Almost any successful person will tell you the importance of setting goals. After all, very few people make a name for themselves by accident!
And although todays post may seem obvious to some of you guys, I felt it was worth writing.
When I decided 3 years ago to make photography my career I was mainly driven by the fact that someone was offering to pay me to do something that I already loved doing. I had very little idea of the actual business practices involved. I was sucked in by the stories of people who’s photography had been noticed on sites like flickr and 500px and suddenly they were getting paid commissions. An amateur one day and a pro the next.
Of course in reality this is about as likely as the countless number of bands putting their songs on soundcloud and hoping against all odds that a busy music producer may have a day off and decide to check out the latest uploads.
I didn’t realise that even these seemingly chance discoveries were actually guided by these guys constantly working, uploading, responding to forum posts and increasing their digital footprint.
(obviously it would be a far less interesting article if these magazines told you the whole picture.
I don’t blame them, there is a certain attraction to the idea that these guys were just noticed for their talent alone.)
But now, 3 years on, I have a much more realistic view of the market place and how the creative industries are monetised.
Which leads me to this day. With just over a month to go until the new year I figured it was time to start looking at next years goals and compare them to how this year has been.
My long term goals have remained largely unchanged since I decided that fashion and portraiture was the way I wanted to go.
1. Photograph Boris Johnson (the guy just really interests me)
2. Get a vogue magazine cover
3. Have a business that is financially successful
4.Photograph the big name actors, directors, musicians, authors and politicians for the leading magazines and newspapers.
5.Have my photography exhibited at a renowned London or New York gallery.
Some pretty tall orders there for sure. And not something I’m intending to achieve right away…But hopefully something I’ll achieve within the next 3 to 5 years.
But short term goals are different to me. Although I may be aiming high with my long term plans it would be wrong to think I’m just shooting straight up. When I talk to younger photographers who are looking to enter the industry I like to explain it as the long term goals being the elevator and the short term ones being the staircase.
Of course if you get the chance to ride the elevator straight to where you want then great! But the short term steps are the concrete way that you can raise yourself to that level.
So with that analogy in mind; what am I going to set as my goals for the next 6 to 12 months?
They have to push me forward and closer to my desired finishing point but not necessarily in a direct line with it. I often feel that it is the branching out along certain tasks that helps create a firmer platform to start your next steps from. For example:
I want to photograph Boris Johnson as my long term goal. So maybe a short term goal would be to try and build a correspondence with his team at the mayors office. I may end up being asked to photograph some one that I’m less interested in to start with but if the experience is positive and they are happy with the results I can keep coming back and gradually climb my way to photographing a top level politician and build experience working in that world along the way.
Hardly direct but worth the effort for my end goal.
I guess what I’m hoping people take away from this post is this:
Goals are important but you’ll never build a house without each brick. The small steps matter as much if not more than the big ones. They are the area in which you build your confidence, hone your craft and meet all the interesting people along the way that you would other wise never know.
Also, it is important to celebrate every little step. Make your lists and check things off as you go.
Visualise your progress and don’t be afraid to add in a couple of extra steps along the way.
Nothing worth having was ever easy to achieve.
P.S. If anyone reading this knows Boris then please tell him because that is an opportunity I would never turn down! Equally if any of you are authors, poets, actors, musicians, or involved in that world I would love to hear from you.
I’m always looking to meet new people in these industries. Doesn’t matter if your a seasoned personality constantly in the public eye or just starting out. If you have an dream or an interesting story then get in touch!