I have tried it before but have never had quite the experience I did until this one time. And looking back, I can see how it was crucial that this experience was saved for this specific time in my life. I don't know that I would have appreciated it as much as I did if I had experienced it before now...
Of course, I'm talking about Click Away with Clickin' Moms, a photography conference that was held in Dana Point, California last month. Hundreds of women photographers (yes, there were actually a few guys there too) who were so excited to learn and grow but that wasn't all it was. The amazingness was wrapped up in getting to connect with other creatives (I kinda love doing that), the openness of the instructors and their ability to be real people with the attendees (Meg Loeks, your baby girl is absolutely gorgeous), and then there were the vendors. I got to borrow lenses and try them out, ask questions directly to industry leading business reps, some of whom are photographers who have been in the business long enough to make me feel silly - but they were open books.
So many people go to or offer conferences and I have been to a few for office jobs I've had in the past. Don't get me wrong - I got excited about what I learned and took that excitement and knowledge back to work, to share with my colleagues. But this was so different. Having never traveled by myself or been to California, it was thrilling, in exciting and nerve-wracking ways, to have that much time and freedom to myself, and be a traveler. Upon returning, I unpacked my excitement with a friend who commented "You caught the wanderlust bug." What a beautiful word. It is such a delicious thing to be so inspired and have literal mountain top experiences doing something so fun.
If you are reading this and are a photographer, consider this organization and conference - it is an absolute game changer. Also, if ever you have the opportunity to learn from D'Ann Boal of Smitten and Swoon, True Moua, Chloe Ramirez, Meg Loeks, Ryan Longnecker or any of the other crazy talented artists who instructed at Click Away 2019, do yourself a favor and listen in. Below is an image of D'Ann instructing her husband and daughter during our Love and Light shoot the last day of the conference.
Our shoot got rained out but that meant moody skies and an editing video on how to make the image pop. You can see the original image on my Instagram page from the loop that D'Ann shared of images from myself and other class attendees here.
The night before Love and Light was a Whimsical Senior Shoot on the beach at sunset. Which. Was. Amazing. My favorites...
I learned so much, came back and annoyed anyone who asked about my trip with my excitement, and I would go again tomorrow. The experience challenged me to think about what I want to do and then go do it. In my business and in my real life role of Mom - we will have adventures. I will document the beauty of childhood happening on my watch. I will tell people that they are beautiful and encourage others to seek their dreams and have experiences that inspire them. #GoForIt.