2014 Photographers’ Resolutions

2014P hotographers Resolutions
We asked some of our awesome contributors to tell us what their photographic resolutions were this new year. Here’s what they have to say.

Brian Blanco Brian Blanco

Brian Blanco is an independent photojournalist and commercial photographer based in Tampa, FL. Once described as “The Swiss Army Knife of Photojournalism” by a client, Blanco is one of the rare shooters who takes pride in not having an identifiable ‘style’ per se, as he is content to step out of the way and allow his subjects, or subject mater, to be the focus of attention. Blanco’s regular editorial clients include Reuters, the Associated Press, the European Pressphoto Agency, the New York Times and USA Today to name a few. A self-proclaimed expert on cheap Florida hotels and an addict of any food that gets handed out of a window, Blanco can be found on his days off pushing a jogging stroller through his boring, yuppie neighborhood while dutifully listening to his wife describe her day.

1. Learn what all those other buttons and switches and stuff on my camera do. I’ve paid a lot for all those bells, whistles, switches and buttons and darn it, in 2014 I’m going to finally learn what the bloody hell they actually do. I use three things on my cameras: the shutter speed dial, the aperture dial and the ISO button (and if I’m feeling fancy, the white balance thingy too). Outside of those three things, all that other stuff has remained an utter mystery to me. I may crack open the owner’s guide or check out a YouTube video or something… or maybe not… likely not.

2. Perfect the fake smile and agreeing nod I give to PR firm people. “Really? Wow. Your client is pre-announcing an announcement that they’ll soon be announcing a ‘kinda-newish’ product that they plan to launch one day at a date and time to later be determined? Why, yes, I DO think that’s exciting news and yes my photographs will be as titillating and dramatic as you anticipate them to be!” …[Insert newly-practiced fake smile here]

3. Regularly, and stealthily, recon my wife’s purse to steal back the handfuls of large-capacity CF cards that mysteriously disappear from my Think Tank roller. I love my wife, she’s an amazing woman, but for your sake, please don’t let her near your memory cards. There’s nothing like showing up to shoot a full-day commercial job and opening your card wallet to find that sometime in the night, a certain blonde ninja left you with three 1GB CF cards, a couple of 512MB cards and unspoken IOU…. so that she can put seven .jpg frames of a kid holding a golf club on a 128GB card.


4. Finally bill all those clients whose invoicing procedures made me throw my hands up in temporary defeat and write it off. We all have them. A new client licenses an image or books you for a quick-hit job and when you decipher the 26 pages of billing instructions you wave the white flag and promise to bill them later. Well, I’m calling in the chips in 2014. I’m not sure how long ago my first one was…. suffice it to say though, a child born on that date would likely be old enough to legally drive a moped in 9 states of this beautiful union.

5. To be inspired by the work of you, my colleagues and friends. In all seriousness, this one is my most important resolution. You all inspire me with stunning images, informative stories heart-wrenching projects. I need to take more time out of my work day to really sit back and enjoy the work that each and every one of you do… because THAT’S what’ll me the photojournalist I want to be in 2014. Thank you.

Octavian CantilliOctavian Cantilli

Octavian Cantilli says he is the only child of fantastic parents, who when he was three years old escaped communist Romania and found political asylum in the US. He says he loves how photography can be technical yet intimate; very risky, yet very much needed; serious, yet fun, and all while serving as a ticket into the lives and culture of people he would never otherwise meet. Since graduating from the UF’s JOU school in 2007, he was a Poynter summer fellow, worked full time at three newspapers of various circulation, been on assignment in six countries, lead photo trips overseas, been repeatedly published around the world and been invited to share work in a few museums and photo festivals. Octavian is currently a freelance photographer/videographer based in Orlando, Florida where he specializes in moment based imagery and personality portraiture. His clients include Universal Orlando Resort, The Weather Channel, Morris Publications, Humane Society of America and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

1. Looking back at 2013, my best and most fulfilling work came when I collaborated with a great team. In 2014, I’d like to do more collaborative projects.

