Tag Archives: projects

Project 52

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for Spring

With the new year well underway, I figure it’s about time I got started on my new set of photography resolutions. I’ve purposely put a theme to the past year’s resolutions to help pull them all together. 2010 was the year of portfolio building and setting up my portrait business while 2011 was my year to focus on selling fine art and explore the world of fine art fairs and markets.

2012 is my year to explore my craft and my vision. Actually, “explore” is a little too generic; “focus” would be a better term. I’ve spent the past few years getting my name out into the local arts community and I’ve done a lot of pro bono work portfolio building so it’s about time that I really take my vision and stretch it out a bit. I have a better understanding today than I did five years ago of exactly what sort of vision that is, but I’ve tasked myself with taking the vision and using it to drive my own personal projects, concepts, and ideas.

It seemed like serendipity when my good friend, Lily, decided to undertake Don Giannatti’s Project 52 a few weeks ago. With my resolution in mind, I took the plunge as well.

What is Project 52?



The idea behind Project 52 is not only to make better photographers out of all of us who are participating, but to stretch our skills in the commercial market. Don plays art director and provides us with an assignment every week.

Each assignment is due every two weeks so you are always concepting one assignment while shooting another. Then, every week Don does a live audio/video chat critique and goes through the set of photos posted and gives his thoughts on each. It’s a pretty sweet deal all around.

The part that I enjoy, and I feel will really help push my images above and beyond where there are now, is that Don sets down rules for each assignment as if he were a real-world art director. Assignments include everything from portraits to product shots to action images and we are often constrained by size, image orientation, and requirements of what the “clients” are looking for.

Here We Go

We are quickly approaching March and I just turned in my fifth assignment. I plan on shooting my sixth (theme: chocolate!) this week and we have already received the assignments for seven and eight. It’s a fast-paced project and I never thought I’d have to do homework again after college, but I feel like I do with this one. Like my mother always said, “Do your homework first, then you can go play.” With Project 52, I get a bit of both.

Stay Updated

Want to see how the project is going for me? I have a special set on Flickr for this project.




It seems like I’ve been running around like crazy trying to get caught up on photo editing, preparing for the 2011 shooting season, building my client base, and all of the other odds and ends that go into being a photographer. I’ve been pretty motivated lately and I’m all caught up on everything and then, all of a sudden, Central Illinois gets blasted with snow and I get two full days to do personal projects… and I ain’t got nothing to do!

I do have a few little things to finish up, but it’s a weird feeling when you’re mind is in overdrive to get caught up and you are given some major free days to finish up that work and you realize that all the work is done and caught up.  I guess that means it’s time to just relax and plan for 2011.

With the coming 2011 shooting season, I’ve decided to make another round of photography “resolutions.”  I made a few last year and it seemed to work out well for me.  I recently read a book that said most people make resolutions and goals all the time, but only a few choose to write them down. Out of those who do write them down, something like 98% actually succeed in achieving them so here goes…

  1. Shoot Less, Shoot Better
    This is really a continuation of one of my resolutions for 2010, but I think it’s one that will always be sticking around. Simply put, it doesn’t mean that I should be doing less shoots, but rather that I shoot better images. Instead of shooting five mediocre shots of the same landscape, I am going to take my time, breathe, relax, figure out my settings, and shoot one to two better images.
  2. Find My Niche
    This is something that I’ve struggled with ever since I started shooting. I’m not sure if it comes from being an only child, being a passionate person, or having a small dose of ADD and OCD, but I’ve always felt like I needed to be doing everything at all times. While this is a great way to expand my horizons and learn everything I can about photography, it does little to giving me true satisfaction. At the end of 2010, I realized that my passion is with shooting portraits in a one-on-one setting.  Whether it is a senior session, an engagement shoot, a newlywed couple, or a glamour/boudoir client, I love working with people. I spent plenty of time on a number of shoots last year and I realized that portraiture is where my heart is. While I do the occasional commercial or wedding shoot, I don’t find myself drawn to these as much.
  3. Projects & Art Fairs
    At the beginning of 2010, I tried to start a few different projects and I bit off way more than I could chew. I wanted to focus in on developing my business and promotional materials for my photography and having a few projects to do as well didn’t mesh. Well, I’ve finally got the business end of things figured out so I’m ready to work on some projects – small ones, of course! In addition, I also want to get out into the art fair circuit locally, and after spending much of the winter developing my plans, I am starting to apply for a couple in the Central Illinois area so stay tuned.
  4. Shooting for Me
    While I spent so much time working on the business side of things last year, I didn’t spend as much time “shooting for me.” This year, I am going to take an hour or so every week and just take a drive and shoot. Whether bad or good, it will allow me some time to myself and to work on my craft.
  5. Try Something New
    The beautiful thing about photography is that I could shoot every day for the rest of my life and never learn everything there is to know. I am constantly reading new books, blogs, and magazines to keep up as much as I can and I am always learning something new. With that in mind, I am going to try my best to explore some new techniques, some new equipment, and some new post-processing tricks as well.

While five may not seem like a lot, in the world of photography, it’s enough. I’m excited about 2011 and what it will bring so check the blog often as I report on what is going on, where and when I’m shooting, and all other sorts of fun stuff.