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Professional photographer Shelly Perry left photo school with the technical skills she was looking for. But she discovered that there are some things you just can’t learn in school. Read her story below to find out what was missing… –Lori Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing THREE THINGS I WISH I’D LEARNED IN PHOTO SCHOOL By Shelly Perry in Portland, Oregon I had the time of my life when I went to Rocky Mountain School of Photography. It’s the kind of place where you eat, sleep, breathe, and sweat photography, nothing but photography, right alongside all your fellow classmates. And, while I can’t complain one bit about the experience or my time, there are a few things I wish I’d learned while I was there. Here are my top three: ** 1. Money Matters One of the primary things I had to wrestle with when I got home was how to actually “make a go of it” as a money-earning photographer. I really had no clue about the business side of things when I left school… including how and where to sell my photos. That’s not an entirely bad thing, since it means that we were so focused on everything photography we didn’t divert too much attention into the money matters. But, while I may have felt prepared photographically when I left, I was certainly on the short end of the stick when it came to making photography a viable career at that point. ** 2. Organization Digital photography was still relatively new when I was in photo school, so I understand how organizing files was not at the top of the list of priorities. However, it took me a few more years of shooting thousands of photos before I found an organizing system that works. I actually learned this system from Lori Allen, or more specifically from the Turn Your Pictures into Cash program. The way she and the program organize files is simple, and it works incredibly well for me. Once in a while I have to go find a file from those years before and it makes me want to curse like a sailor. I had a system before, but it certainly was not functional. So now I not only have a simple system that works, but I also get to save other people time when I teach it in our photo workshops. ** 3. Practice, Practice, Practice While photo school provided all the basics of photography, it couldn’t make me practice when I got home. The instructors did teach that practice and persistence are crucial, indeed critical to honing your skills and becoming the best photographer you can be. There was one stand-out lecture by one of our teachers, Craig Tanner, called “The Myth of Talent,” which we have spoken of before. (Read about it here) That lecture taught me that you need to continually push the envelope of your knowledge and comfort zone, no matter where you are in your photography journey. Excellence is found along the way, it’s not the destination. One of the things I enjoy so much about our AWAI Ultimate Money-Making Photo Workshops is that, like my photo school experience, they’re compact versions of what it felt like to eat, sleep, and breathe photography, shoulder-to-shoulder with other like-minded people. There is a camaraderie of shared experience and interest that is unique and inspiring. And that’s how you start off on the right foot. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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