Since starting my photography business, ID Photography, five years ago there has been many disappointments. As my business has ebbed and flowed many of those disappointments have faded away into triumphs, but through the years one disappointment became a huge frustration. While this frustration didn't directly affect my business's growth, it limited what I represented as a young entrepreneur.
That frustration was the a lack of collaboration, community and meeting of the minds of photographers in my local area. Southern MN suffered from "Don't Touch My Stuff" syndrome and it left a bad taste in my mouth and ill will in my stomach. To combat the unease I have always operated my business with a secondary goal: To provide a safe space for up-and-coming photographers to seek advice, hone their skills, and even better; offer a shoulder to lean on, and ear to vent to and a friend to rejoice with as they grew.
Here's the crazy twist to all of this. I took them with me (as photo assistants, second photogs etc) as my business grew. I, myself, was still wet behind the ears. I was still (and in some ways still am) creating a foundation for my business and a vision for my brand. But forming bonds that put community before competition, has always be just as important as taking my photography hobby and making it my dream job. I wanted, I NEEDED, to be part of the #communityovercompetition movement I saw happening everywhere except where I lived.
This past March by happenstance, I met Missy from Galleria Vivid Photography, at the birthday party for a mutual friends' sons we clicked. She had moved back to southern Minnesota from the east coast a few years prior and was frustrated about the lack of community she found so helpful back east. In the space of an hour we brainstormed. Two months later Mankato Photography Network held is first meeting.
It was a breath of fresh air. To connect with other photographers, to learn with and from them, to transform with them makes me excited and refreshes my mind. Now I want it to refresh yours. Once a month MPN photographers grow together. If you are a photographer in the southern MN area come check out our events. We're a pretty fun group of photogs who love supporting other local small businesses and who love supporting and growing with each other. We'd love to support you too.
Check out the latest MPN event here!