NPPA - Northern Short Course
Rejuvenated, re-motivated and re-dedicated is how I'm feeling after attending this year's Northern Short Course put on by NPPA (National Press Photographers Association). The list of lectures, workshops and opportunities to connect with piers is stacked. Topics range from frontline photojournalism by Louie Palu & Holly Pickett to securing funding for long term projects. Todd Bigelow gave everyone a dose of reality with some statistics and followed it up with real world examples of what he does to continuously build and evolve as a freelance photographer. Jarrad Henderson dove deep into the structure of storytelling and how we can all ratchet up our game as storytellers. One of the highlights to the event for me was to be able to spend some time with editors and photographers that I’ve got to know through email or social media. Those conversations usually ended up meeting others and widening our circle of friends and colleagues, truly valuable in a day and age of superficial likes and friend requests.
Digging back into a few of the presentations. Emmy Award winning, Jarrad Henderson is a dynamic and energetic speaker and knows his storytelling. He used “The Wiz” to illustrate the narrative arc, pulling in a great graphic from Dan Harmon’s story circle. Stepping us through the story of his career while giving us an education on storytelling and tossing in some sweet clips of The Wiz. You can find more about Jarrad here and if you want to see the Dan Harmon story circle jump over to Studio Binder's Youtube channel and watch the whole explanation using Dark Knight as an example. The other presentation that packed in a lot of information was Todd Bigelow’s. From a business perspective it packed in a ton of value, reinforcing some of the things I’m doing right and blow holes in some of the bad habits I might have developed over the years. Todd spent years shooting for Sports Illustrated, Time and a long list of others and he’s transition smartly into a diverse range of clients and still growing new streams of revenue. In his discussion he spent some time up front talking about the ever-changing landscape of freelance photojournalism and how much is wrapped up in marketing, client development – The Grind. I think he broke it down to an 80/20 split, that’s 80% grind, 20% creating images. He did throw down the gauntlet and said to the crowd of students, emerging photojournalists and others “If you’re taking a day off know that I’ll be working….” If that doesn’t motivate someone they might want to look into a 9 to 5er. For more on Todd and his work at Todd Bigelow
Lastly, I meet a bunch of great people, working in television news, small newspapers, big corporations and that made the trip from New Hampshire to New Jersey well worth it. A big thanks goes out to all the people at NPPA and the team that put the Northern Short course together. I only scratched the surface of the three day event if you’re interested in seeing the full schedule and what other educational opportunities are available at NPPA jump over to their site and find an opportunity to connect and continue to grow as a photographer and a business person.