So, I have no clue where to start with this one. I've been on a major dry spell with blogging because I hate to write (that's why I hide behind a camera), but one of the many things I took from my recent trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for the Showit United conference is that I absolutely need to get back into this! Stay tuned for many upcoming posts recapping some of my favorite sessions from 2015...
In my short time in this business, I've been wanting to make it to one of the big conferences where people come together from all over the country and I'm so glad I made Showit United my very first! This crazy world of "Photographyland" comes along with a mix of emotions... love, hate, excitement, defeat, support, jealousy, you get the point. More often than not, I find myself feeling like I'll never catch up with my to do list and I'll never reach the success of others who have "made it". I left United knowing that I'm not the only one with these overwhelming feelings, but I also brought home with me the motivation to change it. I learned so much in a few short days, and gained the support of a bigger group of friendly faces in the industry from near and far. It was just the breath of fresh air, and relaxation from my crazy life back on the East Coast, that I needed!
While this post is about what I've taken from a photography conference, so much of it can be applied to any career, especially if you're wearing the many hats of a small business owner. I'm going to take a stab at summarizing a few highlights from the notebook I filled with advice, quotes, and book recommendations I had downloaded onto my Kindle before my flight home...
I'm Not _____ Enough
The glamorous Mary Marantz of Justin & Mary kicked off the conference with an amazing talk that got us all reaching for tissues. She encouraged us to stop saying we're "not (insert insecurity here) enough" as we strive to be like others with deceivingly picture-perfect Instagram feeds. She was the first of many to stress the point that we can comfortably say "no" every once in a while (something I deeply struggle with), and used a powerful comparison of weeds and apple trees to teach us that you don't actually want to be an overnight success.
Consistency was a common word that popped up throughout the conference, whether during a discussion on blogging more regularly by the awesome Carrie Swails, chatting about SEO tactics with Ben Turner, receiving marketing advice from Marketing BFF Tana Nelson ("Pick your lane and stay in it.") or listening to a talk from Katelyn James on the final day which drove home the theme.
Being consistent in your business shows that you're reliable and worthy of your reputation, you're established and professional, you're disciplined and dedicated. Even more important is the idea that lacking consistency in your business can steal the consistency in your life. This is another struggle I deal with on a day-to-day basis, as I develop my own habits as a business owner, while trying to create a new routine after making a career change to work from home.
Be Brave. Work Hard. Don't Give Up.
This business can eat you alive if you let it. I'm learning from my mistakes and putting my best foot forward as I figure things out. Every time I think of giving up, I'm going to remember this experience and remind myself of the United motto, staring back at me on my office desk each time I sit down to work. I'm so grateful that I took this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and attended an event full of (mostly) strangers who turned out to be some of the most positive, supportive human beings ever. I can't wait for next year!
I didn't take my camera out of its bag until the final 2 days for the shoots, so below you can find some shots of the beautiful Firesky Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, who hosted over 200 of us crazy photographers, and a couple of shots of me and my favorite girls in attendance at the United Gala, courtesy of Loren Jackson of Loren Jackson Photography (shout out to Ohio!).