I made a decision last year that 2015 was going to be the "year of the conference" for me. I inherently knew that building this business was not something I could do in a vacuum. Google and I can only go so far! Networking and in person learning is hard to put a price tag on. The money invested in these resources is not easy to part with but I knew every penny would be well spent.
I had already planned on attending WPPI, but when the opportunity came up in November to sign up to attend Amy & Jordans workshop in Arizona I made a rather quick decision to invest in attending. Both of these experiences have helped shape my business purpose and goals. Instead of floundering around online in a sea of "how to take better photos" information, I was now focused on building a strong, sustainable and successful photography business.
In between A&J's workshop and WPPI I was made aware of an incredible opportunity. A group of photographers whom I have great amounts of respect for launched an online Academy for Wedding Photographers called The International Academy for Wedding Photographers (IAWP). Even though I have only done one wedding thusfar, wedding photography is where I want to live.
I struggled for a bit on weather this was something I should invest in. I felt like all of this was happening at once and I didn't want to get sucked into trying to educate my self "too much" in such a short period of time. I knew that I had already invested quite a bit in the other two workshops and also my new branding project, so it took some time for me to really weigh if this was something I should do RIGHT NOW.
In the end, I decided to do it! The launch offer was such a great deal and I am coming upon a time where my business will likely slow quite a bit (when we move) and I will have lots of time to invest in educating myself and getting ready to implement all of what I have learned after we move.
The certificate program at IAWP is a series of courses regarding all things Wedding Photography. They are video based and you can learn at your own pace. There are homework assignments as well and quizzes to make sure you are retaining the information taught. I am a part of the inaugural 2015-2016 class and I could not be more excited to be a part of what this team of instructors is trying to accomplish. Their heart for learning, teaching and pouring into the lives of others is honestly so refreshing in what can sometimes be a lonely and overly competitive field.
The other benefit of this online school, is that instead of investing in in-person workshops with all of these instructors, I can learn in-depth subject matter from ALL of them from the comfort of my own home. Yes, the in-person aspect of networking with other attendees is missing, but we have a facebook group and forums where we can all discuss and learn from each other. I am sure there will be opportunities in the future for some of us to meet and get to know each other and discuss our experiences with how we applied the info we learned at the IAWP!
I've said it before and I am sure I will say it again and again in the future, but one of the best things about Photography is that there is so much to LEARN. You literally never stop learning new things and the day you think there is nothing left to learn is literally the same day your business starts to die.
For more information about the IAWP click HERE.