Here we are at the end of 2008, and I thought once again, it would be a good time to look back at the year, and see what went well, and what I didn’t get to. Having been a pretty tough year in many respects, it’s definitely not all good, but let’s look at my 2008 anyway, and then we’ll see what I am want to do in 2009. Note too that I’ll be bringing you my 2008 top 10 image list next week. There are a few days left in 2008, and I’ll be out shooting, so there may be a few last minute winners still to come in.
First today, let’s think about what I said I was going to do in 2008, and see whether or not I got to it, then we’ll take a look at the ten things that I want to do in 2009. One thing that I started to do, but haven’t really continued uploading images to Stock Photography sites. The first reason that I stopped doing this is time. This really took a lot more time than I’m prepared to spend to actually upload my images to multiple Web sites. The other thing is that one of the sites that I started to get involved with need tax forms for the US, or more specifically a form saying that I am not a US Tax payer, and I just could not be bothered to fill this out. I need to do it at some point, but really find this sort of thing a pain, especially when some sites require them, and others don’t. The other reason if I’m honest is that despite uploading a fair few images to a number of sites they just aren’t selling. I know that to make any money in Stock Photography you have to really upload a lot of images, and also I’m not really shooting stock photography, I’m shooting fine art photography in the most part, and it is obviously not appealing to the customers of these agencies. I’ve actually sold more stock from people finding my images on my own Web site this year, as I seem to be in good books with Google. I will revisit this at some point, but it really requires a bit more work than I think I can put into this right now, so it’s off even the back burner now, probably in a Tupperware bowl in the back of the fridge.
Another thing that I wanted to do and did not get to is a calendar. This too just fell by the way, due to other responsibilities. The priority just wasn’t high enough to win my time over other things, and still isn’t. I’ll revisit this at some point, but not for 2009.
The Hokkaido Workshop of course went ahead, and was a great success. We’re now moving towards the bigger and better 2009 Winter Wonderland Workshop, and I’m really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, again due to time and lack of organization on my part, I wasn’t able to advertize in some US magazines, which is what I wanted to do, and so I couldn’t generate quite as much interest as I’d hoped, and the current global economy has really taken its toll. A number of people have mailed saying that they had planned to join, but simply can’t now, with the economy being as it is. This is quite understandable of course. Hopefully these people will be able to join in 2010 though, and I will most certainly be planning and getting the word out on that trip from pretty much as soon as I get back from the 2009 trip.
I didn’t shoot as much as I’d like in 2007, and although was determined to get out more in 2008, I actually ended up getting out less, which was very frustrating. Without trying to make excuses, my day-job has just been crazy for pretty much the whole year. We moved offices at the end of 2007, which means that I was commuting by train across town for the first time since coming to Tokyo in 2000. That means automatically that I have to spend over an hour more in my daily commute. The work itself has been simply crazy too, doing lots of new work, which in itself is a good thing, but it mean spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to do more with less budget, etc. Good work, but basically kept me very busy.
Then, to really put a nail in the coffin for my photography in 2008, I decided to do something in the latter half of the year that really just took up a lot of weekends in preparation. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to know that the mountains in Nagano were in flaming autumn colour while I was stuck at home doing paperwork. Forgive me for not saying what I was doing just yet, as I don’t want to jinx it, but it took a lot of time. Hopefully it will be worth it in the end though and I will certainly tell you what it’s all about if it goes well. Anyway, all in all, for the most part, I’ve either been physically working more, or just working so hard that when I get home, I’ve collapsed on the sofa, rather than planning trips etc. I’ve also simply found it impossible to get up early most weekends, to get out for first light, which is one of the things that I most like to do. This has led to a lot of self-kicking and frustration, and really almost led to some mental illness towards the end of the year here. I think I’m out of that though, and hopefully next year things will start to look up, and I’ll find myself with more weekends and some time to take longer excursions to some nice spots for some quality work in the field.
It hasn’t been all bad though, by a long way. One thing that I am very happy about, is that I actually did more photography work in 2008 than any previous year. Consequently, I made a lot more money doing photography in 2008 than any other year so far too. I’m really hoping that I can keep the momentum going here.
I actually recorded a Focus Ring episode from midnight last Friday, and in that, I spoke a little about the fact that I am also very happy with my digital workflow right now. Things have just really come together, especially in the last few months, with the help of a few third party plug-ins to enhance Lightroom just enough to make my workflow as good as perfect. For more details on this, listen to the latest episode of the Focus Ring podcast.
One other good thing is that I finally towards the end of 2008 made the time to put together a book of our 2008 Hokkaido Workshop photos. The book is 96 pages, and contains 12 images from 4 of the 5 participants plus 12 of my own, and I also included a number of images of the posy, as we made our way around Hokkaido having the time of our lives. The book is available on Blurb.com if you want to order your own copy. I’ll put a link in the show-notes, but if you search for my name on Blurb you’ll see the book there. I had been a little nonplused about the quality, but having sent Blurb some photos of the book they agreed that this was sub-standard, and have refunded me the cost of my first copy. I’ve trusted them and put in a larger order now, though some of them I’ve specified the premium paper, to see how much of a difference it makes. If it is much better, I’ll change the settings so that the book is available with Premium paper from now on.
