Well, today's is a very special combination of ingredients and I'm betting EVERYBODY is going to find something they can relate to and enjoy. Here's a phenomenon that seems to be more unique to the photographic industry than most other career fields - people tend to help each other. Over and again I'm amazed at people who ask for help on a photographic or business challenge and find themselves buried in answers.
We're coming up to what traditionally is the busiest time of the year. It's guaranteed that some time over the next four months you're going to hit the wall with a challenge you need help with. There are so many resources for you to get help - you're not alone!
Don't be afraid to ask for help!
- When it's short-term and immediate, use your network, your personal database. If you've followed some of my posts about building a strong network, you should have it set up in rings like a target. At the center are those people you trust the most. As you go out into your network, each circle represents another level of expertise of people who have skills similar and different to yours, but if you've maintained the relationships, everyone is there to help each other.
- Facebook and Twitter both keep you in contact with other photographers but be careful. You don't want to go public on a sensitive issue if you've built up your Facebook or Twitter account with future clients. Be selective in this case, when putting out questions.
- Check out Facebook's forums. I co-administrator on Facebook Wedding Photographers, and there are always photographers looking for help and getting some great responses. Then there are dozens of forums with other photographers specializing in the same interests/specialties as you might have. Just type the specialty in the Facebook search box and see what comes up.
- Check out Photofocus.com. Started originally by Scott Bourne, there's a ton of material covering hundreds of different topics. Just visit the archives and pay attention to the various writers, all photographers, and educators from the industry.
- Follow the blogs of the photographers and vendors you admire the most. The Internet is an amazing resource and so many of you have photographers you admire who are posting on a regular basis. Then you've got the blogs of some outstanding vendors.
- Get involved in your local guild or regional professional group. Here's a couple of great examples: When I lived in Akron, there was a group who met on "Taco Tuesday," the first Tuesday of the month. There was also the Akron Guild. Years ago I spoke at the Dallas PPA. There were 100+ photographers at the dinner, and there wasn't one person who wouldn't have helped another if asked. Every state has groups of photographers who typically get together once a month, but you have to make the effort to find out when and where and then be there!
- Tradeshows and conventions have been built on a foundation of providing help to their attendees, and again they happen all over the country. As you start thinking about the next few months and the conferences you want to attend, think about the classes being offered and always schedule a few outside your comfort zone.
- Don't forget the vendors you work with. For some unexplained reason everybody seems to forget the expertise at every manufacturer/vendor, especially your lab and album supplier. Even when the problem isn't theirs to fix, the staff at both of these groups are well-traveled. They know so many different photographers, and can be an incredible resource and most of them are just a phone call away.
- If you're not already a member, you should be involved with your state association or the nationals, like PPA, ASMP, APA, NANPA, and WPPI. There are also some pretty incredible smaller groups like AIBP's member forum on Facebook for boudoir artists and ShutterFest for past attendees. Again, these are resources for you to get help when you need it.
- Don't forget me! I know I'm a little self-serving here, but in addition to content on the SCU blog, I'm online all the time as well as the phone with photographers who need help. I don't always have the answers, but I can guarantee somebody in my network does!
Whether he has an abscess on his knee or in his soul."
We want you to thrive, not just survive!