2014 - A Year in Review [Halifax Portrait Photographer]

2014 is over.  

I need to say that again, because I'm pretty sure I just wrote a wrap-up entry for 2013.

2014 is over.

Yikes.

Let's recap then.  In no particular order, here are some of my achievements for 2014 that I'm most proud of.

1. I attended Mod Squad and had a blast.  I met a bunch of cool photographers and had a great sit-down portfolio review with Brent McCombs of Alter Ego Photography.  

 

2. I worked my way through a really introspective project (as in I learned a lot about myself) where I approached people on the street and offered to take their portrait.  I did this using film exclusively, trying to take two birds with one stone.  I've discovered that I can in fact overcome my fear of talking to strangers. 

3.  I started several new projects that will span into 2015.  I have shot three sessions for the "Jobless" project (which my adoring wife Jess tells me is a poor name choice). So far they have been the highest traffic draw to my blog and have opened my eyes to some of the biggest problems our province faces today.

4. I changed the way I see and the equipment I use. I went from shooting with Canon and a Fuji 6x9 rangefinder to shooting with Nikon equipment, a Fuji x100T and a Hasselblad 503CX. I can safely say that as far as gear is concerned I have no excuses, I simply need to keep shooting. 

Ettinger Falls - an X100T photo with in-camera adjustments. 

5. I helped create a few videos on using off-camera flash to work with a model.  Thanks to Craig Beckta and his team of awesome people there are a couple of youtube videos that feature me and my ugly mug talking about using lighting creatively.

6. I made it snow in my studio! Twice!  In fact, one of the photos went to the front page of 500px, which is always a cool feeling. 

7.  I pretty much scrapped my entire portfolio and rebuilt it with shoots from 2014.  There's not a lot of old work up there. That's telling me I am still working toward something and I haven't gotten there yet.  I will just have to keep shooting.

 

So, as far as last year's list, how did I do?

  1. Get Published at least once, in a local publication, ideally a full editorial shoot. Well, this didn't quite happen, I got a few images from an editorial published in the Coast's Halifax Weddings Guide for 2014.  
  2. Refine my style, focus on the images that matter most.  In the last year I've proven myself to be a Portrait and Fashion photographer.  I shoot street photography for me.  What you may see is a separation of the two, where I even create a separate "entity" for my street photography altogether. Hmm, this is not a quantitative goal, but I think I'm getting more and more settled into a style that I'm shooting.  I'll leave this one up to the masses.  
  3. Continue my path of self-discovery through photography.  Deep, I know.  I really am stopping to think more about what my photography says about me, as well as how potential clients view my images. The projects I have tackled later in 2014 are a good indicator that this is happening.  I'm realizing that there are issues I find important, that I need to expose and push.
  4. Buy Less Gear, shoot more.  In 2013 I accumulated way too much stuff.  The only good part about the gear that I've acquired is that I use most of it a lot of the time.  Each piece has a specific purpose, and it gets used for that.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....seriously??!?  Okay, I should have referred to this list more often. 
  5. Assist other photographers to learn, make friends and be more involved.  I assisted a couple of photographers in 2013 on photo shoots where I met new faces, learned some new tricks and (hopefully) added some meaningful creative insight.  This happened a lot, and I'm quite pleased to say that I even helped my buddy Paul Vienneau shoot the Mayor this week.       
  6. Do something new and exciting that I've never done before, in a way that scares me.  This is too vague, but I have continued to do this over and over in 2014.  It feels good to be reinventing myself.  
  7. Do a photo shoot in a foreign country. Sigh. I didn't even visit a foreign country this year.  Perhaps in 2015 a redtag deal will come up and I'll get the chance to visit a far away land and do a bit of shooting. 
  8. Build my business and charge what I'm worth.  I feel like I've stepped down the right path on this item in the last month, and I hope to continue the trend. I feel like I did alright in this respect.  I refused a few shoots because of a potential client's budget, and I also took on a few that paid quite well.  

 

My goals for 2015:

  1. Buy Less gear.  I'm putting this at the top of the list because I actually should be focusing on creating rather than acquiring.  
  2. Complete three series based projects.   I'm setting this goal because I know the Jobless Project is ongoing, and I've got another very cool artistic makeup series happening.  That's two projects to work away at and I suspect there will be more throughout the year.
  3. Shoot 10 fashion editorials with different models, designers and looks.  
  4. Get published by almost any magazine that fits my style.  
  5. Turn a Profit.  I learned a lot about business in 2014, and I suspect I'll continue to learn as I stumble my way through 2015.  
  6. Push my retouching and lighting skills further, and get good at photoshop.  I already feel capable when it comes to these items, but I want to be better still.  I still have a gap between my skills and my taste.  I suspect that will almost always be the case but I hope to narrow the margin in 2015. 

So Happy New Year, and let's see what 2015 has in store!