reaching your goals

  • setting goals and following your dreams by Jennifer Jabbour

reaching your goals

Last summer, I spent a couple months cleaning up my online portfolio, taking time to polish my photos until they had a consistent look and feel.  I even had a couple of CMpros quickly review my portfolio to point out anything I had missed.  By October, I felt I was ready to apply for CMpro. After two weeks of what seemed like forever, I spotted an email from the CMpro Application. Before I read it, I braced myself for rejection. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, and proceeded to read, “Thank you for applying to CMpro.  We love your work and feel that you would be a great addition to CMpro.”

setting goals and following your dreams by Jennifer Jabbour

I basked in the wonderful feeling that I had made it – I was finally a CMpro and being able to say that just made me feel extra amazing. I had set a goal and achieved it! That feeling lasted for a couple months before I started feeling empty.  I knew at that moment, this was only the start to achieving my photography goals; my journey was not done. I don’t think the road ever ends for a photographer. There’s always more to learn, more to shoot, and endless opportunities to grab onto.

Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.” – Alex Noble

It’s a lot of work and effort, a journey of sorts, when you set out to achieve a big goal or a dream.  You put your whole self into it, every free moment goes toward your goal. And finally, you achieve it! Success! You feel amazing and you’re proud of yourself.  But once the initial excitement wears off, you are left with an emptiness. You have a void where you once spent all that time working toward your goal.  It’s at this point that you start to wonder, “What next? Where do I go from here?” Because achieving that goal cannot be the end all be all goal for your life.  There’s got to be more. And there is, because there’s no end to how much you can grow, learn and do! This is true for anything we do, but I’m talking about how this applies to photography.

It’s common to feel this way because, as Greg Anderson put it, “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”  

setting goals and following your dreams by Jennifer Jabbour

Whether you are just starting out on your photography journey or you’ve been shooting for awhile, I’m sure you’ll at least find some of the ideas below to benefit you:

If you just want some personal growth challenges, try these ideas:

  1. Post to your photo blog regularly.
  2. Start a weekly or daily shooting goal, such as a P52 or 365. You can often find other photographers that are doing the same thing, and join in on a blog circle.
  3. Choose a new skill to master (shooting in backlight, OCF, low light, etc.).

If you’re ready to add in some challenges, try the following:

  1. Submit your photos for challenges or contests.
  2. Submit your photos to blogs that feature photographers.
  3. Submit your photos to juried exhibitions.
  4. Have your photos put on display.
  5. Take a workshop.
  6. Get mentored.
  7. Have your portfolio reviewed.

If you’re really wanting to push yourself, aim high with these ideas:

  1. Apply for CMpro.
  2. Become a Certified Professional Photographer.

As you can see, each of the ideas above push you to put forth your very best, so even if you don’t end up getting your CPP certification you’ll still come out with a better portfolio and a better photographer.

setting goals and following your dreams by Jennifer Jabbour

It’s great to always have some sort of goal to strive for as this will keep you from becoming stagnant and bored. It will push you to always continue to learn and grow in your craft.  And, perhaps the biggest goal of all is to not be afraid of failure or rejection, especially when submitting your work to blogs, contests, exhibitions, etc. You must be okay with the idea that not everyone will feel your work is suitable for their platform but that doesn’t make you any less of a photographer.

“I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours – so enjoy the view.” – Michael York

Just keep striving to learn and grow and do your best. Then, a year from now, look back at your journey and see how far you’ve come.

About the Author:

Jennifer is a professional photographer living in the East County of San Diego, California, with her husband, two children, ages 9 and 5, three dogs, and a chameleon. She specializes in lifestyle photography for children and families . Jennifer's husband, Patrick, has been her biggest fan from the very beginning by surprising her with her first DSLR seven years ago. Her two beautiful children are her inspiration to continue to shoot daily. Jennifer is currently working to fulfill her vision of creating storybook themed sessions, by incorporating favorite childhood stories and themes into her photo sessions. In her camera bag, is a Nikon D700, 80-200 mm 2.8, 85 mm 1.8, 50 mm 1.4, and the 35 mm 1.8. Visit Jennifer Jabbour online.


  1. Melina Jul 26 2013 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Love this so much!! Τhank you!! So excited for this journey!!

  2. Marissa Jul 26 2013 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Great blog post Jen! Thanks for the suggestions on how to keep pushing on. 🙂

  3. Nancy Jul 26 2013 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    I loved this. And such a good reminder, that we may have a destination, and we can’t give up hope of getting there, but so much is in the journey. I remind myself of that life lesson any time I do a marathon — it’s not just about crossing that finish line, because that may not happen how you plan — you might get injured, you might be slower than you hoped, etc. but the growth that comes in months of working towards it, and the experiences on the way are a big part of the whole. Good reminder with photography. I sometimes feel like a failure that I haven’t done what some of my friends, etc. have with photography, but, when, like you said, I look back to where I was a year or two ago, it is amazing to see what I’ve learned.

  4. Jessica Reischel Jul 27 2013 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Congrats Jennifer!! So much goodness to keep in mind….and never forget. 😉

  5. Katrina Stewart Jul 28 2013 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Fantastic post. l will definitely look into doing some of these to keep me motivated and fresh along this learning journey.

  6. Lauren Jul 28 2013 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Thank you for making me realise that the journey is more important

  7. Kim Peterson Jul 31 2013 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    What a wonderfully inspiring blog post!!! Thank you!

Leave A Comment


Follow this blog

Email address