Give Yourself The Dream Assignment

I’m a big fan of food and travel photographer Penny De Los Santos for a lot of reasons. I love her creative vision, I love her storytelling, and I love her perspective on food culture. I watched her speak on CreativeLive a while ago where she gave this advice to the aspiring photographers in the room: give yourself your dream assignment, because nobody else is going to give it to you.


Penny is completely correct and got me to start thinking about my own dream assignments, past and present. In February of this year, I went to Cuba to photograph the dichotomy of poverty and personal freedom in Havana. In May, I went to China to photograph hidden ethnic cultures in the country’s southern provinces. In June, I went to Norway to hike and photograph the largest glacier in continental Europe. All dream assignments, all self-assigned, self-funded, and self-enabled.

At the intersection of my experience as a photographer and traveler, the concept of giving yourself the dream photography assignment is no different than planning your dream trip. Nobody will give you the dream opportunity – whether it’s traveling around the world for 5 years or just visit spend a week in Paris – you have to go and get it yourself.


I have been really lucky that I found enough time between finishing my last year in college and starting a full-time job in tech to travel and photograph not one, not two, but three of my dream assignments. I am going to aim for at least two dream assignments in 2013. I have a few ideas in mind and nothing is off the table.

1. Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail: Hike the Inca Trail and trace the Wari culture.

2. India’s Golden Triangle: Visit the Taj Mahal and photograph the street life in Delhi

3. The Sahara Desert: Capture some fine art photos from the patterns and colors of the Sahara desert.

4. Northern Canada or Northern Ontario: Go capture the Northern Lights

Which dream assignment will I give myself in 2013?

Which dream trip will you give yourself?

ZhangJiaJie National Park


12 responses to “Give Yourself The Dream Assignment

  1. Well…I haven’t been home in almost 4 years…so honestly I’m going to go home and actually look for beauty there rather than find all the negatives. I am going home for the holidays and I plan to not only do a photo shoot of my family but to do a little street photography there and really enjoy the culture that I lived in for a good portion of my teenage and college years.

  2. thank you for that wonderful post and photographs. it’s inspiring me even more to finally go ahead with my dream-trip to india, even if it means, going alone!

  3. i shall give myself a dream assignment next year as well. i gave myself one in iceland recently and started my own travel blog here on wordpress but now the travel bug has hit me again and i’d really like to hit russia one day.
    – it’s miserable existing behind a desk job –

  4. Pingback: Lessons From A Year of creativeLIVE | Just-In-Time Travels·

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