PPMT President’s Message-March 2018

I was so excited to see so many attendees at our last meeting.  The enthusiasm was contagious.  I know all of us enjoyed Elena’s presentation.  I walked away with ideas swirling in my head…how about you?  I can promise you that our next speaker will be equally as inspiring.

I met our March speaker, Devi Sanford, at the Franklin Art Crawl earlier this year.  During casual conversation I discovered that she is a photographer, and I peppered her with a million questions.  After that I was able to visit with her and see her passion project that she will be telling us about.  Her credentials and experiences with highly respected photographers are amazing.  Devi has just returned from a trip to Antarctica and will be sharing stories and photos from that trip.  She will also discuss why she chose photography as a career, and a little about her current work.  This is a meeting that you will definitely want to attend!

I recently attended another photography group lunch, and there was a lively discussion about abstract photography. Abstract photography is “a means of depicting a visual image that does not have an immediate association with the object world and that has been created through the use of photographic equipment, processes or materials.”  I have composed a few abstracts in camera (swipes), but haven’t played much with manipulated abstracts in Photoshop.  Have you?  If you have manipulated your image in any way, would you still consider it photography or fine art?

One of our state members, Susan Ruach is teaching an online course in abstract photography beginning March 6th.  For more information go to

www.shantiarts.com/workshops.  The title is Experiments in Abstract and Impressionistic Photography.  I’m sure it will be a wonderful experience.

I look forward to seeing our lively crowd at Kebabs at 5 for dinner before our meeting.  Please come and bring a friend!  We will have more door prizes to give away also.  See you March 13!

PPMT President’s Message-December 2017

 

PPMT President’s Message-December, 2017

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

 

As we wrap up the year, we look forward to welcoming an exciting and promising new year.  I am so honored to have served as your president for the last 12 months and will continue as a PPMT member, Chairman of the Board and Webmaster in 2018.  I want to thank you all for allowing me to serve as your President and I want to recognize and thank all the members of the PPMT Board for their tireless efforts and contributions:  Peggy Weatherington, Michael Gustafson, Dorma Tabisz, Dana Lunden, Sandra Hafford and Tracey Teichmann.  As an all-volunteer organization, PPMT offers programs that are only possible because of photographers who are willing to give back some of their time and energy.  On behalf of all our members, thank you, board members, for your service to our group.  And to all our members, thank you for your continued support and hard work.

Our greatest challenge is getting our members to take ownership of the organization and get involved.  I want to charge each of you to step up and volunteer this year.  If you enjoy PPMT and find value in being a member, please contact us and let us know how you want to get involved.  Running a stellar organization is the responsibility of all members, not just a handful of people.  It will lessen the load if all members participate.  Please don’t expect the same 6 people to carry the weight of all the members. That weight gets heavy.  Many affiliates across the country are closing their doors – mostly for financial reasons or lack of membership. This is serious concern for our organization as well and it would be tragic for us to have to dissolve.  Now, as Dorma Tabisz takes the reigns as your president, we want to support and encourage her in growing our membership and making PPMT the best it has ever been.

As we reflect on the past year, I believe that we have many reasons to be proud of our accomplishments.  In 2017, we brought numerous experts and industry leaders to our monthly meetings who inspired us and taught us so many wonderful things. Our sponsors generously provided hundreds of products and services for our monthly door prize drawings. We increased our membership by 11 new members.  We also now have a permanent meeting location at Watkins College of Art.

Additionally, the new website has served us well this year.  It takes a lot of time and work to keep the site maintained but I am happy to volunteer my time to the organization to keep it up to date.  My hope is that we will have more active member engagement on the site in the coming year.  I want every member to visit the website often, which helps SEO.  Check out the events calendar, the blog and member content page.  Who knows, we may have some special surprises announced only on our blog in the future.  And PLEASE update your profile!  You can also help by contributing to the free member content.  The content categories are: Design Templates, Studio Templates and Forms, Articles and Tutorials and Textures and Stock Images. You may submit your content HERE.  There are many small ways to help and we are counting on you this year.  We rely heavily on volunteers to keep PPMT going and anything you can do to help the organization is good for everyone.  You can fill out our volunteer form and let us know about which opportunities you are interested in.

Whether photography is for business or pleasure we are all here to help each other and to learn from each other.  I challenge everyone to make your photography dreams a reality this year by setting goals and working with others to figure out how to achieve them.  Community and relationships are the strongest, most important thing in your creative journey.  You never know why you will meet the people who cross your path; you never know who will be your next best friend or mentor or who will have the most influence on your life.  Often, we do not realize how important we really are to each other and to the community we serve.  But, what we do profoundly impacts the lives of so many around us.  What we can accomplish together as a team, as the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee family, is also extremely important.  So, open your heart, your mind, and your lives to each other and know that PPMT is a safe place to create, network and share your ideas and dreams.  I wish you all a happy and prosperous year, but also want to challenge you to step up your game and push yourselves to be even more.  Set some personal goals for yourself this year as well – shoot more, enter print competition for the first time, declare your candidacy for the CPP program, put together a seminar and start teaching – strive to make yourself the best you can be.  PPMT is here to help!

