I am not sure if everyone knows this or not but I have an older sister whom I dearly love & respect. She has always been the “academically smart” one in the family. She always came home with awards and scholarships while I ran around trying to find inspiration in life. As much as I tried, the only award I got earlier in life was a pat on the back saying “nice try.” Sad, I know. Any ways, my sister is now the Director of Surgical Services (they say it’s one of the top positions) at a major hospital in Chicago and is respected by many of her peers. She often travels to speak at major conferences and gives seminars in her topic of expertise (which to this date I do not exactly know). To my eyes, I think she has reached the pinnacle of her career and is doing really well. Yet there is something about her I still do not get. She is still taking classes and continuing to educate herself. I asked her one day why she is still taking classes when she could be just cruise controlling on her success for rest of her career? Her reply was simple: she needs to continue to educate herself to keep up with what is going on in her industry.
I think this is very true for all types of industry – including the one that I stumbled upon in photography. In 2007, my first official year as a full-time photographer, I realized that I needed to educate myself if I was going to survive in this industry. As much as I hate classes (I vowed never to take any more after I graduated from college) I invested $$$$ on educating myself by attending numerous workshops, seminars and conferences. You name it, I probably went to it. The things I learned from there were valuable, practical and inspirational, depending on the ones I attended. All in all they were the directions that I need to get myself in the right direction.
Fast forward to today – it is end of March of 2010 and this is my fourth year in my business now. I am doing relatively okay in my business and my schedule is pretty busy for the rest of this year. I have conducted some workshops & photo trips and have even been asked to speak at some of classes at conventions. I humbly take on these tasks and consider it a privilege to do such things. But the hunger to grow and learn more as a photographer in me has not yet subsided. As much progress as I have made in my journey as a photographer, I look ahead and know that I have way more to go. There are so many forefathers and veterans in this industry that went before me and have paved the way to be where I am today and I need to keep learning and improving my craft. So in this perspective, I understand my sister and realize that I too need to keep improving myself through education.
Speaking of education, here are few educational events/opportunties that I will be attending this year in hopes to grow more as a photographer (In chronological order):
JERRY GHIONIS WORKSHOP (4/19-23): (https://www.theicesociety.com)
This is in Chicago and probably the only 5 day intensive workshop conducted by Jerry. He is probably one of the best in this industry in terms of his craft, business and marketing. Probably one of my favorite wedding photographer out there. Last I checked his workshop is sold out but I would go to the website to get more information.
SKIP’S SUMMER SCHOOL (AUG 8-11): http://www.mei500.com
This is organized by Skip Cohen, the former president of WPPI. It is a valuable time because you have so many diversity of speakers from all different background in photography. You do not need to just take classes taught by wedding photographers to learn about the wedding industry. I am looking forward to hearing from over 15 top-notch speakers all under one roof. I think of this as the mini-version of WPPI since it is located in the same building as where WPPI is hosted except smaller. I love the intimacy and the accessibility of everyone there because of the smaller size. I attended last year and really enjoyed my time there and look forward to attending this again. Come join me – if you register before April 1st I believe it is only $199 for 3 days of solid education and the opportunity to network with other photographers. Check out their site for more information.
YERVANT WORKSHOP (8/23-25) http://www.yervant.info/Chicago10.html
Yervant is another one of my favorite photographers. He is internationally recognized with numerous award-winning images and well-respected by many photographers around the world. He continues to inspire everyone and his personality is full of energy and life. He is someone I truly respect and am looking forward to spending more time with him.
PICTAGE PARTNER CONFERENCE (11/16-18) http://www.pro.pictage.com/community/ppc/neworleans
I am really looking forward to attending this event. I missed out on last year because I was in Tanzania last year but I would have loved to duplicate myself so that I could be at both places. Pictage, my online complete lab solution (which is an understatement because they represent so much more) hosts an annual conference to bring together the community to help each other grow and be inspired from one another. They are still working on this event so more information will be available later this year.
All in all, regardless of your position in your career, it is always good to have someone to learn from and someone to teach. it is a good form of accountability and will help you become a better photographer. I am really looking forward to attending these events. In between these dates, I will be busy photographing weddings and continuing to improve my business and craft. I hope to see you guys there and connect. If you have any questions feel free to follow me on twitter or facebook – I would love to connect with everyone there. Have a great week!