I’m not a newbie to conferences. I’ve been to my fair share of BlogHers, Bloggy Bootcamps, and various blogging/social media gatherings. My first BlogHer I even rolled in solo, and came out with some of the most amazing online friends. These friends introduced me to the internet, to how it could be to have a tribe, to have a community of women who supported you, supported your social media presence and knew that if one of us succeeded, we would all succeed.
I had never, however, been to a photography conference.
I have dabbled in photography now for a few years, honing my craft, slowly upgrading my equipment and I felt like I needed to take the next step if I ever wanted to do this professionally. I needed to sit down with professionals and LEARN. So a few weeks ago I flew to Salt Lake City and joined 1200 other photographers, hobbyists and professionals alike, for the inaugural ClickAway Conference. It was put on by ClickinMoms, with who I’ve been a member for a few years now. It was crazy and busy and chock full of amazing photography takeaways.
It was also where I met some amazing new friends.
I know it’s cliche to say that I made lifelong friends there, but trust me, not everyone rolls into a conference knowing not a SINGLE person and can say that 2 weeks later they are still in the middle of a 5 way text that happens every.single.day. Not everyone came out of that conference with a photography tribe that is inspiring and helpful and is giving me the kick in the ass to take my pictures to the next level. Not everyone made the friends that I did.
I’ll be honest though, not everyone is going to come out of these conferences with such connections. I have a weird ability to talk to a brick wall and to gather people together… simply because I want everyone to have fun and for no one to be left out… especially me :-). So I took initiative to gather the people I had met during the course of the first day, girls who didn’t know anyone else and we all had dinner.
That was all it took.
Dinner led to dancing, which led to late night treks trying to find bars in Salt Lake, which led to excursions to Saltair, photo shoots in the golden hour on the flats, more photo shoots in Park City, singing at the top of our lungs in the car and 80’s cover bands. All in the course of 3 days.
We surrounded ourselves with laughter and fun, didn’t take ourselves too seriously and learned. We asked questions, gave critiques and inspired each other to take our photography to the next level.
Whatever that level might be.
It was amazing and inspiring and I feel so blessed to have made new friends. Ones that will take me on another journey if I want to… down another path if I so choose… or at least will help me capture the beauty of my life with a better eye.
And at the very least I learned that a well timed chinese fire drill always makes for a fun time and Shaking it Off is good for the soul.
xoxoxo my new friends.
Photocredit – Giggleprints Photography