The big picture

When I started the Lockdown 21 photography group on the night of the Lockdown in South Africa I had no idea it would grow so fast and affect so many people’s lives in the positive way that it has.

All I knew is that I wanted to motivate, inspire and provide some distraction for the hundreds if not thousands of photographers in South Africa. Yes, at that stage, I had not thought past my own country. A few weeks later I realized we had quite a few members from all over the world and it was such a great feeling to realize this was benefitting such a diverse group of people all linked by photography.

Showcasing talented photographers and photography genres.

I really was enjoying finding talented photographers and showcasing their work to the members. The live streamed “Prezzo’s” were a great way to introduce people to the different genre’s that make up photography. Underwater portraits, wildlife, conservation, commercial, macro, products, and the biggest benefit was that I was feeling inspired and motivated. I had found amazingly talented people who I would stay in touch with for many years to come.

Combining the love of photography, uploading your images and education.

A couple of weeks into the lockdown after posting the theme for the day which was “Backlighting”, I saw a post which was definitely not backlighting and realized that instead of just posting a theme for the day, wouldn’t it be great to combine a theme with education.

So on a Monday, post the theme for the week, include a short intro video explaining the concept “Backlighting” with some examples and all the submissions would then be accessible on the website.

It would also be great to have a set of members (possibly the most active on the group), who would all vote independently to provide a photo of the week.

For nothing more than the honor of being the theme of the week winner.

It would be great to have sponsored prizes, but that was not the main focus.

So let’s talk about the business of photography.

We all want to take pictures for a living. Be that in the Masai Mara, The Seychelles, Patagonia – we all have our dream destination.

The reality is that this is simply a dream until you can run a successful photography business or find a way of making it work for you.

I remember showcasing a fantastic photographer and drone”ographer” who had managed to successfully turn her passion into a business and travels the world photographing her travels.

So the Hunters of Light shows what can be done, and then backs it up with business orientated education.

I created the question and answer feature where I would have a session with a photographer, Camera Brand, marketer, social media expert and discuss the business of photography with that expert.

What do you need to run a successful business?

The idea of a membership based group was born, an environment where people could learn to improve their photography skills, upload beautiful images, have positive critique on those images and just enjoy photography.

In addition, those wanting to take it a step further and become a photographer full time would have access to tutorials, discussion forums with genre experts (Wildlife, portraits, commercial, retouching). These genre experts would be involved in the discussion forums providing weekly topics and discussion the questions that come up.

The members would benefit greatly from the guidance and advice of the genre experts, and the experts would benefit from any members that wanted to take it a step further and book a 1-2-1 session or join a workshop.

It was a brilliant way to benefit both the member and the expert. And at the end of the day, the whole photography industry.

The better we get at taking photographs, the better the product that the industry as a whole can provide.

But wait, there is more…

So you have access to genre experts to help improve your photography, but what about the business aspects?

When you start a business there are a lot of elements that need to be considered.

Company registration, contracts, insurance, motivation, client interaction, accounting, tax…

So let’s add business genre experts.

How about an expert in setting up a business, and a legal expert for all your contracts, terms & conditions and any disputes that come up.

Sounds pretty cool, but let’s add an insurance expert with advice on insuring your gear and general liability policies.

And what if you could ask these experts for advice?

You see where this is going..

The big picture for the Hunters of light is a Community that will provide advice, education, inspiration and motivation for all aspects of the photography industry. To be completely honest, when I think of what is involved it does scare me a little…

But that is the goal, and I am moving towards bringing those ideas to light and supporting as many photographers and photography related businesses as I can in this initiative.

I want to help you as a photographer, as an educator, as a business specialist to be more successful by helping those around you.

By giving, everyone gains, I hope you are just as excited about the hunters of Light and will join me in becoming evangelists for photography and for your fellow photographers.

Much love and stay safe.