Maintaining Momentum

We toy photographers sure are a busy bunch! Shelly has turned to setting deadlines to reach her goals, and Brett balances his full plate with intentional, restrictive time management in the editing room.

As we draw closer and closer to the end of the year, I’ve found that I too am struggling to keep up with the passage of time. Projects I envisioned or began earlier in the year have fallen by the wayside, photo ideas have gone untaken, and I feel constantly behind schedule. In fact, this very post is being written last-minute thanks to traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. I rushed the setting sun in order to nab my required photos in time!

“It’s late, it’s late, and I haven’t taken a photo yet!”

I have a few things to blame for my being behind schedule. 2017 as a whole has been a tumultuous year for me personally, which has thrown any sense of routine or planning out the window. I’ve started on several big photo projects, have been building a freelance business, and have exciting secretive things planned that I’ll be able to announce and fully discuss soon.

With holidays, family gatherings, and end-of-the-year anxiety in the mix, I’ve began to lose one of the most important things for success: Momentum. 

“Success is like a snowball. You gotta get it moving and the more you roll in the right direction, the greater it gets.” -Steve Ferrante

When I lose momentum, I lose focus.

I lose the drive to continue with responsibilities or ambitions. Even the smallest of tasks begin to feel overwhelming, and the finish line escapes view completely.

This loss in momentum comes in waves, and can be caused by a variety of things. Depression, anxiety, self doubt, crazy work schedules, a loss of motivation, poor health, “real world” responsibilities… the list goes on and on.

“I’m just going to rest. Just… for… a… minute… zzzzz”

Actually regaining momentum can be difficult to do. What’s helpful can change depending on the situation. Regardless of what you find helpful, one key element can keep the momentum building: Consistency. 

“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” – Michael Korda

Consistency compounds.

Even the smallest tasks, repeatedly and consistently completed, can build your momentum. This time of year, I find that a routine is supremely helpful to me. So, every day, I try to go to bed at the same time. If I do this consistently, I’ll eventually make it a habit,  and I’ll stop staying up so late that it throws off my other goals and responsibilities. Then I find other things affecting my routine, and I repeat the process.

I find that giving myself deadlines (and sticking to them), trying to accomplish at least one small artistic goal each day, keeping up on my photo walks, and planning my creative output can all build up or continue my momentum.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. But it’s well worth the effort!

What have you found that helps you maintain your momentum? Do you lose momentum at the end of the year? Tell us your tips in the comments!

-James

If you’ve made it this far, come continue the discussion over at our G+ community! And while you’re at it, subscribe to our weekly email round up so that you never miss a post!

“I’m late, I’m late!’

Posting with Purpose

How do you decide which photos to post? When do, or should you post them? Is there a specific time of day, or a specific reason why you publish a photo online?

I’m constantly asking myself these questions. It stems partly from working in social media marketing, where it’s important to optimize your posting in order to reach the widest audience. I also feel a need to “curate” my output.

I want there to be a method to my madness.

Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t

-Polonius, Hamlet

Perhaps it’s an insecurity, but I tend to overthink when it’s appropriate or “best” to post a particular photo. As a result, I tend to post more often on special occasions, which I’ve found isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Continue reading Posting with Purpose

Foolish Lego – Pt 2

In my last blogpost I talked about how I started in toy-photography. . Although my main concern at first was creating decent photos, my main interest came down to story-telling. While single photography brought me pleasure and such, I always felt there was something missing.

As everyone in this world does at some point in their life, I decided I wanted to write a book someday. I’m no different. I’m a person that usually contemplates a project over and over… and over again. Yet, in the end I don’t even start working on it. This time was different; I even took some lessons in creative writing. The results from that course weren’t all that bad, but I understood that actually writing a book would be way out of my league, so I shelved my plans on writing a book again. A few years later I came across another phenomenon on the Internet; Lego-comics! Continue reading Foolish Lego – Pt 2

What came first?

What came first? The chicken or the egg? The lyrics or the music? The setup or the idea?

We all have ideas bubbling away in our heads. Preconceived concepts tag along as we venture out to shoot plastic. Stories are already playing out before our subjects are posed before the lens.

But, sometimes those stories meander off into something new. New ideas come to light with out subject of choice before us. Concepts and notions twist, turn and evolve into another. Often we return with our initial ideas, concepts and tales shelved for another venture; another day.

And all this is cool! This is one of the many things I love about photographing toys. I love thinking up stories. The tales and concepts that emerge excite me. I also relish the twists and turns that inevitably occur when I’m out shooting. And the wonderful surprises of never considered outcomes is one of the greatest thrills of this “lying in dirt focussing in on toys” thing we do. Continue reading What came first?

Tackling the six-headed beast

When Shelly first spoke to me about the concept of the Six Image Narrative during one of our regular video hangouts, I thought, “Cool! I can do that!” Little did I know, that just like being asked “Why”, this would prove to be a bigger challenge than I could’ve predicted.

Maybe I put added pressure on myself, but I wanted six images to tell a story.

“Duh! That’s the whole idea Brett!”

I know! But I wanted them to tell a story without any words. Continue reading Tackling the six-headed beast

That Pebble In My Shoe

New Year’s resolutions? Shelly has chosen five words to define her new year. Kristina is planning a “52 project” for this year.

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. As someone who struggles to keep track of his age, what day of the week it is, even what year it is at times, I find it odd that people need a certain date to set their personal agendas and goals? Sure, I’m all for setting goals, but I don’t think I need a particular date in a calendar to do so? Continue reading That Pebble In My Shoe

Do art and do it for the rest of your life

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. – Kurt Vonnegut

This is an except from a letter written by Kurt Vonnegut to the students of Xavier High School in New York in 2006, the year before he died. I stumbled across this the other day as it was making the rounds on G+ and I thought I would share it here with you.

Why?

Continue reading Do art and do it for the rest of your life