professional

AIBP - Creating a Sense of Community - Membership Has Its Privileges

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As some of you may or may not know, I belong to an esteemed group of Boudoir Photographers. Collectively, we are known as the Association of International Boudoir Photographers (AIBP). Erin Zahradka, founded the organization in 2009 along with the help of Cate Scaglione, Jennifer Tallerico and Jesus Bernardo the AIBP community was born.

 We proudly boast having members who hail from 6 continents around the globe. We are 676 members strong and constantly growing. Our message and mission is clear and centers on the empowerment of women through photography.   Additionally, our focus is to elevate the standards of boudoir photography through education and connections in order to enhance the experience of our clients.

Not only do we set the highest professional standard when it comes to boudoir photography but we also raise the bar for the boudoir-photography industry. The sense of community that has been created over the years since the group was founded is just incredible to me. It feels like a family where we can all rely on one another, reach out to one another and get the support that is needed whenever it is needed and that doesn’t just go as far as photography needs. The members of the group are always willing to help out its members should a member be in need for a personal matter as well. We are there for each other plain and simple and it’s such a wonderful community to be a part of.

This is not just a collection of hobbyist or enthusiast photographers. It is a group of working professional, knowledgeable and talented boudoir photographers from around the world.

I should add…we aren’t ALL WORK and no play! There are weekly contests, workshops, retreats and mentorship programs. Hell we even have our own magazine, Philsophie, which provides opportunities for members of the group to submit their work for publication. There are shooting tips, daily discussions around boudoir photography and we are constantly striving to get the boudoir photography industry the recognition this niche of so rightly deserves.

I have been a member of AIBP for 3 years now and this is one of the best organizations I have ever been involved with. It’s not just a FB group, or an online community. It truly is a community where lifelong friendships are forged and a sense of family created. It’s inclusive, helpful, encouraging and a place I feel welcome. I honestly cannot even count the amount of times this collective of amazing photographers AND people have helped me out. If you as a photographer are reading this blog post right now and perhaps on the fence about joining the group, DO NOT even give it a second thought, JOIN TODAY! I promise you will NOT be disappointed. The AIBP community’s value is far beyond measure. Special thank you Erin Zahradka and ALL the AIBP Members for EVERYTHING you do EVERY DAY!

Looking Back on 2017... A Year in Review

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If I were to look back on the year 2017, both professionally and personally, I would have to say that overall it was a pretty fuckin’ EPIC year!

I got to see my oldest daughter graduate from high school and starting the next chapter in her life. Undoubtedly, one of the proudest moments for me as a father and I must say ranks right up there as the best of my 2017.

The year started out with me working full time at Ernst & Young but had long entertained the idea of moving on to pursue my photography business full time but at the beginning of the year, it became more of a serious consideration. I was growing tired of the corporate life.  My heart and mind just weren’t in it anymore and I knew it was time to move on.  Midway through the year, with the support of my wife, my kids, my family and friends, I finally decided it was time to jump ship.  To my surprise, I ACTUALLY did it!  I forced myself to step outside my comfort zone.   This is NOT something I do!   This was scary as all hell!  Leave the security of the 9-5?  NOT ME! The best part about it: I am still here to talk about it!  I didn't break and I didn't die from it!

I had my biggest year in business selling 6 pieces of my artwork to Ernst & Young.  My work to hang on the walls of their brand new building. Being able to have something I created hang on the walls of a Big 4 Accounting firm was quite an incredible feeling.  As I had worked there for many years being able to leave a legacy, my legacy was just an indescribable feeling.

Another great moment for me, being featured in my friend Skip Cohen’s blog post. For those of you who have no idea who Skip is: he is first and foremost an incredible human being but he is also an amazing educator, speaker and writer who is very well known in the photography industry and I am proud to call him a friend.

Three of my boudoir images were selected to be in a magazine, which for me was an incredible accomplishment since I am new to the boudoir genre. That was definitely a highlight of my year, I am very proud.