The Board of Directors is working hard on some great ideas and events for next year but even with all these great ideas, we REALLY need your help to make them come to life!  The possibilities for momentum and growth are endless.  With member input and participation, the leadership will continue to work hard to keep the momentum moving forward.  The organization will provide learning opportunities and activities, so members can continue to make their photographs exceptional and improve their craft!  We are very excited about the direction we’re headed and the growth we’re seeing. We are always looking to improve, though, so please feel free to offer feedback and suggestions. Or better yet, volunteer some time to help.

We meet on the second Tuesday of every month at Watkins College of Art.  If you are interested in checking us out, please contact us at ppmt@ppmtonline.com or come to one of our monthly meetings. The first meeting is FREE to attend. Details can always be found on our website or our Facebook page.  Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.

If you would like to become a PPMT member, we’d love to have you join us.  Our memberships are extremely affordable, and the value far outweighs your membership dues.  Visit our website or sign up here.

You are all so dear to my heart and so is PPMT.  I love you all.  Thank you again and I look forward to an amazing 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Butler,

PPMT President

PPMT President’s Message-November 2017

PPMT President’s Message-November, 2017

Pushing Through

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

 

It’s that time of the year again and the holidays are just around the corner along with the cold weather.  A brisk chill in the air invigorates some while the thought of another approaching winter puts others on hibernation alert.  Some of us look forward to this time of year with great excitement and others with great dread.  And, many of us are in desperate need of motivation to push through. We all have days where we just don’t feel like doing anything. It’s raining out, we didn’t get enough sleep, it’s cold, we’re hungry, we had an all-around crappy day, the dishwasher, car and HVAC unit all died at the same time, whatever.  We’ve gotten through stuff before and we’ll get through it again.  And the thought of adding holiday shopping to the already crazy mix, with the extra traffic and crowded stores, can bring out the Grinch in the best of us.  It’s these moments when we just want to curl up despondently on the couch and escape from reality.

Life isn’t easy…business isn’t easy……photography isn’t easy… and success isn’t easy.  It takes lots of hard work, strong determination and pushing through. How many times have you put off something you really needed or wanted to do because you just didn’t feel like doing it? Probably too many times to count. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed which can cause a physical and mental paralysis in getting anything done. Maybe you are just disorganized, mentally cluttered and need to get your act together.  We have to ditch the excuses and find solutions. We just can’t give up when things get busy or difficult. We have a living to make, pictures to take and have to push through.

And, it’s perfectly fine and, in fact, necessary to take some time off every now and again to rest up, enjoy your family and hobbies.  Give your brain a break from work, electronics and social media and build some down time into your day. Rest, recreation and recuperation are vital to a balanced, healthy life and should be incorporated into your schedule.

Maybe you need to find a way to simplify and clarify the things you need to happen in your life. I believe setting a schedule and daily routine are very powerful and necessary in the life of a creative entrepreneur.  You can’t always wait for motivation or inspiration to strike in order to produce.  And it’s not even about the hustle.  We work hard but do we work smart?  Most successful people don’t rely only on motivation or inspiration or even a random spark of genius, but rather, on a consistent mastering of daily habits to achieve creative success. If you don’t have a schedule, it’s really easy to get stuck and avoid doing any work at all.  And, it’s ok to create some junk or less than stellar work along the way.  If you show up every day, you will eventually excel which will encourage you to push through and keep moving forward.

Similar to having a set schedule, I like to make lists…they keep me on track.  (I use a small 7” x 5” notebook to journal). Here’s how: make a list of all your “to-do’s” and arrange them in order of priority (I am definitely not a great time manager or productivity expert, so I like to get the tasks that take the least amount of time out of the way first when possible). Decide on at least three things you want to accomplish that day and what actions you need to take to get them done.  Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking is for the birds, if you ask me.  Then, just start doing! Try not to get distracted until you finish the task.  Put on some upbeat music if you need motivation.

Getting started is everything, and once you’ve accomplished one small task, you’re ready (and excited) to tackle another…and then another. If you need to take a break in between, set a time limit and stick to it.  Sometimes you just have to step away and take a deep breath.  Do something fun or take a walk around the block.  If you just can’t muster the wherewithal to accomplish much, and we’ve all had “those days”, try and do just one thing. Commit to just ten minutes…enough time to accomplish one small task. Even if all you did was ten minutes of work you still knocked out one small task.  This really works! High motivation is a result of repeated success and low motivation is a result of prior failures. When you start to see your accomplishments, you’ll want to get more done.

Next, check the tasks you have completed off your list.  Review and update your list frequently. Each night, I take a couple of minutes to think about and reflect on the day. I’m not a morning person and don’t have the desire or discipline to get up at 4 AM to have the quiet, solitude or focus I need for effective prioritization. So, evening works good for me.

