In a few short months, we have our state conference for professional photographers (ppofohio.org). I serve on the board for the PPO and I have been working on getting the best speakers in the industry to present for my fellow photographers here in Ohio. I wanted to write a short post about why you should research your local affiliate and be apart of growing our community of professional photographers!
Ok, I was not going to write this article here because it didn’t directly relate to Olympus or making the switch until I realized affiliates and organizations like the PPA are the perfect place to find like minded people who are already shooting Olympus or Micro 4/3! Sadly, I see membership numbers falling drastically in these organizations and I wanted to share a few reasons why I stay active in my local, state, and national professional photography organization!
Whether it is on social media or in person, networking is VERY important to grow your business. Meeting other photographers has opened so many doors for me; from shooting a game at The Ohio State Stadium to shooting a wedding in England, I have been exposed to so many opportunities that would otherwise not be possible. Remember, business is built on relationships conferences and events with your fellow photographers is a great way to build those relationships.
Challenge: Next time you are at a conference or photography event force yourself to make 5 new contacts.
I am someone who is the most creative when I have surrounded myself with other creative people. If I am ever feeling down or struggling in my business, I have a group of friends that I have met through conferences that I can reach out to help get me back on track. Also, after you start going to conferences, there is a level of accountability to keep moving forward and share what you have done to motivate others. This year was my first year entering photographic competition and for the first time my eyes were glued to the screen as scores came in and judges gave feedback. Afterward, all of the images were on exhibition so I was able to learn from my mistakes and also study the works of others to make myself better.
Even if we don’t like to admit it, artists are competitive creatures. Competition is something that forces you to up your game and take your client work to a new level. My biggest competitor is part of the same groups that I am. I look forward to the different conferences throughout the year because it is during this time that we get to hang out, work on different techniques and work on honing our craft. This is the time for us to experiment, fail, and learn from our mistakes. Community over competition is our motto and we are both better because of it.
While at different conferences, you have the opportunity to learn from photographers from different markets, different states, and even different countries. Chances are they have had the same struggles in their businesses just as you have. I love that I can bounce ideas off of my fellow photographers. Building this network of trusted people helps you grow not only as an artist but also as a business owner.
Be a Leader and a Mentor
Professional organizations give you the opportunity to be a leader within your field. A few months ago, I was voted in as the president of my local PPA affiliate. In this position, I have the power to affect change and bring more speakers and more opportunities for photographers in my area.
My challenge to you!
Get out there and get involved. I challenge you to research and get involved with your local affiliate or photography group. Focus on making our industry better no matter what it takes.
Find your local PPA affiliate:
Are you a member of your local affilate or is there a group that you are apart of that helps you grow as a photographer? If so leave a comment below!