In 2002 I went to my very first WPPI conference in Vegas. I had been in business officially for 5 years at that point, but in truth it was really my first year of treating it like a full time business. It was the first time I got on a plane alone to fly to a city I had never been to to meet people that I met on the internet who were photographers like me. Writing this now I still remember when I first caught sight of the Vegas skyline thinking in a panic “What if they aren’t real?” What if I had been duped by an elaborate internet ruse? I knew so few photographers in my area, just a handful. Suddenly I was being dropped off in the middle of HUNDREDS of them. I wonder what the actual numbers were of attendees at WPPI 2002, but if I had to guess I’d say 2 or 3 K. Now the average attendance 12 years later is 13-16 K depending on where you read it. Doesn’t really matter what the actually numbers are, anyone that has gone for many years can attest to the changes in the industry and how it’s grown.
And because now you can’t go 3 feet without meeting another “photographer” these days, the way we learn has changed vastly. Saving up that 1K years ago to to go WPPI was my educational fund for the year. It’s where I took classes, went to shoot outs and entered print competition. It was where I learned marketing techniques and had late night pow wows with other photographers who have grown to be trusted colleagues. Now there is a dizzying array of places to find advice on photography marketing, shooting, branding….. this blog included. What’s even more interesting to me is that with the massive advances of information out there, photographers are more cynical than ever about where they get their advice. Coming from a background where it was just accepted that you paid others for their expertise, the shift now is more of the battle cry of “You don’t need to pay for that, you can find that out by just doing some research on the internet”, and “those that can’t shoot, teach!”
If I took a seminar that was amazing, it was awesome. And if I took one that was not so amazing, I consoled myself with finding the nugget.
The nugget is that one piece of information from anything you are learning from that you can apply to your business or your life.
As long as I got one nugget, I considered it a win.
Then came my Nugget journals. They first started when I was going to seminars to write down notes. I’ve always been a person who needs to learn visually, so the act of writing things down so that my brain can process information is important for me. I can’t do it on a computer, or with a voice memo…it has to be in the written word. I think it’s the conscious slowing down, of putting pen to paper that makes a difference for me. In the rare times that I do not have Big Nugget or Little Nugget journal (who resides in my purse) I’ve tried voice memos, emailing myself…none of them work as well for me. I’m still trying to decipher the voice memo I left myself three weeks ago when I had no Nugget at hand to jot my thoughts down on that says:
“Don’t forget to write something on yoga pants and the fashion industry and how photographers need to brand like they do or don’t dress”
Yeah. I am sure it seemed brilliant at the time thanks to a endorphin rush after yoga, but don’t look for that blog post any time soon, because I don’t know what the fuck I meant. Namaste.
Now with the blog, Big Nugget and Little Nugget have taken on a different use in my life. Now they don’t just contain photography stuff, but also life stuff. Quotes from books I am reading that make me stop and read it again. Quotes from inspirational Ted talks. Observations on human nature. Things I want to try out in my business. Some of them I pay for, some of them I find along the way. But in every single thing I read or watch, there is a nugget.
Here are some recent ones:
“I am a stark raving, maniacal fan of being unpopular” Ted Talk, Erika Napolentano.
“A drop in price teaches the best customers to wait for a sale or consider other cheaper offerings” Worth Every Penny, How to charge what you are worth when everyone else is discounting. Sarah Petty.
“Sometimes you need to come to an understanding that you may complete a project by accepting that you are not going to do it” Ariana Huffington, speaking about her new book Thrive
This month I challenge you to take some time out every day and write down your nugget. It’s out there, I promise you. And when you find one, leave it in the comments, won’t you?
P.S We’re working on our latest price list reviews for our winners Bridget and Josh, so stay tuned for information on the upcoming Google Hangouts!