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The first step towards achievement is surely to define objectives. What are you trying to achieve, and why? The honest answers to these simple questions define to some extent the path to success and fulfillment. It is therefore surely worth devoting some time to identifying particular aims. A good way to do this is to write specific ideas down on a sheet of paper. This is a better approach than using a computer because the piece of paper can be carried in a wallet or left in a conveniently accessible location at home. Whenever a further thought enters your head, it can then be immediately jotted down. Eventually, the truth emerges from a few lines of accumulated text. Fore example, it might become obvious that what you really want to do is publish some images in a magazine.

Knowing your objectives, it is then easier to focus upon how they might be achieved. Continuing with the example of publishing images in a magazine, it is relatively easy to determine what sort of images the magazine editor requires, and when they should be submitted. Have a look at a few copies of the relevant publication, and see what images are already available for submission. Then begin work on a list of ideas for new images, and start work on obtaining them.

Photographers should engage with their subjects, and must become involved to an extent that makes this possible. The same principle applies whether the subjects are landscapes, people or wildlife. It is important to find within oneself an inner passion for a particular type of image, and to see within the subject beyond its outward appearance. Photographers must feel as well as see their subjects. There is of course a degree of arrogance in this view, since it may be argued that perception is unlikely to achieve such clarity. Indeed, in our portrayal of places, people and creatures we may succeed only in revealing what lies inside ourselves. Nevertheless, a purely representational image captured for no particular reason is likely to fail because it cannot communicate with the viewer. The best possible starting point is therefore a clear understanding of intentions and purpose.

Objectives can be as simple as recording the retirement years of an elderly relative, or obtaining sports action shots for a photographic competition. Alternatively, try building a photographic project around a theme. Aim to submit a portfolio of work to a magazine, photograph weddings or develop portfolios for aspiring models. A focus of this nature will provide beneficial direction and encourage depth and objectivity.

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