helping

Giving Back To The Community - Everybody Wins

As a business owner, giving back to your community is such an integral part of who we are and who we should be as entrepreneurs. It’s almost as though there should be an unwritten rule about giving back in the entrepreneur handbook (of course there is no such book). Although, I believe it really shouldn’t be “unwritten” and there really should be a handbook or guide of do’s and don’ts but that’s a whole other topic.
A couple of nights ago I had the esteemed pleasure of attending an incredible event. The event was put on by a woman named Katia Millar, a woman to whom I was informally introduced by a mutual friend a few months ago. She started a meet up group called Positive Fabulous Women in 2008 and let me tell you, she is positive AND nothing short of fabulous. What this woman has done for thousands of women across the GTA and her community is astounding. Her network of female members, followers and fans is 8000 plus and continually growing. She organizes monthly events with guest speakers, live twitter chats and webinars for her members. These members donate door prizes from their business, whether it be tangible prizes or one on one mentoring sessions from their individual businesses.
These events are held with the purpose of women getting together to network, discuss their businesses, goals, aspirations and most importantly build each other up, support and empower one another. Not only are they members of this network but they all give back to the community in one way or another, whether it be through mentorship or simply what they do as entrepreneurs on a daily basis. It truly is inspiring to be in their presence.
As an attendee and being one of the only men in the entire room, I have to say it was a little intimidating but the experience was without a doubt, three of the most inspiring hours of my life. What an incredible experience, listening to some of these women share their stories of building their businesses from the ground up. Sharing their successes as well as some of their failures because we all know, without failure there is no success. It was truly a magical evening. If any of my female readers are thinking about going into business or may already be a seasoned entrepreneur, I highly recommend you go to one of the Positive Fabulous Women events, I can guarantee you will walk away filled with inspiration! It will be 3 of the most valuable hours of your career. I honestly wish I could attend these sessions but sadly they are restricted to women only.

I strongly encourage all business owners to donate their time to some community cause or event, it will leave you feeling fulfilled. I know for me personally donating my time as a photographer for the event the other night, it did exactly that for me and I will definitely be doing more of that in the future.
I would just like to say thank you to Katia Millar for allowing me to be part of and the brief glimpse into her incredible world that is Positive Fabulous Women.

Everyone Is a Photographer - Is Access To Technology Helping or Hurting The Photography Industry?

In today’s day and age, where technology is so easily attainable for anyone and everyone, all of a sudden everybody is a photographer. This is constantly a hot topic of discussion on the internet and it periodically reappears and rears its ugly head. I have heard and read rants from other photographers in the industry about the fact that anyone with a camera fancies themselves a photographer. Even I have been guilty of venting about this very topic.

Digital Single-Lens Reflex or DSLR cameras have come down in price so much in the past 5-10 years that it has made it affordable for everybody from your Grandmother to your Aunt Josephine to Uncle Sam, to go out and purchase a camera and start taking pictures.

The cell phone camera has just exploded onto the scene now as well. We have people releasing books that consist entirely of iPhone photography. Albeit the people releasing the books like that are in fact professional photographers, it is another tool with which people capture images.

I think it’s a great thing that technology has become so affordable in the photography world and more people are jumping on the proverbial photography bandwagon. Although just because someone picks up a DSLR or an iPhone or a compact camera this doesn’t make them a photographer. It takes practice, hard work and frankly you just have to have an eye for it. Can someone develop an eye for “making” a photograph? Personally, I don’t think having an eye for capturing images can be taught to someone. It is innate and you either have it or you just don’t.

Having said my piece, I would like to leave you with a couple questions to ponder: Is the affordability and ease of accessibility to photographic technology helping or hurting the photography industry? Let’s be honest, are we really concerned about the Uncle Joe’s or others that go out and buy a DSLR just because they can, encroaching on our business and stealing work away from us? I think not but what do you think?

Image courtesy of lolroflmao.com

Paying It Forward - Being Inspired and Inspiring Others

Paying it forward or to respond to a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else. Possibly one of life’s simplest concepts when you really think about it, it makes you feel so good and really doesn’t require much effort.

I am a big believer in giving back to others when someone gives to you. When someone helps you out or does something nice for you, why not try to do something nice for someone else? This is something that I try to live by in all aspects of my life, be it personal or business/career.

The reason for this feel good post is because someone “paid it forward” to me the other day and it feels amazing. So amazing, I feel inclined to share this with all of you here.

I had a conversation the other day with a fellow photographer who is accomplished in her own right. We were speaking about photography in general, about my work and her work. She took some time and browsed through a bunch of my images and came back to me and was really impressed with my work. She asked if the urban/landscape/architecture genre is one that I am passionate about. I responded promptly and enthusiastically “YES”. My friend proceeded to tell me she can see the passion in my images, that it’s quite evident and clearly comes through when looking at them. It was such an incredibly respectful thing to say and to get that kind of praise from such an accomplished photographer was amazing. I personally cannot think of a better compliment to give another photographer, to me that is the highest form of flattery and appreciation for another person’s work.

We continued to discuss our passion and love for our craft, she offered me advice, opinions and guidance with regards to my photography. This friend is a full time photographer and she shared with me that even if she wasn’t getting a dime for it, she would still be doing it because of her passion, dedication and love for the art of photography. Now that in itself is something phenomenal that not many people can say they about their careers. When you have that kind of passion and love for something you do it’s a rare commodity in this life so when and if you find something you are so passionate about, pay it forward by sharing your knowledge and love for it with other like minded people.

After our conversation I felt this overwhelming sense of passion, excitement, inspiration and encouragement, I felt on top of the world! I was compelled to get my thoughts and elation down onto the proverbial paper that is my computer. I can only hope these said emotions come across in my post and most importantly I have an opportunity to pay it forward and inspire someone else the way I was inspired!

Image courtesy of carlyalyssathome.com