How & Why You Should Network in College

I've had some discussions lately about networking and thought I'd share insights for those of you questioning how & why you can start networking while in school.

Myth: You have to have a job/business/biz cards to network.

Fact: The point of networking is to make connections & relationships, not just to tell people about your work. If you're looking for a job networking in different groups (can be in person&online) is a great way to get leads. If you don't have a business or job and you're trying to figure out what you want to do networking can also benefit you as you can meet a range of people and connect with those in your industry of choice to ask questions! Also, if you don't have business cards it's cool, just make sure to get the other person's and then FOLLOW UP! (Template for follow up emails here.)

Myth: People are going to judge you for being a student. 

Fact: Most decent humans out there will be happy to give you advice, and will be impressed you're taking the initiative to join professional groups while in school. Age does not determine your capacity to have engaging interactions. Be pleasant, ask questions and don't be shy about saying you're a student and working to figure out what path you may want to take after school. 

Myth: Every adult is comfortable networking.

Fact: Almost no one is naturally comfortable or even enthused about traditional networking events! It's hard to go out on a Wednesday night and meet strangers no matter what your age is. It's about making it a habit and committing to attend and getting something out of it. So don't worry about feeling awkward and walking up to a stranger to chat- everyone feels awkward! 

Myth: If I am not a professional I will have nothing to talk about.

Fact: Professionals aren't unemotional robots, they have lives and feelings too! Don't feel like you only have to talk business. One of my favorite things to ask to break the ice is "Do you have any travel plans coming up?" This gets people comfortable and excited to talk about their vacation or next trip. Asking some more personal questions like this will give you an easier time when you realize you can just have a conversation. 

So yes, start networking in college. It may take a while to find the groups that you enjoy but they're out there! These days there are so many choices for HOW you can interact and create connections, so don't assume it's just guys in suits at happy hour that are able to network. Check out for endless groups, and search Facebook for online communities of every breed that will support your career interests.

Peace, love & pixels,


P.s. If you want to get event photography experience volunteer to shoot networking events-you get free entry, a chance to mingle & build a portfolio!  

Creative Confession

Dear Creatives, 

      This is my confession. I fell in love with photography in an old dark room in my high school. I wasn't very good at first, lots of film went to waste. I wasn't sure I would ever be "that" good at it. I mostly took walks around my neighborhood and shot patterns in nature, occasionally trying to incorporate a friend into awkward portraits. Soon it was time to apply to college, to pick a school, a major, a future. Well, photography I decided was what I'd pursue. What would I do with it? No idea. I didn't feel like I could commit to an art-only college; I wasn't "artsy" enough, creative enough, messy enough, or honestly really sure that I wouldn't need a back up field of choice.

And even after graduating with my bachelor's in art(major in photography with a minor in art management) working in photo production, art galleries and archives, freelancing and making a living from my photography... I sometimes still feel like I'm not "artsy" enough. Somedays my work is put to shame (in my mind) by iPhone photos on instagram. It can be a real bitch being a creative these days. But then I remember that my creative is just as meaningful as anyone else's. I love doing photography because I think in photographs and making images gives ME joy. And I get to share those little moments of happiness with clients, friends, and even some strangers on the internet. (I mean I'm not giving up my frenemy instagram.) So no I don't have jeans covered in paint, I like making to-do lists like it's my job, and I probably haven't spent my weekend in museums. But I create, and it's worthwhile, and it will continue to be for as long as I see it that way. 

So if you're not sure where your art will take you, or you're struggling to find your niche, stop looking outward. You decide what your best creative life looks like, and you have the power to shape it to suite your wildest desires. Even if that includes having a beige couch. Even if you can't remember what Monet painted. Even if your creative life looks nothing like the ones you see on the internet. And if you need a boost of inspiration, resources and tools make sure to sign up for the newsletter! Once you do you get your free guide to my Top 25 Websites for Creatives!

“To live a creative life, we must loose the fear of being wrong.” – Joseph Chilton Pearce

So go forth my creatives, there is no "wrong" in art!

Peace, love & pixels,


Keep Calm and Internship On

It is pretty much a given these days that you’ll end up in an internship or two while in school and even after you’ve graduated. Internships can provide eye-opening looks into the possible career of your future. But they can also be really boring, frustrating and not in your best interest. The key is to ask a lot of questions and do your research on all possible internships before you dive into one. I made the mistake a couple of times of not thoroughly finding out what I’d be doing or how it would really be an effective and positive experience for myself. No one wants their time wasted- and even as a student you have the right to use your own time wisely while working for others. One thing I didn’t realize as a student looking for internships, is that not only should I provide value to the employer BUT they should provide value to me. That is true whether you are working for free or payment of any kind.

Things to keep in mind when searching for internships:

1. What kind of business is it and who runs it? Is it a new start up/gallery/company still figuring out workspace and roles, or a well oiled machine with lots of rules set in place? What internet presence do they have and what do others say about them? Are you working with a boss one-on-one, or with other interns/assistants/employees?  I had experiences where I was mostly working alone but really enjoyed the work and had real responsibility, as well as times I was sitting next to the employer and barely learned a thing and was bored as hell. And had to walk her dog…love dogs, but not what I was looking for!

2How much time can you commit? Decide upfront how many hours/weeks/months you’ll be there. Even if things change it is helpful to have expectations voiced at the beginning. If receiving payment make sure you understand how and when you’ll be paid. Also, always ask if payment is available! It may not be, but sometimes even a small stipend is a great motivator and reward for work well done.

3Decide to learn as much as possible and make sure they know what you’re interested in learning. I know from running a business it is easy to forget what wasn’t always general knowledge or that explaining how systems came to be, can be really helpful to those not familiar with the business. Don’t be afraid to ask questions- but do take note of when the appropriate times are to do so. (Like not in front of clients.)

4Reach out to businesses or individuals you’d like to work with. THIS IS HUGE! Some of my best internships came from asking for the opportunity, not because there was any advertisement that they were hiring. Look in your area for places you admire and think you could learn from, let them know you’re interested and available.

Internships can be fantastic opportunities to see the inner workings of various jobs and companies.  They are also great for making connections in the “real world” and beginning to network with those you may one day work with. Always look for relationships that will be symbiotic, stand up for what’s right for you, and if on the off chance it all goes to shit- smile and walk away gracefully!

Peace, love & pixels- Sonya