I can’t believe that it is July already.  I wrote a post in March, listing 20 resolutions + goals I had for 2011.  I thought now would be a good time to take a look at those goals to see where I am and what I’ve been able to accomplish so far this year.  Once I went through them all, I realized that maybe my goals weren’t all that hard… next year, I’ll try to make my goals a little more challenging.  I guess maybe I didn’t know what to expect from myself and therefore had low expectations for this year!  Oh well… you live and learn.  Let’s take a look at where I am today:

1.  Build a well-rounded portfolio featuring at least 10 different dogs/cats/horses by March 31 – this was completed by March 31.  I currently have a portfolio featuring 16 different animals and I am continuously changing out images to keep it updated.

2.  Apply for membership and become an active member of the Beautiful Beasties Network – I actively participate in the BBN forum, ask questions and reply to them, and I also currently oversee the BBN 52 Project.

3.  Join or participate in a 52 Project – I currently oversee the BBN 52 Project and haven’t missed a week yet!  I’ve also been participating in The Bloom Forum’s 52 Project, which allows me to focus on non-animal related photography.

4.  Buy a macro lens – I have not yet purchased a macro lens, but it’s on my short list of lenses I want to buy once I get a few paid sessions under my belt.

5.  Attend the Cowbelly/Dane + Dane Passport Workshop in May – I was lucky enough to attend this great workshop in May, where I learned a lot of valuable information that helped me focus my branding and business.  I also met a lot of great new pet photographer friends from all over the country (including Canada!)

6.  Maintain an updated Flash website and blog – continually look for ways to improve both – I recently had some customization done to my Flash website and blog to go with my new branding.  My new splash page is *AMAZING* and I cannot wait to unveil it – the new blog header is going to be awesome too.  I am always looking for ways to differentiate myself from my peers and find my own identity through my website and blog.  My new branding is a big step in accomplishing this.

7.  Obtain 100 Facebook Fans this year – I currently have 170 Facebook fans and counting!  I honestly thought this would be so much harder to accomplish – I thought 100 fans was a dream number!  I am humbled and honored to have so many wonderful Facebook fans.  I never thought I would reach 100 fans, let alone 170!

8.  Continually look for new and exciting products to offer my clients – I finally decided on a line of prints + products for my clients, but I am always on the look out for better and more unique products to offer in the future.

9.  Order a wide variety of product samples to show clients – I have ordered and received most of my sample products.  I just ordered my canvas samples on Sunday and the only thing left to order are my custom frames.  I should have those by the end of the summer.

10.  Take a Photoshop CS5 class – I completed two online Photoshop classes through my local community college this past spring.

11.  Work with local rescues and shelters to photograph adoptable animals and events – I photographed the Maryland SPCA March for the Animals event this spring and I continue to work exclusively with Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) by photographing their adoptable dogs each week.

12.  Have my photography published in a local (or national… now that’s a lofty goal!) publication – I’m pretty sure when I wrote this goal, I had magazine publications in mind.  However, I’m starting small.  I’ve been in talks with BARCS to use my images in some of their newly designed promotional materials and I also provided photos for a promotional flyer for July pit bull adoptions.  Take a look at the beautiful flyer HERE.

13.  Network with area photographers and pet-centric business owners to establish relationships with them all – I’ve visited several pet-friendly businesses to distribute my cards and I’ve met with two local pet photographers for coffee + dinner so far.  I’ve also built some really great friendships online through email and forums – I hope to meet them person in the future too.

14.  Purchase my first L lens – I purchased my 24-70 and my 70-200 this spring.  My bank account is still healing, but it was totally worth the investment as these two lenses will be used for years and years.  They are my workhorses.

15.  Upgrade my camera body – I upgraded from the T1i to the 7D early this spring when I started to find limitations shooting with the T1i.  I also purchased a used 5D Classic to use as a compliment to the 7D.  I love both of my camera bodies and don’t foresee a need for anything else for a long, long time.

16.  Organize and streamline my workflow for post-processing and editing – I have learned a lot of ways to use Lightroom to make my post-processing and editing workflow go a lot more quickly.  Presets and batches are my new best friend and give me a great place to start with my editing.  I’d still like to make this more efficient though…

17.  Upgrade camera bags – I purchased a Crumpler Eight Million Dollar Home bag and it was a great investment.  I love it!  There is enough room for my treats, poop bags, squeakers, memory cards, extra batteries, lens cleaner and wipes, filters, two camera bodies, and all 4 of my lenses (including the 70-200).  This bag is a monster and I love it because I can keep everything together in one place.  I also have a Shootsac to use on location, when I don’t need to actually carry ALL of my gear.

18.  Put together a soothing home office that inspires my creativity and showcases my work and product offerings beautifully – Well, I don’t think this necessarily counts, but I did transform our dining room into my office for now.  Once we move, I’m making it a priority to have a great place to work and edit, since I spend way too much time in front of my computer as it is.  Hey – it might as well be nice!

19.  Include a photo with each blog post – I’ve done this consistently.

20.  Define my own personal photography style by combining elements of inspiration to create a look that is uniquely mine – I’m finding what post-processing works for me and my style and I’m also developing a shooting style that works well for the “look” I want to create with my art.  This will certainly always be a work in progress, but my goal is to one day have someone be able to look at a photo of mine and know I took it.

Overall, I’ve accomplished a lot of what I wanted to do this year already.  However, I know that once I move to Charleston I’ll have to start all over again to establish myself and build a new client base.  That thought is daunting, but I’m also very energized and ready to hit the ground running.  I’m super excited to see where I am at this time next year.  Oh and since I need to include a photo with each post, here’s a little peek at an early morning session I did here in Charleston with my bubbas.  Another beautiful alley with gorgeous light.  I love this city and can’t wait to call it home!

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