I have written out this 5 year plan to visualise what I want to be and to stay on track with following what my goals are. Another benefit to the plan is that if I am feeling down about not achieving something, possibly because one of my peers have managed to, I shouldn’t feel too upset about it because it isn’t something that I have set out to work towards at the moment. The time frame for the plan begins as I am writing it (the end of May), but I think that it’s important to keep updating this, adding in smaller goals in shorter time periods to help keep myself on track. This isn’t a plan that I am making public, so there will be no humiliation if I don’t complete certain things or if I go completely off track.
3 months (end of August ‘21)
I am currently working with Maternity Partnership Plus who cover Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire to make some photographs to be turned into social media posts for cafes, pubs and venues in the area to upload to their social media pages to say that it’s ok for women to breastfeed there. It isn’t paid work as they have no budget, but I felt that it would be such a good experience as it covers two of the career paths that I am interested in and whilst there are two others from the course who will be photographing and assisting, I have been put in charge by the leader of the organisation for the creative elements of the campaign. The reason for doing this is because women are feeling even more nervous about breastfeeding in public following the lockdowns, so I think that it is a great cause and the campaign is to go alongside world breastfeeding day which is in the first week of August.
Following the lecture on how to show your work, I had an idea that my current project on the railways could be shown inside one of the stations along the train line that my project is based on. It really would be the perfect space as it would bring the relevant audience to be seeing my work, but would also benefit the company who owns the heritage site as people could see the images and think that they would love to work on the trains, resulting in more volunteers. I have tried to get in touch with a couple of different people; the events manager as well as the general manager of the whole business, but neither have responded to the messages I have left for them. However, I am very determined to get through to them and pitch my idea as it would really benefit the both of us. My goal is to convince them to let me show my work in some way within one of their station buildings, but alternatively I would be happier than I am now if I get a “no” out of them and a reason as to why as if I get this, then I am showing persistence which is sometimes needed within photography to achieve what you want.
I am letting myself have time off of working, enjoying my time in Bath before moving back into my parents house to work my hospitality job to earn a bit of money. I got my MacBook in 2012 and it’s about time that got updated as it is quite an important asset to a freelance photographer, so I would like to earn enough money for one of those.
Up until coming towards the end of my degree, I had the mindset that learning after uni would just stop, so I would have to learn everything whilst I was there, when actually in my opinion, constantly develop your skills and understanding, you will become a better photographer. Whilst I won’t be shooting new work, an area in which I feel I need to improve on is photo editing. I don’t like my images to look as though they have been edited, but sometimes when objects need removing for example and I need to edit them in Photoshop, I may not have the skills to do this if it is a more difficult task. The Adobe suite and even Photoshop alone are extensive software, but I would like to be at a point where I feel fairly confident in using them.
I have begun reading through my camera manual and making notes, with the aim of knowing how to fully understand every button and setting so that I am using it to it’s full potential. I’m about halfway through the manual, so in 3 months I would like to have read through it all.
Whilst printing is cheaper as a student because I can use the universities facilities, I would like to get my prints done for a physical portfolio and get the print book ordered, made and insert the prints. A printed portfolio is important as I want to go into the editorial sector, where often the photographs are printed.
6 months (end of November ‘21)-
At this point, I would like to have done at least 1 paid commissioned job, even if it is on a local scale, or for a small business or publication. I imagine that at this point, I will be taking any opportunity that I can add to my CV.
I should be thinking more seriously about becoming a freelance photographer, should be reading up on what I need to do and be registered as a sole trader. Not only understanding the business side of things, but also understanding how to have my work reach wider audiences (through SEO etc)
I would like to be in some form of contact with at least 1 picture editor or someone with a similar job title for a nationwide publication/ charity/ brand, even if this is just a mutual following on Instagram, a response to an email or they picked up the phone. I would like for 1 person to have seen my work and like my photographic style, in the instance that I could be considered for a brief in the future.
My break from doing any personal project really should’ve ended by now, so I would like to be getting on with a project and regularly making photos for it. I currently have a handful of project ideas that I think would be great for the near future and once cover restrictions are not a problem, I would like to expand on my railway project as to me, it feels like it is just the beginning of something and I have really enjoyed working with the enthusiasts that I have met so far. Another idea I have would involve travelling across the UK which is something I would live to do as I feel like I have seen so little of this country and it’s always good to get away from the small town that I have always lived in. This project also has the potential to be a collaboration project and it would be great to have the freedom to take as long as you’d like on a project without the pressure of deadlines.
As I want to be working on personal projects, finding a group of people who are in a similar situation as me who I can talk to and get feedback on the work I’m making would be really great to have. I have friends on the course who I go to for advice currently and I am sure that this support for each other will continue, but I’m not sure what they want to do as a career as they aren’t sure themselves at the moment.
1 year (end of May ‘22)-
At the beginning of 2022, I would like to start thinking of moving out of my parents’ house and be living in a city where there will be more opportunities. Logically, London or Bristol would make more sense, but I learnt from the cover pandemic that being close to home is important for me as I have such a great support system here. A city that it close to home is Nottingham. It has great tram links which means I wouldn’t need to learn to drive (this is expensive and I don’t like driving).
I would like to have completed a lot of online courses on social media marketing and brand identity and would like to be either applying for paid internships or apprenticeships in this field that are in Nottingham. I would love to work in photography, but I know that I need another job and ideally one with a steady income that I enjoy. Due to my lack of education in this area, I would need to be starting at quite a low level so probably at a low salary, but a social media presence is becoming increasingly important for brands, so I think that this is a smart career option for myself to do part-time, alongside photography
Hopefully I will have completed a personal project that I am proud of and will be showing this work on my online and physical portfolio to show that I am making work beyond university and that I enjoy photography and it’s something that I’m doing for myself.
I would like to have shot a story for a newspaper or magazine. It would probably not be a main story and would probably be one towards the back of the publication, but I would be really happy if I was at this stage in a year.
Writing goals had been increasingly difficult for the longer time frames and I do feel that I may be being too ambitious.
I would love to have shoot a cover for a magazine or newspaper that’s sold nationwide, or a main story within the publication. If I was given the trust by the team at the publication to do this would be really great. I would like to have built a client base of publications or organisations who have hired me to do a job and have asked me back again on another occasion. Picture editors having the confidence that I will do a good job would be quite motivating.
I would like to have been shortlisted for an award/ competition for a single image that I have taken or for a project. Submitting work is quite a brave thing to do as there is often a cost to do so, you have to put in the time to make sure that your work is the best that it can be and follows to guidelines and if your work isn’t shortlisted after so many attempts, I can imagine that it is quite disheartening, but if you are shortlisted, again it would be very motivating.
I imagine that I would still be working in social media alongside photography as my “normal” job. I would like to be the social media manager for a company, whether that means that it is just me in control of it all, or I have an intern working alongside me. I would like to have full control of the creative decisions.