Originally Published October 30th, 2016
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” -Zig Ziglar
I started setting goals for myself. The first goal was to gather images from the last 10 years of photography. I searched from my college days all the way up to the present. I wanted to find about 200 images and slowly sort them down to 20 or 30. This was a long process and I spent several weekends going through hard drives and backup discs of thousands of images.
I made prints of about 80 or so images and gathered them all together for the first time.
Apart from client work portfolios, this was the first time I had a portfolio of images collected and on display.
I wanted to strip away all the garbage I had built up in my head over the past 10 years. I wanted a fresh start. I made a decision that if I was going to commit my life to photography, I was going to go all the way.
In the past I was wishy washy. I had times of doubt. I had times when I never wanted to pick up a camera again. Those days were over. I put all my focus on this goal; “Become the best photographer I can possibly be.” This was my mountain. The beginning would be gathering these images. From there I would know the direction I needed to go in order to reach this goal.
I made another goal: learn how to learn. Even if it takes me a lifetime, I am going to teach myself everything there is to learn about photography.
It was around this time I discovered podcasts (I said I was a late bloomer). I began listening to everything I could about photography. I bought books on areas I needed to improve. I watched YouTube videos and I bought tutorials.
With Ashley focused on school, I bought a full time model that I could practice on.
I made another goal. Build a new portfolio. I was going to book one shoot a week with friends in order to start creating a new collection of images.
That’s it. Now you’re caught up. Did I tell the whole story? Kind of. There are some things I left out, some paths I didn’t mention. But I’ll save those for another time. If you’ve read all of this I hope you take something away from it. Taking risks can be rewarding. I recently heard someone say, “the benefits of being an entrepreneur are huge, and so are the headaches that come along with it”.
If you’re in the arena, you’re probably going to get hit, knocked down, maybe even knocked out. I keep referring back to what Rocky said, “Its not about how hard you hit, its about how hard you can get hit, and keep going”.
I ask myself what things would have been like had I quit my job and pursued photography full time. I’ll never know. But this is my second chance. I will learn from the mistakes I’ve made, I will pick myself up, and I’ll keep punching away.