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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!

Working For Free - But It's Great Exposure For You

I am sure we have all heard at one point or another in our artistic careers: “it will be great exposure for you!” So I ask, as an artist, how many times have you had people ask you to do a job for free or to give someone art for free?

Personally, I think there is a time and a place for this type of thing. Perhaps a charity is looking for artwork for an auction or a non-profit may be looking for an artist to donate their time. These are the opportunities where this line of thinking works in my mind and it is a great idea, it’s good for the community and everybody wins.

To me, there is no bigger insult than someone expecting to get your trade for free. My response to that is: “Do you get paid for your job?” or “Does your boss get paid for their job?” Of course they do, and most times these are the people I hear complain they don’t get paid enough for what they do. So how do these people have the audacity to expect an artist (or anyone for that matter) to work for free?

I have experienced this a few times in the last little while and it always boggles my mind each and every time it happens. As a matter of fact I just experienced it last week. I have had my art on display (for free!) in a particular establishment for over a year now and for sale at a much lower price than I would normally sell my work. I figured I would give it a try, get some EXPOSURE and they get free art on their walls, an amicable agreement.

Recently, I decided to remove my art from said establishment as it is needed elsewhere. Through communication I was asked if I had any other art of a particular style and genre that could be put on the walls of this same place. I kindly responded that I do and here is a list of sizes and pricing for these pieces. Communication continued about unrelated items without any mention with regard to the additional pieces and pricing I had previously mentioned. So, I am going to assume here they were looking for the same deal as the previous one we had in place. Unfortunately, NO can do this time my friend, once is enough. I have learned my lesson. Not one single sale came out of that exposure. No promotion was done on my behalf. This arrangement doesn’t seem mutually beneficial to me and isn’t that what this was about? Isn’t that why I was supposed to accept this kindness of “exposure”?

I don’t currently work as a full time artist, and granted I still have a regular source of income in the form of my full time job, however it still irritates the hell out of me when people expect my services of my products for free. There are artists who do rely on selling their art or skill as their only source of income and clearly this is not a viable option or possibility for them. Nor should it be!

So, if you happen to be one of those people that expects shit like this for free, think long and hard about this before you ask this of an artist. Honestly just simply ask yourself: “would I work at MY full time job for free if my boss asked me to?” I am will to bet you are going to answer that question with a resounding NO! Food for thought people. Have some respect for what artists do. They work for years at their craft to perfect and get to the point where they can make a living at this. Stop asking us for FREE SHIT!

Image courtesy of the-beard.com