What Do You Know? – by Chris Williams

We are the Indianapolis Professional Photographers Guild. Have you ever wondered why we are a guild? Why aren’t we a club? Is there a difference between a guild and a club?

To many, the word guild might just seem to be a fancy synonym for club. But a guild is very different than a club! Guilds were first formed in medieval times. Guilds were associations of workers in the same trade, such as masons, glass workers, painters, etc. The guilds controlled the secrets and mysteries of their crafts. By joining a guild, a craftsman could learn the secrets of their craft from the masters of the crafts. Does that sound familiar?

Learning from those who are more experienced… isn’t that what IPPG is all about? Although we gather monthly for great food and fellowship, the primary reason for IPPG’s existence is to learn from one another.

Our learning doesn’t have to be limited to whatever our monthly speaker chooses to share with us. We can also use our monthly meetings to learn from one another. During dinner or while you’re mingling, ask someone what they’ve learned lately. Then tell them something that you’ve recently learned. You’ll both learn something new! Isn’t that what being in this guild is all about?

Want to know something else?? You can also learn new things (or refresh your memory) in the comfort of your own home or studio. Set aside some time each week to LEARN. Google Photoshop Tips or Best Photographers or Photography Tips. Read your camera manual. If you’re a CPP, why not review the book that you used to study for the test (I did this recently and learned a bunch of things that I had either forgotten or that I didn’t digest when I was studying).

I am passionate about learning and I intentionally learn new things almost every day. In the evenings you’ll find me learning more about our craft. I’ll likely have my face buried in a book or sitting at the iMac googling anything related to photography or Photoshop.

If you had asked me a few months ago how I would rate myself as a Photoshop user I would have said that I’m at a high-intermediate or advanced level. Ha! The more that I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Here are some things that I’ve studied (and experimented with) in the last few weeks: Blend If, Frequency Separation, Luminosity Masks, Lab Color mode (it isn’t what you think it might be) and color curves to name just a few. Do you know how to use these features? If so, then why haven’t you told me?!

I’m among good company when I tell you the importance of continuous learning. And a couple of well-known people agree with me; Socrates and Henry Ford.

Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”   Learning is exciting and it truly DOES kindle the flame within us.

Henry Ford said “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  It’s your choice. Do you want to be old or do you want to learn and stay young?

Though I may not be quite as well known as Socrates or Henry Ford, I too have written a pretty good quote about learning… “Teach me what you know and we’ll stay young together.”

Christopher Williams



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