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I was overjoyed to be asked by KelbyOne to be this week’s Guest Blogger! Kelby Training/KelbyOne has been a fantastic help to me over the years, and it has always inspired me to improve, setting a benchmark for where I would like to be in the future.

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This got me thinking about the past five years and where I began, where I hoped I would be by now and where I see myself going from here. Reflecting on your career history makes you stop and think about past achievements, failures and what you can do to keep pushing ahead to reach your next goals.

If like me you always want to achieve more, sometimes you pass over the goals you reach because you have already set new ones. I always said five years ago that as soon as I became a published photographer I would feel like a success, except, my work got published and I still wasn’t happy and felt that I could improve.

It seemed that as soon as one goal was met, it was already surpassed with a new one – a harder one – to continue to push myself and to try and stay in the forefront of people’s minds.

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Recently, I was approached to be sponsored by a brand but I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted, so I turned it down. “Is she crazy?” I hear you ask… Maybe! The fact was, even though they have great products, their business goals didn’t match with mine and I could see there being conflicting interests later on down the line. I could have said yes, and who knows where this may have led? But my instincts were telling me to hold off and continue under my own name, not someone else’s.

After nearly six years in the industry, I am at a point now where I can choose what opportunities I feel will be best suited to me individually and my personal development and growth, and that is exactly what we should all be doing.

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We all have our own journeys and each path we take is our individual decision and shapes our future accordingly.  We have all been guilty of taking below average offers because we thought that was all we were worth at the time. When you first start out, there is a necessity to do unpaid work to gain valuable experience – but the key is to not let it stay that way!

Thankfully, we all improve quickly thanks to technological advances in equipment and software, but especially with online learning platforms such as KelbyOne and seminars and hands-on workshops.

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You should be able to see the improvement in your work, even if it might take you longer to see it than others.  A great way to track progress is to keep a separate portfolio of your best 5-10 images each year and just explain a little next to it why you chose those images. They don’t have to be the ones that you were paid for or that someone else liked – this is for YOUR own development.

I found that once I looked back and saw how far I had come, it gave me a sense of self-success, a feeling I hadn’t stopped and appreciated before.

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We all get down days, and in this industry there are many. This is why we need to stop and look at our own achievements, however small they might seem at the time, and notice our own incredible abilities and self-worth.

Plans and goals are important to make but I got so wrapped up in trying to always achieve the next goal that I forgot about just enjoying the here and now and really taking it all in.

Photography is horrendously competitive and can be exhausting at times to maintain, especially keeping up with social media too. Your online presence (both website and social media) is incredibly important and that is an area I am working on improving this year.

My next goal will be offering workshops in Beauty and Fashion Photography after my ‘test’ workshop days went wonderfully well. Teaching is something that has always interested me but has taken a little time for me to feel confident and ready – now that I am, I am excited what the future will bring!

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Lastly, please remember that we shouldn’t measure ourselves against others; we should only measure against where we were, where we are and feel excited about where we will be next.

So take a moment today, look at your amazing portfolio of work and remember, we all are continuously learning on our own individual journeys- just make sure you enjoy every moment of yours!

You can see more of Sian’s work at SianRobertson.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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2 Comments

  1. This post was so encouraging to read. I am by no means anywhere near being a professional photographer– I am just at the point where photography is beginning to be one of my more major hobbies. However, your exhortation to step back and look at (and be proud of!!) your accomplishments and to keep a record of what you’ve done can be applied to many areas of life. I fall into the same trap of setting goals and not “enjoying” when I meet them because I’m already looking to the next goal. I love the idea of keeping a personal bests/favorites portfolio to track my progress–in each of my creative hobbies. Thank you.

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