Anyway, let’s move on and take a look at what I’m currently thinking about 2009 now. One thing I’m learning though is that my energy levels do apparently have limits. If I keep on going the way I have been over this last year, I think I’ll make myself ill, so I am going to continue to try to streamline a few things. I’m not going to commit to do these things, but I really want to get to most of this. I’m also considering joining our good friend Landon Michaelson on his 2009 project, but I’m not sure if I can fit it in yet. I’m thinking seriously about it though. In the meantime, let’s go through my 2009 “want-to-do” list. I’ll get to as much of this as I can, some of which will depend on how much I can streamline a few other parts of my life.
- Plan the 2010 Hokkaido Workshop as soon as possible on my return from the February 2009 trip and start to work on some real advertizing.
- Try to find a venue for a show of my work. This could be either paid for by me, or sponsored. I don’t really care, but I seriously want to do a show here in Tokyo.
- I want to do a book, ideally one that will accompany the show, and therefore be sold at the show.
- I want to offer a few loose page fine art print portfolios of my work. I’ve been toying with this idea for some time now, but the delay is getting silly. I’m still looking for a good presentation method, but really need to just make a decision and get something available.
- I want to do more paid portrait work. This may be preceded by putting together a nice web page or site to help get the word out that I’m available for this kind of work and then of course some other marketing activity. I’m under no delusion that Web presence alone is enough to make this successful.
- I want to read more. I have picked up a number of great photography related books in 2008 that I still haven’t read. They are haunting me from my bookshelf.
- I want to get up to speed on all of the applications in the Adobe CS4 Design Premium Suite. I’ve been playing with Illustrator a little, which I used years ago, but I really want to become proficient with In Design, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Acrobat Pro as well. I need to make time to get stuck into some good tutorials and online training.
- I’m determined to do more social networking. I’ve finally this last month started to upload images to Flickr, and am starting to spend a little more time in that community, making connections and some new friends. If you’re on Flickr by the way, add me as a contact. My flickr name is martin_bailey. There’s a link to my Flickr Photostream on the top page at martinbaileyphotography.com too.
- Whatever happens in my professional life, both photographer and non-photography related I want to make sure that I always have time each week to continue to do this Podcast. It helps to keep myself in check and I’ve made a lot of new friends through this, and so I really want to continue to do it as long as possible. Right now this Podcast is not on the list of candidates to streamline my life.
10. The most important thing for me, that I must continue to achieve through 2009 is to really feel that my photography is progressing. As always, our newest work should be our best and even if I don’t get to photograph as often as I’d like, I want the photography that I do to be quality work that I’m happy with.
So, that’s the list as of today. One last update before we finish is that I have once again done a bit of gallery pruning. As I promised at the end of 2007, I have been through my gallery again at the end of this year and removed all the images that no longer match either my creative vision or my personally perceived quality standards. Some have had to stay, because I talked about them in a Podcast at some point, but I have tried to be as ruthless as possible. Despite making a concerted effort to allow my images to breathe a little after shooting them, so as not to upload them through the excitement of the shoot, over the merits of the image, I found that there was a handful of images from this year that I removed too. Two of these were macro shots that I uploaded intending to talk about in a Podcast that I never got to, but a few others snuck in more because of the excitement of the shoot, or some new gear. It was only a handful though, so I guess I should be happy, after all I have been much more careful in what I’ve uploaded through 2008, and in total I have removed just 28 images from the gallery this year. Nowhere near as high a proportion as last year, but that was the first time I’d done it in four or five years. Still, it felt good to cut away some of the lesser offerings, and make room for some more work in 2009.
And with that, we close off the 2008 Podcasting year, and as I said at the start, there are a few more photography days left, so I’ll be bringing you my 2008 top 10 images next week.
So I want to wish you all a Happy New Year, and hope that 2009 brings you every success, in the areas that you want to be successful in. I’d also like to thank you for listening through the year, and for those of you that contribute to the community at martinbaileyphotography.com, thanks for that too. I’d also like to thank the moderators Marisa, Landon, Forrest and Dave. You guys do a great job, and really, really help with your work in the Photography Forum and on the mbpgalleries member’s Web site. I would like to thank all of the other major contributors to the Forum, but I’d probably miss someone out that also does so much, and I’d hate to do that, so just a huge thanks to all of you. You’re a great bunch to hang out with. Even if you don’t get actively involved in the forums, if you’re listening to this, you’re part of the community, so once again, a very Happy New Year to you, and I’ll be back in 2009, with more Martin Bailey Photography Podcasts. Bye for now.
Find our Hokkaido 2008 Winter Wonderland Workshop book on blurb here: http://www.blurb.com/user/MartinBailey
Here’s a link to my Flickr Photostream. Take a look and make me a contact: http://flickr.com/photos/martin_bailey/
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