Hi folks! I just flew in from New Orleans last night, and am currently playing catch-up. In case you weren’t aware, I went to my first Imaging USA, which is a big photography conference held every year. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned! But I’m going to try anyway.
1. I love New Orleans.
b. I need to work on the business side of my business. Like, pronto.
iii. I need to play with light.
IV. I need to practice.
5. I DO know a few things!
Let’s break it down, starting with
1. I absolutely ADORE New Orleans. I spent most of my time in classes, but every spare moment was spent walking around the beautiful city. It’s spilling over with art, culture, and history on every block. I think it would take a month vacation to even begin to feel like I would maybe have time to see everything almost but probably not quite. I mean, just fascinating. On one night, me and a few of my photographer friends checked out Frenchmans street, a fantastic location with jazz bands every few feet. As we sat in the first establishment we crossed and listened to a band consisting of a vocalist, keyboard, sax,electric guitar, and drums, a random man with a saxophone walked through the door. After a few high fives from the band, he was up on stage playing with the rest of the band–completely unrehearsed jamming. After a turn at the drums as well, he walked out and headed next door to play again. The talent oozing from this street was just amazing.
And let’s not forget the amazing pubs/cafes/restaurants everywhere. Also, Cafe Du Monde. ALSO, everything. I just love that city. I kept having people tell me, “You MUST eat (insert food) before you leave!” Folks, if I ate everything I was told to eat in that 5 day time span, I would have needed an additional airline ticket home to fit my newly acquired width in the plane.
b. I have realized that I am really unaware about all things business and finance. I mean, you start up this business–make a little money, become an LLC, start paying/charging sales tax, try to itemize expenses…and it’s all overwhelming. PPA has some amazing resources within their Studio Management Services to help you get everything organized, get on track, and become as profitable as possible! If you are a photographer trying to figure out how in the world to do this, you should most certainly check them out. I went to a seminar about business and finances run by these folks, and now I’m actually excited to get started organizing. Bring on those self employment taxes! I got this! Okay, I will have this, with their help and my husbands (he’s one smart cowboy with an accounting degree). What I’m really excited about, is getting on track and being able to see the financial side of my business at a glance, as well as having reachable goals to work towards. It’s going to be a great 2012.
iii. I have a new awareness of light that I need to keep going. Some of these photographers are geniuses with their usage of light! They can use anything as a reflector, and know at a glance how the light will affect the picture. Now, I’m not a light novice, but I have a lot to learn here. I’m starting to see light differently, and it’s fun! As we walked through the streets of NOLA, I did my best to not only look for amazing things to photograph, but to look for things made amazing by the lighting around them. Like the shot below. Now I must admit, that whole “seeing how the light will affect the picture” takes some learning. I took this shot thinking “oh man, if only the light weren’t cutting across his face like that…” It wasn’t until I was scrolling back through the images on my camera that I realized, “hey, I actually love this as a black and white!”
IV. Practice practice practice! Sometimes, I get so busy with the business, that I forget that photography is a lifelong commitment to learning as well. I will never be the best. I will always have something new to learn. I can never become content with myself as a photographer, because the moment I quit trying to learn, is the moment I should find a different profession. In such an artistic line of work, there is always something new and edgy to learn. I want to always be able to look at my work from a year, and even a month ago, and notice an improvement in comparison to my work from now. And quite frankly, I love to learn! All of this knowledge I came home with will do me no good if I don’t learn to implement it into my sessions and workflow. And making that change takes practice!
5. I feel foolish teaching classes sometimes. Even the basic classes. Because I think “oh come now, I’m self taught. There are people with SO much more knowledge than me… What do I know?!” But I’ve decided that I do know a thing or two. No, I’m not full of knowledge from a college degree in photography. I’m full of knowledge from a trial and error, real-life application angle. And that is something I should be proud of! Some of that knowledge may have gaps, but like I said–I’ll continually be learning! But it’s okay for me to be aware of the things I do know, and teach them to the folks who don’t know them! So I’m thinking that in addition to the basic photography class I’m already teaching, I may add on basic and advanced Lightroom classes. So many people have this amazing product, and know very little about how it can be used. I know that program frontwards, backwards, inverted, and sideways. I use it all the time, and keep going to these “advanced lightroom” classes thinking there HAS to be something I’m missing, but find that I have a very good understanding of the program and it’s functionality. So if you are someone who would like to learn about Lightroom, please let me know! If I have enough interest, I’ll make it happen!
And finally, if you’ve emailed, called, sent a telegram or carrier pigeon to me, I’ll respond today! Thanks for your patience while I’ve been away!