5 New Year’s photolutions that will help make 2016 your best year as a photographer

sunset on a beat plus camera

Today I sat down to write my 2016 wish list. I do it every year. Often the simple act of writing things I want to achieve somehow makes them more attainable. My lists ranges from the vain and ridiculous like:

  • have a small but meaningful fling with Brad Pitt
  • find a never ending jar of Nutella that doesn’t make my jeans shrink
  • to sing like Adele or Aretha (not fussed which)

To the more obtainable:

  • visit the Gili Islands off the coast of Indonesia
  • watch more sunrises and sunsets
  • get my motorbike licence (cue midlife crisis)
  • learn to speak Italian beyond grade 2 level and without the thick Aussie accent.

And finally I focus on my photography and what I would like to achieve. If any of these resonate with you, feel free to try them out and see what happens.

The quotes that are above each resolution are on my office wall to remind myself what matters and keep me on track.

Oh and if you are reading this Brad, call me…

1. Quit being a gearaholic

“Photography is not about cameras, gadgets and gizmos. Photography is about photographers. A camera didn’t make a great picture any more than a typewriter wrote a great novel.” – Peter Adams

Who doesn’t love photography gadgets? I’ve got loads of them. Love me a new modifier for my flashes, faster, longer, bigger and better lenses are all great but the only piece of gear that constantly needs to be updated is the part that’s found just behind the viewfinder. The generic brand is “mind” or “brain” other great brands include “imagination” “vision” or “inspiration”

Focus on technique rather than gear. There isn’t a camera invented that can predict the decisive moment like you can.

2. Start hanging out with “here” and “now”

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” ~ Napoleon Hill

It took me a while to work this out but “some day” and “one day” are like those well meaning friends that are fun to hang out with but after a while you realise that all they do is lay around on the couch eating all your Nutella and banging on about all the amazing ideas they have for photo shoots and locations they’d love to photograph.

Meanwhile your other friends “here” and ‘now” are outside quietly getting stuff done bit by bit, little by little and really enjoying their lives.

This year I’ve decided to spend less time with “some day” and “one day” and focus my attention on building my relationship with “here” and “now”.

3. Ask the mean girls to step outside

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Some days my inner monologue has guest speakers. When I’m hungry and see Nutella doughnuts it’s usually the voice of Homer Simpson: “mmmmmm doughnuts”.

When I’m angry it’s Dirty Harry: “Go ahead, make my day”. And when I’m feeling insecure it’s a group of nasty old mean girls who constantly try and undermine new things I’m trying to do by saying things like, “don’t bother, this will never work” or, “you suck at this” or, “who the hell do you think you are?”

Have you ever met these women? Do they only live in my head and why can’t Dirty Harry just take them out?

I know the mean girls are just trying to protect me from getting hurt but I also know that it’s the times I ignored them and pushed past my fears that I really started to achieve greater success both personally and professionally and really start to enjoy my life.

This year whenever the mean girls start trash talking, I’m going to ask them to step outside.

4. Nutella is the polar opposite of organic carrots

“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” – Iyanla Vanzant

One of the most common questions I get is: “how do I know I’m good enough as a photographer?” Or: “why is this person getting more likes and shares for their photos?”

Whilst it’s only human nature to want to compare yourself to others, it can become a really depressing exercise.

When you compare your work to others, you’re not really comparing apples with apples.
It’s more like comparing Nutella to organic carrots.

You don’t know exactly where other photographers are on their career path or how many years they have been developing their skills or how many hours they are putting in behind the scenes.

We just see the success and assume they got there easily and quickly. The only person you really need to compete with is YOU.

A really great exercise to do on a regular basis is to go back to the first images you ever took and compare them to the ones you’ve just shot. This is a great confidence boost because you get to see just how far you’ve come.

This year I’m only going to compare Nutella to Nutella.

5. Done is better than perfect

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.” – Brene Brown

Perfectionism is really just procrastination wearing a false nose and moustache so you don’t recognise them.

Wanting everything to be perfect before we send it out is just your mind’s clever way of saying, “I don’t want you to succeed so I’m going to give you a list of impossible tasks that you can never complete in an effort to sabotage your plans.”

The website, blog post, book, photo you are working on will never be perfect. At some point you need to let it go and send out the imperfect version that is real and authentic.

What are your photography goals for 2016? Let me know. I’d love to hear about them.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and creative 2016!

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