I look at the “wins” I’ve had throughout the day — these are things that I’ve done well based on my priorities. This makes me feel good about what I did that day and going to bed each night with at least one win under my belt gives me optimism for tomorrow.

I also look at the “losses” I’ve had — these are the areas where I’ve blown it or didn’t accomplish what I set out to do. This helps me recognize what I can do better and also helps me push through with a positive attitude.

Then I revise my list and set my priorities for the next day — the top three things that I want to accomplish tomorrow. I would rather do small things on a consistent basis than to try and take on too much and fail.  Small wins and little accomplishments consistently, over time, add up to big returns.

On a side note, sometimes “life” gets in the way…circumstances happen, and we have to be flexible but pushing through doesn’t mean pushing to exhaustion.  It doesn’t mean getting on the preverbal hamster wheel of life, not getting any rest or getting sucked into the rat race.  It doesn’t mean working 18-hour days…day in and day out, ignoring your family or neglecting your needs.  And, it doesn’t mean not giving yourself grace during difficult times.  It does mean doing your best, defining your purpose, overcoming laziness, getting motivated, challenging yourself, using success systems and resources, and having the discipline to plan and stick to a schedule or, at least, make a list.

I hope these tips help you.  You know, you can get more great tips and free education from the top photographers and business professionals in the industry when you join the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee. We are committed to your success. If you would like to become a PPMT member, we’d love to have you join us.  Our memberships are extremely affordable, and the value far outweighs your membership dues.  Visit our website and sign up here.

Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is at our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 14th featuring Al Gordon.  His program is “Marketing Your Personal Projects to Build Your Wedding Business”.  I hope to see you there.

In the mean time, here’s to “Pushing Through”

 

Donna Butler, PPMT President

ppmt@ppmtonline.com

 

PPMT President’s Message-July 2017

PPMT President’s Message-July, 2017

The Possibilities are Endless

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

 

What a pleasure it has been to be a part of the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee and to serve as President this year. I am so thrilled to see our association grow and succeed. We have welcomed 9 new members this year and encourage local photographers to be a part of PPMT.  The association has always emphasized growth in photography and fostered comradery.  We have everyone from beginners to seasoned pros…from amateurs to professionals with a love for photography.

Who ever anticipated the remarkable changes that photography would undergo over the years?  With the digital age and the ability to view and adjust on the spot, photography is easier…at least on the surface.

Photography is still a complex art/science with so many variables and ways of capturing an image but the basic principles still apply. Composition and exposure are paramount to photography. You must have the skills and technical knowledge and the ability to “see” a scene and photograph it in a way no one has. You must know the dials and buttons on your camera. To take it a step further, you must be able to edit images in computer software to create exceptional art that achieves your ultimate vision. There thousands of ways to take a picture and even thousands more to edit it.  The possibilities are endless!

As an art, photography is the “why”.  It is a means of visual expression used to interpret nature and the human condition.  It’s the ability to see, plan and visually compose an image, to find a unique message or something visually enticing to the viewer.  It’s the embodiment of the personality, the emotion, the talent, the imagination, the inspiration…the very soul of the image maker.

As a science, photography is the “how”.  It is a tool of measurement, calculation, and recording. It requires technical skill to understand the mathematical rules, the aesthetic geometry, the physics of light, the mechanics and engineering of the gear, the system of optics and to utilize the camera well to achieve what the art calls for.

The photographers in PPMT are exceptional and skilled photographers who work hard, seek to learn, strive to improve and they take pride in their images. To our gifted PPMT members, photography is not necessarily just an “art” or “science”.  It’s a life-long personal pursuit, a lifestyle.  It’s their “craft”.

Who knows what the future holds for PPMT?  With its rich past and strong membership, the potential for momentum and growth is there. The possibilities are endless. The needs of the membership will help guide the direction of PPMT. With member input and participation, the leadership will continue to work hard to keep the momentum moving forward. The organization will continue to provide learning opportunities and activities so members can continue to make their photographs exceptional and improve their craft!  Whether photography is for business or pleasure we are all here to help each other and to learn from each other.

Thanks for your continued support and hard work.  We rely heavily on volunteers to keep PPMT going and anything you can do to help the organization is good for everyone.  You can fill out our volunteer form and let us know about which opportunities you are interested in.  The Board of Directors is working hard on some great ideas and events for the rest of the year but even with all these great ideas, we REALLY need your help to make them come to life!

Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 11th  at Dury’s with Genna Sellers.  We will learn about food photography, including some of the tips and tricks that will take your imagery to the next level. (Details can be found HERE).

Speaking of fun…who doesn’t love a fun and friendly competition?  It’s good for the soul and gets the creative juices flowing.  We will have our Peers’ Choice Competition at our next regular monthly meeting in July, so get those images ready!***

If you would like to become a PPMT member, we’d love to have you join us.  Our memberships are extremely affordable and the value far outweighs your membership dues.  Visit our website and sign up here.

***Don’t forget to bring your 8×10 or 8×12 Print (up to 2) and the $3 entry fee per image for the Peer’s Choice Competition July 11th.

