Photo Field Trip
This post is for all those photographers and aspiring photographers out there. Hey party people! This week I'm really excited, because I'm gearing up to head to California for the Photo Field Trip, a summit created specifically with wedding + portrait photographers in mind. It's part education, part collaboration, and part vacation. Last year's summit was a blast, and it found me at the right time to restore my excitement about the photography community as a whole.
A year ago, I was feeling pretty tired of being a one man show, and unimpressed with the current vibe in my industry. I love my job, but I felt so-so about the photography community in general. At its worst, the wedding photography industry in particular can feel pretty cliquey, unwelcoming, and judgmental. (Yes, this is coming from me, one of the most optimistic + positive people around.) I actually kind of understand it, because with an industry as competitive as this one, some professionals end up feeling extra defensive if they think there's not enough work to go around (which there is, by the way, but that's another topic.)
If you're not careful, there can be a lot of comparing yourself to others, wondering if you're cool enough, and generally those distractions can start to pull you away from your purpose as a photographer. It's the weirdest thing, but ask any wedding photog and they'll probably tell you the same. If you can't shut certain things out, you might start to feel more alone in this industry than you should.
Re: working alone... I have this theory that it's way easier to become jaded and feel disconnected when you work by yourself all the time. In cities like Seattle where there are literally hundreds of other wedding photographers trying to carve out their space, and everyone is comparing themselves to others, photogs can potentially start to feel reeeeally crappy. Even if their work is good! Too much comparison, with a lack of supportive professional community, can take you to a less than ideal place emotionally, and steer you off-course when it comes to your business.
This is kind of where I was last year before this conference. Photo Field Trip very quickly provided a different kind of thinking about business, the industry, and community. It's less about rock stars and more about helping each other out & lifting each other up. The first summit was held in the spring of 2014, in a gorgeous and peaceful camp setting outside of Santa Barbara. I immediately met like-minded professionals who were there to celebrate our industry and how awesome our jobs and clients were instead of being judgy mcjudgersons. Hallelujah. I met others who became fast friends and I can call them anytime with questions or to bounce business ideas off of them, which, after working solo for a few years, is huge. That alone was worth the trip. When I came home, I felt totally recharged and delighted to be a part of this community. Turns out, it's a pretty supportive, nurturing community to be a part of. It just took a few days sitting side by side with a couple hundred other photographers in the rain to figure that out. Major bonding occurred, and I wouldn't change it for anything.
So if you're a photographer or looking to get into the industry, I'd say definitely sign up for next year. I'll be there this year and am getting so excited to replenish some of that creative energy that sometimes gets low by the end of wedding season. I'm all signed up to take a bunch of classes that will hopefully help me focus much more on my clients, recharge, and build the best business & community possible.
The photos below are a few that I took last year, during the super rainy days spent at Field Trip. I was able to take an awesome mini-workshop led by The Sloans (who are probably the sweetest humans ever) and got to see how they shoot, which was so fun and helpful. I loved their playful & heartfelt style.
Longest. Semi-rant. Ever. Okay, I'm done! Watch my instagram for updates & shenanigans if you want. I'll see you in a week! :) Photos below. xo
That's Alison, below. Mother of 5. Roommate extraordinaire. Buddy. Can't wait to see her!
We're better together. And besides, friendship bracelets > business cards.