2. I’m grateful to have regular clients that I always enjoy making visuals for, so once per month, I’d like to pitch to each of them some type of visual idea. Whether or not these ideas are ever attempted is irrelevant. I would just like to be both an idea contributor and an idea executioner.

3. Plan, produce and execute at least one personal project per month. I define a personal project simply as anything that is self assigned. I try to be very aware of the purpose of the work I create and most of that work is either issue advocacy or brand advertising, so these personal projects should continue to fit within one of these categories.

Despite my best attempts to challenge him, God has decided to keep me a single guy with no kiddos (lol), but the best things I can do to prepare myself for when he changes his mind is to take care of my financial and physical health. My last two resolutions address each of these priorities.

4. Pay off my damn student debt once and for all! This is the only type of debt I have, yet I feel like it’s reeking havoc (yes, reeking not wreaking) on my financial well being!

5. Bench 225 lbs while weighing less than 155 lbs and run a marathon in under 3:30. These have been goals for a while, and both are realistically within reach if I record my workouts and keeping discipline.

Robert CaplinRobert Caplin

Robert Caplin is an editorial and corporate photographer based in Manhattan who specializes in documentary, travel, celebrities, portraiture, and events. He’s a regular contributor to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal and his work has been published in National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, TIME, and Newsweek. His clients include individuals such as Justin Bieber, Tiki Barber, and Victoria Justice and organizations such as The International Emmy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, and American Electric Power. His photographs were honored at the 2010 Clio Awards for advertising, and HarperCollins published his long-term documentary as part of Justin Bieber’s New York Times Bestselling visual autobiography, First Step 2 Forever, which has sold over a million copies in 25 languages.

1. Followup with past clients: Every year I’ve been fortunate to build my corporate/commercial client base. The goal is not just to secure new clients, but to turn them into regulars. But, there are always those clients who you work for one time and never hear from again. It’s probably not because they were disappointed with my work, but possibly because they don’t have anymore photography needs or maybe my contact at the company has changed. Well, this year I intend to go through my invoices from the past 8 years of freelancing and try to connect with those clients I’ve not heard from in a long time. I’ll probably make a list of those clients and start by emailing each just to check in, wish them a happy new year, and remind them that I’m available for any photography needs they might have in 2014. Sometimes all it takes is just a reminder that you’re out there to spur a client to remember their photographic needs. Fingers crossed!

2. Travel outside my comfort zone: Every year my goal is to travel more and see the world. This year I’m hoping to do a little more exploring in areas of the world that will give me more of an adventure. In fact, at the end of this month I’ll be traveling with my wife to India and Nepal for what I’m sure will be an extremely memorable adventure in a part of the world I’ve never been. I’m hoping this will be the first of many trips to Asia over my lifetime!

3. Smart Investments: As photographers, many of us make our money by taking daily assignments and that’s where the revenue ends. I’ve always been a big believer in diversifying my client base, not only within the journalism sphere (working for numerous publications), but also within different genres of photography like travel, corporate, events, and so on. The more diverse your clients, the less chance for a major hit to your business if, for instance, one of your clients stops calling. Next we need to consider how we can create revenue in other ways, maybe through licensing our image archives (hopefully you’re holding onto your copyright), or financial investments. It’s important for us to think about our financial future and remember to invest in our retirements, whether it be by simply tossing your extra cash in a savings account or taking it to the next level and investing that savings into smart stock investments or real estate. My goal this year and moving forward is to get to the point where all my investments in real estate cover my living costs so I don’t have to worry about the day-to-day assignments to survive.

4. Market my travel: As I mentioned earlier, I love to travel! I’m fortunate to have married a girl from Barcelona, so I get to visit about 2 times per year on average, which leads to side trips when I’m on that side of the Earth. While I’m always looking to find new clients and ways to tie business into travel, I feel I’ve not done all that I could to leverage the work I’m producing on these trips. This year I plan to make a concerted effort with my wife to create books and portfolios from our current and past travels in order to market the photos not only for syndication, but to pitch my travel photography services to potential clients. What this means is diving back into my archives and editing, which is one of my least favorite things to do. I love producing…and simply hate editing!