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Butler,

PPMT President

PPMT President’s Message-June 2017

 

PPMT President’s Message-June, 2017

It’s All About Balance

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

 

It’s summertime!  And you know what that means: backyard barbecues, swimming, sunning, surfing, biking, hiking, road trips and spending time with family and friends. Fun, fun, fun!  It is a special time of year where we get to relax a bit more, get out in the sunshine and spend time with our families and friends.  (If you’re looking for fun, free things to do in Nashville, check out Ms. Cheap’s 2017 Guide to Summer)

When I look back over my life I realize it’s the little things that meant the most and there is nothing more important than the loved ones in our lives.  Every minute we get to spend with our family and friends is precious.  We have to take time from our busy schedules to “stop and smell the roses”; to take care of ourselves and those we love; to carve out meaningful lives outside of the demands of the world.  When we live frantic lives, we end up stressed out, moving from one thing to the next without pausing to enjoy the most important things in life.  We hit the fast-forward button and do not stop until it’s too late.  Which really isn’t much of a life at all.  And, add to that, we live in really tough times.  The world feels very unstable, our futures undermined, and everyone is feeling the impact of that instability.  People today are incredibly politically charged and hypersensitive, with vastly differing opinions and voices; we’re exposed to “fake” news, violence and incredible turmoil.  Happiness and peace seem elusive and unattainable in our world today.  Much of this chaos is a waste of time and energy…burdensome and unnecessary.  Who can possibly maintain any semblance of sanity in all this insanity or achieve any type of balance?

Despite these realities, we can create a satisfying and meaningful life.  We can take the time to enjoy the journey and appreciate life and those we are blessed to enjoy life with.  And, it’s all about balance.

Instead of just letting life happen, make deliberate choices about what is most important, what you want from life and how you want to spend your time.  Write your goals and priorities down on a sticky note and place it where you can see it throughout the day.  (Or make it your desktop wallpaper).  Make a priority list and stick to it.  Don’t just wait to see what time is left over in your day.  Make your life and family a priority.  If a task can wait, let it go.  If you have 20 tasks on your list you need to do everyday, how effective do you think your ability to focus will be?  Terrible, right?  You can’t expect to do all those things effectively if you’re too scatterbrained to focus.  You need to break it down to the essentials only.  Focus on only doing 2-3 important tasks a day but no more than that if you value family time.  While emergencies happen and situations come up, resist any temptation to get off track.  Many people go through life and get caught up in situations and circumstances that end up controlling them and find themselves in a place they really don’t want to be.  Learn to say NO when necessary and value your own time.  Sometimes you have to turn down jobs, especially if they aren’t really profitable.  You can’t do everything and you can’t please everyone.  You must pick and choose.  Perhaps you’re in a life-sucking job that you need to quit.  Find a life-giving, time sparing, uplifting job or career you’re passionate about.  Or perhaps you just need pare down the number of hours you are working.  It’s ok to slow down!  It’s ok to get out of the rat race.  It’s ok to explore different avenues and opportunities that give you more time for your life and your family.  You can also learn to live on less and cut the cable if need be.  If your goal is peace, sanity and more time for your life and family, you must evaluate what you must do to achieve these goals.  Acquiring more stuff and achieving more success is not the answer.  Like the old adage says, “You can’t take it with you”.  Here’s another good one, “I’ve never seen a hearse towing a u-haul”.

If you want to focus on the important things in life, turn off distractions!  Make it a priority to spend quality, uninterrupted time doing things you enjoy.  Be honest with yourself, do you ever just take time to be still and quiet?  Do you seek out things that are fun and allow you to get away from the pressures of everyday life?  Or, do you have some electronic device in your hands at all times?   Do you allow people to text or email you at all hours of the night and respond immediately?  How much tv do you watch every day?  Do you work beyond a normal 8-9 hour day?  When is the last time you took a family vacation? Do you attempt to multitask when, in reality, you’re just spinning your wheels?  Did you know that 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up and the average user checks their phone 150 times a day?  This addiction must stop!  Limit your time on electronic devices, social media and email and spend more time on what matters most.  You’ll get more stuff done, too. Turn off the news!  Get out from in front of the computer, turn off the tv and take a walk…with your family.  Read a “real” book.  Invite some friends over for dinner or a card game or go out for coffee.  And, get some physical activity every day!  Summer is a great time for fun activities.  Even if you’re on a budget, you can have the time of your life this summer (check out Ms. Cheap’s 2017 Guide to Summer).

Summer always seems to pass by so quickly.  So today, my friends, remember life is too short…live it to the full now!  Lighten up, have some fun, laugh often, live big, love large and make as many memories as possible!  Don’t end up in your golden years with regrets of not having lived an enriched life; instead having wasted it on meaningless, unimportant things that drained your energy and sucked the very life right out of you.

While, we cannot control the things that are out of our control, we can achieve balance in a chaotic world by prioritizing our time and tasks.  And, with a strong support network, we can also thrive in difficult times. The key to everything in life is consistency and moderation.  It’s all about balance.  So, organize your time, make some fun summer plans with family and friends and seek out opportunities to simply enjoy experiences, make memories and savor life.

