Education has always been important to me, and after all these years, I'm still learning. Seldom does a day go by that I am not watching a video about photography, reading about business, or studying the photographs in a magazine to evaluate how the photograph was made. Digital photography has changed the way that many photographers do business, but it isn't enough to just buy a camera and decide to call yourself a professional photographer. Critical to this process is an understanding about posing, lighting, and the array of business practices that go along with being in business.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the annual conference of Professional Photographers of Idaho and had the opportunity to learn new things while interacting with a room full of other photographers. The presenters shared a wealth of knowledge, answered questions and socialized with group attendees over the course of 3 days. In addition to the education provided, the weekend's events culminated in an award ceremony honoring the accomplishments of some great photographers.
Throughout the weekend we were treated to a display of the prints entered into competition. It was a great reminder of the importance of the printed work. A digital image doesn't have the impact of a printed image and seeing all of the wonderful pieces was inspiring.
As excited as I was about the weekend events, I was most nervous about being asked to photograph the award recipients at the awards banquet. Most photographers will tell you that photographing photographers can be a bit nerve-wracking. And these weren't just photographers, these were award-winning photographers. On any other day, the execution would be pretty simple with little hesitation in the set-up. On this day, however, I questioned everything. Everything had to be just right given the subjects I would be photographing.
While I was setting up, I chatted with Dennis Hammon (http://hammonphoto.homestead.com/) a highly decorated photographer from Idaho Falls. We talked about all those technical details that were swirling around in my head. Dennis was gracious with his time and helped me get everything ready while the banquet room was being set up.
When it was time to start photographing the photographers, the winners began making their way to the shooting area. All were smiling and all of the faces were familiar to me. They were the same faces that had been taking notes and asking questions during the conference. It was a great reminder about how we are all working to improve our skills. From beginner to highly-decorated photographers, we all have to continue to educate ourselves and take our craft to the next level. That's what it means to be a professional.
Here's a look at the smiling faces of some of these hard-working professionals.
2019 Professional Photographers of Idaho Print Competition Awards Recipients
2019 Print Competition awards recipients received their awards on February 11, 2019 in Boise, Idaho.