2011 definitely has a foot in the door. How’s it treating you? Nicely? I hope so.
[This is not going to be a how to shoot this or that post, but rather a challenging post for you that I hope will help you push yourself more this year as a photographer pro or amateur. (If you just want the how to stuff, feel free to skip this one, some great stuff coming on the next post).]
A while back I spoke about how important it is to have a plan in place if you want to meet your goals. Of course, It helps to have a goal that you want to meet if you are in the plans making business. And often a goal is the first part of any plan. [picture courtesy Zeke Kamm]
It can be a creative goal like completing a certain project; It can be a business goal, like meeting a certain number of clients or revenue; and it can be a personal goal, like completing a photography course.
With the large amount of photographers visiting DIYP I thought it may be interesting to share on your goals for the upcoming year.
Why am I asking for your goals?
Here is the thing. Defining your goals may a take a bit more effort than just dribbling something on piece of paper. The premise is that seeing how others define goals may help you to define your goals. They don’t have to be the same, but they may help you get some ideas on achievable targets.
On the flip side, committing to a goal has positive impact on your chances to achieving it, so this exercise may be worth a while for you too.
and while you are free to post whatever goals you have, you may find the points below help you focus.
What Makes a good goal?
In my mind for a goal to be a worth one, it needs to answer yes to those four questions?
- Is it achievable?
- Is it aggressive?
- Is it up to you?
- It is well defined?
- Is it confined in one year? [Goals can be shorter/longer, but for this post, we're doing the one year thing]
Is It Achievable?
The first thing I would ask from a good goal is to be achievable. No point in defining goals that you can never-ever meet. It will frustrate you and have a negative impact on your progress.
A lot of the times, an achievable goal can be defined by downsizing a humongous one. if “I want to shoot 30 sessions a month” is very unlikely, try “I want to shoot 5 sessions a month”; if “I want to charge $5000 per assignment” is aiming high, try “I want to be charging $500 or $1000 per assignment”.
Is it Aggressive?
This one’s is harder to explain. In my mind, aggressive targets are important, and keep you working hard, whereas easy targets have almost no impact on your behavior.
Consider those two targets:
- I want to add an awesome dancer on a trampoline photograph to my portfolio
- I want to add a coffee mug product shot to my portfolio
Which one will push you harder? Which one will be done within a day and leave you wondering again?
The trampoline shot is a production, you’ll have to find a venue, hire a dancer, plan and execute the lighting. It will make you sweat. In a good way. It will improve you. The easy goal. Not so sure.
We each define our easy and hard. What’s trivial for one can be a crazy thing for another. Whatever it is for you, make sure you don’t take the easy way out.
Is it up to you?
When setting your goals, make sure you set your mind on a goal you can achieve on your own. Completing a course and executing a hard shoot are such goals. Sending out 100 well crafted marketing kits is such a goal. Receiving 100 answers is not. Sadly, we have little control over what the other person does.
Make a goal that is up to you. Execute it the best you can. Feel good about yourself.
So a goal that says take a photo a day for the next year is great, a goal that says take a photo of a rainy day each day is… well you get the point.
Is Your Goal Well Defined?
At the end of the year, is there a simple yes/no questions you can ask to see if you met your goal? If the answer to the previous question is yes, then your goal is well defined.
Now don’t get me wrong, that does not mean your target has to be quantitative rather than qualitative. If you are honest about yourself you can answer that yes/no question to questions like “did I greatly improve my still life photography skills?”; “did I improve the way I handle new customers?”; “Did I learn how to use a strobe off camera?”.
Write Your Goals Down
Here is the most important part. Write Your Goals Down. It would be best, of course, if you wrote them as a comment to this post. but even if not. write them in such a way that you can revisit them at the end of 2011. Or better yet, visit them at the beginning of each quarter and see if you are getting closer or just day dreaming.
I’m looking forward to seeing your goals and ignite the discussion in the comments.