2015 – The Plan In Review

1956 Merc 02 _sm

Back in January 2014, I did a post about my plan for 2014.

Then, in December of 2014, I wrote a review of how much of that plan I achieved in the year.  Turns out, it wasn’t much.

I actually didn’t make any plan for 2015 because of the epic failure rate from 2014.  That said, I thought I would start 2016 with another year in review, along the same basic plan, just to see how I’ve progressed.  Both, as an artist, and Generator Photography as an enterprise.

I’ll post the plan I came up with in the Jan ’14 blog, and I’ll follow with the results from 2015:

The Plan: “Get known: This means more than getting followers on facebook (or twitter, see below), it means really establish my brand as a premier automotive photographer. I have been dancing around the issue because I truly love doing other types of photography, specifically my urban and suburban landscape work. And there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to get “weighed down with labels”, or some other hippy-sounding, pseudo-marketing bullcrap. However, I really need to just bite the bullet and say, “I shoot cars, this is what I do.” Obviously, with the caveat, “And I’m really good at it.””

The Result: Good, I guess. As I said in the “2014 In Review” post, “As far as establishing “my brand”, I’m not too sure. Look, let’s face facts, I enjoy shooting much more than I enjoy marketing. And I’m a far better photographer than I am a salesman. I think coming to those to realizations are going to have an impact on my future goals.” This is truer than ever.  Every time I think about approaching a magazine for submissions, or trying to sell my services as a photographer, I just shrug and shoot something else.  I understand that being busy is far different that being successful.  I also understand that if I put as much work into networking and marketing as I put into shooting, I could make this work.  That said, I did manage to get my name out there a little more in 2015.  I should try to do even more in 2016.  We’ll see.

The Plan: “Get portraits: I understand that I just wrote about clearly defining my identity as an automotive photographer, but I would really love to start including people in my work. Some of my favorite shots I’ve ever done have been about people. It’s a challenge for my artistic side of the brain, and it will help me learn and develop techniques that I can carry over into my automotive photography.”

The Result: In 2014, the result was a “Total fail”.  However, in 2015, it took a sharp upturn.

Edith 02 _smSJ 01 smallTyrell 01 _smDanay 01 _sm

2015 became a watershed year for me in terms of getting people to pose for portraits.  There are a couple of factors for that, but I can tell you that I am dead chuffed with my portrait output, and I’m planning on 2016 to be even better.  Very happy.

The Plan: “Get legit: I would like to get a proper business license. Be, like, all official and stuff.”

The Result: Another Fail, just like 2014. It still is high on my “to do” list.  I’ll try harder this year, I promise.

The Plan: “Get twitter: I love the action I’m getting on facebook, but I just can’t help but think that more and more of my posts are getting lost in the facebook algorithm tap-dance. And as facebook continues to push for people to pay for posts, I really think I need to expand my social media presence. I’ll try to get this up and running in the next month or so.”

The Result: For 2015, Ok, I guess. I still don’t get twitter. I still haven’t come to grips about what I’m supposed to do with it.  And I don’t understand how I can not post on my twitter account for weeks, and somehow I still get followers.  It all just baffles me.

I’m going to open this up to all social media.  First, Instagram.  I’m not on it.  I probably should be, but I’m not.  But, as I said with twitter, I wouldn’t know what to do with it.  Post pics, like other people’s pics?  I already do that on facebook, tumbler, twitter, flickr, and hell, even 4-chan.  I’m not convinced that getting an Instagram account will accomplish anything different, or better, than whatever I’ve already been doing.

I’m not convinced that continuing to expand my social media presence is something I need to focus on in 2016.  What I might do instead of internet networking, I might have a go at real networking, with real people, who can make real results happen in the real world.  So I get real results, rather than fake internet points.

The Plan: “Get blogging: Do shorter blogs, and more of them. I tend to do long winded blogs every once in a while. I’m going to try to do far less writing but much more often.”

The Result: It was a push for 2014, and I’m going to say it’s the same for 2015. I think I’m ending the year where I started. I got some good posts in for the year, but I don’t think I gained any ground. But, again, didn’t lose ground either. So, push.

The Plan: “Get interesting projects: I want to shoot with more purpose. I like doing projects, many shots on one theme or idea. I have this great idea about garages. Stay tuned.”

The Result: Man, I still want to do that “People And Their Garages” project.  I’ve got about 3 real solid projects I want to pursue in 2016.

Like light painting. Man, I want to do more like this.

Star Path 01 _4

Stay tuned!

The Plan: “Get gear”

The Result: In 2014, it was an unqualified success.  I got my Nikon D610, and I got three prime lenses, a 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.8.

So, for the first time since, well, ever really, I was in a really good place with my gear.  I could honestly say that I had satisfied my G.A.S.

Of course, there are other lenses I would like (something super-wide, like a 20mm, and a real long lens for portraits, like a 135mm), but mostly I wasn’t wanting at all.  I’m serious! That was, until about middle of this year, when I bought a flash.

goodfellas bail bonds

Yes, that started something.  Because, once you get one flash, you need to buy a stand and triggers to get that flash off your camera.

Then, soon after that, you’ll definitely need a second flash.

Two Flashes _4

Of course, then you’ll need a 2nd stand, more triggers, and pretty soon you’ll be shopping around for light modifiers for your flashes.

bts 01.jpg

As of this writing, I’ve acquired my third flash, and I’ve got some other bits and bobs to go along with them.  It’s gotten ugly.

For 2016, hopefully, my G.A.S. will slow down.  With three flashes, I think I’m good.  There is one lens I’m planning to buy this year, but that’s about it.  We’ll see how that would have worked out at the end of 2016, however.

The Plan: “Get selling: Really ramp up my Etsy shop. And maybe even start selling prints through my main website.”

The Result: Another total fail. My Etsy shop is as empty and useless as Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar shelf.  This might change in 2016, maybe.

The Plan: “Get paid: I love shooting, I really truly do. And if this goes nowhere other than being a hobby for me, I’m totally OK with this. Nothing is going to stop me doing what I do. However, man it would be nice to get a paying gig every once in a while.”

The Result: 2014 was an utter failure, 2015 not so much.  I wasn’t rolling in dough, don’t get me wrong.  But I went from zero to a few.  Which, as you know, is progress.

So, there you have it.  In December 2014, I was pretty devastated about how little it seemed I had accomplished over that previous year.  In 2015, I’m actually feeling pretty great.  And, as a bonus, I’m actually excited about 2016.

My plan, overall, is to keep doing more and more portraits and model shoots.  Keep working with off-camera lighting.  Keep focused on more project-based shooting, rather than just go to an event and see what happens.  Shoot with more and more purpose.

Keep the G.A.S. down to a minimum, and keep working with more and more people.

Stay tuned, friends, good stuff is coming.  I guarantee it.

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