Recently I had an review of my performance in my corporate job, and one of the key takeaways was the need for me to make this personal value judgement on amplifying my effectiveness (and hence performance) by clearly evaluating the impact of the work I do.
We can’t derive the impact without activity, but the point is that we all have to critically assess the type of activity/process/journey we do in order to get to the end goal.
Are we spending the bulk of our energy working on needless activities that deliver minimal impact? Or are we willing to “drop the ball” on some of these needless activities and start doing on things that matter most?
These were the critical questions that were raised and in terms of deriving photography impact and the work that I do, it has made me reassess the work I’ve done here in this site and in pursuing my photography hobby.
Photography Impact – What is it?
At this stage of discussing photography impact, there must be some form of ready outputs or deliverables – a finished photograph, a photobook, a series of projects, published materials and even exhibitions and so on. I’d say that the definition of photography impact differs from one person to another. How do we define and measure the success of your desired impact? Well, here is a list to start of with.
- To tell a story and achieve an outcome.
- To invoke emotions for your viewers.
- To make money.
- To change the world.
- To tell the truth.
- To be popular.
- To develop and improve my photography skills.
- To make myself feel good while looking at my photographs.
- To make others feel good while looking at my photographs.
- And so on..
Today, I am still finding my personal photography impact statement. I’m leaning towards creating images that are timeless, factual and are able to invoke strong emotions from others. I hope I’ll get there as I continue to work on this. Reality aside, I do dream of becoming a world-class photographer capable of delivering such impact on a consistent basis. Well, let’s see =)
Why do you need to know your desired impact?
Because it affects the photography activity that you do.
To make timeless photographs, I operate in the black and white niche as I find that they convey the message the best.
To make factual photographs, I do not practice creative photographic manipulations or extreme editing.
To create strong photographs that invoke similar emotions, I need to learn how to tell the story better, sometimes with appropriate captions, even better if captions were not required.
Understanding my personal photography impact statement affects my planning, processing workflows and time allocation – what amounts of time do I allocate to do the above to ensure I deliver on my impact? Do I value quality instead of quantity? Do I spend more time writing captivating captions to tell the story or do I spend more time engrossed in photo-editing and pushing sliders in lightroom? Which channel should I use to showcase my work? What is the strategy I employ to reach the audience I desire?
To think about this in another form, the common phrase we hear from professionals is: “What is your vision?”
You have to know your end goal before you start – the journey to the end could invariably take different forms as the goals are clarified.
Ending thoughts on photography activity
I enjoy reading up on new gear, spending time in the digital darkroom, experimenting with new techniques and optimizing my workflows. I probably spend too much time on photography related websites as I love to read and see the work that other people publish. I diligently backup my files, spend money on necessary equipment, compare my work with others, and watch too many youtube videos to better my skills.
The truth is that only some of these activities that I do actually matters in the impact I desire. Most of them don’t.
In the context of having limited time, reviewing my key activities gave a good wake-up call to utilize my time more effectively to reach my goals.
To sum it up – know why you are doing what you are doing. Focus on the things that matter.