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100 Photography and Life Motivational Tips, Ideas, and Assignments for the New You

To motivate us for the new year, some ideas:

  1. When in doubt, just take a walk around the block with your camera. Most likely you’ll see at least one or two things you want to photograph.
  2. As an audacious life goal, strive to walk at least 30,000 steps a day. Most likely you will not hit the goal, but striving towards a greater goal and failing to achieve it is better than setting a small goal and achieving it.
  3. Any time you have the urge to buy a new piece of camera equipment, a new camera, or a new lens, buy a photo book instead, or a camera strap instead. Buying a new camera strap will make your camera feel new again, it is like buying a new pair of shoes, at least getting a new pair of laces for your shoes.
  4. Simpler is better. When you’re composing the scene, set your exposure as dark as possible. Extreme minimalism is the best composition tip in photography. When in doubt, subtract it from your frame.
  5. The best shoes for Photography and Street Photography are the most minimalist ones. Just get some cheap minimalist shoes on Amazon, the ones with zero drop, and minimum foam or padding on the bottom of the sole.
  6. Unbrand yourself as a photographer, and rebrand yourself as a visual artist. This will give you more leeway and optionality for your creativity.
  7. For the new year, just buy a Ricoh GR 3 camera and for an entire year, instead of photographing things on your iPhone, just shoot on your Rico. Use small JPEG, and either high contrast black-and-white, or the cross process color filter. Pair it with an eric kim wrist strap mark II, or an eric kim NECK STRAP MARK II, and you’re set.
  8. Reformat or reset your website. Start from scratch. Create a new design which inspires you. Carte blanche mentality.
  9. Only photograph that which you’re enthusiastic about. Enthusiasm literally means a God dwelling within you. If you photograph that which you’re enthusiastic about, you’ll never run out of inspiration.
  10. Strive to go on one mini photography expedition once a month. This could be as simple as a short road trip somewhere, an epic hike, or just renting a cabin or an Airbnb for the weekend. Make photography the focus of your trip. Bring some friends and family members, or some other photography buddies.
  11. If you have a camera on your shelf that you haven’t used in a year, maybe consider giving it away to a family friend, a niece or nephew, or someone in need of it. You can also sell it, or trade it in for something else. Strive to make your camera equipment as minimalist as possible.
  12. This year, strive to simplify your photographic workflow. Rather than adding megapixels and more tags to your photos, strive to make it simpler. For example, just use Apple photos in JPEG instead of the cumbersome RAW and Adobe Lightroom.
  13. Embark on a mini photography project of your own city and neighborhood. Nobody lives where they want to live. And even people who live where they want to live quickly born tired where they live. Therefore, I think it takes more skill and ingenuity to make interesting photos in a boring city or neighborhood, than average photos in an interesting city. For example, if you’re stuck in the suburbs, seek to make a good suburb photography project.
  14. Strive to emulate a master photographer whose work inspires you. For example, maybe it is a good idea for a month to just copy Bruce Gilden, Henri Cartier Bresson, or William Eggleston. We learn first via emulation, and then once we’ve mastered it, then we could really embark on discovering our own unique photographic voice. Every master was once a student at one point.
  15. Make your own blog: when people ask me how I got started, I simply say that when I started, I strive to find certain information on how to do street photography, and couldn’t find it online, and therefore I strove to become the solution to my own problem. I was also insecure that I didn’t know anything, but Cindy told me that wasn’t the point. The point was simply to share my photographic journey, and to share my experiences and lessons learned with others. Also, no matter how inexperienced you are, there is always somebody else out there with less experience than you. Therefore, no matter what, it is still worth for you to do it. Just start a blog by registering a domain on, and installing Treat blogging as just a public diary, of your photos in your life, and your thoughts. I think a blog is actually much more interesting than books. How to start a blog
  16. Invest more money on possible sources of inspiration and motivation: for example, spend money on photography books, education, workshops, travel, expenses, and even buy films and movies and subscriptions which do you think might help you. Become less risk averse about spending money on potential sources of artistic and creative motivation and inspiration. Even if you think it has a 5% chance of inspiring and motivating you, just do it, and just spend money on it. Money invested in ourselves and our creative endeavors is the best money spent.
  17. Teach your kid, or somebody younger than you photography: I found that teaching even my younger niece Amelia Photography has been one of the greatest sources of joy for myself. Children are the ultimate photographers, with no obstructions. Check out my first photography book for some inspiration // see the PDF here.
  18. Start your own podcast or YouTube channel: to make a podcast, just use the “anchor” platform. And with YouTube, you could just vlog from your phone.
  19. Simplify your photography settings: Just shoot in P (program) mode. The simpler you can make your photo settings, the more you can shoot (which is the goal).
  20. 1,000 Photo a Day Challenge: Strive to make at least 1000 photos a day, for 30 days. Do not think they will be ‘good’ photos, but I do think that the more you shoot, the better. Why? You will open your eyes more to the beauty of the world, no matter how small!
  21. The beauty of creative constraints: More constraints are better, in terms of photography. Do not desire more options. Strive to subtract options to maximize your creativity.
