Top Photographer Dream Goals: A Year in Review

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San Francisco: City Through the Trees, photo by Remy GervaisHello top photographer dreamers.

Its time once again for a year end review – sum up what we did last year and create a plan for next year.

I don’t know about you, but I never used to make goals around photography.  I told myself it was because photography was a dream of mine, and I didn’t want to dull my creativity with goals, timelines, and structure.

What was I REALLY saying??

  • What if I set goals and then don’t reach them?
  • What if it gets hard and I quit?
  • What if people think I’m crazy?

What I know now after 2 years of dreaming of becoming a top photographer, is

• Setting goals is an ongoing process, not a finite countdown.
Sometimes I set goals and I have no idea what I”m doing, what is needed, how it will happen.  That is OK. Once I dig in, I can see the path, the choices and options become more clear.  Sometimes I’m right on track.  Sometimes, I’m SO off track its ridiculous.  I learn a great deal about myself by having both.  The important step is to review my goals regularly, so if I need to, I can course correct before things get way out of control.

• Things are hard, and quitting is always an option.
But so is not quitting.  The quote tacked to my monitor is “You will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  When I get frustrated, and my dream feels big and overwhelming, reading that helps me keep choices in perspective.  I don’t have to know how to do everything, I just have to know what to do next.

• People already think I’m crazy anyway, it’s not photography-specific.
So I have to get over myself and realize that my friends and family aren’t judging me at that level – in fact many of them have supported me more in spite of my own feelings of insecurity and self doubt.  What I’ve also noticed is that people respond differently to me when they find out that “I’m following a dream” – like it’s some special thing, or something only certain people do.  They say things like “Wow, I wish I could do that.  I wish I had a dream. I wish I was brave enough….”

My response to those people is always: “You have dreams.  They are in there, in your heart or mind, somewhere.  You just need to figure out how to start.”

Winner of Life Photo Contest

Here were my previous top photographer goals:

1. Plan 20 events for my Meetup Group.

I fell short as the organizer for  the Sonoma County Photography Group.  We had 16 events, and a monthly photo challenge.  I was really struggling near the end of the year to plan outings.  Schedules get really crammed with holiday stuff, and honestly, we run out of daylight really fast.  Darkness and cold are not camera -equipment friendly.

2. Interview 2 top photographers in person.

Accomplished one (although it was over the phone not in person) – with Iman Woods in Colorado.  If you haven’t read the interview here on 8 Women Dream, click on this link.  She’s an amazing photographer and a strong voice for women everywhere.

3. Hold a multi-day workshop

Not really what I envisioned but it worked out this way.  We held a Friday night classroom session at our local camera store to learn basic HDR techniques, and then the following day headed out to practice on an old Naval Base what we learned.  It was a great 2-day event, got lots of positive feedback, and we’ll plan to do that again in 2012.  I just have a vision for something a little bigger.

4. Photograph a major sporting event

I didn’t accomplish this one because I didn’t reach out enough to find a way in to something.  I know that I want to do this, but I may have been a bit aggressive in my planning.  I am applying for the Rugby 7s Championship again in February so if I get that credential I’ll only be a few months late on achieving my goals here.

5. Take a trip alone for photography

This didn’t happen either, but for reasons other than me not planning it.  I had planned on a trip to Alaska, but the timing and finances didn’t really work in my favor.  Next year, a few shorter trips to places closer to home feel more doable.  There will be lots of time to travel in 2012 – with enough planning early, I think I can do a few short trips.

6.  Find a way to work with local businesses to give back.

When I planned this goal, I had no ideas, just a belief that with all of the great people in our Meetup group, we could figure out a way to help our local community. The goal was loosely defined on purpose so I could be open to any opportunities as they showed themselves.

In September, 32 of our meetup members donated their time and images by volunteering to be the official photographers of the Tour de Fuzz, a bike race of 500 bicyclists, riding to support our local Sheriff chaplain services. It was simple to get started…. all I did was email the organizer and say “do you need help” and that started the ball rolling.

And yes, we are going to participate again this year if they need us.

Candid Camera, 1926Here are my current top photographer goals:

1.  Plan 22 events for (meetup group) The Sonoma County Photography Group.

Starts with research and questions to the members about their goals for the year.

2.  Create the outline and first draft of a book.

Starts with just sitting down and figuring out what I want to accomplish by writing it.

3.  Find opportunities to volunteer photography in my community.

Starts with research of community events and discussions with other organizers.

4.  Create classes / webinars on “Building the business of photography.”

Started asking photography friends the topics they’d like help with when building a business of photography.  I have an outline and I’m ready to start drafting.  Gulp.

5.  Allow myself to be in photos that other people take.

Starts with getting over myself.  I’m behind the lens more often than in the front of it.  There are periods of my lifetime that I have no evidence of me being alive, simply because I hid behind my camera.  This year, I will change that.

6.  Take a trip (or two) focused solely for photography.

Starts with crossing off the dates I want to travel and finding resources to go.  This is important to me and my peace of mind, so this year it’s a main goal.

OK dreamers – it’s time to review and plan for your dreams  – what are your dream goals?  Have you at least tried to write them down?

What do you have to do to get started?


  • Rod

    I agree with Cath, “People already think I’m crazy anyway, it’s not photography-specific…” what a great quote. You are awesome and you are among greatness if those around you think you are crazy…let them think it. As you taught and have proven to me, follow your own dream.

    I really enjoyed this. Now I need to go back and see how I did…ugh (Thanks~!)

    2012 Goals – OK OK if you can plan 22 events, I can make it to at least one. :>)

    Love ya~!

    • Thanks for your support, Rod – you are always supportive and know what to say to keep me motivated..- I think its time to map out your 2012 goals…I’ll help you – then I want you to guest post in February. I know that the next few years hold tremendous opportunity for you, to do anything you want – what a great place to be in don’t you think? xo Rem

  • LOL I love this, “People already think I’m crazy anyway, it’s not photography-specific.”

    This is a great post with some great ideas for 2012. It does really help to see it in print don’t you think? It kind of organizes everything.

    I have to sit down and map my year out too. I did look at my 2011 goals and there is one that I didn’t even try and now I am wondering why.


    • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

      mmm when you figure out why please let us know! thanks for the note…I love dreaming. xox rem