I see several of my fellow Femmes are in the same place I am this time of year--looking back at the joys and sorrows of 2012 and ahead to plans and goals for 2013. (As I have said before, I don't make resolutions--I set goals. If you break a resolution, it's hard to get over that irrational but all-too-human feeling of "Oh, well; I'll try again next year." But with a goal, if you don't achieve it on schedule, you keep plugging.)
I can tell you one goal I did NOT achieve this year, but am going to be working harder on in 2013: sorting my photos every month or quarter, rather than at the end of the year.
I am an avid amateur photographer. I take a lot of photos of my family. And my friends. And their pets. And my garden. And cool or beautiful things I see around me.
I'm finishing up my second 365 project, in which I post one photo for every day of the year. Some people have tried it and found it impossible or stressful. I like the fact that it forces me to keep my eyes open every day for beautiful or unusual things in my environment. On days when I know I'm just going to be at home, making my writing quota, the 365 project reminds me that at the very least I need to walk outside long enough to point my camera (or, increasingly, my iPhone) at the sky or at something in my yard. Or if it's approaching bedtime and I haven't yet taken an outdoor photo, to find something to shoot inside.
At the end of each year, I have two big photo projects. One is what I call the "brag book" for Mom to show her friends pictures of her family--although I also share it with some of the family members. The other is a calendar that serves as my holiday present to many of my friends and business associates. For the calendar, I try to pick the thirteen best shots from the year--and yes, taken during the past year--and make sure none of them are too alike, and arrange them so they feel right for the month with which they appear.
The first big job is sorting through all the photos. I go through all the folders in which I've stored them all year, and copy all the photos that qualify into either the calendar fodder folder or the photobook fodder folder. At the end of this rough sort I had about 3000 photos in the calendar folder and more than that in the family folder. I go through and do a second pass, deleting the shots that aren't as sharp, performing experimental crops on some where the composition is less than perfect--and I can do this with impunity, knowing that I'm working with a copy, not the original. At this stage, my goal for the family book is to get it down to the 500 best, because 500 is the maximum number of photos Shutterfly will let you put in a folder to make a book. (I ended up using 165 photos.) For the calendar, I need 13. Just 13. Out of 3000. And they've got to be dynamite.
All this sorting and selecting and inspecting takes time. And if I wait till November, or worse, December, it takes time at a time of year when we all have the least of it. So one of my goals for 2012 was to sort my photos at the end of each month. Pick out the best calendar and family photo shots. I beamed when I wrote that on my 2012 goals list, knowing how great it would be to have over 90% of the photo sorting done by the time I needed to do my calendar.
Best laid plans.
I was sorting at the last minute. Beyond the last minute. The calendar did arrive in time to wrap for my family; in fact, in time to send out more than half to the recipients who get them by mail. The family photo book did not arrive until the day after Christmas. I wrapped an IOU.
So this year, my goal, once again, is to do the sorting as I go. Should be doable, right?
(I'll keep you posted.)
Meanwhile, my calendar has arrived, and if you'd like to win a copy, just say so by December 30 in a comment, either here on the Femmes Fatales blog or on Facebook. I will get a calendar packed and ready to mail out December 31.
The photos festooning this blog, incidentally, are ones I did NOT get to use in the calendar, for various reasons. When I post who won the calendar, I'll include a link so anyone who wants to can see it. And feel free to check out my 365 project any time.