PPA & PPA Affiliate Organizations
When I travel to speak sometimes, I get a little behind on my blog posts. For good reason. This past weekend I had the honor & privilege of sharing some knowledge and judging imaging competition for the New Hampshire Professional Photographers Association. What a great group! If you are in that neighborhood & not a member of this association you are missing out big time on great photography education and camaraderie with fellow photographers.
I can’t speak highly enough about Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Affiliates. Education. Yes, there is a lot of it available online and through DVD and streaming products but I have to tell you nothing beats in-person education. Weirdly enough, your learning opportunities are magnified, and you learn as much or more during the breaks sharing ideas with fellow photographers over a cold beverage or hot meal.
I’ve been a member of PPA since 1997, and as soon as I moved to Arizona in 1999, I became a member of the Arizona Professional Photographers Association (AZPPA) and, in spite of living almost two hours away, have been attending monthly meetings, conventions, and special events. That’s a lot of commuting time! I added to my education by using audio training on sales and marketing during the drive back and forth.
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I am a huge proponent of the imaging competition system. The state organizations that are PPA Affiliates are a great place to get your feet wet in the process. Most state affiliates have an annual competition with some of the PPA Approved Jurors on the panels. Also, they have some form of image critiques and networking with other photographers who are familiar with the best practices in competition. Please don’t let the word competition hold you back. It is not a battle against the other photographers for awards. It is a challenge against yourself to be better than you were the previous year. The awards start coming as you improve. I’ve seen it time and time again, those that get in and participate find they improve their photography skills exponentially. Those that say, “I’m not ready’ seem to progress at a MUCH slower pace.
Networking is another large part of belonging to associations. Getting to know the other photographers in your area can be a great help to you and your business. What do you do if you become ill or have an accident just before a big job?? Do you have backup people in place to make sure your clients are served correctly? Also, many photographers share leads with fellow photographers with overflow business or with genres of photography that they don’t pursue. Sharing ideas on lighting, posing and pushing each other to become the best they can be. Sharing time by heading out for little photo trips together. All these things tend to start with joining your local affiliate.
What are you waiting for? Here’s a link to the PPA Affiliate list.
Become the best photographer you can be. Check out the next meeting in your state!
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob