Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Inspired by WPPI

Photography by Whitney and David Scott
Photography by Whitney and David Scott

Today I am flying home from Las Vegas where I have spent the last four
days in the Black River Imaging booth at the WPPI Wedding and Portrait
Photographers Conference and Expo. Over 16,000 professional and
aspiring professionals attend this conference every year to improve
their skills and network with their peers.

The thing that impresses me most about WPPI is the energy level. The
people who attend the WPPI convention are passionate about photography
and eager to learn more. Those who have been in the industry for years
are enthusiastic about sharing their experiences and excited to learn
more. The event is particularly supportive to those just getting
started in the industry.

Photography by Corrine Alavekios
Photography by Corrine Alavekios

I have been attending WPPI since the early 1990's when the show was
tightly focused on wedding photography. It has been exciting to watch
it grow and expand to cover birth, preschool, sports and fashion
photography as well as wedding and family portraits.  The classes
cover everything from lighting and posing to business planning and

Black River Imaging has changed a lot since the 1990s too. In those
days the images were all captured on film which was processed on giant
dip and dunk Refrema machines. We used Lucht V7 printers to make any
print size you wanted. Today the book and album binding areas are
bigger than the print room and our fastest growing product lines are
luxury stationery and wall decor printed on metal.

Photography by Amanda Reed
Photography by Amanda Reed

I really enjoy meeting with our customers during the trade show. It's
a perfect venue to learn what we're doing well, where we need to
improve and what kind of new products people want. We introduce new
products continuously, and the conversations we have during the show
influence every product development meeting.

The Black River imaging booth is divided into two sections. Half the
booth is used to display products including the new lay flat picture
books and the LOFT line of luxurious cards and stationery. The
products that draw the most attention are usually those that have rich
textures and unique shapes.

Photography by Dawn Shields
Photography by Dawn Shields

The other half of the booth is dedicated to education. The Black River
Imaging featured artists, whose images accompany this post, teach a
series of classes about photography and the business of photography.

I always leave WPPI inspired, invigorated and looking forward to
coming back next year.

Photography by Dixie Dixon
Photography by Dixie Dixon

Photography by Elise Ellis
Photography by Elise Ellis

Photography by Martha Dameron
Photography by Martha Dameron

Photography by Spencer Beorup
Photography by Vanessa Joy
Photography by Vanessa Joy

You might also be interested in:

Five Trends in Professional Portraits

Trends in Professional Portraits at Imaging USA

Sincerely Social

The Creativity Paradox will be taking a break from publishing for the next two weeks.  Please look for our next post on April 4th.

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Stages of Investment

Books by Zen Oracle
Books by Zen Oracle
Most people desire the independence that comes with financial security. For most of us, that independence is acquired though careful investments of time, attention and money. Here is a process that has worked for generations.

Invest in Learning a Trade

In the beginning, select a skill you love doing and learn to do it extremely well.  Enroll in the classes required and study diligently. In the workplace, identify the best people in your field and try to emulate their techniques. Read all of the books, manuals and trade publications that are relevant. Most of all, practice constantly with the goal of becoming better everyday.

While you are investing your thought and energy in learning a trade, remember to save five to ten percent of every paycheck. You will need it later.

Invest in Learning to Lead

There is a limit to what you can accomplish by yourself. The most skilled craftsman in the world is limited to what can be completed by a single pair of hands in a day. If you want to achieve more, you must learn to lead others.

Leadership requires knowledge, optimism and empathy. Knowledge is important because people won't follow someone who is obviously wrong. Optimism matters so it is clear that you believe the mission is possible. Empathy is critical because people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. It needs to be obvious that you care about the mission, the organization and about them.

While much of leadership is a state a mind, it is also a learned skill. Pay attention to the leaders you admire and watch how they do it. Even if you feel you have a deep understanding of your field, this is not the time to cease learning. Continue to study the new developments in your field, but broaden your reading to include techniques in management and leadership and the biographies of great leaders.

By now, saving five to ten percent of your earnings should be a habit and your savings are beginning to accumulate. A stock mutual fund is the easiest way to ensure a return higher than the rate of inflation.

Invest in Learning to Own

For those fortunate enough to grow old, there will come a time when they no longer have the interest or perhaps the ability to actively lead every day. At that point, independence and security come through ownership. Companies pay dividends and continue to appreciate in value without constant supervision.

When looking ahead to this stage of life, it is important to make sure that the savings accumulated are deployed where they can earn the most. Unfortunately this is a difficult skill to learn because most of the recommendations in the news and most professional advice is wrong. As in the other stages, pay attention to the methods of those who have been successful: Shelby Davis, Warren Buffet, Peter Lynch.

Read the books, learn the basics and apply the wisdom acquired over your lifetime to develop a methodology and style that works for you.

Study is the Constant

Amazon probably appreciates this post because the one thing is remains constant through all of these stages is reading and learning. One of the books I am currently reading is Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. One of the most remarkable traits of our greatest President is that he never stopped reading and never stopped learning.

What are you learning this week?

You might also like:

The Age of Creativity

Do Your Own Annual Review

The Thrill of Ownership

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.