“Do you Think you Need Stitches?”

“Do you think you need stitches?”, I just don’t expect to hear those words from a client on one of my photo shoots. I haven’t heard those words in the twenty-four years that I’ve been working with families, so yeah, I’m kind of  “safety girl” that way – until now, that is.

I’ve been photographing the Snyder family for years (love you guys!) and we decided to try a new location in Boulder for this session. We liked this rustic barn on Open Space land.  I’ve never been to this location but love trying out new places so I arrived a little early to scout it out. Discovering there was no clear path to the barn – you have to cross a field of brambles and milkweed, and uneven terrain to get there  – I thought, “Oh well”, as I made my way across the field, “no big deal”. Soon I’m hearing the skittering of little critters everywhere I walk. Not sure what KIND of critters but I was definitely not alone.  Ewww! Anyway, I get to the barn and it’s AMAZING with a beautiful brownish, red patina and falling down fences and views of the flatirons. So cool!

I texted my clients to let them know the scoop on the barn location and I get this bit of news!

I really do LOVE owls and there he was right out in the open at three in the afternoon. So this confirms there were definitely little critters skittering in that field. Owls know where to find an easy meal. Here is the one photo I managed to get of him before he flew away. Such a beautiful bird!

So I’m feeling like this session has some extra good mojo now and we start shooting. I set up the family for a portrait with the mountains in the background but I see a tall weed in the foreground that bugs me. I pull it and as I yank hard to rip the top off it sliced through my finger. Whaaat? It must be some kind of super mountain RAZOR weed.  I get little cuts and scrapes all the time but noticed this one was fairly deep. Not spurting or anything but a notable amount of blood. ” I cut myself on that weed”, I said and Karen came over, “Oh wow, do you think you need stitches?”, she asked because at this point the blood is running down my arm and it’s on my jeans and camera bag and well, pretty much everywhere. Now here is where her awesome mom gene kicks in because she says she had band-aids in the car and did I want one? I told her I didn’t want her to have to bushwhack all the way back to the car in the middle of her family photos but she ignored me and did it anyway. I’m so thankful! I’ve always been what you might call, “unprepared” mom and have never had band-aids in my car. Or purse. Or sometimes even in the medicine cabinet at home. Ha! Definitely not in my camera bag.  Thank you, Karen! I kept photographing the kids while she was gone  (her daughter said to me , “Oh that looks bad, maybe put some leaves on it – so sweet) and when she got back and I got bandaged up we continued as normal.

Now here is the thing about this family, they photograph soooo beautifully. I mean, they SHINE in camera. SO. PHOTOGENIC. The whole family! I don’t know, their pictures simply have a great energy about them every year.  See for yourself!

I’ll be asking Santa for a camera bag first aid kit this year ( :

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Photography Conference Tips

Photography Conference Tips

Ahhh, Fall – it’s “busy season” for portrait photographers and also time to start planning which photography conferences or workshops to attend when the slow time rolls around. Many major conferences happen in the first months of the new year and offer “early bird” discounts for signing up and getting everything in place now. But which conference to choose? There are so many great speakers and trade shows it can be hard to pick one. Here are a few photography conference tips and advice from this photo mama with over twenty years experience:

To Thine own Self be True

So, here is the great thing about being 40 something – you really know yourself. One thing I know is that I love being around people and can be fairly extroverted in small groups but put me in a room with a thousand other photographers and I suddenly become an introvert. I’m also a small town girl so big cities tend overwhelm me. Even though I know all that I’ve been a pretty regular WPPI attendee. That means putting myself out there in big workshops in a huge hotel in Las Vegas. For days on end. Ugh. I’m not saying I don’t get a lot out of attending WPPI, I always do. It’s an amazing conference, but I always come back exhausted from it all. The last few years I’ve been searching for smaller workshops or local conferences to attend. A place where I can connect with other photographers and learn without being ridiculously out of my comfort zone. Lately, I’m drawn to conferences that operate on a much smaller scale than the big guys, knowing that is going to be a better fit for me all around. I might have a little FOMO (fear of missing out) if I don’t go to WPPI or Imaging USA but potentially enjoying the whole conference experience rather than just enduring it for educational purposes is a huge factor in my decision making process.  So my advice? Give some thought to the best fit for your own personality and learning style before signing up.

Set Goals

This is different for me every year. One year I will be all about learning new lighting techniques and the next year I find myself taking mostly marketing classes. Sometimes my main goal is simply to hang out at the trade show seeing the latest gear and products. I do try to create a well rounded schedule for myself but with a focus.  If I don’t think about what I want to take away from the conference I can come home feeling like I have all these great new ideas but not a clue what to do with it all!  I recommend that you land on at least one goal. It helps to have that in mind when divvying up your time at the conference.

Pace Yourself

Don’t try to do it all, my dear. The temptation is strong to hit every meetup, every early morning photo walk and every late night party. Again, FOMO –  but take my advice and pace yourself. You really can’t do it all well, remember to take some time to enjoy yourself and relax. I remember flying to a conference one year with a group of local photographers and everyone was excited and eager to go – fresh faces all around. I saw some of those photographers a few days into the conference and they all looked incredibly exhausted. I knew from social media posts that they were going to EVERYTHING. It takes time to learn that you will still get plenty from the conference even if you spend one night in your room resting and binge watching “Friends” episodes.

I hope these Photography Conference Tips help you as you think about the next event you want to attend!  I have always come away with at least one valuable nugget from every conference and I’ve never regretted investing in myself and my business in that way. Check out the Eventbrite website to attend or plan an event near you.

 

 

 

 

 

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