Year in Review | 2018

I’ve been to the Tulip Festival almost every year since I’ve moved back to Portland and this was the first year I’ve seen them successfully launch the hot air balloons.

I’ve been to the Tulip Festival almost every year since I’ve moved back to Portland and this was the first year I’ve seen them successfully launch the hot air balloons.

The end of the year is upon us which means it’s time for reflection on everything that has happened the past 12 months. Overall, I would say 2018 has been a rather successful year for me when it comes to photography. I dipped my toes a bit more into wedding photography and also picked up a couple more wonderful clients for event photography. As I am only doing this part time, I am starting to pick up enough photography work where I need to be careful not to overcommit to projects. I hiked a lot less this year and woke up for less sunrises compared to 2017, but I think that I still did enough to satisfy the itch. I figured with this post I would recap some of my best images from the past year, talk about my new experiences, and review some lessons learned from the year.

New Experiences

2018 was more of a continuation of professional growth kind of year for me. In 2017 I was primarily photographing family and baby portraits. This past year however, I picked up a good amount of commercial photography work as well. I did take less photographs this year than I did last year—but not by too much. In 2017 I took 13,700 photos. In 2018 I have taken 12,247 photos as of this writing. This is still a stark increase from 2016 when I only took 4,419 photos.

  • I’m continuing to help my architecture firm with more photography related projects. This year was the first time that my photography was used in a project. I photographed my first large-format print that is being used as a wall cover—9’ tall by 42’ long! This was a fun experience and I look forward to working on more projects like this.

  • I also photographed my first wedding as a second shooter. I’ve confirmed that photographing a wedding is just as tiring as I thought it would be. It wasn’t as daunting of a task as I thought it would be—at least as a second shooter, so I’m open to picking up more second shooting jobs. There are definitely a lot of things that I need to still learn about it.

  • I will end 2018 by developing a new facet of my photography skillset with a self-operating photo booth at one of my friend’s New Years Party. It’s currently a DIY hodge podge of parts put together so hopefully it all goes well! Perhaps in 2019 I will be able to offer this service as an add-on along with my event photography services for a more complete event experience once I refine it a bit.

  • I don’t currently have the numbers available, but I believe I took more videos this year than last year. I started dabbling a bit more extensively into Adobe Premiere Pro too, so we’ll see how things go with that in the future.

  • I now have a couple more long-term commercial clients that I photograph events for that I hope will continue to grow. I increased my photography revenue 9x while increasing my expenses 5x. I realize how sad I will be when filing taxes on this additional income.

Lessons Learned

There are always lessons to be learned. It’s important to note and document these lessons so I can continue to grow as a photographer.

  • With the increase of photography jobs, one of the main things I need to constantly work on is managing my time and these projects—knowing what my limits are and knowing when to say no to projects will be crucial for my sanity going forward.

  • Another lesson I learned this past year is that I don’t need to photograph at maximum resolution with maximum color depth all the time. I can save a significant amount of storage simply by switching from 14-bit to 12-bit color. I can save even more storage by shooting at a lesser resolution setting than my camera has.

  • I also learned that I need to find time to clean my camera sensor. I was starting to find myself spot correcting a lot more often as the year went on because of a dirty sensor. My main camera is currently in a shop getting cleaned and I feel naked without it even though I still have my backup camera available.

  • Always keep track of all of your expenses immediately—especially if you didn’t buy it online. I was better at this in 2017 than I was in 2018. I know for a fact I’m missing a couple of things that I had bought.

  • Final lesson learned is to always carry around some business cards. There have been a few occasions where I find myself without my photography business cards where it could have been useful.

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead to 2019, I have a few manageable goals I would like to set for myself.

  • Some goals I would like to achieve for 2019 include heading back out to do more landscapes again. Hike more, explore more, travel more. Wake up earlier more.

  • I don’t think I will set a goal to take more photos as I think I’ve reached a pretty good number the last couple years. I think maintaining roughly the same amount is good. I would instead strive to take better photos. More interesting and unique photos. Photos that I haven’t regularly taken in the past.

  • I would like to add more clients with continuous work throughout the year to help build up a more regular side income. I would like to blog a bit more consistently—it helps to organize some of my thoughts and it’s always nice to look back on and track my growth.

  • I would like to organize my photos better. Work on my file management, categorizing, keywords, cataloging, backing up photos etc. I spent a good amount of time searching for photos I know I took but just couldn’t remember which exact date I took them. I also need to start creating a more robust backup system as I continue to pick up more clients. Since my photography volume has increased and my laptop currently partitioned out to run Windows for architecture work, I can only shoot about half a years worth of photos before needing to dump my photos on to an external hard drive.

Selected Images

And without further ado, here are some selected images from the past year that I really enjoyed.