We are all on a learning journey.
This even includes the pros. They may make it look like they’ve arrived but if you ask, most of them will tell you that where they are is the result of years of effort. Many may even admit that they too are still learning.
My children compete in sports and I often remind them to keep a record of their training and results from their competitions in order to get a clear picture of their progress. A log is a powerful tool. It helps them identify how their effort has moved them further along the road towards successfully obtaining their goals. Of course this tool is not just effective for those pursuing sports. In order to recognize my own progress on the photographic journey I’ve decided to take my own advice and put together a log book. I’ve created a photography portfolio and I encourage you to consider doing the same.
Create a Portfolio
You may be asking “Where do I start?” My advice is to pull together a photography portfolio of your best 12 images. Only pick twelve. One per month, a few per trip, or several per genre. Do not ask others for their opinions – these are the images YOU think are your best. You may have to make some hard choices. Keep in mind you can always swap images out as your tastes change or as you make new personal bests. Once created, your portfolio becomes a living thing that grows and changes. You can choose to update it regularly, or pick a time of year and make it an annual exercise. Many pros choose New Years to do a photography portfolio review. I personally find the start of a new school year the best time to pause and reflect.
“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” – Ansel Adams
Once you have selected your 12 best images, place them all somewhere where you can easily view them together. You can put them on your website or on a social media site. My photography portfolio is currently viewable as a slideshow on the homepage of my website. But even better (if you have the funds) is to print your images. It does not have to be large scale. A set of post cards, a calendar, or even a small book. It is well worth taking this last step and moving your images from the digital world into the physical. There is something satisfying about seeing your images in print.
Once you create a portfolio I guarantee you’ll find it an invaluable tool for marking your progress along the learning journey. Remember, it does not matter where you are on the journey nor how fast or far you want to travel. What matters is that you are on it.