Monday, January 31, 2011

Next Level Photography Focus Group | Connect - Learn - Share

{Updated February 1, 2011}

After posting this late last night, I realized it was one of the most lackluster posts ever written. Nothing I said about the Next Level Photography Focus Group was compelling enough to make you want to leave the comfort of a cozy cubicle or the blanketed warmness of your couch and come join a motley group of photographers for some mediocre sushi twice a month, and I apologize for that. Our group really is a lot of fun and there are a lot of local photographers who have benefited from our somewhat long-winded meet-ups. I personally block out 11:30am to 3pm on the first and third Wednesday of each month so I make sure we don't schedule any other appointments and miss the meet-up.

So before I let you read the original post, I want to point out that this group was established for the reasons stated in the title - Connect - Share - Learn, but it was the sharing part that got it all started. People who wanted to learn about photography were frustrated that nobody would answer their questions and photographers were often frustrated with the people asking the questions. So we decided the best solution was to give everyone time to meet for a glorified question and answer session where everyone shares something. You are allowed to Google your sharing so it's not that hard. Read on for more information, and thanks for letting me attempt to make this post slightly more interesting...

{Original Post}

Three years ago Allan and I established the Next Level Photography Focus Group {NLPFG}along with Dee Pinckard {who loves to photograph his grandchildren and sunsets in warm climates} and Tom Geisler {who is a wedding photographer and teaches Fundamentals I & II in UT's Personal and Professional Development program} as a means for everyone from full-time professional photographers to the weekend enthusiast to connect, learn and most of all, share. In the beginning participants were asked to share something on the weekly topic or risk being 'voted off the island', but as time went on and the group grew, the rules relaxed in an effort to give those who wanted to share on the topic time to talk. Our topics range from business to how-to's and attendance fluctuates from 8 to over 30 depending on the topic and the time of year.

I have never taken the time to write much about the Group, which strikes me as odd because it is such an important part of my life and has brought together a great number of people, many of whom have gone on to start a photography business of their own. Partnerships amongst the members have also been forged, business ideas have spouted and new streams of revenue have emerged as a result of NLPFG. Someone once told me other photographers called NLPFG a 'clique' and although I know what they meant, they are quite right. There is certainly a lot of 'clicking' going on this this group both with cameras and with the members!

If you live in the Knoxville area and want to connect with fellow photographers of all levels, learn more about the photography fundamentals and business and share your knowledge on the subjects you love, then you need to see what NLPFG is all about. We meet the first and third Wednesday of every month at Makino Japanese Buffet on Kingston Pike {near Chuck E. Cheese} at 12pm in the back room. For a long time, we would hold a monthly evening meeting, but that became difficult to coordinate so now we suggest everyone participate in the Knoxville SMUG User Group {you don't need to actually use SmugMug}evening meet-ups. They are a lot of fun and offer the same opportunities to connect, learn and share.

We look forward to seeing you! And now I feel better about sharing NLPFG with the rest of the world...

Visit our Facebook group page or contact Lisa at for more information.

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