Where will this year take you?

Photography is a journey. Where is yours headed this year? Have you given it some thought? Do you feel like you got lost somewhere along the way or maybe your car is stalled out on a rural highway with no help in sight? Don’t think of your journey as just a means to get from home to your final destination. We challenge you to think of it as a road trip with something to appreciate at every stop and definitely lots of great things to see along the way. No matter where you’re beginning this year, you can go somewhere new by its end.

The SPS Staff recently took some time to look back on our own photography journeys as well as peek at where we are today for a lesson in our Members program. We wanted to share these images with you and encourage you to take a look at how far you’ve come and to give some thought to where you’d like to go this year. Maybe some of our goals will inspire you.


Early work

Kyle had this to say: This picture of Julie playing with her two nephews was probably
one of the first pics I took after I bought my first camera – A Canon point and shoot. Sweet direct flash just capturing the action, but I’m sure I thought it was awesome because I actually printed it out!
This other pic of Julie is from our honeymoon with same point and shoot. I read 2 photography books over our honeymoon. One is the classic book: Learning to See Creatively. Looks like I was trying real hard for the rule of thirds here but naugghhhhht quite!

Recent fave

For the recent pic, here’s one that I’m proud of. We were headed out to our friend’s farm with a group of friends and I decided to take my real camera. As a result, I shot hundreds of pics. If I would have taken only my iPhone, I would have shot pics for sure, but definitely not hundreds. And I doubt I would have gotten this picture. Because this picture was very intentional…the kind of intention you get when you have your real camera in hand. I remember intentionally wanting to get a picture that included Kerbi on Spirit, our friend being happy, and the barn…all in one shot.

Kyle’s goals for this year:

  • Photography goal: post a journal entry once per week with pictures I’ve taken through the week. 52 weeks in a row! I’ll accept nothing less!! Note, this is a personal project and won’t be posted anywhere public.
  • Videography goal: Learn how to create cinematic shorts (2-3 minutes) of family life. Then, teach it.

Sarah G

Early work

This photo was taken while I was doing PhotoFix back in 2014 and I was so proud
of filling the frame and finding open shade.  Totally missed focus (with my
Canon 10d – their very first DSLR) and wow what great light – it’s even, I guess,
but definitely nothing to write home about!

Recent fave

I shot this image of our horse, Anna, this past summer. I’m proud of my use of dynamic light, my ability to add strength to my image through editing, and also my growth in using Photoshop to edit out her lead rope. 

Sarah G’s goals for this year:

  • Pick up my camera more often. I’ve committed to a 365 project to help keep me accountable.
  • Embrace that not every picture needs to be perfect or edited to death to be a success. I’ve ordered an art lens that will help me embrace softness. I hope being able to embrace imperfection will carry over into all of my work.
  • Learn to be a better phone photographer since that camera is always with me. It will never replace my ‘real camera’, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.


Early work

Man, I remember LOVING this photo of my girls from Christmas morning (Dec 2015).
I was down on their level, I saw some bokeh in the tree lights, and I even edited the white balance a bit on my computer!

Recent fave

For this recent picture, I really am so proud of the growth I see. I can dial in settings as if the camera is an extension of my hands. I love challenging myself with light at any time of the day. Especially when it allows me to capture a treasured moment of my girls.

Erica’s goals for this year:

  • The last two years I have only edited photos when I needed them and it pains me to see so many images untouched.  I want to take time to sit down and edit ALL my photos, the favorites, the artistic, the everyday.  In order to do that, I hope to set aside one day a week to edit these images.  Call it my “me time” for the week and soak in the images I have captured that week (or even in previous years!).  To celebrate the editing done through the year, I hope to make a 2021 yearbook!  Our family loves our printed books and it’s been about 2 years since I have done one, so bring it on 2021!

Sarah B.

Early work

This photo is the first one I posted in the SPS group after I started Photo Fix. I had just completed the “Composition” module, and was so proud of how I used the rule of thirds. I was shooting in auto mode, and if you look closely, you can see the pinpricks of light in my son’s eyes because I was also using the pop up camera flash. I had so much to learn, but didn’t realize it. 

Recent fave

This photo was taken this past year. I can now more easily see a shot in my mind before I take it, and even know how I’ll edit it before I take the shot. I get it wrong lots of times, but dialing in settings, setting up composition, and using light has become much easier for me. I love that photography is a never-ending journey. We will never “arrive”, but will always have something new to learn and work on.

Sarah B’s goals for this year:

  • Two years ago I attempted to do a Project 365, and I ended up quitting in June.  I felt like shooting and editing every day was too much pressure for me, and it took the joy out of my personal photography.  Maybe I’ll try again one of these years!  Last year was much more manageable as I tried to keep up with the SPS Project 52.  Shooting throughout the week at my leisure and editing one favorite image per week kept me inspired.  My goal is to do another Project 52 this year.
  • Another photography goal of mine is to use layering more often in my work.  I tend to use the same compositional techniques while I’m shooting, and this is one technique that I’d like to strengthen.
  • My videography goal for 2021 is to create at least six films for our family.


Early work

I took this photo September 2016, a few months before I signed up for PhotoFix. At that point I had a DSLR I rarely used because, frankly, I had better results with my iPhone pics. For my son’s 1st birthday, I did bring out the “fancy camera”. Shot that on auto and was proud of how this came out. A few months later, my photography world was rocked when I started PhotoFix and I started learning how to really use that Canon t3i. 

Recent fave

November 2020 – There are a few different reasons why I’m proud of this shot. This was taken during a client session and the little guy was exploring (actually running away from his parents). I saw that beautiful light and his movement and snapped the shot. What I love about this is that it feels more whimsical and lifestyle and it’s something I’d hang on my wall. It has an artsy feel that I love to capture of my own kiddos (though, I have many failed attempts of doing so). One of my goals is to create more lifestyle art for my clients during our sessions… shots that make me proud to display. So this feels like a step in the right direction though I have many more steps to go. Here’s to more growth in 2021!

Annette’s goals for 2020:

  • Shoot personal work at least 1x/week
  • Continue improving my editing skills. Learn Photoshop a whole more for those extra special images that need a little extra pizzazz.
  • Videography goal: learn more on creating family short films  

Here are just a couple last thoughts about goal setting:

  • Goals don’t have to be scary or huge. Set small, realistic goals.
  • Keep yourself accountable. Add shooting to a list in your planner or on your phone.
  • Look for progress. You may not see it from today’s photos to next week’s, but if you look back in a few months, and you’ve committed to doing the work, you’ll surely see improvement.
  • Rest in small achievements! The early work photos above did not become the recent faves in a day, a month, or even a year. Photography is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone but the photographer you were yesterday. Your progress, your style, and your goals are your own and comparing to others won’t do anything but rock your confidence.

We hope you’re inspired to set some goals for your own photography in 2021. Now go out and get it!

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