Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Summit is Over

It is a little hard to believe, but the Summit is over. I will be posting some more specific blogs about the various breakout sessions and Keynote addresses I attended. But tonight's post is about NANPA.

NANPA is an amazing organization. I attended my first Summit four years ago in Portland, Oregon. I had heard that it would be a good thing to attend. But I had no idea what an impact it would make on my photographic abilities and how helpful it would be in getting a career in photography started. No one told me beforehand that I would be interacting with the world's finest photographers in an atmosphere where people are wanting you to succeed. Yes, the photographic world is a competitive world, you must produce excellent images to succeed. But there is a feeling at NANPA that the cup is half full.

NANPA also has programs for college and high school students. Canon provides the professional camera equipment for these students to use and NANPA provides professional instruction and interaction. This is an incredible opportunity for a young photographer to learn what it takes to create marketable and beautiful images and how to market them.

For me, NANPA has been a place of learning. At my first NANPA I attended an all day training session by Tim Grey that taught me how process my images from RAW files and how to do the post processing I needed at that time. I've been inspired by the keynote addresses of incredible photographers made all the more powerful by seeing their images on huge screens. In her keynote address this year, Nancy Rotenberg said, "When the student is ready, the teacher will come." That has been so true for me at NANPA. It seems like each time I come to NANPA, there are sessions that really teach me what I need to know NOW.

While there are many "big names" at NANPA, there are photographers at all skill levels. There are many opportunities to network and make contacts with people who are teaching workshops, leading photography tours, and buying photos.

I can truthfully say that I've had opportunities because of my participation at NANPA that I would not have had otherwise. The portfolio reviews give you a one on one session with professional photo buyers. They help you see what you can do to improve your photographic work. When your work gets to be good enough, it is also an opportunity to begin a working relationship with a photo editor, learning the kinds of images they are interested in buying and the types of images they don't need. Each magazine and market has very unique needs.

The Summit is in a different place each year. There are Regional Events where a smaller group of photographers go on location with mentors and actually photograph and help each other. The Road Shows are educational workshops with excellent trainers. To see the schedule of coming events, click here.

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