A nod for being a member of a professional association. by Ben Blair

There’s been some research in the last few years that makes the claim that more and more people are shying away from belonging to organizations, all kinds of organizations. From religious groups, to membership organizations, to professional associations and even fraternities and sororities, the masses are deciding that they don’t need to belong to a group to get the resources they need.

That may be true. But there’s still something to be said for building relationships with people in a face-to-face environment that can have benefits professionally and personally. For me that was the case this past week. I’m a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). It’s, as you can imagine a professional organization for those of us who take pictures for a living. A few days ago, one friend and fellow member sent me a text message saying that another friend/fellow member was looking for someone to fill in to shoot a football game. Since shooting sports is something I love to do, I immediately reached out, sent some examples of my work, and next thing you know, two days later I’m on the sidelines.

Sure it could’ve happened without the professional and personal connections, but it was able to happen quickly, and I got a paid gig out of it. I certainly didn’t get rich, but I established a connection with a client and got to do something I love. And the fee pretty much paid for the cost of my annual membership for ASMP. So, there ya have it. You might not get any gigs from being a professional member, but I certainly wouldn’t have gotten this one if I hadn’t been.

Here are some of my favorite shots from this weekend’s shoot.

PDX Squared by Ben Blair

Have a plan, and other lessons from PDX Squared

When I first moved to Portland and started to immerse myself within the photography community here, there was one event that caught my eye as something in which I'd like to participate. Unfortunately, the first two years I lived here I worked for a company that always had an event the same weekend, and I could never participate, and the next couple of years I just happened to also have my own shoots going on. However, this year, when the registration opened up, I blocked off the weekend and committed to it. 

One of the things I love about this event, is that it brings together so many talented photographers, including several legends in the Portland photography community. I always get so inspired, not to mention flush with new ideas. 

Thanks to some great gear loaned from Pro Photo Supply (go here if you need anything photo related in Portland) and Sony, among many other companies, I got to play with some new toys and overall had a blast. 

72 Photographers, 72 Randomly assigned locations,
24 Hours of shooting time, 4 Geographical areas, 3 Hours of editing, 1 Catered dinner, 4 Judges, 7 Categories, 6 Craft categories, 1 Gallery Show Exhibit
— www.pdxsquared.com

Here's how it works. 

All registered photographers (about 70 in total), show up at the PDX Squared event space the afternoon of the first day.

You sign in and are randomly assigned a "square" of Portland. From there, the photographers can check out gear on loan from several camera companies if they want, or just start shooting. 

Then you have essentially the next 24 hours to do whatever you want. Some photographers have very planned out shoots with models and props, others just go scout their locations. Some just wing it. 

For me, even though I tried to not have anything else going on, I ended up having a photo booth event the same day. So despite wanting to get an early start, I wasn't able to start shooting until after 8:30 p.m. Luckily a couple of friends were on standby and we got the shoot going. 

Here are my official submissions to the competition.

1. Series: "Neat" - shots taken at the bar NEAT on Hawthorne. 

2. Real Portrait: A professional hockey player in a night time portrait.

3. Creative Storytelling: A woman sits on the bleachers at night with foggy glasses. 

4. Portlandia: "Celtics Fans" - a group of fans supporting the CELTICS F.C. outside of the 4-2-2 bar. 

Photo Boothin': Lauren & Adam by Ben Blair




Lauren & Adam's Wedding Extravaganza!

Sometimes, a good venue is a GREAT venue. I'd been to the Doug Fir a few times for show, but never for a private party. Well I got the chance recently when pals Lauren & Adam had their post-wedding reception after-party celebration thing in the legendary Portland music spot. 

We utilized the venue (because why not) along with some strategically located floral arrangements thanks to Bright Night PDX. Kassi and Jena were awesome with this touch to add to the background. Guests were in line ALL NIGHT LONG, as they always are and the prints were flying out of the machine. 

Here's the timelapse of all the fun we had that night! 

If you love these photos and want SNAP YOURSELF to bring the ridiculous fun to your next event or party... fill out this form and we’ll reach out!
— www.snapyourself.com
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