I don't think it is a good thing to rest on your laurels and become complacent. It is important to continually push your own boundaries, and try to become ever more creative. Consequently I set apart time to undertake training with highly respected and regarded tutors from the Guild of Photographers, so that I update my skill set three or four times a year. As well as undertaking training in wedding, portrait and people photography, I also invest time in learning new techniques in various software packages, including Lightroom and Photoshop.
Mentoring by highly skilled professional photographers is also offered by the Guild, to help prepare for the three qualifications they offer. Those qualifications are Qualified, Craftsman and Master Craftsman and are split into general photography and specialisations. Whilst qualifications are not some photographers thing, I feel that they give me some validation of my skills and since going full time on the 1st July 2017 I've worked to reach the general photography Qualified status, and I'm very pleased to say that I did just that on the 22nd April 2018. What does the qualification mean? This is what the Guild of Photographers say:
"Our 'Qualified' status is aligned to standards of competence that reflect a level where the customer should be 'pleased with the results', when employing the services of a skilled tradesman (the photographer). In other words 'Qualified' indicates professional 'competence' to a level where the Guild is willing to recognise the photographer as an ambassador of the association , so those who achieve that level should be proud of doing so".
I have no intention of stopping there. I'm looking to qualify as Craftsman in the general photography category next, as well as working to Qualified in the wedding category as soon as I can.