PPA President’s message: A work in progress
We are members of the greatest photographic association in the world. Over my three-plus decades as a member, I have taken advantage of all that PPA has offered. I refer to it as my PPA journey. The paths along this journey have led me to where I am today as I begin my year serving as your PPA president. It is an honor and a privilege to represent all the members of an organization that I am so passionate about.
Welcome to our newest members of the Board of Directors, and thank you to those who continue to serve on the Board and work to guide this great association.
March is the perfect time to reflect on the past year with a spring-like fresh start. Time to reinvent. I believe in reinvention: not a complete change, more about changing what didn’t work well or what improvements are worth making. Our industry has certainly been reinvented from where it was 20, 10, and even 5 years ago. And the changes will continue as technology and the way clients interact and purchase changes, too. The programming at Imaging USA in January was perfect for giving us all a better understanding of the gap that exists between photographers and consumers. Like many of you, I went home and reinvented how I market my work.
When I began working as a professional photographer in 1986, I had so much to learn. Thankfully that is also when I was introduced to PPA. I joined and jumped right on the path to becoming a better image maker and business woman. I have attended more than 30 conventions where I sat in on everything, from the earliest program to the last one each evening. My head would spin with all the new concepts, and my heart would race as I walked the trade show, where I could see and purchase the latest equipment, props, and backgrounds.
Recalling the earliest conventions I attended, two things had a big impact on propelling my business toward success: print competition and certification. Seeing the print exhibits showed me what style of work I wanted to create and the technical quality I wanted to strive for. I remember one speaker in particular encouraging photographers to always add a few images at the end of a session or wedding to push their creativity by trying something new. That speaker was a PPA certified professional photographer and mentioned the technical lessons learned in the process of becoming certified that had served them well. I listened and was quickly on the path to working toward CPP and image competition.
These conventions were where many of my friendships were formed, where I found mentors before I even knew what it meant. I discovered a family made up of photographers who spoke the same language I did and dreamed the same dreams. Every time I returned home, the inspiration would flow, and I would reinvent my photography and certainly my technical abilities. With this, my business grew each year along with my love for what I do.
I soon realized that I will always be a work in progress. The world, our customers, art, and technology keep changing and improving, and so also must we.
I look forward to the next 12 months of representing the members of PPA. It is going to be an exciting year of traveling to PPA Affiliates, getting to know as many members as possible, and forging new friendships along the way.
Let us all have a successful year!
Audrey Wancket is a portrait photographer and the 2019-2020 PPA president.