Spain May 2011

5. Leverage My Network: Ever since high school I feel I’ve been a great networker by befriending all the silly clicks, teachers, and community members. The same is true in the photography and business world. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best creatives, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and visionaries in the business. I’m always looking for ways to connect the right folks in my networks to pitch new creative business ideas. I’m part of a booming generation and I know together we can accomplish big things and 2014 is the year to make those big things happen.

Nic CouryNic Coury

Nic Coury is a photojournalist based in Monterey, Calif. He has had work published in Sports Illustrated, Cycle World and Bicycling magazines, and has shot commercial jobs for Specialized Bicycles, Ferrari and Bugatti. He also covers crime for a local newspaper. In his free time, he drinks too many espressos and wins mustache competitions.

In last year’s resolution post, I said it was going to be my year and it kind of was. I met many of my goals and upped my work and I want to continue that in 2014.

1. Embrace simplicity. I need to do more with less, namely spend fewer dollars and have less equipment I’m using all the time instead of lenses and stuff that sit around. Being smarter with business practices will help me in the long run. Maybe I’ll take a page from that blog post and only shoot with a 50mm.

2. Re-introduce film. I want to get another film camera and master large format film and get another 120 camera. I need an art form to help slow me down when shooting and film might be that art form. I’d love to do a series of portraits for a story in black and white.

3. Travel more. I need to get out of California. Or the United States. And take an actual holiday and experience the world and not get bogged down with work and keep telling myself “I’m too busy to take time off.”

4. Smile more. Love more. Promote compassion and kindness more. Spend quality time with friends more. Cook more. Enjoy life more.

Nic working

5. Set realistic goals for visual storytelling using more multimedia components for larger clients. Push myself out of my photographic comfort zone and use that to push my work into new places.

Brent LewisBrent Lewis

Brent Lewis is a photojournalist born in Chicago, but is currently based in Rockford, IL. Brent’s photos are regularly published in the Rockford Register Star, where he is a staff photographer. His work has also been seen in the Chicago Tribune, where he interned and freelanced, L.A. Times, Associated Press, Forbes.com and Yahoo! News as well as in the RedEye, MetroMix and the Chicago Reporter. Brent graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2012 after four years of guidance from John H. White and Steve Liss.

1. Work on at least 2 projects that take at least 3-6 months to complete. It’s something I have always wanted to do, but never I was could mentally dedicate the time to see it through. It’s always something new coming along or needs my attention.

2. Take care of my body more. It never hits you that you are not young and fit anymore than having to sprint a block to get to the scene of a fire and barely making it halfway before having to stop and walk the rest of the way.

3. I want to learn how to code better. I want to be able to not only be able to create great video and still packages, but build an all encompassing experience through and through. Plus, I would save like an extra $100 a year on website hosting.

4. Writing more is a big goal for me in 2014. Not only to blog a lot more, but to write in journals just to act as a way to sort thoughts and keep some type of documentation about what is going on in my work, my life and everywhere in between.


Preston MackPreston Mack

Preston Mack is a professional photographer based in Orlando, Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Miami’s School of Architecture. He shoots for advertising agencies such as Yellow Shoes Creative, The Meyocks Group, Mullen, GSD&M, Carol H Williams Agency, PUSH and Fry Hammond Barr. His corporate clients include Darden Restaurants, Walt Disney World, Southwest Airlines, Pillsbury, GM, Kraft, Hy-Vee, Tupperware and Major League Baseball. He shoots editorial assignments for magazines such as Golf Magazine, Guideposts, Reader’s Digest, ESPN The Magazine and Forbes Magazine. His work has been recognized by the Best of Photojournalism, Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, Southern Short Course, and the National Press Photographer’s Association.

