The Photography Conference That Made Me Cry
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend The Blink Conference in Palm Springs last November. Honestly, putting into words a recap of this experience was pretty difficult for me (clearly, since it’s now February and I’m finally getting the blog recap posted! 🙂 ). Not because it was a bad experience, in fact, it was quite the opposite.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Blink. I’ve met Ike and Tash a few times prior to attending this conference. And, I’ve always been a huge fan of Tash and her vision behind this conference. She is a rockstar and so incredibly genuine, I knew that whatever she created with this conference, it came from the passion that lies deep within her core. She truly strives to see others achieve their absolute best all while feeling a true sense of community and belonging.
I had a lot of anxiety about flying to a completely different state by myself and only knowing a handful of people at the conference. I’m generally a pretty outgoing person, but for some reason situations such as these really put me outside of my comfort zone. Being in a room with nearly a hundred other creative artists can either be empowering or incredibly intimidating. For me, it’s usually the latter, I tend to turn into a giant bundle of nerves, panic and want to retreat back to my happy place. Why? Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure. Fear of possibility.
However, walking into the room that first day, I decided to try my hardest to throw all of that nervous energy out the door and just soak up all that was presented to me over the course of those 4 days.
There were so many incredibly talented creatives that spoke on a wide variety of topics ranging from finding confidence, defining your “why”, work/life balance, social media, marketing, SEO, branding, collaborations, legalities in business and discovering your creative voice. We also got to do two different styled shoots that allowed us the opportunity to get some hands on experience.
I came home from this conference with a notebook crammed full of notes, a to-do list a mile long, a great group of new friends and colleagues, and completely inspired to take my business to the next level and ready to conquer my goals head on.
My first shoot out was with Kirth Bobb. Learning from him was an incredible experience. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and wouldn’t let me hide in the corner. 😉 Why am I creating the images I am creating? Photographs need to be about the people, not of the people. We started out shooting our models, Cindy and Ira, inside the hotel. As wedding photographers, we don’t always get to have control over where we do our shooting. It requires the ability to find the light and the beauty wherever we are at a given moment. Thankfully, with Cindy and Ira, they made this job pretty easy. And then we moved outside for some practice shooting in full sun!
For my afternoon shoot, we drove out to the desert and got to see Wyn Wiley do his thang! He’s an incredibly talented photographer from Nebraska who uses trust, honesty and his “special sauce” to shoot his clients. He encouraged us to embrace failure and use those situations as a learning experience and a chance to grow. (And, if you ever have the opportunity to meet him in person, you have to ask him to show you his mean Beyonce impersonation.)
One thing I didn’t expect from this conference was all the tears. Good Lawd.. I cried. A lot. Every day. Hearing from all these amazing people doing what they love and sharing their passion with us. It was overwhelming, inspiring and downright emotional. I had several “ah-ha” moments throughout the conference that more or less helped me to better define my purpose and my “why” behind my business. One of the biggest take aways I got from this conference was validation within myself that I CAN do this. The only thing standing in the way of me reaching my goals is ME and my fear. I think sometimes in the creative field, we can get lost and fall victim to that horrible game of comparison. I also really struggle with managing the work/life balance. It’s tough sometimes… spending all this time away from my own family to document other people’s lives. It can take it’s toll on everyone involved. But, at the end of the day.. I am so grateful to get to do what I love what I do. And, hopefully by implementing some of the things I learned at Blink, stepping out of my comfort zone a bit more and breaking down my goals into actionable steps, 2017 is going to be a fantastic year for me, both personally and professionally. Because for me, they are connected.
The Blink Conference will be in Seattle this year! Registration has already begun and space is limited! I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a conference that will inspire you, push your photography business to the next level, get some hands on learning experience from some amazing people in our industry and hang with some awesomely talented creatives for 4 days!