Life it is not just a series of calculations and a sum total of statistics, it's about experience,
it's about participation, it is something more complex and more interesting than what is obvious.
by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot over the years about getting involved in your community to build your brand. As we slowly come out of the pandemic, it's time for you to also get involved in the industry!
I'm not suggesting you need to be a speaker or grow to be an industry icon, but being involved will help build your network and strengthen your business by association with other people having the same interests as you.
There are some definite steps to being more involved, and they all start locally.
Here's what you're looking for in all of these opportunities: people to listen to. The industry is starting to buzz again, and you need to be on the front line to hear it first. New technology, new techniques, and recent trends – you need to know about them as they're happening.
Being involved in the industry is like voting. It's your right and responsibility as a citizen to vote in every election. Well, it's also your right, as a photographer, to make an effort to be involved and help the industry that's responsible for feeding your passion.
There are also some interesting side benefits, exposure for your work. For example, many years ago, I was working on an annual project with Graphistudio. They were doing a day in the life of WPPI book, and we needed four photographers. The photographers who were picked each year were chosen because they were involved, and we knew who they were.
And don't forget the other vendors out there. Getting to know a specific vendor might get your work seen in national or local ad campaigns or simply have your work displayed in a blog post or booth. Years ago, my friend Steven Katzman's images wound up in the Kodak booth. My friendship with Jerry Costanzo kicked off because we needed an image in the Hasselblad booth at what was then PhotoEast. Numerous photographers have had their work featured in articles and magazines because they worked to build relationships with the various editorial staff.
The key to be involved is nothing more than putting in the time. Don't jump into the involvement game with high expectations; just be engaged for the sake of growing and learning what's going on. Great things happen when you least expect them, and if you're active in the industry, you'll eventually get noticed!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.