"Always be a life-long learner. If you come to a point where you think you know it all, you won't grow. You never know it all. I'm still learning more every day" - Mary Jacobson
As many of you may or may not know, this past May I graduated from Ridgewater College with a Diploma Degree and an Associated in Applied Sciences Degree in Professional Photography Technology. But honestly, those pieces of paper only mean as much as you let them mean. In today's world, there are THOUSANDS of photographers out there; many have degrees in art, graphic design, and/or photography technology, while many are completely self taught. Is there a right way or a wrong way to learn? Is one way of learning make you better at your craft than the other? Heck no.
Many will argue the fact that a four year college degree qualifies you more than a two year college degree; or at least a two year degree qualifies you waaaaay more than being self taught. And hey, I'll be honest with you, I use to completely agree with that way of thinking too. And as long as we're being honest here, I always thought I was 'too good' (whatever that means) to only go on to a two year 'community college'. Man was I wrong. I was COMPLETELY set to attend MSUM in Moorhead, but after looking more thoroughly at the program, I knew it wasn't right for me. I had NO interest in having to taking multiple drawing, painting, and art history classes when I wanted to learn and excel at photography. Thankfully, at the last minute I applied for the Photography program at Ridgewater, and was the LAST student accepted.
I started my education at Ridgewater in the Fall of 2013, and instantly knew this is where I belonged! I was surrounded by thirty other creative souls who were just as eager as I was to soak up as much information as possible. And of course, this wouldn't have been possible without two of the best instructors around. Keith was jammed packed with all of the information one would ever need to know about the technical side of photography - from the best gear, to photoshop knowledge, to lighting and more! And then we had Mary - our personal cheerleader. Mary sparked the passion for the art of photography in all of us! I could go on and on and on about how great our instructors were and all of the information they packed into us, but that would be a novel in itself. However, the most important lesson I learned in my two years at Ridgewater was from Mary; "Always be a life-long learner."
So many people decide or think that once they have their degree in their hands, they have completed their education and no longer have anything more to learn. Thankfully I learned that you can always learn more, and that it doesn't mean you were incomplete before, but that their is always something more you can learn!
I follow soooo many photographers and other creatives on social media to be inspired, learn different things, and to simply stay creative. A few creatives in particular are industry leading photographers, and it is absolutely amazing to see how successful they have become! One boss lady in particular that I greatly admire is the one and only, Amanda Holloway. Amanda is a self taught photographer from Texas, and is the most sought-after industry leading graduating senior portrait photographer in the US. She started photography in 2009, and decided to make it her full time profession in 2011. It's only 2015 and she already been an industry leader for years -- how crazy is that?!
In April, my entire photography class attending the Minnesota Professional Photographer Association (MNPPA) Convention in the Twin Cities to learn even more from photographer all across America. We were all COMPLETELY stoked when Amanda was announced to be one of the speakers! In the couple hours she presented, my class and I absorbed SO much information from her -- It was absolutely amazing how much we learned from her in such a short period of time!
Amanda hosts a photography workshop - The Kitchen Sink Workshop - twice a year; Once in the Fall, and once in the Spring. When she released her Fall dates in February, I knew I wanted - NEEDED - to go! I researched SO much information about the KSW workshop and past alumni success that I was chomping at the bit for registration! She only allows 9 photographers at each workshop, and I was determined to get a seat! I sat at my computer refreshing the page for a half hour straight until registration opened, and somehow snagged a seat!!! Seriously you guys, I was jumping up and down in the computer lab at the college, that's how excited I was ;)
The Kitchen Sink Workshop is going to be SUCH a kick-your-butt workshop. Not only will I learn more about photography skills, posing, and lighting, but I am SO ready to learn more about how to run a successful business. One week from today I will be landing in Texas to attend this workshop! I am SO ready to learn as much as I can to continue to grow my business! Be prepared for lots and lots of new things coming from Images By Ivy soon :)
Now the only thing standing in my way is trying to figure out how to Airport by myself... That, will be an adventure in itself.
Check out more information about Amanda here:
My Ridgewater Photog Family, featuring Mary and Jackaroo :)