scare me. If I shoot a maternity or newborn session and something happens where I'm not happy with the pictures, I can always do it over. With a wedding, you don't get that luxury. I also know that a lot of prep work and equipment are needed for weddings and that's scary for me. However, this year I've been asked to do two weddings. One is just a ceremony, nothing extra and the other one I'm really excited about, because it's one of my very best friends. I know that's going to push me as a photographer and make me better, which is really the whole point

4. I will make a business plan

I find this one boring, but necessary. In order to make it as a photographer you not only have to be a good photographer, but you also have to be a good business person. That is something I'm going to have to work on. I have a vision of what I want my business to be 5 years from now, but at this time, I'm not sure how to make that happen. I know when I get back to the States that I can't just set up a photography business and go from there. I'm going to have to have another job in order to get income to set up my business. Not to mention attract and keep clients and grow my business from there.

Right now I enjoy taking portraits of people. What I'm most requested to do right now is maternity, which I like doing. I'd like to do newborn, but it seems these days there are so many props you need for that. Also, I'm kind of over the whole baby in swing, bright backgrounds, cute hats, babies in baskets/bowls/etc. Don't get me wrong, I think it's super cute, but I think it's a tad overdone. If I did do newborn photography, I'd want to be different and do something not EVERYONE is doing. My ultimate goal is to one day do just boudoir/pin-up photography. I really, really enjoyed my boudoir shoot that I did a few years ago for Sean and I'd love to re-create that experience for other women. In Oklahoma right now there isn't a lot of people doing boudoir and I really think it's something I would enjoy. I have a few friends lined up to let me practice that sort of shoot with them (once I get back to Oklahoma), just to see how I like it and if I'm good at it. If it goes well, that will probably be my main concentration for my business.

So there you have it, some of my resolutions and goals for my photography. Hopefully I'll have progress to report later this year!


Samantha said...

I couldn't agree with you more about people buying a DSLR and automatically assuming that makes them a professional. I'm the first to admit I don't know half of what I should about my Canon and I don't claim to. Every once and a while I get lucky and get what I consider to be a great shot! But that's all and I'm happy about it. :) But, I've seen so many people doing exactly what you described and it is annoying.

Jes said...

I am pretty sure I could have written this exact same post! It's almost creepy how your thoughts mimic mine {or vice versa}!

So many people say I should start a business and/or call me a pro but I don't feel the same at this point. For the same reasons you listed, mostly I want to learn more about my camera and photography in general. Just because I have a fancy camera doesn't make me a professional and I wish more people felt that way!

I also want to upgrade from my XSi to the 5D Mark II but it is out of my price range as well at the moment. As soon as we pay off our debt that is the 1st thing I am saving for! I hope to have it by the end of the year!

I am trying to step outside my comfort zone this year also. In 2 weeks I'm taking photos at a marathon here in Japan for I am slightly nervous since I don't get to do anything to the photos. I simply take them and at the end of the day hand the memory cards over to the man in charge. It's going to be a huge challenge for me but I'm ready for it {and it pays pretty decent! hello Mark II savings!!!}

Business plan??? ugh! I don't like thinking about it but I know if I want to do this professionally one day, it's something I need to do!

Great post, sorry for the novel comment!

Dana said...

Go for it!
Believe in yourself bc you have a natural eye that others will love.
I imagine that in today's market, where anyone who picks up a DSLR has pangs to call herself a pro, it's tough to break in. I suppose persistance is key.

People tell me I should sell my photos. I just giggle. Are you kidding me? It's often just luck, luck, Photoshop, and 50 frames of the same image.

Are you looking for senior portrait business?

Abbie said...

What a great post! When I bought my Nikon 5100, people asked me if I wanted to be a photographer...HA! It's funny how so many people assume that having a nice camera automatically makes you a photographer. Definitely not my case!

For what it's worth, I've seen your prints and I think they're beatiful. Not only that, but I think you have a great eye for good photography (I seriously love your boards on Pinterest).

Your plan sounds very realistic and doable! Lots of luck to you Melissa!

Crystal said...

I love the boudior/pin-up photography idea. Not only is it a realm that still has a lot of area to grow in, but it must be fun to work in that area of photography as well.

These all sound like reasonable goals that you can accomplish. I wish you the best of luck.

loquita said...

Something I as I grew in my knowledge and experience with strength and CrossFit coaching is that you have to temper your awareness that you have a lot to learn with a pride in the knowledge and experience that you have built up.

My husband reminds me all the time that while I'm not the most accomplished coach, I still have valuable experience and knowledge.

I think it is harder to do this when you are in an industry where people "automatically" designate themselves qualified professionals, and don't seem to give a crap about having enough experience or knowledge to truly do a great job. So you end up wanting to distance yourself so far from those type of people that you never give yourself credit for the education or experience you've worked hard to earn!

So, consider that my pep talk to you! I think professionalism isn't just about experience, it's about attitude. Having the attitude that there is always something more to learn is one of the most professional things you can do.

Love the biz plan idea, check your local town for small business assistance. Here they offer free courses at the local community college. A chamber of commerce may also be a good source of information on local rules / regs.

And I think you would totally rock the boudoir photography, that is such an awesome idea! Would love to do pics like that with you!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a huge honor that you've been asked to do weddings! I know you'll take amazing photos. And I agree with you on the maternity/baby shoots. It's hard *not* to take a cute/good picture in those instances, but so many of the shots are so very cliche.

Carissa said...

Rumor has it the 5D III is coming out soon. I bet the 5D II will go way down in price when it does, you might want to wait!

Sarah said...

Knowing that you shoot with a XSi makes me realize how much more I have to learn! I have an XS and always tell myself it's not enough "camera" for me, but obviously I need to stop thinking I'm such hot shit, lol. I completely agree with what you said about people owning photography businesses that they shouldn't. Someday I'd love to call myself a photographer but that is a FAR off dream. Someday, after lots and lots of practice.
I hope you make your goals, I think you'd be a great boudoir photographer!

Dana said...

I was thinking about this post again today. All the cameras at school were checked out and a trusted student of mine, one who always has a camera in her hand, needed a camera asap...

I hesitantly lent her my D50, with a pretty serious all-purpose lens attached.

The pictures she took were just awful, pictures of still people. I set the ISO and white balance for her!

The camera does not make the photographer.

I can't tell you how often people see my "work" and say, "Oh, it's because you have that expensive camera." I used to get offended, even try to explain. Now it makes me laugh, in the same way that suggestions that I sell my work makes me laugh.

Good Luck!
(Not saying that a better camera is not warranted in your case...just sharing some of this ridiculousness that surrounds this field.)