Thanks for your continued support and hard work.  We rely heavily on volunteers to keep PPMT going and anything you can do to help the organization is good for everyone.  You can fill out our volunteer form and let us know about which opportunities you are interested in.  The Board of Directors is working hard on some great ideas and events for the rest of the year but even with all these great ideas, we REALLY need your help to make them come to life!

Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 11th with Genna Sellers (location to be determined).  We will learn about food photography, including some of the tips and tricks that will take your imagery to the next level.

Speaking of fun…who doesn’t love a fun and friendly competition?  It’s good for the soul and gets the creative juices flowing.  We will have our Peers’ Choice Competition at our next regular monthly meeting in July, so get those images ready!***

If you would like to become a PPMT member, we’d love to have you join us.  Our memberships are extremely affordable and the value far outweighs your membership dues.  Visit our website and sign up here.

 

 

***Don’t forget to bring your 8×10 or 8×12 Print (up to 2) and the $3 entry fee per image for the Peer’s Choice Competition July 11th.

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Butler,

PPMT President

 

 

PPMT President’s Message-May 2017

PPMT President’s Message- May, 2017

View from the Top

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed the first quarter of 2017! The excitement at PPMT continues to build as our membership grows and we continue to work toward our goals. I am excited about our new committees and encourage each of you to serve in some capacity on a PPMT committee.  We rely heavily on volunteers to keep PPMT going and anything you can do to help the organization is good for everyone.  You can fill out our volunteer form and let us know about which opportunities you are interested in.  The Board of Directors is working hard on some great ideas and events for the rest of the year but even with all these great ideas, we REALLY need your help to make them come to life!

Our next opportunity to mingle and learn this month is our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 9th.  We will be learn about “Bold Business Strategies”, presented by Trish Logan. We will meet at Golden Corral at 315 Old Lebanon Dirt Rd, Hermitage, TN 37076

Additionally, I want to say congratulations to the winner of last month’s Peers’ Choice competition:  Dorma Tabisz. You can read more about the story behind her winning image “Ruffle My Feathers” on our website blog.  All the images were fantastic and I want to encourage you to get your images prepared for our next Peers’ Choice Competition at our next monthly meeting on May 9th.

Now let’s talk about motivation.  We all want more of it.  But just what exactly is it? A mystical force that some people naturally possess and others can only hope for?  A mix of discipline and desire where we must create the necessary impetus? A light-bulb moment we wait for or draw upon whenever needed? Motivation is defined as the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.  It’s what compels us to take action.  It’s energy for motion that propels us forward.  It is a commitment to doing what is worthwhile and keeps us out of a spiral of procrastination.  We know what we “need” to do but we often don’t “want” to do it.  Nearly anything worthwhile in life is uphill and requires work on our part to attain it. We just have to put in the effort to get what to where we want to go.  But how if you lack motivation?

Motivation waxes and wane. Some days we have more and other days, it seems we’re on the struggle-bus without a single spark in sight.  Everything seems like an arduous climb up a mountain with unforgiving turns, steep inclines and fierce, unpredictable weather.  Life is often like that:  unpredictable…fierce…up-hill.   It is an easy deterrent to motivation, for sure.  It’s easy to get discouraged and tired…and, well, UN-motivated.  In fact, many people are so discouraged, they don’t want to climb the mountain at all. They don’t care about the view from the top.  They choose to wait at the bottom and let whatever is at the top roll down on them! Maybe they are afraid of the climb. Maybe they don’t think they can make it to the top. Maybe they don’t have the energy or stamina necessary to go up the hill. Maybe they lack the discipline. Or maybe they are unsure if what’s the at the top is worth the climb? Does it ever get easier?  Oh, what is life, if not the sum of a thousand daily battles and a thousand more tiny decisions to either gut it out or give up? And, just when it looks like a breakthrough is near, another challenge presents itself; another setback, another brutal, rocky path.  How do you scale that mountain of doubt, hardship and struggle and get motivated?  Obviously, it makes sense to plan ahead and be as prepared for obstacles as you can in advance.  Sometimes it’s difficult to overcome some of the biggest boulders you’ll find along the way and you need to get help from others.  Sometimes a helping hand is all you need to get going.  Or perhaps you just need to remove smaller things that are blocking your path…Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or whatever other social procrastination network you’re part of.  Take one step at a time.  Re-evaluate and adapt, if need be. You simply do what you are able to do and keep in mind what the view from the top will look like. There is no need to over-do it and risk injury.  Keep everything in perspective and in balance.  And don’t look back…it’s counter-productive.  Dwelling on the past or the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” only fuels fear and will never get you to the top.  Focus on the next destination, then the next.  A series of “nexts” along your journey…not the summit…not the final destination. Get your next foothold or set up the next base camp…enjoy it, celebrate it, rest up and then get going again.  It’s discipline; it’s hard work and consistency.  And, you will need rest stops along the way; time to catch your breath, refuel and recover.

