Last night I attended the Professional Photographers of Los Angeles County meeting. PPLAC is a networking and educational group affiliate of Professional Photographers of America. I am a member of both groups.
As photographers we spend time learning from each other, we often take workshops to learn and practice new techniques like I did last weekend. We get to change what we do, we get inspired and our vision changes. Last night's speaker was Ken Sklute who is a world class photographer and he showed us what he is doing and his techniques for several genres of photography. I won two things last night - some gels to color my oncamera flash because I know that CTO means Color Temperature Orange! and the other was some software for moving bushes and flowers into photos that is fun.
In a few weeks I will be speaking to the members of the group here in my studio. I will be teaching the Business of Business for Photographers. Another dynamic of photography is that many artisits are not business people. I am also teaching that same topic out to the Smugmug User's Group in Riverside. I presented the same topic to the SmugMug users group in Los Angeles in October. I get so enthusiastic about the business side of life.
When you hear another photographer it's always a good thing to practice those techniques so that you know them and you can vary the look of your images.
All this ongoing learning and playing with gear, toys, technique and such is different as a professional. My geeky friend, Will, was going to come and play in studio with me but our missions are different now. When I play I want to have something concrete I can work with. I want to raise the bar. Will just wants to play and see what happens. I want to create so that I can have a new tool in the bag that I can use for my business.
Maybe it's why I haven't even looked at the images I took on my cruise last week. It's critical to keep my skills up. I created some great images from my travels. But the purpose is different now. I love what I do enough to take it on vacation but my play is much more wanting a new end result. More than just sitting on a hard drive. I want to make art for other people now. Not just for me. I might have to work on some of those vacation photos soon to see how varied my own skills have changed too - not just how I think about my photography. It's all different now.