Tyler’s Tips Episode 17.5: New Year’s Goals


Welcome to Tyler’s Tips. Today, I’m going to be sharing with you my goals with photography for 2019.

For 2019, I really only have one goal with photography and that is to create the best photos I possibly can. Before I get into how, I’m going to back up a little bit and talk a little bit about my relationship with photography.

I have two lives with photography. One life is I’m in love with the process. I love creating photographs. I love the geeky, techy stuff, the lenses and the gadgety cameras and all that and I love the storytelling and creating these compositions and lighting scenarios that tell stories and really touch people emotionally. I find that process to just be magical and I never get tired to it. I love it. That’s one part of my relationship with photography.

The other, sort of my other life with photography is I use photography to support my family, which means in my case, companies hire me to take photos that they then use to market their services or their products. For them to choose to hire me, I have to create amazing photos. That’s my job. To continue doing that and to stay relevant and to stay competitive, I actually really have to create even better photos every year.

To do that, to feed both the commercial side, where I have to support my family and pay my mortgage and to feed my soul as a photographer, fortunately for me, those two things are very aligned. I just need to work hard on creating the best photos I can. How? What that means to me, in this case, I mean, I guess different years, I probably think different things but right now, what’s forefront of my mind is the fundamentals. For those of you who’ve listened to a few of my videos, you already know what those are. That’s storytelling, that’s composition and it’s light. Those three things, to me, are the backbone of every successful photograph.

How am I going to do that? What techniques, what tactics am I going to use to keep that, to keep my focus on those fundamental ideas? The answer, I have two ideas. One is sort of a big picture thing. I’m going to do two self-produced projects this year, where I’m the producer, I’m the art director, I underwrite the whole thing. Within that, I will create whatever story it is I want to create and I will focus on those fundamentals. I’ll keep the story where I want it, I will make sure my compositions are speaking clearly to that story, I’ll make sure the lighting is such that it’s really telling that story.

That’s the big one is doing these self-produced projects and those are wonderful exercises to exercise those muscles. Exercise is a great word. To keep those muscles strong, the muscle of focusing on those fundamental ideas.

Now, the second thing that I’m going to do, which is probably much more important is I am going to try to remember those three ideas, every single time I pick that camera up and put it to my face, every time. Last couple of years, I’ve shot between 30 and 40,000 frames for sort of on the clock for my clients. That means, in the coming year, I am going to try 30 or 40,000 times to think of those three fundamental ideas while I’m shooting.

Is this telling the story? What is the story even? Just to have that really clearly in my mind, what’s the story I’m trying to tell? Is this composition I’m working, is that good for the story? Is it telling the story or is it fighting the story? If it is fighting it, what can I change? How can I move? What can I do differently? What can I take out? What can I add? The light, is the light complimenting the story? Is the light feeding the story and making sense with what’s going on or is it fighting it a little bit? If it is fighting it, what can I do to change it? If it is working, is there anything I can do to amp it up, to turn up the volume to make that light even more powerful as a contributing factor to the story?

That little moment to moment, every time I’m taking a photo, trying to think about those very fundamentals ideas is probably the thing that’s going to have the bigger effect. But those are the two things I’m going to do. My personal projects and then, really trying to keep those three ideas, storytelling, light and composition, all the forefront of my mind while I’m shooting.

What are you trying to do in 2019 with your photography and how are you going to get there? If you have any ideas around that, that you want me to talk about in a future Tyler’s Tip, just let me know. Shoot me an email and I’ll work it into a future episode.

As always, thank you for your time and I look forward to the next one.