8 Photography Goals to Work Towards in 2021 (And how to Achieve them)

Setting photographs goals is a great way of ensuring growth.

There are several benefits to setting yourself new photography goals at the start of a new year. Most obviously, it allows you to improve your skillset and get better at your craft. But it also encourages emotional growth, as you work towards targets and take satisfaction when you reach them. Having photography goals can also help you if you find yourself stagnated. And they’re useful for those struggling with their mental health, looking for a focus to help them get out of any darkness they may find themselves in. No matter the motive, goals are essential, and in this piece, we share some ideas for things you can work on throughout 2021.

Make it One of Your Photography Goals to Create a Competition Winning Image

Photo by Nina Welch-Kling. Winner of The Phoblographer’s 2020 Street Photography Competition

Although most photography competitions are a waste of time, there are some respectable ones out there. One of your photography goals in 2021 should be to create an image so good it could win a photo competition. Of course, there are no guarantees. But if you create photos with the mindset that they need to be competition-winning worthy, you’ll try harder with your photography, and the worst thing that will happen is you will start to make better photos. That’s hardly a bad thing!

Becoming a Photo Expert Should Be One of Your Photography Goals

There’s value in becoming somewhat of a photography “know it all.” People respect those who invest time in researching both the history and current trends within the photo industry. It shows how passionate you are about the craft, and it also means people will see you as an authority within the field. You can start by looking at photo books from past masters and setting time each day to read the latest news and goings-on within the field.

Become a Mentor and Share Your Photography Goals

When it comes to photography goals, this one is for the more experienced photographer. If you’ve been shooting for some time and believe in your skillset, it may be time to think about passing on your knowledge. So, if you know a young, budding photographer that wants to learn more, invest some of your time into them and help them improve. Mentoring is a skill in itself and will help you develop how you interact with people. You can also feel good about helping someone become better at the craft.

Invest in a New Lens

If you’re still using a kit lens, it may be time to invest in a lens aimed towards the more intermediate/pro photographer. Getting a good prime lens for example, will not only offer sharper, more detailed images, it will also help you improve the way you compose your photographs. We understand lenses are not always cheap, but you could aim to save throughout the year and treat yourself at the end of 2021. Saving helps with discipline, and having a new lens at the end of the year will be a sign of growth.

Start That Photography Project

Photo by Benoit Lapray. Taken from his project Monuments.

Probably the most obvious of the photography goals is to start a new project. If you’re passionate about a certain concept but have put it off for too long, now’s the time to stop making excuses. Set out a clear plan and execution of the project and then start doing the practical side. Sure, the project may not win you awards (it also might), but you’ll certainly feel pride and confidence if you complete the project you have carrying around in your mind.

Get Out of Auto

If you’re a newbie or just someone who’s not pushed their photography skillset, 2021 can be the year you finally get out of auto mode. Learning to shoot in manual opens up the door to more creative options with your photography, it also pushes you to understand how light works and how you can manipulate it to get more artistic looking images. If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of shooting in a manual, check out this cheat sheet, it will surely help you.

Build a Website

Social media is the most common place where people share their photographs. That’s fine and all, but there’s something special about having your own dedicated website. It shows the world you’re serious about photography, and it also allows you to share any kind of images you like without having to worry about the rules set by the likes of Instagram. Building a website isn’t as difficult as it once was. Website builders like FORMAT have made it easy for the average person to build an attractive website in just a handful of easy steps.

Reduce Your Gear

Instead of investing in new gear, think about selling some of your current pieces of kit. If you have equipment that you rarely use, it’s pointless keeping it on the shelf collecting dust. Go through your kit and think about what gear you need and what gear you don’t. If you sell the gear you don’t need, you can use the cash to invest in your photography education or to go on a trip somewhere new to make photos.

Get Started on Your Photography Goals

There’s no time like the present. So sit down, and make a list of which photography goals are most important to you. Don’t dwell on them, and try not to overthink them. Just let them flow and then start doing the practical side right away. Growth as a photographer is crucial on your path to being the best photographer you can be. Don’t be the one who sits down at the end of 2021, thinking they didn’t push themselves hard enough.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host professional photographers within the industry.