Said my four-year-old, after my very inspirational and thought-provoking lesson on new year’s resolutions.
I was hoping for, “I want to help more in the kitchen,”
Or, “pick up trash on the beach.”
But unfortunately I don’t get to pick his new year’s resolutions… just my own.
And this year I am dragging my feet into the new year.
Because I am a little terrified.
Life is moving much too fast.
While I am so incredibly ready for some long overdue and very exciting changes that are coming in 2016…
I am not ready (and never will be) for other 2016 changes…
24 years of Carbondale Christmases at my grandparents’ house ended this year.
Last summer my grandfather announced that he is moving to a retirement home in Chicago by the end of January.
While we all know this is the best decision for him…
If we could put it off a little longer we would.
But just like we can’t choose other people’s new year’s resolutions…
Unfortunately we don’t get to control their actions either… just our own.
So it is another reminder that life is short and we only get one chance to get it right.
In trying to figure out what new year’s resolutions I should make, to help prepare me for the emotional hurdles of 2016…
And in honor of this being my tenth anniversary as a professional photographer and my twentieth year out of high school,
I did some journal digging while I was at my mom’s house for Christmas and I found some notes I wrote on January 22nd, 2006, from a website that was giving advice to photographers.
Since I did not take much of that advice 10 years ago, it seems fitting that I write them again, in the hopes that it won’t take me another 10 years to get them done.
Life/Photography goals for 2016:
Find your own vision and develop a style that will set you apart from the 30,000 other people who want your job.
Find a subject you love and spend 10 hours a day, every day, photographing and editing.
Study all major photographers’ work and life. Study all major painters, writers and composers’ work and life.
Set a standard for your photography and your professionalism as someone who gets the job done above and beyond the call of duty.
Don’t let yourself get in the way of yourself. If it were easy, everyone would be a professional photographer.
Remember you are only as good as your last picture.
Keep your overhead low.
Start a retirement account now.
Keep your credit rating as close to perfect as possible – pay bills on time.
Keep a separate account for taxes and divert a percentage that is equivalent to your tax rate. Always pay taxes on time.
Don’t be afraid to ask for an advance for large jobs.
Don’t piss people off unless absolutely necessary.
Get liability insurance.
Diversify client base.
Register copyright on everything.
Get model releases whenever you can.
Make sure everyone is clear, in writing, who gets what, for how long, how much.
Never leave home without your camera, be ready always.
Always be professional: equipment, dress, knowledge, research client.
Call before to let client know what to expect and call immediately after to let them know how it went – without talking about images.
Edit immediately and deliver.
Assist but don’t get stuck assisting.
Study as much work as you can – try to figure out how images were made and get inspiration for your own images.
Think about stock photography.
Family is forever – everything else is not.
Take a workshop.
Don’t neglect your personal work.
Learn how to relate to people.
Find 50 strangers, introduce yourself, shoot a portrait that says something about who they are not just what they do.
Happy 2016 and here’s to learning how to drive a monster truck through all that life has to offer.