Make yourself useful!

Posted by in professional practice

It would be easy to imagine from reading the posts on our main website that Charlotte and I spend a lot of money travelling to conferences and networking. The reality is, almost without exception, that we are there as guests, usually with me as a speaker or judge. Not only are many of these events expensive to attend but the opportunities to make contacts are generally greater if you’re on “the inside” than if you’re attending as a delegate. And the sums certainly add up a lot better even if, as is usually the case, there is no speaking fee.

While organisers may have a roster of speakers they like to draw upon, I have had some invitations in the past on the strength of a pitch I’ve made. The key thing is to offer content that is going to add variety, create controversy or provide inspiration and to provide evidence from your speaking/publication/social media track record that you are the person to deliver it. Just as much as you want the speaking engagement, organisers are keen to get the best content providers – and not all great photographers are equally great speakers.

Travel opportunities may also be had from regional tourist boards looking to improve overseas coverage of their area. I’ve just done a five day “Famtrip” with Tim Appleton of the British Birdfair and others to Andalucia for an upcoming column and to build relationships with local guides. As a speculative trip it would be economically questionable, but with support it starts to seem like a good idea.

[thanks to the unknown Spanish photographer who pictured me speaking in Granda in 2007, above.]