At last month's meeting of T.A.P.P.A., we dispensed with the usual format of having a speaker and instead conducted a panel discussion. A panel discussion is when several people take the stage and answer questions from the audience.
Imagine my surprise when I was asked to be on the panel.
First of all, I haven't been a member of TAPPA for that long, less than a year I think. Several members of the panel were past presidents and one member pretty much founded the whole guild. The second reason I was surprised to be asked is that I have never asked to be a part of anything like that in the past. They asked me to participate and field any questions about social media that came along but I ended up talking about everything under the sun because I'm the type of person who wants to say something about everything!
There were a lot of different questions from the new photographers in attendance. The biggest one was probably the, "Do you sell digital files" question. Always a hot topic, it was interesting to hear how the rest of the panel handled this subject with their clients (all sell digital files).
I used the opportunity to ask a question myself and got a surprising answer. My question was, "What do you consider to be the minimum number of lights necessary for a studio portrait session?" The answers ranged from 1-5. Further proof that there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to photography.
As it happenned, one of the other photographers on the panel wore the exact same shirt as me that night. We had to sit at opposite ends of the panel. We looked like bookends.
On another note, I managed to place a two prints in the print competition. 1st place in Events and 2nd place in Portraits. I wrote about that here.
I really enjoy talking to fellow photographers. It's a little one-sided sometimes as I am a very outgoing personality and many photographers are more introverted. Also, everyone has an opinion and we don't always agree (as it is with all art forms) but I always look to learn something from everyone. I've found that if you approach each person as a learning opportunity you will almost always discover something, even a small thing, that you can use to improve your work. Sometimes it's just the satisfaction of discovering that someone else does things the same way that you do.
Booray Perry is a Tampa Bay Portrait Photographer.