I was awarded the Standing Ovation Award 2017 from my peers and fellow photographers in my AIBP group. The AIBP organization is the Association of International Boudoir Photographers. They are an amazingly talented group of photographers and an amazing community of people.  To say I am honoured and over the moon excited is a gross understatement. Words cannot express my gratitude for this award.

Overall, I accomplished quite a bit in 2017 and am very proud of what I managed to do. I know there is a ton more work to do as an entrepreneur.   There are many more challenges to overcome but I am so looking forward to taking on 2018! It’s going to be a kick ass year, I can just feel it!

I borrowed the following from a fellow photographer/friend of mine but this is how I am going to look at 2018:

Be A Fucking Wolf.
Be A Fucking Lion.
Take No Shit.
Set Goals.
Smash Them!
Eat People's Faces Off.
Be A Better Person.
Show People Who The Fuck You Are.
Never Apologize For Being Awesome.
Stay The Mother Fucking Course.

In this coming year I urge all of you to do at least 1 thing that forces you outside your comfort zone.  Trust me, you won't regret it. You only live once, what do you have to lose?  Challenges and roller coaster rides as an entrepreneur and business owner…I say BRING IT ON! I am here and I am ready for ALL of it!!!

The Professional Headshot - The Importance of One!

The world is evolving technologically and at a rapid pace. In this, the Interweb age, we are constantly being bombarded with images, snippets, catch phrases and sound bites. At these breakneck speeds people don’t take the time to slow down and talk with each other as much anymore. Elevator pitches are the way of the future. Say what you need to say in 30 seconds or less. Capture someone’s attention or they’re out the door.
How does this affect the photos you post online, specifically those of a professional nature. You may own a quality camera and can take a selfie with the best of them. Post that photo on Facebook or Twitter and you may get all the likes in the world from your friends and family members. But now ask yourself these questions:

  • Should I put this on LinkedIn?
  • Does it look professional?
  • Would I get into business with me if I came across this picture online?

 
Now I know what you are thinking, we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover but let’s be totally honest here, we ALL do it anyway. Your headshot is the first thing people online will see. If it’s professionally done, people will notice and see that you actually care about the details and your appearance. With the growing importance of networks like LinkedIn you should be asking yourself: does my profile picture convey professionalism.
A professional headshot is essential to your personal brand. Here are a couple of key things to consider;
Look the Part
When you are getting a professional headshot done, make sure you dress appropriately and look approachable. I hear from so many different photographers who say their clients show up unprepared for their photo. When it comes right down to it, you are selling YOURSELF so look the part!
It Takes Money to Make Money
Why wouldn’t you pay a professional to do the job? Yes you have to spend a bit of money up front but think of how it will pay dividends in the long run. I have heard the headshot referred to as a digital version of your business card. Do you want to be taken seriously? Would you hand someone a business card that looks like it came from a vending machine? Probably not!

As my Dad always told me, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”, so why not make a great impression with a professional head shot. You ARE your own ambassador, your OWN BRAND. Do things the right way, dress for success and hire a professional. You’ll thank me later.

Am I a Professional - How Do I Know?

That’s a valid question to ask I would say. How does a photographer/artist know when they have reached “professional” status? I am sure all of us have pondered this question at some point or another in our illustrious careers as artists, whether it was when we were first starting out or a few years into it.
What types of things determine whether an artist is an amateur or a professional? This is a battle I am struggling with, in my own head. I am not a full time photographer but does that mean I cannot be considered a professional because of my current situation? My “situation” being I work at a full time job at the moment and am continually honing my craft on the side. I do have a photography business which I am running in addition to my full time job as an audio visual technician.
I currently show my work in local art shows, I have a web site, I have had paying photography jobs not to mention sold quite a few of my photographs to people. Does selling your work make you a professional? I am often curious as to what, how or even who for that matter, dictates a photographer a pro or an amateur?
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that all of the aforementioned criteria are contributing factors as well as (and I think this is a big one) having a “professional” attitude and knowing how to deal with and handle your clients.
This is just my two cents on the topic. A topic I find a very interesting. I wanted to stir up a bit of conversation on the topic and I would love to hear from you on the matter. What do you think makes someone a professional? Care to give me your “two cents”?