Time to set Photography Goals … and Achieve Them!

Setting Achievable Photography Goals

As a beginner photographer our expectations about the kind of images that we ought to take often clashes with the ground reality; i.e., we take bad images.

It often comes as a rude awakening but is an undeniable fact. This can be true not only about photography but about anything in life. Falling short of one’s own expectations can be a real eye-opener. It is the kind of revelation that can sometimes have a devastating effect on an individual’s moral.

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Escalator by Theodore Lee
Escalator by Theodore Lee

If you are a budding photographer try to get that disappointment out of your system as quickly as possible. This is because this feeling does not help in getting better.

When someone starts learning a new trade, even though one has a natural love for it, one can find himself/herself short of the skills that one needs to produce decent results. “I love photography” may be a good reason for you to get started in photography, but that, in itself is not enough. Nor is it going to make you a great photographer.

Two Simple Things you Need To Do (or Not Do!)…

1. Set Targets that you Can Achieve

Girvan Coast by David Smith
Girvan Coast by David Smith

Set yourself goals that you can achieve.

Take small but concrete steps towards achieving those goals. Just like when learning any new trade, such as driving a car or learning to speak a new language, understand the basics and build on it.

When learning how to drive a car you don’t put it on top gear immediately or tinker with upshifting and downshifting without mastering the art of switching gears smoothly.

The same way just having shot a few hundred images in auto mode does not qualify you to start shooting for National Geographic.

Set yourself goals that you can achieve over a period of time. Most amateurs cannot motivate themselves to shoot more often. Challenge yourself to shoot at least 100 photos each week.

The next week challenge yourself to shoot an additional 25 images. It is like motivating yourself to lose weight. Getting started is the most difficult part. But once you have started on a regime it keeps fuelling itself.

2. Stop Making Comparisons with other Photographers

riot girl by Varvara
riot girl by Varvara

Often, people compare themselves with great photographers. Works of people like Ansel Adams, Gary Winogrand, Henri Cartier-Bresson are published in hundreds of magazines the world over. They are a constant source of inspiration for many. On the flip side, however, they can become a benchmark for all the wrong reasons. People start to compare their own work with the work of these greats, thereby

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On the flip side, however, they can become a benchmark for all the wrong reasons. People start to compare their own work with the work of these greats, thereby creating an unnecessary feeling of depression.

When you compare your work with that of established photographers (not just the greats named above), someone who has years of experience practicing his skills, you compare yourself with the essence of that professional’s hard work and dedication of many years.

Sunset by Kamil Porembinski
Sunset by Kamil Porembinski

Behind every great photo, there are hours of preparation, hard work, failures, and heartburns.

These are necessary steps in order to achieve the high of photographic nirvana. If you are guilty of doing this you don’t realize that you are looking at probably one of the best of that photographer’s work at that instant.

You don’t get to see the incorrect exposures, poor compositions, incorrect development (film photography) and crappy treatment of themes. Master photographers will almost never show you how they failed before making that great shot.

Instead of comparing your work help yourself by drawing inspiration from those images. Copy the masters’ style, but don’t ape mindlessly.

Understand what they have done and why they have done that. When you have mastered the process, add your own touch to it. You will probably fail as many times, maybe even more, but you will end up also creating stunning compositions as well.

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