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.