The key is to be specific about how much time you will take to rest.  Scheduling tasks and breaks is a great way to automate motivation and get things done.  It puts your decision-making on auto-pilot.

Another way to muster motivation is to work on tasks that are achievable yet challenging; not too hard and not too easy. This is known as the “The Goldilocks Rule”, a phenomenon James Clear named after the fairy tale, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. It states that “humans experience peak motivation and happiness when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right”.  If you’re feeling unmotivated to work, it is often because the task has drifted into an area of boredom or into an area of great difficulty. Work on tasks that follow the Goldilocks Rule to maintain motivation.  Outsource when necessary.

Write stuff down and make a plan that will help you navigate the mountainous terrain. Try the “The Ivy Lee Method” Charles M. Schwab used to increase productivity at his company. At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance. When tomorrow arrives, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day. Repeat this process every day. It helps you stay focused, prevents indecision and removes the friction of starting, which is just as important as succeeding at all.

I always say, though, if you are in a real funk, feeling under the weather and completely unmotivated to do anything, do something productive for 10 minutes.  Give yourself 10 minutes.  This is often enough of a start to get you “in the zone” and generate even more motivation.  The idea is to make it as easy as possible to get started and then trust that momentum will carry you further into the task after you begin. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it.  On particularly challenging days, sometimes the simple act of just showing up itself is a victory.  So, show up for 10 minutes if that is all you can muster.  If you have the ability to finish one small 10-minute task, even when you don’t feel like, you have the victory.  Chances are you will feel better about yourself for the accomplishment and, well…motivated.

Thanks for your continued support and hard work.  Here’s to a great second quarter, to an extraordinary view from the top and to motivation!!!

 

Donna Butler, President

Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee

PPMT President’s Message-April, 2017

PPMT President’s Message-April, 2017

Getting Going is Half the Battle

By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

I can’t believe one third of 2017 has passed by. Where, oh where, does the time go? While we have accomplished much already, there’s still a ton of things I would like to see happen for our association. We are setting goals and exploring new ways to improve PPMT and attract new members. We have to make our association a fun, exciting and great resource for Middle Tennessee Photographers. We have to make joining PPMT a “no-brainer” and we aim to provide a plethora of additional member benefits and resources in the coming months and years.

If I were to pick a theme for this year, it would be centered around growth, innovation and momentum. While it’s true that innovation is all about creating new and unique ideas and designing better methods or systems that keep pace with an everchanging industry, it’s, really, only part of the equation. Positive change with substantial growth is the long-term goal. A crucial element, which is as important, if not arguably more important than innovation, is the ability to create momentum along the way. According to Newton’s first law of motion, an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This is as true in any endeavor as it is in physics. Getting going is half the battle but a long-term momentum strategy will keep us going and help us get the results we planned for. Generating new ideas or crafting unique strategies are futile if we don’t have the tools, techniques and commitment to drive change and continued, sustainable growth.

It is equally important to remember that the initial enthusiasm, effort and drive associated with innovation are difficult to maintain without a way to “keep the ball rolling”, so to speak. Often times, our energy and motivation start to wane as setbacks occur, frustrations set in, or plans get diverted. So, how do we create momentum?

First of all, everyone needs to be involved. While the board is working diligently behind the scenes, a healthy organization is not run from the top down. Together we can foster a culture of innovation and embrace real change but we need greater member support and participation in the affairs and functioning of PPMT. We cannot expect the work to be done solely by a few elected board officials. Attending meetings, participating in activities, providing feedback and volunteering on committees are a few ways members can gain a greater sense of camaraderie or “purpose” and help make PPMT a remarkable experience for everyone. Furthermore, if each member gives a little of their time and talents, no one individual is spread too thin. And, since we live in a “digital” age, so much can be done online, using technology as a tool of communication, creativity and coordination.

Secondly, as we move forward, we start to see the fruits of our labor. Confidence builds. Pride in our accomplishments and positive reinforcement go a long way in building momentum. Action drives more action. Little victories lead to big victories. Small accomplishments lead to larger ones. As the word spreads about how awesome it is to belong to PPMT, we gain more traction in our membership base and create momentum by building on that energy and enthusiasm. As momentum builds. We begin to feel a sense of great achievement and the impossible becomes possible. Please consider the skills, knowledge and abilities you have to offer PPMT and help in any way you can within your comfort zone.

Finally, in order to sustain momentum for the long term, communication is key. We must discuss what is working and what is not. We must then tackle challenges with originality, measure our results and respond to feedback, periodically review and adjust the goals and targets to be met and keep an eye on the big picture.

So, in the coming months and years, expect more! Expect some positive changes and get involved! In the mean time, I look forward to seeing you at our next PPMT meeting April 11th featuring speakers Bert Behnke, Hanson Fong and Michael Taylor. You don’t want to miss this one!

***Don’t forget to bring your 8×10 or 8×12 Print (up to 2) and the $3 entry fee per image for the Peer’s Choice Competition April 11th.

