Tom Lee - Training - part 1 of 1 2

by Tom Lee Published

Some photographers think its easy, some find it hard, most think we cant afford the time or the expense. What is certain, is that none of us can run a successful business without it. Whilst training can be an expensive affair, with the right coaching and guidance, even an expensive seminar or course will reap rewards tenfold in your future business.

Measuring the success or benefit to any training delegate can be a difficult thing to evaluate. Experience and current knowledge has a bearing on the validity of some programmes, but there is no excuse for those of you who are just starting out in business. Several colleagues from the Society, including myself, frequently travel to the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) convention in Las Vegas each year. Think how expensive that sort of training is! We do it to gain more ideas and experience to pass onto fellow photographers and enhance our own respective businesses.

Now for those of you just starting, we might not expect you to undertake that sort of outlay in the first year of trading, however, an audience of some 1000 photographers at the convention were asked to give a show of hands to indicate those who were in their first year. Over ¾ of the room put up their hands! If a multi-national audience can put themselves out to travel halfway around the world, surely you can attend some events held in this country.

It doesn't have to cost an arm or a leg...

Why have you become a member of the Society? Is it just to impress your friends, or do you want it to mean something to your clients? We don't exist to encourage a 'members only' club or to make off with your membership fees.

The Society is pro-active in putting on seminars, tutorials and events throughout the country for which a nominal fee is charged. Usually including lunch and refreshments for less than £60. And where were you when the Trade Show was on in Liverpool? Apart from substantial support from some heavyweight sponsors like Fuji, Olympus, Graphistudio, Calumet and others, there were eight FREE, hour-long seminars throughout the two-day event. If we can attract members and non-members to this event from either end of the country, we should have no difficulty in attracting people less than an hours drive away. There is simply no excuse for lack of training, particularly amongst Society members. Phil Jones travels thousands of miles each year from Scotland to the south of England just to meet his family of members, and bring the support of the Society to them. In some cases the cost of putting events on has not been met by the cost of the attendance fee, but he still does it!

This might sound a bit harsh, but the fact is that even with many years in the photographic industry, there is a need to continually update, improve and adapt our business products and strategies, just to maintain our niche in the marketplace. The Head Office is always available to point you in the right direction, but sometimes you need more than a phone call to sort out problems. There is nothing better than hands on demonstrations or business talks to give you the impetus and experience you need to succeed. If you need specific help, then we will try to arrange a specific course if the demand is there.


The monthly competition is open to all members, but it does not have to be a Wedding or Portrait based entry as some people think. The second place Photographer of the Year 2003 was awarded to a sports photographer.

Believe it or not, this is one of the ways in which you can improve your photographic skills. Each entry is scrutinised and receives a critique whether or not it wins the category. This adds a useful pointer as to the direction in which your photography is taking you, however it won't happen unless you enter. The competition entries for 2003 were slow to come in but picked up both in volume and quality as the year went on. This is an indication of growing photographers' confidence and acknowledgement of constructive comment.

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last update 06/11/2019 11:06:41

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