Everybody does these. Right? For the most part, I don’t. I don’t need “2021” to review. I most likely will review on my birthday in October. The same month in which I started my photography career. But I think there can be some things learned for the reader by doing one for this year with everything that has happened….

I’ll be honest, it was a fantastic year for me. But not for reasons you might think....

Going All In With Photography!

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This was my first year as a full-time, photographer! I had been thinking about doing it for years and was always waiting for ‘the right time’. But as I wrote about in a recent blog posting, there almost never is ‘the right time’. It happens by accident or by force. While I made a conscious decision to do this, I could’ve gone in a completely different direction and continued in I.T. Waiting for ‘the right time’.

My First Big Goal of 2020: Getting Published!

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My Last Big Goal of 2020: My 2nd Published Photo Shoot of the Year!

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I can't believe I almost left this section out! You see how quickly we take things for granted? Two months and it's already not a big deal!

Seriously. Yes, getting published for the first time in a great magazine as GMARO is was a huge and amazing accomplishment for me. Especially, getting the cover with an amazing group of artist in that particular edition. For my first publication, I really couldn't be happier.

Then there was a huge dry-spell and you just couldn't do much photography if at all. I finally got to photograph a beauty shoot, something I haven't done in years, in October for the December 2020 issue of Horizont magazine! I'm incredibly happy with that shoot especially as I had just purchased, literally the day before, a Mola Rayo beauty dish. Something I'd wanted for years! The results were so amazing, I actually had to dial back the impact the dish made.

But the big take away from this accomplishment is this: I didn't just want to be published once. I wanted it twice! This year! "When you think pennies. You get pennies. When you think dollars. You get dollars". ~ Ray Charles.

Learning How to Make Marketing Pieces!

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While I already had photography goals for 2021, I knew a big part of the work going full time would be to get the marketing and operational stuff up to par. I had this in place but it I really needed to do lots of polishing to everything.

Developing, sending and creating a marketing program was one of my biggest tasks. This was huge and something very foreign to me. My I.T. business I had was all ‘word of mouth’. So I never had to market. But photography and the arts in general is quite different. I worked with a graphic designer and we got my portfolio book in order. I love it. I don’t think it’s perfect but it’s pretty darn good. I would send those out to people who I would love as clients.

I also started creating and sending out marketing materials to potential clients on a regular basis. This was a huge deal! I created all of it myself! The bigger deal was that I considered myself a mediocre graphic artist before I took a 30-Days of Photoshop course by Phlearn on Youtube. Now, I can create a postcard ready for print within 2 hours. And I don’t have to pay someone hundreds of dollars to do it. I can have all my marketing materials designed and ready for print within a couple of days. For the year. Tops.

Rebuilt my website this year. TWICE! I'm so proud of it!

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I think another big deal was the complete re-design of my website. I had an overly complicated WordPress site that, while could’ve been really cool with some advanced functionality, was too difficult to update with images. The old site would get broken whenever the hosting company would do anything to their systems. I built my site on the same vendor that hosted images for clients to pick up. That didn’t work. Then I transferred the website AND image hosting to SmugMug. After some tinkering, I got it to look exactly the way I wanted. So, I rebuilt my website. TWICE!

They don’t have a blogging function with their service but it’s sufficient enough. And I sort of like all my articles organized on the page the way they are. I’m very proud of the blog articles I’ve done. Both in quantity and quality. But I want more polish on them. That’s coming.

Getting Business Done

Business operations. My goal was to make everything as fast and automated in every aspect including client processing, sales, business and creative processes. The latest was printing the addresses on my postcards. It used to take approximately 45 minutes before. But now that I tweaked the printing process. Not only does it look better, uses less ink, and now takes about 5 minutes! You can do a lot of work with those 40, saved minutes!

In terms of money, I came nowhere near what I wanted to accomplish. But then again, I know some very accomplished photographers who had their businesses devasted. Let’s put it another way: Amazon operated in the red for years. Look at them now. Hopefully, my ‘red year’ is behind me! Speaking of the future….

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I have one goal for 2021: To make real money from doing the photography I want!

The goal is a bit on the vague side. To you. But I wrote a pretty long list of specific goals and accomplishments that are to reach the one, big goal. They range from the “Oh, good and reasonable goal!” to the “Are you out of your mind?” kind of goals. If I told you, you’d probably think the same. And I wouldn’t blame you. But here’s the thing….

If God wants it so, then it will be so. Will 2021 be the big year that super-speeds me towards my dreams and wishes? Does He think I’m ready?

Me: Let’s find out.

I wish you the same for 2021!

~ Ricardo

Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in editorial and commercial photography.
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