2020: Photography Goals, Resolutions and Thoughts

I wanted to wake up early on New Year’s Day and photograph the sunrise from Gampo, South Korea. It is one of my favourite places and not too far away. However, that did not happen.

I did wake up before dawn but I just stayed in bed thinking about how bad the traffic would be and how cold it is outside. If it wasn’t for my cat desperately trying to get up to feed her, then I probably would have stayed in bed longer.

It was an amazing sunrise and I should have been out along the coastline photographing it. Instead, I shot out my window at the sun rise over the city and thought about how I could improve myself in 2020.

Sunrise: Jan. 1st 2020

Goals

My biggest goal for this year is to get more jobs. I always enjoy being sent out on assignment for a site or a magazine. 2019 was a slow year but if I am realistic, I didn’t actively seek out any new work either. I just sat back and hoped that I would magically get some more work by the end of the month or something like that.

So in 2020, I am going to actively seek out more publications and clients to work with. This is going to be a humbling experience for sure but it is one that I am willing to take. Afterall, if I want to get better, I have to push myself out of my comfort zone.

The second big goal for 2020 is to complete my lighthouse project that I started last year. This was a great project but one that I admit wore me out by the end of the year. Hopefully, now I can catch up on some of the few remaining lighthouses in the area and find a few more. The final part of this goal will be to publish a book about the lighthouses.

Resolutions

1 – Shoot More Video. After getting the Canon EOS R, I fell in love with how sharp the video is. Coupled with the work that I do with cinemagraphs and my drone, I am starting to love video more and more. No, I will not be launching a new youtube channel. I will simply be making more videos about the places I travel to. These will mainly be for my other site, Ulsan Online.

2 – Travel More. For years, I circulated around the same places and reshot the same locations. This is great for practice but not so much for improvement. Over the last few years, I have managed to do a couple of trips outside Korea and a few within. It was a great experience as they were mainly photography based trips and it gave me time to focus on my work and pad my portfolio.

In 2020, I want to travel more. A few more photo trips within Korea and maybe a trip home to Canada as well. These would be part vacation and part photo-trip. It should spice up the portfolio a bit more.

3 – Update My Website… Again. Years ago when I had a number of harsh critiques of my work, one writer mocked my website saying that it “looks dated, a bit Geocities circa 2000 and not engaging, and that’s a turn off” and he was right. I have since updated my website a number of times but I must keep up with it. This time around, I am going to update the blog section as it is looking a bit rough. **Jan. 2 – Major update complete**

4 – Stop Teaching Photography – This is a difficult one for me. However, looking back a few years I realized that my heart is simply no longer in it. After 2017’s harsh realization that my photography and my lessons were crap, I really stepped back and wondered if this was the right path. Kishore Sawh noted “The creative world is rife with talent at the moment, and there really are so many people out there capable of creating images that are technically exemplary and, more importantly, artistically and culturally relevant.” Basically stating in his article that I had a long way to go. It was a nice way to say “keep your day job” and in truth, he was right.

I tried and failed at that and it is time to pivot. Not to mention, that in reality if I have to fight hard to show people that I am capable of taking great photos and also teaching people how to do it, I must be doing something wrong. That being said, I have closed up my tutorial site and will focus less on tutorials unless there is a significant demand… which I highly doubt.

Here is hoping that 2020 is a great year for everyone.

5 – Gain Credibility – The last resolution here is basically to gain credibility within the industry. I have been doing photography a long time and I still feel that people don’t really take me seriously as a photographer. Despite working with some big brands like Visa, having been published in a Nat Geo book, and being a brand ambassador for Flixel, people still take pot shots as if I know nothing.

So again, there must be something that I am saying or doing that is making people feel this way. Thus, in 2020, I will work at gaining more credibility within the industry here hopefully get a bit of respect along the way. That will mean simply focusing on making my work speak for itself and stop trying to win people over.


The bottom line here is that in order to improve, I must change. I must work hard at improving my craft and everything else that comes along with making a living from photography. This is something that we all must try and do at some point in our career.

My advice for your this year is to take some time and really think about what you want to accomplish with your photography this year. It may not be as serious as mine, it may be like Squamish photographer, Alenka Mali. Take a look at her post and make your own goals for 2020. Also drop a comment on her post and let her know what you think.

If you have any photography goals or resolutions for this year, share them in the comment section below. I would love to hear what you have in store for the new year.

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