I can honestly say that I have never been more proud of myself as two weeks ago.
I am one of those individuals that although I am strong minded and up for adventures, but I’ll be honest to say that with being a triplet, there have not been many adventures I have had to do on my own. Actually, none that I can really think of. All growing up we had each other in our small town and then with a brother that is two years older than me and who was already at the University I chose, “my twin” and I followed him there together, even taking the same program. Then there was my master’s degree in the big city of Toronto, which was embarked upon with one of my former classmates. Even when I moved to a different country or flew to Australia for a month, it was done with the help, love and support of my husband.
Therefore, embarking on my photography path has been one that I have had to fly solo on. I have been working towards this goal for almost 6 years, fumbling my way through, with a lot still left to learn. But learn I will. Like all new ventures, there have been many ups and downs and I’ll be honest to say there have been times I have wanted to sell all my camera gear! But nothing worth having comes easy… one must be willing to work at it. Since education has always been a big part of my life, I strongly believe in professional development and the value it places on your talents and ability to evolve and grow within the industry. Therefore, I was extremely excited when I found the community of Senior-ologie. SENIOR-OLOGIE being the study of high school senior portrait photography (not taking pictures of the elderly as my nursing brain first went to this thought when I heard the word seniors). It is a place to be inspired and learn! Senior-ologie also puts on Conference12 each year. CONFERENCE 12 by definition, “is an amazing experience that will change the scope of your business. It allows for the chance to get away from the day to day of your business and spend time with like-minded creatives in order to help you feel renewed, refreshed and ready to tackle anything that comes your way. It creates belonging and helps you create relationships that will be with you in the future”. Photography is an industry where you spend a lot of time working by yourself, and so Conference 12 is an opportunity to come together with other talented individuals and friends. It is a photography conference that is held over 4 days in an amazing location and prides itself on having 12 of the top photographers/business individuals in the industry speak to us and then of course we get to go out and put our learning to test with stylized shoots and a lead-photographer always willing to show us how they “do their thing” and assist with any questions.
Last year I was registered to go to the Miami Conference and at the last minute I panicked as I was not ready to leave the kids, I felt I did not belong as my business was not as advanced as I would have liked and I had many more reasons that I presented to my husband and, therefore I decided to swallow the cost and not attend. During the conference and seeing images posted I realized that I was missing out on a major advancement to my career and I promised myself I would be at the next conference.
Fast forward one year and this is what two weeks was. It was Conference 12, in Denver Colardo - a destination on my bucket list. I will be honest that as the conference was nearing I started to panic. Again, not sure that I could leave my babies (and by babies I mean 6 & 8), I was needed at home to assist, and that perhaps I did not belong as again, I had not gotten my business to where I wanted it to be, and to be honest, I don’t usually shoot High School Seniors, but want to get into this niche of photography, and I had again many more excuses. However, my husband would not hear any of my excuses and so I came to purchase my flight ticket. This would be good time to mention that I DO NOT LIKE to fly! I repeat, I HATE TO FLY.
As I was prepping and packing for the trip, two days out it happened. I developed what I now know to be calcific tendinitis (ouch!) in none other than my right shoulder. So there I was, unable to do anything and so I believed it to be a sign that I was not meant to go. However, knowing the excitement to see the stunning Red Rocks and bond wth fellow photographers around the country and the fact that my husband would not hear any of it… before I knew it I was off to get my hair blown out at DryBar (literally I had no mobility in my arm and was hence wearing a sling) and saw myself heading through security enroute to my plane.
Now it is a little daunting to go on your first photography conference… in a sling. I questioned if I should even take my camera as I was not sure I would even be able to take one picture. However, my motto is always to be prepared and so, camera and all, I was off. I’m not going to lie and say I was calm… I was definitely freakin’ out and many texts were sent between my husband, mom and sisters, but I have never been more proud than when I landed in Denver and was enroute to my amazing hotel. Seriously, if ever in Denver you want to stay at the Halcyon! Upon arrival I met many individuals and fast friendships were formed, and of course, a glass of wine shared to toast to an amazing start of the conference.
I can honestly say it was the best decision I was forced to make (hahaha) and I am glad that my husband not only supported but pushed me out of my comfort zone. It’s always amazing at the strength we can find in ourselves when we dig deep. I had the opportunity to learn and watch from the best. This included from my mentor, the amazing Brittney Kluse that talked about her business and finding her groove again after all these years and talking about what her clients and photos mean to her - there was not a dry eye in the room. It is this passion that I too have for why I do what I do. And it is in capturing those special moments that the clients will remember forever that I love what I do. We learned things from posing, pricing, fundamentals of running a business, to creating an authentic brand and so much more. The days are jammed packed and busy, yet being in a room with 50 individuals that have the same passion is invigorating! The energy field from everyone and the questions asked that I never even thought of, makes learning so much fun! The community that is built and instant friends because we all share the same passion, it is life changing.
In taking this adventure I have learned a few things. Attending workshops and/or conferences is very important to professional development, especially in a field where we spend so much time alone, it is important to connect with like-minded, passionate individuals. And most importantly, creativity and growth comes from getting outside our comfort zone and looking deep within ourselves. I can honestly say that my husband and kids survived quite nicely without me and that it is time I put more time and energy into me and my business as I know I will be a better person, mom and wife with having something that is mine! Plus, these conferences are SO MUCH FUN!!!
A big thank you @seniorolgie... and the amazing speakers, which included:
Courtney Delaura, Holli True, Hope Taylor, Misti Davis, Sarah Modene, Tara Rochelle, True Moua, Allegra Messina, Brittney Kluse, Alexander Evjen, Brittnio Schroede, and Leslie Kerrignan
Be sure to follow them on instagram!
And now I leave you with one very important question - will you be attending the next Conference 12, and if so, I’ll see you there!