Last year I attended a conference in Santa Barbara, CA. Before the conference began there was a Facebook group set up with all of the attendees, but a lot of them knew each other already because we were all part of this bigger group of photographers through the company called Showit. Showit is the website platform that I use, and I’m not kidding you when I say that this group of people and the support staff from Showit are quite possibly the nicest, most supportive, and just straight-up amazing people. This is a group of photographers that will share every single bit of their knowledge with one another, never cast a single glance of judgment another photographer’s way, and will answer any question I have… even if it is 1am.
So, before the conference, the excitement was basically oozing from my computer screen each time that I checked into the Facebook group. But if I’m being honest with myself… which I am… I was kind of dreading the conference.
You see, I was going by myself. And I had spent the previous two years having back-to-back babies, and I wasn’t as active in the group as some of the other photographers. So I didn’t really have any other friends going. Seeing as how I know myself pretty well; I knew that I would be a wallflower. I’m pretty good with small groups of people, and one-on-one conversations… but throw me into a HUGE room where everybody knows each other and I’m the odd lady out. No thank you. I’ll fly like a G6 right outta that place.
I’m pretty sure that there were several tearful phone calls made to Fraser. I wish I could say that he lovingly talked me into staying, but it would be more honest for me to tell you that he gave me a nice kick of tough love in the ass, and told me that I better stay the week and get what I was supposed to get out of it. I did need the tough love, but I’m sad to say that it didn’t work. I stayed the length of the conference, and I definitely soaked in a ton of knowledge from the classes and shoots I attended, but I didn’t get as much out of the trip as I should have.
Because I stood in my own way.
I do that a lot, actually.
I don’t want to do that anymore.
I’m proud, and nervous as all hell to tell you that I’m leaving on Sunday to attend the same conference that I attended last year. But this year will be different. I have been sharing with other photographers within the United/Showit Facebook groups more… I have some friends that I have shot with through the last year that will be attending… and I even went so far as to sign up to lead a shoot. That’s right. I’ll be teaching thirty or so other photographers how I go about using constant movement in my engagement shoots in order to create lively, genuine photographs.
Am I still going to be a wallflower? Probably, because that’s who I am… but there will be several more familiar faces in the room this year, and Fraser is coming along with me to give his doses of tough love when they are needed.
Here are my goals for United 2014:
1. Pay it forward. I have learned soooo much from this wonderful group of people, and now it is my turn to return the favor.
2. Get out of my own damn way.
hmmmm… that’s it. I can’t think of anything else. It’s going to be an amazing week.
This yacht shoot was one of the amazing shoots that was put on during the conference last year. A HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to Stacey Childers for styling the shoot, and pouring me a nice glass of champagne as the sun set and we cruised back into the gorgeous Santa Barbara coastline.