If you want to progress in your career as a food photographer, it’s essential that you set yourself constructive food photography goals for the months or years ahead. Setting overly easy and unambitious goals is pointless (and honestly, boring!). But when goals really matter to us, they can feel quite intimidating. And here the risk is that that we just end up doing nothing about them.
So how can you establish food photography goals for 2020 that you’ll actually stand a chance of achieving? And where should you begin tackling them? The secret is good strategy, and it’s actually not that scary once you know how…
To help you do this, I’ve created the FREE 2020 Food Photography goals planner. Grab your free planner here, and let’s jump into some goal setting…
Define Your Success
Your goals can, and likely will, change over time. That’s inevitable and totally ok. In the meanwhile, if you are to make any progress at all, you need to have a clear idea of your current destination.
Success is a relative concept, meaning different things to different people. So it’s not enough to just say “I want to become a really successful food photographer“ without stating exactly what you mean by the word “successful.”
For some photographers, success means shooting for a certain brand or publication; for others it’s having total creative freedom; others just want to keep doing a job they love and pay the bills on time. There is no right or wrong measure of success.
How will you know if you’ve become successful if you haven’t clearly defined what success means for you?
Spell Out Your Goals
The first step, is to write down very clear goals for yourself. These can be as modest or as ambitious as you like, what’s important is that you set them out in writing.
To help you do this, I’ve created the 2020 Food Photography Goals Planner, click here to get your free planner and plan along with me!
Choose Goals That Matter
In setting your goals, make absolutely certain that they are ones that you genuinely want to achieve. Not merely objectives the you feel like you probably should achieve.
If you’re not genuinely motivated by your goals, you’re unlikely to put in the hard work required to turn them into reality.
Writing vague or ambiguous objectives will make it easier for you to wriggle out of your responsibilities to yourself, so be sure to set out your goals in a very clear and well-defined way.
For example, there’s a big difference between saying “I want to get my work published in lots of big magazines”, to clearly stating that you want to have done a cover shoot for a certain publisher within the next 2 years.
With the first, even if you just get your work featured on a few half-decent blogs and shoot a couple of low-key editorials, you can probably kid yourself that you are satisfied with your progress. With the second, either you get a cover shoot within the 2 year period, or you don’t.
Developing a Career Strategy is Like Riding the Subway
Can you imagine someone looking at a public transport map, shutting their eyes, and then choose a destination by making a random stab at the page with their finger?
Didn’t think so…
It’s the same with your career: before you can set individual goals, you first need to know where you’re headed in the long term.
Of course, unlike public transport, the problem with career goals is that there isn’t likely to be a handy interactive map you can just download and follow. You’ll need to make your own map. That’s exactly what we’re going to do next.
Work Backwards to Move Forwards
It may seem logical to start your journey by placing one foot in front of the other, but the key to achieving good strategic career goals is to walk backwards.
Or rather, to plan backwards so as to walk forwards with purpose.
Looking at the subway map again, we can clearly see all the stations that we’ll need to pass through before we’ll arrive at our journey’s end. If we work backwards from our destination, Station Z, it’s obvious that we won’t be able to get there until we’ve crossed off Station Y. And we can’t get to Station Y without passing through Station X etc.
It’s the same with career goals.
Let’s say that my absolute dream job as a photographer is to shoot global campaigns for Company Z, and ideally I want to be doing that within the next 5 years. What obstacles lie between me and this goal?
Well, looking at the resumés of those photographers who already shoot for this particular brand, I might notice that A) they all shoot for a certain caliber of editorial client, B) they have previously done national campaigns for a bunch of slightly smaller brands, and C) they have a much bigger social media following than me.
Knowing all this gives me 3 intermediary stations that I can be pretty certain I’ll need to visit before I can get close to my final destination.
Before I give you a peek at my food photography goals for 2020, don’t forget to download your free 2020 Food Photography Goals Planner!
My 2020 Food Photography Goals
This year I want to focus on getting out of my comfort zone and expanding my work in new ways. Not all of my goals revolve around photographic skills directly, but they all move my career forwards.
- Improve my cake photography and get hired for at least one pastry themed job by the Summer 2020. This is an interesting one because typically, cake photography is seen as one of the “easier” foods to photograph and make look wonderful. Instagram is flooded with cake photos, but mine never really turn out the way I envision. I want to dig into why this is and start turning it around.
- Get my portfolio site translated into German, and stop being afraid of German speaking jobs! Trying to become bilingual as an adult is HARD, and I’m honestly proud of myself for how far I’ve come on this journey. I think it’s time to start putting myself out there in the German speaking market.
- Create and shoot an intentional themed project. I want to create a project just for me and my own development, to allow me time and space to fully explore subjects in a theme.
- Get on the books of an agency in Zurich to expand my client portfolio locally. Sort of linked to the German speaking goal, I really want to become a part of the Zurich world of food photography.
- Shoot a cookbook in 2020 (at least have a plan in the works by the end of the year). This is my big, slightly scary goal, and I’m putting it out here because I want to make it happen. It’s always been my dream since starting food photography to shoot a cookbook from beginning to end, so this year I seriously want to put out feelers to make this project happen.
Are you ready to start 2020 with a bang and smash your food photography goals with me?
Don’t forget to grab your 2020 Food Photography Goal setting planner so you can plan along with me, and smash 2020!