You can find out the details here:

https://ppmtonline.com/ppmt-peers-choice-photography-competitions/

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Butler, President

Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee

PPMT President’s Message-March, 2017

PPMT President’s Message-March, 2017
Spring forward…Spring into action
By Donna M. Butler, PPMT President

The “busy” ness of the holidays are behind us and we have settled into 2017. A new year, a new start.

The early spring we have experienced here has been really nice (unless we didn’t get enough cold to kill off all the bugs coming in Summer; but, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it). I must say, I have enjoyed the pleasant temperatures and early spring-like weather. Spring gives us a renewed energy, a forward-looking hope, a little pep in our step. Springtime refers to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Spring brings transformation and change; from darkness to light, from cold to warmth, from grey to bursts of color. We see the signs of new growth and opportunity. As long, dark nights turn to lighter, longer days, new life emerges in the warmth and we look forward to bright and beautiful colors in our lives. There’s a bustling in our neighborhoods which seemed eerily quiet…and suddenly there are people where there used to only be lonely sidewalks.

But, we often get severe weather in the Spring in Tennessee. Spring brings struggle. The force of nature can be sheer terror and uncertainty. Just this morning, a powerful, angry storm and sheer winds wreaked havoc throughout my neighborhood peeling siding off effortlessly, toppling 6 ft. wooden fences, leveling patio furniture, backyard sheds and gas grills to nothing and propelling roof shingles through the air like Frisbees. Unstable weather is caused by the changing orientation of the earth’s axis relative to the Sun when warm air begins to creep in from lower latitudes, while cold air is still pushing from the Polar regions. Life can be a lot like Spring in Middle Tennessee. The storms of life come upon us suddenly and it sometimes feels overwhelming and daunting. It’s inconvenient and challenging to deal with the aftermath of storms. We just don’t have the time or energy…or extra resources. We get frustrated and lose heart. But, we don’t give up. We keep moving forward. The storms pass and we recover. We bounce back and resume life as we know it and we don’t remain in any one season or cycle in life indefinitely. Perhaps we learn something along the way. And, in the process, we realize we are more resilient than we thought. We are resourceful. Yes, sometimes we need help. That’s what friends and family are for and that’s what PPMT is all about. We are a group of like-minded artists and regular people here to support and encourage each other. We know what you’re going through and want to help in any way we can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and don’t forget to pay it forward when you get the chance.

Facing the storms in life with a confident hope that warmer, brighter days are ahead gives us the courage to persist through the hardships and motivates us to work toward the next season ahead. The promise of green buds after a season of difficulty and hard work propel us forward. Spring inspires us to feel hopeful about starting anew, doing something different, making a change, trying again, overcoming, reevaluating, persisting, and believing something awesome and colorful is ahead. We want to clean out the accumulation of months past, tackle those projects on the to do list we eagerly created the first of the year and change for the better.

What challenges will you overcome and what new growth will you focus on this Spring? It starts with your mindset and attitude, and then carries over in your work ethic, your actions and your choices. Understand that transformation is not easy and storms in life will come. You must be prepared for unexpected events and adapt as life dictates. And, it’s not all or nothing…life ebbs and flows just as seasons do. Spring is a great time to evaluate your choices so far, learn from any setbacks and revise your plan as needed. What worked, what didn’t? Write it down. Create a plan. What did you learn and what will you do differently in the weeks and months to come?

Entrepreneurship is an adventure, a journey, and like any great story, it has peaks and valleys. It also has great rewards. There will be good days as well as bad days. Some of the days will have you feeling like you’re defeated and other days, on top of the world, but press on, adjust and innovate. If you don’t innovate, you will die in a sea of competition. When you do have those bad days, don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. In just a few weeks, you’ll be weeding your newly planted garden and anticipating the harvest. It’s not always easy. It’s hard work but remember your “why”…why you do what you do. Believe in yourself! Take one day at a time, one step at a time. Keep moving forward, put in the work and keep growing. Do something every single day to improve yourself and your business. Do what you can, in faith and confidence, that wherever the journey leads you, it will be for your greatest good. At the end of the day, success is up to you. You can choose to accept things the way they are, or you can “Spring forward and spring into action”.  It’s your choice.

 

Donna M. Butler, President

The Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee

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President’s Message-January, 2017

As PPMT President for the 2017 year, I am honored to serve this organization and its members. I look forward to an exciting year working on your behalf with a great board of directors. PPMT has meant so much to me over the years both personally and professionally.

As we reflect on the past year, I believe that we have many reasons to be proud of our accomplishments. In 2016, we brought numerous experts and industry leaders to our monthly meetings who inspired us and taught us so many wonderful things. Our sponsors generously provided hundreds of products and services for our monthly door prize drawings.

We launched our new website in October to better serve our association’s membership. With a clean, fresh and more modern design, our website is easier to navigate and much more functional in communicating with our members and community of professional photographers. As a result, a new member benefit has been added in 2016: an advanced customizable membership profile and directory system.

