So far 2010 is starting out pretty well. Although 10 days cannot be a testament to much, I will remain positive.

I’m guessing that many of you have made resolutions. I too have committed to some. Before I share with you all what I have in mind for 2010, I want to talk about something called “exit strategy.”

Exit Strategy

Exit strategy is one’s plan to leave a certain situation or circumstance (usually an unfavorable one). The exit strategy that I am talking about is removing yourselves from this wedding industry. For my sake, let’s pretend that you are all photographers (since I am one).

Ask yourselves these questions:

  • At what age do I want to stop shooting?
  • Do I still want to carry lots of gear around… at age 45?
  • Would brides still hire me…when I am 45? If so, will I need to change my pitch from young and edgy to something else?
  • Can I work 8-12 hours straight…at age 45?
  • Can I still stare at the monitor for hours at a time…at you know…

Just to be clear, I am not making 45 some magical number. For some of you, it might be 60. I’m just using this scenario as an example. So let’s just say that by (whatever age), you want to get out of this industry.

Planning Backwards

Take into consideration your current age. At what age do you want to (blank – leave this industry, retire, change careers, etc.)? This is what I meant by planning things backwards.

  1. What age are you?
  2. At what age do you want to exit this situation?
  3. Take the total amount of resources necessary to exit and divide it by the difference in ages (where you are and where you want to be)

The reason why I am writing this article is to remind everyone that, yes, the money can be good as a photographer, but it won’t last forever. We might not be as capable in the future. And even if so, we might lose interest by then.

Therefore, plan your exit strategy. Factor in retirement savings. As entrepreneurs, we do not have HRs to remind us to allocate funds to 401Ks or other deferred comps, so I am reminding you NOW.

Planning Forward

Now that we understand the importance of planning backwards, let’s plan forward! For 2010, I want to tone up. It sounds cliched, but you must understand that I’m pretty inactive when I’m not shooting weddings 😡

As a distant goal, @bullysaurus and I plan to move to France within the next two years. We figured that life’s too short to stick with one area. Plus, we’re young and still have a lot of adventure left in us!

What are your plans? Do share!

Happy belated new year,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. That picture above was my view from Aria Hotel. I was working in Las Vegas during the week of the new year. It was my first attempt at HDR. If you want to check out more of my personal work, I intend to practice my HDR photography with a post every week.

P.P.S. ANNOUNCEMENT — January 25th — Jeffrey Neal is hosting his first workshop! He is the dude that taught me how to use a tilt-shift lens. For meat lovers, I think he’s offering steak as dinner 😛

P.P.P.S. ANNOUNCEMENT — January 23rd — San Diego PhotogShootout is hosting a pin-up photo shoot with me as the guest speaker! If you want some portfolio images, these are great events to attend for a tiny fee.