• Justin Key

2018: Time to do Better

Updated: Apr 11

A new year means a new you. 2017 is now behind us and for the next month, we will be trying to turn sevens into eights as we adapt to the new year. Some of you are entering this year in traditional fashion, you have your resolution set and those leftover Christmas cookies are already tempting you. Others, like me, are excited about the year ahead, determined to do better and you already have big things planned for 2018. The rest of you are probably hungover.


This is the post I write every year (second annual) about my goals for the upcoming year. I have already outlined my disappointment with my 2017 performance in my last blog post and believe it started with this very post last year. That post set the bar very low with easily obtainable objectives. This year I will not be so kind to myself.


I have deemed this the year to do better and that goes for every aspect of my life not just my photography. I want to be healthier and happier. Make better decisions and find a better balance between work and home. I need to start letting go of things I can't control and find ways to make myself happy. You're not here for that mumbo jumbo though, this is a photography blog, so what is the photographer doing better this year?


For starters, I want to keep electronics out of the office. I have looked into force fields to help me break this distracting habit but it looks like this will be up to my own will power until technology catches up with my needs. I blame my phone and tablet for breaking my focus when I should be doing stuff like writing and editing consistently. Even while I write this my phone and tablet sit within arms reach, ready to kill a half-hour of work time and derail this train of thought. Maybe I should have Sarah start hiding them until my anti electronic force field comes in.


If I can get my focus back I want to find a rhythm to my editing. I have found smoother ways to edit over the last couple of years but my backlog of travel photos is weighing down my computer and every day they sit idle I can feel the stress building. I would love to be at a point this time next year where the only photos waiting to be edited are from the trip I just returned from.


The website is two years old and received its first redesign this year and I am very happy with the layout, however, there are a lot of bugs that need to be fixed. A major goal of 2018 is to become fluent in the software I use to manage my site and fix all the minor issues. Tied to the website will be a new page that I have been teasing for a while now and have had numerous problems arise while creating it. I was hoping to launch the Long Shutter Project this fall but was unable to. While I hope to have the website operating smoothly I would like it to include this new branch of my photography created for a cause.


I am going to steal this next part from the 2017 edition, travel better. There are three trips already booked, New Mexico, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and Italy. There will likely be a few weekend getaways again this year and let's not forget our tropical anniversary trip. For all of my travels, I would like to continue my efforts to find a better balance between memories and photography.


This is also the year I commit to making my name. I'm not going to restrict myself to a couple of shows like I did last year. I have already recruited Sarah to help me find ways to start profiting from my art. Whether it be shows, photo contests, finding places that display local artists, art fairs, I am even looking at stock photography as a means of income. If I want to make this a reality I need an income to support me before I can make the switch full time.


As if that wasn't enough, my final goal for 2018 is to experiment with handmade frames. I currently have a gallery frame option on my website along with a simple aluminum and acrylic float and the standard print option. I have been looking for a way to custom frame my images and keep going back to handmade wood frames. I made one this year out of salvaged semi-trailer flooring that turned out beautifully. The wood frame option is a unique way to display my art and would allow me to create with my hands which I enjoy doing. I hope to experiment with different woods and techniques to create frames unlike anyone else is offering.


That's a little higher bar than 2017 saw. There's no more room for excuses, I can't afford to waste any more time. This is my one life and traveling and photography are what I want to spend it doing. This is the year I buckle down. This is the year I go all in. This is the year I do better.

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© Justin Key Photography