I have only been to a Photography Conference once! It was right in the beginning of my start as a photographer all the way back in 2012. It was a super small conference right in New Jersey, sponsored by my favorite camera store Unique Photo and we took away a lot from it! I really liked it and have been dying to go to another one! Last year at my coaching session with Katelyn James and during a lunch with the beautiful Abby Grace, they both suggested to do UNITED over any other conference. It’s smaller, feels more like a community than a conference and it will change you. These are their words – not mine. When UNITED tickets went on sale, I immediately snagged them up. The scariest part? I just bought ONE ticket. Just for me. Jose had already reserved all his days off to second shoot with me so I had to do this alone and that was one of the most TERRIFYING thoughts. I would fly… ALONE. I would attend this conference… ALONE. And when I’m alone, I can be a serious introvert. Well, the exact OPPOSITE of everything I was expecting happened. I didn’t think I’d leave the conference with new friends. I truly thought I’d be the one exception because fear would stop me. I quickly learned so much about myself at this conference. I am not as afraid as I thought I was! Almost INSTANTLY I made new friends. Almost instantly I was able to confront ALL fears and VANISH them. Oh and flying alone? Not bad at all! In fact, I kind of LOVED it! Of course there are so many other things I took away from this conference… but what amazed me is that within 2 hours of being in Arizona, before anything had even HAPPENED, this conference was life changing.
It was so much fun to be in a hotel with ALL the photographers I have looked up to during my time as a photographer and LEARN from them, personally! I got to go up to them, thank them for what they said, thank them for everything they’ve said over the years and their talks during the conference that just blew my mind. I took 12 pages of notes during the 2 days I was there. TWELVE. I made THREE new friends while I was there. I didn’t think I’d make one. I cried SO MUCH. lol I know, this sounds crazy! When my lovely roommate, Moriah, and I would call our husbands at the end of the night and tell them we cried they were so confused. “Crying?? At a photography conference??” YES. Crying! Over the fact that we ALL share the same emotions in this business. We ALL feel defeated at times and overwhelmed and compare ourselves to everyone else and it’s OKAY to feel like that. But to know you can push past it and become a BETTER photographer and person from all that crazy!? That was mind blowing. You guys, I can say it again and again – UNITED really is LIFE CHANGING. I suggest any and all photographers out there get the chance to go to this conference because you will learn something new, try something different, meet new friends, learn about yourself and have the BEST time. It was only two days and was one of the best business choices I ever made! I can not wait to attend next year now and continue to learn more to grow in my business year after year. I took a bunch of photos – mostly on my phone and some on my DSLR and just wanted to share some of my favorite moments from my few days in Arizona 🙂 And BIG hugs to my new friends Moriah, Shanna & Tiffany!! We basically hung out the ENTIRE time at the conference, immediately connected and I miss them all so much already! Be sure to check out their work and send them some love 🙂
Goodbye East Coast – Hello Arizona & Palm Trees! 🙂
Two days full of speakers, classes and styled shoots!
It was so fun being able to go to all the sessions and talks with new friends! And SO fun to see my album company, KISS Books, there! 🙂
Monday night we all got dressed up and attended the Gala! SO fun! We got complimentary drinks and food and had so much fun getting ready together in our hotel room. It felt like prom all over again! lol
Tuesday was FULL of talks and sessions including many of the photographers I’ve looked up to – of course my photography role model Katelyn James, Abby Grace (who took our own beloved Anniversary photos!) and the amazing Justin & Mary! A lot of amazing talks full of encouragement that made me cry lol I was so overwhelmed at the end of the day, just talking about it made me cry all over again. But I promise – nothing but happy tears!
After all the wonderful talks I attended Natalie Franke & Lauren Swann‘s styled session all about photographing details! It’s one of my favorite parts of a wedding day so it was a ton of fun to learn new ways to capture these special details and learn from these talented ladies 🙂
And then all the wonderful ladies I love suddenly crashed the session and I got to thank them each in person and grab photos with them. Such a great day 🙂