  22. Every day you’re new again. Do not let past considerations or constraints hold you back. A new year is great because it says that new opportunities and possibilities await you. Do not let past desires and rulers of success hold you back. Create your own new table of values, your own new table of success.
  23. Perfection means to finish: A perfect photo doesn’t mean without fault (an idea I get from Cindy). Perfect is a trap. Perfect simply means to complete. Thus, by going out and making photos, and processing them and sharing them … this is in itself perfect!
  24. Photography is philosophy: Each photo you make is a reflection of your world view, and your philosophy. Thus don’t see yourself simply as a photographer, but a philosopher-photographer-artist.
  25. Street photography as our approach and aesthetic: Funny how ‘streetwear’ (Supreme, YEEZY, etc) has become a thing. Street photography is the same. Street photography as our passion, aesthetic, and ethic.
  26. Focus on your own photographic self improvement: Kaizen — what if you can improve your photography by 1% everyday?
  27. Consider your photography as a design approach; you designate importance — what you desire to highlight in your frame.
  28. Music: Perhaps if you need motivation in your photography, listen to some good music while you’re out shooting? Make a playlist of your street photography– street beats.
  29. Make a slideshow of your best photos, and make your own beats in GarageBand to accompany them.
  30. Open source all your photos.
  31. Become more entrepreneurial in your photography.
  32. Study zen, and cross pollinate it with your photography.
  33. Instead of spending $1000 on camera equipment, put that money towards crypto instead.
  34. Perhaps this year prioritize your health. Prioritize building muscle, and cutting fat.
  35. Maybe this year, instead of buying things new, only buy things which are used or refurbished. Cindy actually showed me this thing where you could buy really good used goods on Similarly speaking, if you want to buy a new Apple product, just got a used or refurbished online on the website.
  36. If you’re interested in powerlifting, this year make it the goal to deadlift 405 pounds, which is four 45-pound plates on each side. For squat, 315 pounds squat, which is three plates on each side.
  37. Look at all the photos on the magnum website for the portfolios of all the magnum photographers.
  38. If you’re into Cinema and film, watch all the Akira Kurosawa films. Start with 7samurai.
  39. if you’re interested in stoicism, start off by reading all the letters from Seneca, and read the meditations by Marcus Aurelius. After that, I recommend reading all the books from Nassim Taleb. After that, I recommend reading all the books from Nietzsche.
  40. For a Health goal, maybe this year make it a goal to quit all forms of sugar, whether naturally sweet or artificially sweet. No 0 cal sweeteners, no Stevia, no Monk fruit, and avoid anything which has either natural sugars or added sugars. No Coke zero, my theory is that even artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners trigger your insulin response hormonal system, which causes you to accumulate body adipose fat. No lactose and no milk, no almond milk, no unsweetened almond milk. Only drink black tea, green tea, black coffee, or water. No beer, no wine.
  41. Experiment making calligraphy with a Zen Brush 2 app, or the Zen brush three app. Also practice making illustrations and abstract images with a procreate app on the iPhone or iPad.
  42. Disable all the notifications on your phone, besides the phone call and FaceTime app.
  43. Every day, attempt to delete one app from your phone every single day. Same goes with your laptop.
  44. Eliminate all negative people from your life, even family members.
  45. Stick with one focal length for the whole year. Whether that be 35 mm, or 28 mm.
  46. Maybe for the whole year, whenever you see a stranger walking by you or across the street, just wave at them and say hello. This will be a good way for you to build up your social confidence and social skills.
  47. When in doubt, be generous. This goes with tipping at restaurants and coffee shops. Always tip a little bit more than you think you should.
  48. Strive to become less risk averse this year. Push yourself outside your comfort zone, and attempt to do things which are interesting to you yet you feel a little reticent to do because of uncertainty or unfamiliarity.
  49. For bodyweight exercises, strive to do a muscle up this year, a one armed push-up, or a one legged pistol squat.
  50. Rather than figuring out what do you want to buy this year, figure out what you want to get rid of this year or donate or sell.
  51. Make it a routine to charge your phone in your living room when you sleep, or any room which is not your bedroom. If you need an alarm clock, just buy a standalone alarm clock.
  52. After dinner, turn off your phone. Turn off your laptop. After dinner, just take a cold shower, put on an eye mask, earplugs, and go straight into your bed.
  53. Delete all your TV and movie streaming services. Stop your Netflix subscription, stop your Disney+ subscription, stop your HBO max subscription. If you really want to watch a certain movie, just buy it on AppleTV.
  54. Don’t text message this year. If you really need to contact somebody, either give them a phone call or just FaceTime them.
  55. If you want to be less distracted on your laptop this year, download the app.
  56. Delete all social media apps from your phone, and also delete your email app from your phone. If you need to send emails do it from your laptop.
  57. Attempt to control or master your anger: whenever you’re angry, wait at least 24 hours before responding.
  58. If you want to do more outdoorsy stuff, attempt to go at least one hike a week. A good financial investment is buying a park pass.
  59. This year, attempt to visit at least one national Park.
  60. As a personal goal, I’m making it my New Year’s resolution to try to eat more meat. To try to eat at least three or 4 pounds of meat a day.
