We would like to welcome Pictage CEO Jim Collins to the Pictage Blog today as he shares about “The Value of Community.” Jim, along with other executives and members of the Pictage Team, will now be regular contributors to the Pictage Blog… other guests will include CMO Simon Anderson, CFO Kevin Rubin, Senior Director of Customer Experience Michael Caro, and more!
I was talking to Mike Colon not all that long ago and he mentioned that he thought the primary benefit of working with Pictage for any photographer was the community. I’ve had some time to think about it and I think he’s right. Here’s why.
You’ve chosen to be a professional photographer. That’s your living, your path. We all know that a lot of the time it’s great fun. Your interaction with your clients, their faces when they see their pictures or albums and your love for your art all feed you. It’s not a bad life.
But sometimes it feels like you’re out there on your own. Even if you’re lucky enough to be making a living with your spouse, there are times when you feel unsure, times when you’ve had a rocky day, a tough client or a frustrating situation. In a regular workplace when this happens you just walk into the office next door and sit down and commiserate. But what do you do when your office is your home and the guy in the office next door is your cat?
The community gives us a place to connect. It gives us a place to vent our frustrations and it gives us access to other folks who face the same problems. Even when the solutions are neither easy nor apparent, at least we know we’re not alone. But community also gives us welcome and productive distraction. When I need a mental break during the day I love to log on to the Pictage Forum and read the latest posts, or page through the recent image uploads. Threads like “Show pictures of your own wedding,” “self portraits” and “share your latest” offer a chance to see each other in fun settings. Some of the posts are inspiring, some are funny, a few are heartbreaking, but paging through them connects us in meaningful ways.
Those lucky enough to live near active PUGs get to meet with photographers on a regular basis. These are even more valuable because the PUGs are a source for second shooters, or for second shooter opportunities. They offer a chance to us to connect in person with folks who shoot in our own communities. We can vent about venues, talk about local vendors and compare notes on ideas and even pricing. If we’re courageous enough we can even share our images for comment and criticism.
Community makes us better, challenges us, gives us refuge and makes us laugh. Community gives us connection in a disconnected workplace. Because the Pictage community is made up entirely of working, professional photographers, it is filled with people who share the same struggles as we have and who have similar hopes and dreams.
I think Mike’s right. That’s a series of values that are hard to beat.