As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of ways one could be a photographer. If we look at the variety of photographic disciplines as a series of doors, it might look something like this:
Of course, there are even more possibilities than we have shown here, but this graphic does illustrate several key areas of interest. Each of these disciplines comes with the need for a unique skill set to be successful. Furthermore, each of these also has a totally unique experience for the photographer and the consumer of the final images. Finally, each also requires a unique business model and marketing strategy if one wants to derive at least some portion of their income from their photography.
It is certainly possible that a photographer might desire to be involved in several of these disciplines. That could make great sense in that some of these disciplines support each other photographically and professionally. With that being said, you might come to realize that for every door you wish to open, there is that much more you need to learn in order to be successful in multiple endeavors.
So how do you begin to get to the point where you are ready to open one or more of these doors and begin a satisfying career or impassioned hobby as an accomplished photographer? Quite simply, you make the decision to start your journey on the Pathways to Success.
At TPPA, photography is what we are all about. Our goal with Pathways to Success is to provide you with something of a road map to help you get where you want to go with your photography and to show you why TPPA is your best investment in helping you reach your goals.
As with any good map, the Pathways to Success provides you with a number of “mile markers” to help you plot your course and identify where you are currently on your journey. We call our mile markers, “Success Badges”. We modeled these badges after the designations used for skiing where “green” represents “beginner”, “blue” represents “intermediate” and “black” represents “expert”.
If you take this idea to heart, you can begin to understand why we believe the Pathways to Success starts the process with the “green” First Steps. Can you imagine the damage that can be done for a skier to start out on the “Blue” or “Black” slopes?
One of the main objectives of TPPA is to foster the education of our members. Each of these Success Badges can be earned through participation in the Texas School of Photography and the various TPPA events throughout the year.
We will use these Success Badges to identify the content of our courses, programs, workshops and classes which address those objectives for that badge. While we do not expect our speakers and instructors to cover all aspects of any given badge, we will assign a badge to a program that we feel like addresses a high degree of material for that badge.
The Pathways to Success program is completely self-guided and currently self-assessed when it comes to earning any particular badge. You will decide when you have earned it. We encourage you to be as honest as possible with your evaluation of your knowledge and skills set as it pertains to each badge. As this program expands, we will be adding self-evaluation tools and providing access to TPPA members who can serve as mentors to provide you with important feedback.
If you are an experienced photographer, we encourage you to look through the entire list of success badges and see which badges you can already claim. After looking through the list, make a list of badges that you might have missed. For example, you may have been in business of a number of years, but if you are not proficient with your portable flash, make a point to work on those skills to claim that badge.
If you are new to photography or have never had any real training or you are looking into starting a career as a professional photographer, we encourage you to start your journey with the First Steps.