If you don’t set goals, how can you achieve them? Around this time last year, I sat down and asked myself what I wanted to do in 2009. I work a full-time job but I love photography and knew I wanted to do more with it. But what? I didn’t know! So I decided my goal for 2009 was, “Try one of everything.” Unattainable? Perhaps. But let me tell you, it was a blast trying! And having that goal motivated me to work towards it. How did I do? Not perfect by any stretch. But in reviewing my year, I am pretty pleased with the variety of work I have tried.

Family photos. Christmas cards. Dabbling in video. Corporate portraits. Landscapes. Nature. Environmental portraits. Events with both candids and portraits. Action shots of my dogs. Food photography. Butterflies. Flower macros. Wildlife. Sunrise and sunset landscapes. A FIRST Robotics event which was a weird sort of sports photography. New York City street photography. Hiking and waiting to get a perfect sunset. Met and talked with a variety of full-time professional photographers. Staking out a single spot for three weeks to get the sun just where I wanted it. Off-camera multi-strobe setups with and without TTL. Self-portraits. Concerts. Long-exposure photography. Practiced HDR until I “got” it both in camera and in the digital darkroom. On-location mountain biking with strobes. A historical reenactment. Utilizing nothing but ambient light. Models, both professional and amateur. Light painting and layering in Photoshop. Networking with other local photographers. Explore using textures applied in Photoshop. Outdoor model shoot set up completely by myself. Participated in a week-long workshop. Dragged my tired butt out of bed on a “you HAVE to get here” phone call for a magical sunrise. New York City travel photography. Commercial macro work for a jeweler. Asked to write for a real blog. Paid commercial imagery for a winery’s website. Hired for a real commercial project. Sold fine art prints at shows and online.

By the end of 2009, I have met so many people and made so many contacts. Remembering them all alone is a challenge (thanks to my trusty moleskines for that) but being myself, being willing to try anything and working hard has opened doors I never imaged opening, let alone without far more time passing.

What didn’t I do that I wanted to try? A “real” sports event (almost made it onto the field for a UConn Football game … 2010 I will succeed!), a wider variety of model photography, shoot second for a wedding, hit up the local skate park, participate in Scott Kelby’s Photo Walk, shoot lightning, astrophotography especially a meteor shower and I’m sure much more. I figure if I try everything I’ll have a better idea of what I like and what I don’t like, too, which is just as important. And if nothing else, have fun doing it. And having a goal is a great motivator when you need that extra kick to keep working.

The point of my rambling is to get you to think about your photography. Set a goal or goals for 2010. You don’t need to be a full-time pro and your goals can reflect that. Think about what you enjoy and consider a reasonable or just beyond reasonable goal to achieve. Now start working towards it.