After a couple of years I finally realized what was wrong. I had been taking pictures just for the fun of it, without a purpose or a goal.
Now, that’s perfectly fine if you have no desire to get better at it, or turn it into a living. But if you really want to pursue this career, there’s no way you’ll ever make it unless you are aiming for a certain thing. Mine was: “I want to run my own business”. And as soon as I realized it, I started making plans and progress towards it.
Photographer Adam Welch writes about the importance of goals in photography, in this article over at Digital Photography School.
Finding your direction
Figuring out which direction to focus your energy on can be frustrating and at times extremely confusing. The key is to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. You won’t know what kind of photography you truly love until you let yourself go and become lost in your own work.
You might find that your true passion strangely discovers you when you least expect it. The important thing is to keep shooting and keep yourself open to new opportunities.
Bear in mind, however, that directions can and often do change. Even though you may be firmly set on the path you want to pursue with your photography remember that you are not confined to it exclusively. As you grow as a photographer so will your tastes and your inclinations may evolve.
Applying your direction
Developing goals will keep you grounded in your work and heading in the direction you have chosen. Not only will having clearly defined goals keep you focused but will also keep you motivated and make you more determined to accomplish what you have set out to do.
Learn to set goals which are realistic
No one that I know of ever had their first photograph published on the cover of National Geographic Magazine. If that’s your goal that’s great. But understand that while setting goals is essential to success, they must also be realistic goals.
Find goals for your work which are challenging but attainable. Examples of realistic goals could be learning a new technique or getting your work in a local gallery. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment because you set the bar unimaginably high. Success is a ladder that must be climbed one step at a time.
Learn to understand what it is that truly gives you a spark when you photograph, then develop a game plan by setting small goals to help you along your way. Those goals will be your signposts. With each goal you achieve you will build skill, confidence, experience, and knowledge. As you learn and grow you will undoubtedly change as an artist. Be mindful but don’t fight the natural current and healthy evolution of your own creativity.
Source: Digital Photography School