I just got back from a private tutoring session, followed by the NANPA Traveling Road Show Weekend. Kathy Adams Clark, Jim Clark (no relation), and I gave several different programs on Light, Design, Composition, Telling a Story, Capturing a Sense of Place, Surviving your First Five years in Business, and Basic Digital Photography at the NANPA program. It was a great weekend! There will be three more this year, in Houston, Monterey, and Seattle, so check the NANPA web site (www.nanpa.org) for more information.
The weekend plus the private tutoring experience got me thinking about how important it is to keep learning new things as photographers, and as individuals. I sat in on Kathy's Surviving Your First Five Years even though I'd been in business since 1985! I knew that I'd hear some things that were good reminders for me in terms of doing business - such as keeping up to date with technology, the need to be consistent with promotion, etc., but I was also there to observe her presentation style - which ultimately helps me grow as a presenter. I sat in on Jim's program "Capturing a Sense of Place" as he discussed his photo projects and how he goes about capturing a complete body of work about an area. Even though I've photographed for three books and produced one of my own, I learned a few things - or should I say was reminded of them, a reinforcement. For many people, coming to hear us talk was way of continuing their education, helping them with their vision or their business.
When I began my interest in photography as a kid, I never imagined I'd be good enough to be published some day - in fact I wasn't even sure I was looking for that in the very beginning. Photography was just pure fun and gave me the opportunity to be out there in nature and traveling around seeing new things. But I was driven to get better, skill-wise, and I began taking local workshops and Continuing Ed courses when I was 16 years old. I took at least two every year, even while going to night school for my career degree. I continued that practice and today, I still attend workshops, seminars, etc. that can help me grow my business, my technical skills (these days with computer and digital stuff) - and inspire me to follow my dreams. Classes and workshops are the most valuable things and I'll continue attending programs that can stimulate my mind and my creative eye.
For your own growth, take courses here at Betterphoto, attend field workshops, or find professionals who do the work you like to do and see if they are teaching - and attend those. In fact, do them all when you can! The growth you'll experience is really remarkable.
Have a great week and some fun photography sessions,