2012 in review

We come to the end of another year, and the second year where I set specific photographic goals I hoped to achieve. I’ve been working to learn the fine and finicky art of photography for a number of years, but starting last year, I put down some rough, but tangible action plans on what I wanted to achieve. In 2011, I set the goal of selling a photo (done!) and having a public display of my work (done!). Going into 2012, I shot a little higher and unfortunately real life got in the way. Of course, real life also took me around the world and delivered some great photo opportunities, so I’m pretty happy with how the year turned out!

My goals for 2012

  • Publish an e-Book (Status: barely started… but see 2013 goals)
  • Explore the camera settings to a greater degree (Status: solid progress)
  • Set up a storefront and sell prints more regularly (Status: nope)
  • Publish daily to my photoblog (Status: marginal progress)
  • Improve Aperture library organization tactics (Status: vastly better than 2011, but continuing to work on this)
  • Setup robust backup plan (Status: vastly better than 2011, but continuing to work on this)
My goals for 2013 (I’m sharing them publicly this year)
  • Set up my garage photo studio and really learn studio and off-camera flash lighting
  • Setup a storefront for selling my work
  • Publish two e-Books (yes, the same one I meant to publish last year, as well as a new one I have an idea for)
  • Create time and space once a week for learning photography and post-processing via books, YouTube videos, and online courses
  • Finalize robust file backup plan
Favorite photos of my own of 2012
  • Panamanian Butterflies – One of the first great shots I caught with my new Olympus OMD E-M5.
  • Grandma – This is one of those photos that I know we will look at many years from now knowing that it captured not just her image, but her personality. 
  • Kindergarten – Bridget started kindergarten this year and actually sat still for a photo shoot. I was able to capture a great set of photos from this shoot that also captured personality in addition to image. They will mark this time in history very well. 
  • The beauty of blowing things up – This was a flat out fun shoot that yielded some great results. It reminded me how much fun it can be to study and learn your shots in advance, drag the tripod along, then spend time picking just the right shot after you get home. 
  • Close assault – I spent quite a bit of time earlier this year editing modern photos to look WWII vintage. It was huge fun and sparked renewed enthusiasm for photography.
  • J <3 A – This shot has been my iPhone lock screen background since I took it on our honeymoon. It’s a simple iPhone shot, but powerful nonetheless.
Each of these photos have technical problems and things I wish I could fix in retrospect. But overall, I’m happy with the image because they had power, at least to me.

My stats for the year

  • I shot 13,114 photos, about 3,000 less than last year. The good news is that I feel like I generally had a technically improved year. My ratio of crap to quality was much improved over last year.
  • My top camera/lens combo: Nikon D7000 + Nikkor 18-200mm… amusing since I’ve largely walked away from this camera in the second half of the year to use my second place camera…
  • My second place camera/lens combo, unsurprisingly, was the Olympus OMD E-M5 + Olympus 75mm.
  • iPhone pics… not sure on this one, actually, since I’ve only recently started pulling iPhone pics into my Aperture library. I’ll be tracking this in 2013, but I know I certainly took a metric ton of iPhone pics.
My photo learning highlights
  • My biggest improvement this year was probably the near constant use of the focus point adjustment controls on the back of the camera. 
  • I feel pretty good about my post-processing creativity – I had lots of great ideas this year. Next year, hopefully I’ll be able to realize them with skills to match!

My top photo news stories of the year

About the author

Jake McKee: