When I made up my mind to be a part of the Jax Shoot Club this year I wasn’t exactly sure how it might fit into my life. Maybe that was just my subconscious wondering how I might fit into all of their lives. To my delight, not only did I feel like I fit right in but I have developed some fantastic friendships along the way. So many times I hear photographers discussing whether or not they should “befriend their competition?” I say, why wouldn’t you? Our clients ultimately choose “us” as their photographer because they like and relate to something about “us” as individuals. Somehow or another we fit into the design of their day. And that has nothing to do with our competition. Quite frankly, I am happy to have relationships with other incredible local photographers because I know that when I have to refer a client out that those clients are, no doubt, in good hands. And in turn my “competition” knows that I too will take care of any referrals that they usher my way. It’s a great trade off. Networking is such a huge aspect of our business. If you choose to stay stagnant in your own world what happens when you find yourself in need of some help? And believe me, it will happen! You can’t cultivate a relationship overnight. You have to earn the trust and respect of your colleagues. That way when you need them there is no hesitation as to whether or not you can reach out for back up and vice versa. When you make a conserted effort to extend your local network you will begin to see your business grow. It is inevitable. So…in 2010…I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and make it a point to meet new friends and get to know your “competition.” Soon that word “competition” will translate to “colleague” and as a direct result of that you will experience growth. I am willing to bet on it! Consider some of the top photographers in the world…David Jay and Jasmine Star (just to name a couple) do you think they would be where they are today without creating a successful network of colleagues? Nope. I don’t think they would.
All of that said…allow me to share a few quick snaps of me and my colleagues at our first annual Jax Shoot Club Christmas party that I hosted here at my home. We truly had a blast! It was a night of socializing, networking, shared experiences and new friendships. When my hubby and I built this home, so much of the process and design was influenced by my love for entertaining. And it is nights like this when I can easily accommodate a large crowd that makes me appreciate my home even more. I have always loved to host and entertain and this Christmas Celebration was no exception. The only difference between this night and so many others is that I allowed myself a “break” and requested that everyone contribute a dish. Ah, that was heaven! Everyone brought something different and delicious and that allowed me time to personally speak to each and every guest that attended and that was so refreshing. To all of you who came, I thank you! I hope that the evening was as enjoyable for you as it was for me. To all of you who couldn’t make it, I missed you! I wish you all wonderful things for 2010. I am honored to call you my colleagues and my friends.