Where do you learn to be a photographer (part two of three)

In last week’s blog entry I started to explore the question, where do you learn how to be a photographer? Much of that entry was speculating on what the business of photography will be like in the future. I also called into the question the benefit of formal study of photography, at least for those who want to be commercial photographers.

The good news for the serious aspiring professional is that many of the trade groups for photographers have recently come to realize how important it is that they better educate the current generation as well as the next generation of photographers in good business practices. The amount of information that is now available is amazing (if not overwhelming.) I am going to offer up a few such on-line resources that I think are worth any aspiring photographer’s attention.

I am highly prejudiced towards the trade group, ASMP (the American Society of Media Photographers) because their mission and my interests are most closely aligned. Still, their annual “Best of ASMP” is one of the best resources to get inside the heads of various successful commercial photographers.

http://asmp.org/bestof2011

http://asmp.org/bestof2010

http://asmp.org/articles/best-2009.html

Disclosure alert, I was part of the 2009 batch. You can see my piece at: http://asmp.org/articles/best-2009-wells.html

http://asmp.org/articles/best-2008.html

Editorial Photographers, http://www.editorialphoto.com, is another group very concerned about educating current and future generations of photographers. As they say on their site:

“EP’s fundamental goal is the education of both photographers and photo editors in the Editorial marketplace.”

http://www.editorialphoto.com/resources/startingout.asp

http://www.editorialphoto.com/articles/doug_menuez/

http://www.editorialphoto.com/articles/things_learned.asp

http://www.editorialphoto.com/resources/

APA (formerly ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHERS OF AMERICA now American Photographic Artists) has, as they say on their site:

“…championed photographer’s rights for more than 18 years, working ceaselessly to provide us all with the tools that we need to succeed in both the business and the art of photography.”

http://www.apanational.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3340

The most educational part of their site is their online forums, APAnet, APAdigital and APAmotion, which are:

“..online groups dedicated exclusively to professionals discussing the business of photography and the technical issues faced in todays digital and motion environments. APA forums are acclaimed internationally by participants. Non-APA professionals, assistants, and students are welcome and invited to join.

That last line is important because anyone can read and participate in the forums, even if you are not a professional photographer or a member of APA. Some organizations believe it best to share information with everyone, in order to benefit the entire marketplace. APA is one of them. I read them daily and learn more from these three forums than the other five that I read each day.

Read more and sign up at:

http://www.apanational.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3279

Professional photographers of America, PP of A , http://www.ppa.com/ represents the photographers specializing in wedding, portrait, family and senior photography. Their market is often referred to as the “retail” market since they sell services directly to the need users rather than publications and advertisers. They have business related resources as ell starting at:

http://www.ppa.com/resources/

http://www.ppa.com/education/

Next week I will deconstruct a few of those same resources to give you a sense of how I still find value in reading them. Although I am twenty-five years into my career as a self-employed photographer, as an old dog, I still need to continually learn new tricks.

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