This week, I celebrated my 29th birthday. Whoa. One more year until the big 30. Last year, I was bundled up in freezing and snowy weather in Brooklyn, New York. Today, I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt with the windows wide-open in Houston, TX. Amazing what a difference a year makes. Well, I just wanted to give you an update on where La Brisa Photography stands today. The past year has thoroughly extended our reach, literally from coast to coast. Incredible opportunity after incredible opportunity and 2011 looks to be even better! From Hawaii to Arizona to Kansas to New Jersey, we’re going to continue strengthening our national presence this year and I can’t wait to meet all of the wonderful people along the way!

In last year’s State of La Brisa Photography, I wrote down a few goals and I’ve commented on them in italics. Best part is that those goals are still my goals for this year. I just need to be better about focusing on them. FOCUS. That is my buzzword for 2011. Focus on my clients, focus on being more creative, focus on making the experience of working with me as unique as possible, focus on exceeding my clients expectations and focus on building and developing Brandi’s talents to scratch at her unlimited potential.

  1. Build upon my strengths and outsource my weaknesses to other professionals. Essentially, everything besides the photography and editing, I want to place in the hands of those who are as passionate about them as I am about photography (i.e. wedding albums, print orders, bookkeeping, etc) so that I can focus on what I love to do the most. Also, as a result of this, I will have more freedom to spend time with my wife, family and friends to improve my work/life balance. True story. Need to keep my focus on doing what I love the most.

  2. Stop Gear Envy. I always want the latest and greatest photography equipment. I always read the rumors  about what is coming out next from the main companies and I drool just thinking about the possibilities of owning a $6,000 camera body (yes, the 1DsIII) or a $5,000 camera lens (yes, the 200 f/2 IS). This year, I want to focus on getting the most out of the equipment I have and being able to maximize their results. By re-reading my manuals and learning more about my equipment, I strongly believe I will become a better equipped and better prepared photographer. I broke this rule numerous times last year, but I am okay with that because I ended up purchasing my favorite lens and I have not regretted it for one second! =)

  3. Give Back. Last year, through Photography for a Cause, I was able to donate $1,000 to local charities. This year, my goal is $1,250 and will increase annually for every year that I am running this business. Thank you again to all who ordered prints last year! We raised $1,492 last year. We exceeded my goal and I am pushing for $2,000 this year. I want to keep pushing myself to make Photography for a Cause greater than La Brisa Photography. I want it to become a cause that all photographers want to be a participant.

  4. Give Back II. Many photographers view the flood of DSLRs to the market as a threat to their livelihood and market share. More and more people are taking up the beauty and awesomeness of photography and I am incredibly excited about it. Through my Aspiring Photographer Workshops (APW), I am trying to leverage aspiring photographers as an asset to me because I want to help them succeed. With each and every new photographer, established photographers are being challenged to be more creative, push conventional notions of composition, exposure and focus in order to continue the evolution of the industry. By giving back through workshops, mentoring, etc., I benefit by building my network, honing my skills, adding new friends and progressing the industry as a whole. I hosted 4 APWs last year to various success and I realize that I want to focus more time to specific groups of aspiring photographers. Photographers who just recently purchased a DSLR. Photographers who have been shooting automatic for years without knowing what more their cameras can do. High schoolers who are interested in photography.

  5. In the 5-10 year range, I want to build a database/network of Christian photographers. Obviously, there is not a legitimate way to ensure that X photographer has a relationship with Christ, but I would love to see a website where potential clients/fellow photographers can find a Christian photographer in their local area for business, networking, bible studies, mentorships, etc. How amazing would that be? Over the past year, I realized how lonely it is to run your own photography business. I am involved with several social groups through facebook, photography forums and twitter, but sometimes I still just feel adrift. Hopefully, a network of Christian photographers can help with that.

  6. Also in the 5-10 year range, I want to create a non-profit organization that enables high school students to take senior portraits so that more students can afford amazing pictures of themselves. When I first started La Brisa Photography, I had no idea how expensive senior portraits were. Even in little Manhattan, Kansas, it was not unheard of to be spending $1,000-$1,500 for senior portraits and that to me is absolutely absurd. I know I will not make many friends amongst the photography community with this goal, but I think something should be done to hinder the exploitation of this rite of passage for adolescents. This goes along with the idea of the APWs and helping the interest and creativity of high school photographers. A long time ago, I wanted to be a high school English teacher and my passion for sculpting and teaching our youth is still very tangible.

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