These accomplishments would not have been possible without the continued commitment and service of our leadership, our valued members and sponsors. It truly was a great year for PPMT.
With that, I ask you to join me in thanking the 2016 PPMT Board of Directors and our immediate past president, Dana Lunden, for their dedication to making our association a success.

We have an exceptional legacy as our foundation as we work together to build a better association and a better community. With the start of the new year, your board of directors is working diligently behind the scenes to provide the education, support, and activities that you want.

Our 2017 goals are to improve member benefits, to grow our membership, to form specialized committees, to organize new events, activities and opportunities for professional camaraderie and growth. However, maintaining a great organization requires the dedication and hard work of many. Every member can make a difference and I urge each of you to continue your active participation and ardent support. Make it a goal to attend as many meetings this year as you can and encourage other photographers you know to join PPMT.

Often, we do not realize how important we are to each other and to the community we serve. Our everyday routines may seem mundane and miniscule, but what we do profoundly impacts the lives of so many around us. What we can accomplish together as a team, as The Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee, is also extremely important and full of potential. We have to be the spark in our community. We must never let the fire of our passion for the people we serve and for the industry grow dim. If we build a fire, then merely sit and watch it, it will burn out. We need to feed it fresh tinder and stoke the ash. Every fire needs fuel: the flames of our passion, inspiration, knowledge and creativity. Together, we can build a big fire.

I look forward to fanning the flames of our creativity together, to share inspiration, ideas and to help each other as we continue our journey along the path we have chosen for ourselves – to be the best professional photographers that we can be. At PPMT we strive to be the local organization that does this, through our monthly meetings with guest speakers, mentoring, photography critiques and competitions, fellowship opportunities and networking. as well as opportunities to strengthen and grow our organization.

Thank you for your continued support and your friendship. Let’s make this a great 2017 for the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee.

Donna Butler
PPMT President

President’s Message-December 2016

 

 

President’s Message

By Dana Lunden, FSA, FED

 

Pay It Forward

This time of the year usually brings out the best and also the worst in people. Bear with me as I explain. Having been a law enforcement officer for about 26 years (until I retired in 2010,) I had the opportunity to deal with people in a variety of situations. Most of the time these situations were not because little Johnny got straight A’s on his report card, rather he had received less than satisfactory grades and punched holes in the walls of his home when he and his parents fought. Or a number of other calls where these folks would have preferred I had not been called.

The holidays, not only Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, but basically all of them when families get together to celebrate, are a disaster waiting to happen for many families. Now one would think that a person would be happy to see a relative he or she hadn’t seen in a while, catch up on family news or whatever. But, you see, after all that happens, which may take 15 or 20 minutes (yes, there was a little bit of sarcasm in my typing) people start to wear on each other. They remember what was said or done the last time they were together. Slowly the anger and resentment builds. Once the boiling point is reached, well, you know what happens next. Arguments, fights, domestic altercations and worse occur and lo and behold, here come the patrol cars.

Yes, I have seen people at their absolute worst. And I have seen people at their best. I’ve been in a restaurant more than once and witnessed a patron pay for the meals of an older couple, the husband obviously a veteran and the look on their faces when the server told them “Thank you for your service and your meals were taken care of,” well, it was pretty emotional. What a wonderful thing to see and also do for someone else who isn’t expecting it and has no idea who their benefactor was!

Sometimes we may go to a restaurant and get great service; the server did his or her job very well and therefore we tip them very well. What if the orders were wrong, the service wasn’t great and it’s obvious that the server wasn’t having a great day. We don’t know what is going on in that server’s life. Instead of making their day worse by leaving them a small tip or even worse, none at all, what if we genuinely offer them a thank you, wish them a great day and leave them a fantastic tip?! That may make the difference between them being able to buy food for their table, help to pay their electric bill or buy their child’s school lunch. We have no way of knowing how much good it will do for that person. If it brings a smile to their face, that is worth it.

As people, we have the ability to change the way we “see” things, either in a positive light or in a negative fashion. As photographers, we have a unique ability to “see” people in a way a lot of others don’t or can’t see. Many people in this world cannot afford the services of a professional photographer to capture and record the way their families look at a precise moment in time. Or, when their children are confirmed or they score their first goal or base hit.

No matter what kind of event it is, life event, sports event, graduation, whatever, we as professional photographers have a unique ability to capture a myriad of events in peoples’ lives and make a real difference. Making a difference in peoples’ lives can be in a variety of ways. Maybe we can offer our services by volunteering at our church, that is a great start! How about volunteering our services at Hospice to provide a portrait of a loved one for the family or to cancer patients or for veterans? I’m sure if we brainstorm enough we can come up with a lengthy list of people in need who would appreciate a professionally created portrait. As members of the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee, we can not only make a difference in others’ lives but also our own by using our talents, knowledge, experience, expertise and God-given vision to do something good for someone else without expecting or accepting payment. 

That is known as paying it forward.

 

Don’t forget, annual membership renewals are due on January 1, 2017! Visit https://ppmtonline.com to renew online