1. Rent more, buy less equipment. That was #3 on my list last year, and I was doing really well until August when I had a sudden need for video gear…

2. Always remember that “Good money FOLLOWS good work”. I will try to pursue work that I am passionate about. Recently I have been only chasing corporate jobs that pay better. I am who I am, and I need to shoot things that I truly love.

3. Be healthier. I successfully lost 20 pounds in 2013 so I need to keep that off and continue to eat better. (or to state this more clearly, do not eat so many beignets when I have an assignment in New Orleans)

4. Enjoy my friends and family more. I can get trapped in the cycle of travel, work, rest then repeat. And Repeat. I need to try and socialize. I need to make it a priority.

C.S. MuncyC.S. Muncy

C.S. Muncy is a New York City-based freelance photojournalist with a client list that includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, The New York Daily News and The Village Voice. His work has also appeared in Time Magazine, The Smithsonian Magazine and Wired Japan. In 2012, he was selected for the 25th Eddie Adams Workshop, received the NPPA Short Course Travel Grant and won first prize in the National Geographic/Nikon “Full Story” photo contest. A graduate of the Defense Information School, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2002 and is currently a combat correspondent with the 106th Rescue Wing.

So 2013 has been a good year for me. Not great, not outstanding, but it’s been steady and that’s not a bad place to be at. Maybe it’d just be easier to say that 2013 has been “workman-like.” With that in mind, I’ve got a few resolutions for the coming new year.

1. Travel more. I’m going to start doing some long distance stories this year. I’ve already got one project planned for overseas in the middle of the year. I’m starting off 2014 on the right track with a photo trip from Alaska to New York. I need to travel, and travel often.

2. More personal work. I got a lot of solid shots in 2013 chasing after spot news stories, but haven’t really had time to work on any personal projects. This year I’m resolving to start chasing after some more long-form stories; ones that matter to me rather than ones I think the editors will like.

3. Stop worrying about gear. I’ve got GAS. “Gear acquisition syndrome,” and I’ve got it bad. I think I’ve reached a point where I have everything I really need in order to tell the kind of stories I want. This year I’m going to worry less about getting new gear, and start spending more time using what I’ve got.

I’ve got a half dozen other minor resolutions, but these are my main three. What are your resolutions? What would you suggest in order to help me achieve these?

Jamey PriceJamey Price

Jamey Price is a Charlotte NC based sports photojournalist covering professional motor racing and horse racing. His list of freelance clients include LAT Photographic, Getty Images, Eclipse Sportswire and his work has been published around the globe in publications such as F1 Racing, Autosport, The Racing Post, Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com and many others. Jamey is a contract photographer for Queens University in Charlotte NC and is a staff photographer with QC Exclusive magazine in Charlotte.

1. Take photos for fun. Too often I find myself jaded by the thought of taking photos. Photography has become synonymous with work. I LOVE my work. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I want to get back to taking photos for the fun of it. Particularly in terms of travel. I want to document my upcoming travels so that I don’t have just low res instagrams on my iPhone to remember the experiences by.

2. Try new things. I would really like to expand my photography skill set in 2014. I feel like my weak areas are still the same ones that have always been weak. I would like to work on that.

3. Take more portraits. Portraits of families. Athletes. Drivers. Anything. I would love to do more than do action work. Being well rounded as a photographer can only be a good thing.

4. Take more time for me. Work can get all of us down. The constant travel and deadlines take their toll on our sanity. Too often I see people working flat out 365 days a year. And that has to be unhealthy. I’d like to spend more time to relax and enjoy. I’ve (once again) become addicted to fly fishing this past year. I want to spend more time casting flies at fish.

5. Tone it down. I’ve been told I’m too opinionated. Especially in the social media realm. It’s something I continue to work on. I just need to work on voicing my opinion in better ways.

Please support The Photo Brigade!

You're awesome and that's why we work hard to bring you quality content, gear reviews, and guides. If you're interested in purchasing any of the equipment or services mentioned in our posts, please use our links as we will receive a portion of the sale to help run the blog. You can also search for gear directly via Amazon, B&H, and Adorama.

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and listen to our podcasts on iTunes!