Many of our members and readers don’t realize that International Press Association is now over 23 years old. Originally formed in 1990 as a local organization meant to bring photographers in the New York and New Jersey area together for seminar workshops, it grew to international status and changed its mission in the early days of the internet.
While cleaning some of my older files I discovered one of our early Newsletters that was sent out to this group of photographers announcing upcoming workshops. As you can see our workshops concentrated on shooting glamour and all of our female models were volunteers who wanted to get in front of a camera and learn how to become a photographers model. The models gained the experience and received lots of great print’s for their portfolio’s and the photographers had an opportunity to learn make-up techniques necessary when shooting commercial work. They learned the proper way to light a set using pro equipment, how to pose a model and so much more.
We would set up four or five photo sets in the ballroom of one of our local hotels and light it properly. The equipment we used were either donated by sponsoring companies or brought by some of our long time photographer attendees. We had lots of great guys that volunteered their equipment and time to help make these seminars possible.
Sets were then created and the models had an opportunity to try out before a seminar so we could judge their ability to pose for the photographers. Back in 1991 the photographers would pay $110 to $125 to attend a days shoot, which today would probably be around $300 or more and we would sign up no more than 20 photographers for a seminar. As you can see from the Before and After shots of Dawn, there were some stunning examples of what we could show our seminar attendees.
Teams of photographers usually four in a team and each team would go to one of the sets. Before they would shoot, we would demonstrate how to apply make-up on the models, how to use the lighting, discuss set design, poses, working with models to make them feel comfortable and much more. I would personally show them how to plug into the system and would then demonstrate how to work with the models.
Once done, each member would have the opportunity to do the same for 15 minutes of shooting the models. While one member is actively shooting, the other three members of their team would watch and observe. At the end of an hour or longer we would announce it was time to rotate to the next set. At the end of the seminar program, each photographer would have shot a minimum of 4 hours out of the 6 hour day and would have shot a number of different models.
Now the interesting thing we discovered was that each photographer had the same instructions, similar equipment and lighting, the same models and the same time shooting, yet each photographer had very different results. We were able to critique the work at the next workshop and highlight the best shots of the previous workshop so all could learn by doing.
Although the workshops are gone now and we don’t have the same opportunity to work with our members live, we do still believe that the only way to improve your skills is to actually get out and do the work. Our Learn By Doing program has been the basis for everything IPA has been doing for over 23 years. We will continue stress the importance of learning by doing as we build a stronger network of members. With four websites designed to help our members to learn and exhibit their works on professional digital publication we continue to search for those members that are willing to do the work that is necessary to gain the knowledge, exposure and credibility we all want.
If you are interested in improving your skills, gaining the knowledge and gaining the exposure and credibility you will earn as a working IPA member, then we want you. Join us today and find out why our working members are not only Learning but Earning by Doing the Work.