  61. Better to think about your blog like a Twitter. Rather than tweeting something, just post it as your website blog post title instead.
  62. Delete Instagram.
  63. If you’re strapped on time, get into working out with kettle bells. I recommend starting off with a 70 pound kettle bell, and if you’re strong enough, buy a 105 pound kettle bell. just to two handed swings or one arm swings three times a week, and you’re good.
  64. This year, rather than trying to become somebody else, like Elon Musk, strive to become more of yourself.
  65. As a Photography entrepreneurship assignment, this year charge money for your photo services. It could be as little as $100. Practice charging money, which will give you financial courage.
  66. Another New Year’s resolution of mine: never talk about anybody else besides myself, baby Seneca, or Cindy. Gossiping about others or talking about others is a sign of weakness. also, do not praise the virtues of others.
  67. When in doubt, use your money to buy more cryptocurrency, instead of material things.
  68. Rather than buying something you want, just take a screenshot of it and keep it on your phone. This is like meta-ownership.
  69. Write more. Just use markdown on the iA Writer app on your phone, your laptop, or iPad.
  70. When in doubt, publish it.
  71. Rather than criticizing things, give it a constructive critique. Say what you don’t like about it, and how you think it can approve. To complain without suggesting improvement is also assigned a weakness.
  72. Instead of uploading photos to Instagram or Facebook, uploaded to instead for constructive feedback.
  73. On your iPhone home screen, only keep three apps on the bottom of your home screen. This is a good creative constraint to prevent yourself from getting distracted.
  74. Create a uniform for yourself: make an outfit that you could wear every single day, seven days a week, in order to promote focus. For me that is just an all black merino wool outfit. Just like Steve Jobs.
  75. Only shoot black-and-white this year. Even colorful things.
  76. Spend an entire year not looking at any camera review websites, or Camera rumor websites. Just install the website blocker on your browser to do this. Maybe anytime you get an urge to research or buy a camera, just look at porn instead.
  77. Ask yourself the 10 why challenge? whenever you want to do anything what do you think makes no sense, just ask yourself the question why 10 times, in order to find deeper clarity.
  78. This year, instead of making a to do list, make a not to do list.
  79. This year, only shoot in JPEG. No raw. this will help you become more productive as a photographer, with less time wasted on post processing.
  80. If you want to buy a Tesla, use that money to buy Dogecoin instead.
  81. Instead of buying a house, buy bitcoin instead.
  82. Start a Personal Photography family project: either photograph your kid, your baby, or your loved one/partner. Make them the focus.
  83. Start a selfie photography project. Make yourself the focus of your own photographic pursuits. The benefit of shooting yourself is that you cannot refuse yourself. Honor thy selfie.
  84. Start intermittent fasting: no breakfast or lunch, only one massive dinner a day.
  85. This year, strive to maximize your impact, by identifying and exploiting your Archimedes lever.
  86. Make at least one PDF ezine a month, and share it openly and freely with friends and family and your followers. Example here. Make it with your laptop on affinity publisher, or Apple keynote or Google slides, and export as a PDF. PDF is the future.
  87. Prioritize and optimize your sleep and napping this year, rather than productivity this year.
  88. Study at least one philosopher a day. Just read their quotes on
  89. This year instead of promoting others, foreign advertisers, and foreign products, advertise yourself, your own products, and your own services. Better to self promote yourself, than promote the brands of others, and avoid the desire to get a brand sponsorship deal.
  90. For an entire year, don’t pirate anything. This will help you better understand what you really care for, and what you really desire.
  91. Look through all your photos, and choose your best five photos of all time, and make a section in your website highlighting your best five photos.
  92. For an entire year, instead of quoting others, just state your own opinion without needing the backing of anybody else.
  93. This year, just go solo.
  94. This entire year, don’t play any video games. Either delete uninstall, or sell your game consoles. All the energy you put into gaming, put that into blogging and YouTube instead. Or create your own website, platform, and start up instead.
  95. Make creativity and arts production the focus and goal of yourself this year, instead of moneymaking.
  96. This year, don’t listen to any music while driving. Disconnect your phone from your car Bluetooth, and use that time to think and meditate instead.
  97. Anti-zero-sum: think about mutual flourishing, rather than thinking the success of somebody else is based on the demise of your own.
  98. Get vaccinated or your booster shot this year if you have not yet. No no no, Bill Gates will not put a 5G chip inside your head. And no no no, it is not a conspiracy theory to subjugate your will. Remember, as Nassim Taleb said the core of libertarianism is based on doing the harm to others. Therefore if getting your vaccine is even a small chance to make yourself less infections to others, it is worth it. Also, I encourage you to live more boldly after getting your vaccine and booster shots. Travel more, do more, and become more.
  99. When in doubt, choose bold and daring. Better to attempt the insanely audacious and fail, than die with regret.
  100. Create your own 100 tips list, export it as a PDF, share it with your friends family and followers and on your own blog!

To a glorious new year!

Kick off this new year with increased motivation

If you’re looking to conquer this year with newfound sources of inspiration and motivation, check out my new and upcoming workshop in SF:



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