My Top Photography Milestones of 2014

Now that 2014 has more than wrapped up I'd like to take a moment to reflect on some of my important photography milestones of the year.

1.  I officially started my own business
For years I had been offering my services to friends, family, and local organizations, along with licensing my photos here and there, and in 2014 I finally made a business of it.  I also joined the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau.  This new venture has been an exciting challenge and a wonderful complement to my full time profession of teaching.  That being said, as much as I love photography, I would never dream of giving up teaching, so this business will always be a part-time vocation for me.

2.  I landed my first book cover
It was a pleasant surprise this fall when I learned that my photo of the outside of the Little Mermaid ride at Magic Kingdom was selected for the cover of the Unofficial Guide Color Companion to Walt Disney World.  I blogged about what a neat experience it was seeing my photos published like this.

3.  I received my first payment for commercial copyright infringement
I started using Pixsy this fall, a new service that finds your photos online and helps you get payment for infringement.  Not only did I receive my first payment in December, but I am happy to report that 2015 has brought me my second payment.  I'll be doing a blog post later this month on this game-changing service.

Staring Down Main Street

4.  I photographed Bodie Ghost Town for the first time
I photographed a lot of other places for the first time too, but Bodie sticks out because it was on my list for so long and it was probably my favorite new place I went all year (with Yosemite National Park a close second).  I wouldn't call myself a history buff, but you can't help but be drawn in by these buildings and the stories they tell.

Milky Way Over the Homestead

5.  I captured my first Milky Way photo
In 2014 I aimed to improve my night sky photography.  I think I've really improved a lot at determining what settings will work best in a given situation.  I also finally had the chance to photograph the Milky Way for the first time, thanks to the Lonely Speck YouTube Tutorial about how to photograph it in heavy light pollution (like right outside my house) and the PhotoPills app, which shows you where the heck the Milky Way even is when there's too much light pollution to see it with the naked eye.

A photo posted by Samantha Decker (@sdeckerphoto) on

6.  I joined Instagram
I was never a fan of mobile photography...that is until I finally got a smartphone in April.  It's weird, because I am pretty tech-savvy, but when it comes to anything phone related, I'm a little behind the times.  I just learned a couple months ago how to take a screen shot with my iPhone, and I'm not even joking.  It's fun sharing photos on the go, but I'm not as Instagram-obsessed as a lot of people I know.  Back in June I blogged about embracing mobile photography.

Those are my 6 major photography milestones of 2014.  What were yours?


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