President’s message: Strengths and weaknesses

September 2019 issue

© Gregory Daniel

Acknowledging our strengths, weaknesses, and especially our fears helps us move forward. My own biggest fear is that my life’s work, my portraits, will not continue to bring out the excitement they do now for my clients—that I could tumble into that gap where no one knows the beautiful style I constantly work to make available. Is this healthy thinking? Yes. This is what propels me to grow, to keep learning, to change when change is needed. I cannot close my eyes and cover my ears and simply hope that fear goes away.

This is where a person’s strengths come into play. It’s a strength to understand that fear can be a useful tool to push forward, to find the education, to seek to understand ever-changing consumers and do what it takes to stay successful.

PPA understands working photographers and anticipates what we need to navigate the changing industry and the whims of consumers. Our bridging-the-gap education addresses these changes and presents us with tools and ideas to attract the right clientele.

Gap programming at Imaging USA along with great articles in this magazine provide photographers tools and ideas to be more successful. Our members are creating better imagery along with unforgettable client experiences, which build better relationships and loyal customers.

I have been attending Imaging USA for over 30 years, each time leaving with business- and life-changing concepts. In 2017 Mel Robbins presented the keynote address. Her program was on target for me and so many others to whom I spoke. She understood our weaknesses and gave us strategies to overcome them. I use her five-second rule daily to jumpstart anything that feels uncomfortable, which can include client calls as well as personal struggles.

In his 2018 keynote, Ryan Estes taught us how to adapt and thrive in the face of consumer expectations. And he inspired us to show up even when it’s tough. Most memorably, he demonstrated the tactic of using our physical stance and movement to build self-confidence.

In January, closing keynote speaker Judi Holler sent everyone home armed with ways to deal with fear. She used humor to get us to laugh at ourselves while inspiring us to set goals, take action, and follow through. She used audience volunteers to demonstrate how improvisational acting techniques can help us think on our feet when we interact with clients.

If you were at these past Imaging USA keynotes, maybe you’re reminded of your own takeaways. If not, I hope you’re inspired to attend Imaging USA 2020 in Nashville. The slate of amazing speakers promises to help you elevate your business and personal life.

Audrey Wancket is the president of Professional Photographers of America. She owns Wancket Studios in Spring Grove, Illinois.

Tags: imaging usa

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