Networking Events

Filter Photo Festival Portfolio Reviews by Ron Cowie

Travel Is so broadening

I attended Filter Photo Festival for the portfolio reviews. I missed a lot of things that were planned, much to my regret, so this not a comprehensive fawning review of the event. I'll leave that to other people. My experience was a good one though. Filter Festival is great organization and event and I'll be back next year.

I brought my most current work more as an introduction device than anything else. I wasn't creatively stuck or looking for "the next level" in my "career". My motivation was to see if I was out of my mind. I'm happy to report that I'm not. 

Whenever I look back on events like this, I like to ask myself "Who was I supposed to meet?" The portfolio reviews provided a great sample of people across the spectrum of photography. The most important thinker of the bunch was Jonathan Blaustein. His take on the photo world and how to survive in it today is very close to mine only he says it better.  He lives in a small town, he's got two kids, he's trying to make the bell ring and, he's having to step beyond what is considered a normal life for photography. He's on to something and I'm not just saying that because I agree with him.

 He reminded me that Ansel Adams didn't make a lot of money and he also started some pretty amazing organizations dedicated to photography. So meeting with Jonathan was key.

It also was great to reconnect with Lisa Janes, the owner of Alibi Fine Art. She represents my work and is one of the more thoughtful people involved in photography around. Having a strong advocate for your work is a real blessing. 

I left with an idea to start one of these festivals myself. How crazy is that? It's the most helpful. Since I live in Rhode Island, and there isn't one of these kicking around, it makes sense to do it. If nothing else, it will save on plane fare. One of the gifts of my life is a desire to build communities among friends.

The primary purpose of these festivals and gatherings: to inspire participants to reach a little further in their creative lives and to help each other in the journey. Photography can be a very lonesome patrol but it's more fun to see the wizard with friends. In that spirit, here are some folks I was glad to reconnect with and/or meet. It is not comprehensive.

So, I need to stop writing and finish a website, process some images, write my thank you notes, and pick up my kid from school. Today is a lovely day and I am most grateful for it. Filter Festival reminds me that it is a wonderful time to get to do what I do 

My Name is Ron Cowie, and I Network. by Ron Cowie

I just came back from a Newport Interactive Marketers event  at Newport Vineyards sponsored by Suzanne McDonald of Designated Editor with the keynote speaker Ted Ives discussing his suggested methods to "Strategize Your Content for Maximum SEO and Social ROI". It is fair to say a good time was had by all.

It's good to know I'm not crazy when it comes to my online marketing. Better yet, it's good to know we're all just a little clueless about the best practice for promotion and marketing online and thereabouts. There is comfort in numbers. 

Here is what I picked up regarding content creation:

  • Making content that matches what my clients are looking for is a lot better than giving them what I want. That makes sense
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very long term process. This is something I have been experiencing on a first-hand basis. There is no "magic bullet" to becoming easier to find. 
  • The best practices for SEO are always changing. This is like having a really hot girlfriend or boyfriend who keeps giving you the runaround. Google is this significant other.
  • The book "Positioning" is a classic and I need to read it. So, I just got it for my Kindle. 
  • Facebook is doing some pretty interesting stuff with the algorithms but it isn't the same thing as SEO. You're reaching out to a demographic, not searchers. I did not know that!
  • It is better to have a total system in place than do what is called "stovepipe thinking". That makes sense and is what I try to do with my clients. Looking at the big picture is important. 
  • SEO = Content + Architecture + Linking. 

Most importantly, it was good to find out that 

No One Is An Expert In All This Stuff!!!

We all know a little or a lot of some specific things. My strength lies in the visual content creation department. That's because I got tired of just taking pictures and watching them put on crappy websites and the like. It seems that people don't always know what to do with the content they are contracting me to create. That makes sense and is only human. So, I've been working with people to help maximize the content (visual and written) for their websites. It's fun.

Networking is not something that comes easily to me but I'll be back to the NIM events. They are well run and informative. Photography is no longer just a matter of taking pictures, I need to learn how to help my clients use the pictures to increase the value of the work we both do.