At the beginning of November, I had the opportunity to attend a photography conference in Tempe, Arizona called Showit United which is put on by the awesome CEO and team behind Showit, the company that actually powers my website! The conference was over the course of 4 days at the beautiful and unique Buttes Marriot Hotel. The last and only time I had ever been in Arizona was when I was too young to remember our family vacation to the Grand Canyon. When I landed in the airport, the city reminded me of LA but when we got to the resort it started to look like more of what I envisioned Arizona to look like. Cacti everywhere and plants that you don’t see every day here in Northern California.
We spent 4 days in the desert learning more about photography and business! We heard from some of the leaders in the industry, smiled, laughed, cried, hugged, and shared each others successes and struggles! It was so surreal to be there surrounded by so many others who understand the drive and passion that I have to not only take beautiful photos, but who also want to serve their clients well and create more than a collection of photos but a legacy! I went not knowing anyone. At least not anyone I had met in person. So it was a little nerve racking because I was all by myself but also because I didn’t really know what to expect. Even though I didn’t know what to expect, I decided to invest in my business and in myself so that I can be better for my clients. And oh man, I was completely blown away!
Before the conference officially started, I had the opportunity to learn from Mike Colon and participate in a styled shoot that he was directing. It was so cool to hear his heart and passion for his work. He assembled a creative team that put together a beautiful vintage inspired shoot for us. I loved being able to hear him share but to also watch him work with the models and the light!
After that, there was a welcome party by the pool of the hotel. Just seeing how everyone was so excited for what was yet to come in the next few days helped ease some of the fears that I had about the conference and I loved meeting photographers from all over the country!
Day 2 started with a bang! We heard from Showit CEO, Todd Watson who encouraged us to do hard things. We also heard from his lovely wife Elisa, who stressed the importance of figuring out who you were meant to be. Amy and Jordan Demos gave a keynote about managing your time, Dave Ramsey style, and it was so liberating! Their words have run through my ears ever since I heard them!
The second session we had the privilege of hearing from Jasmine Star, which is always a treat! I had a chance to talk with her at dinner that night and she is just as inspiring and amazing in person!
The day ended with dinner at a country club and everyone dressed up. It was so much fun to be at a beautiful event that was thrown just for us! There was a checkered dance floor and a Vogue style Photo Booth, which I didn’t get to partake in because the line was too long 🙁 As we were leaving the party, the band was playing the song, “There’s Always Something There To Remind Me.” Which was funny to me, because I always associate that song with Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, which also takes place in Arizona. As I stood at the top of the stairs and looked out at the party, I wanted to always remember that moment of feeling like I was part of something so special that I never even knew existed. It was almost like in that moment, I knew I wasn’t alone and that I was ready for what was ahead.
The last morning started with a styled shoot led by Lauren Swann all about Bridal Details Styling! I absolutely love Lauren’s heart for capturing those heirloom pieces for her brides and just hearing the way she talks about the importance of them makes my heart so happy! It was so nice to learn some tips and tricks that I can use for all my #sspbrides for next year and to watch her do her magic!
Our last session we heard from the super sweet and lovely Kateyln James! She shared so much of her heart and was so transparent with us. I’m sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the room! Her words spoke right to my heart and I am so thankful for that!
I am so unbelievably blessed to have been able to spend those few days in the desert. I left feeling recharged, inspired, and ready to take my business to the next level! I am so excited to start implementing everything I learned into my business so that I can give my clients an even better experience and serve them even more than I was before! I am always looking for ways to be a better photographer and entrepreneur, but I also learned things to help me be a better wife, friend, sister, daughter, and an overall more well balanced person. Someone who is intentional with their life and who remembers what the important things are!
The tag line for the conference was, Be Creative, Be United, Be You. I really felt like I left Arizona with the confidence to be those things even more so in my life. I am so excited for what’s in store for my business next year! That night, I went home and told Eli that I felt like I had found my people. And then I signed us both up to go again next year!
Thank you to Todd, the Showit Team, all the incredible speakers, volunteers, sponsors, and fellow photographers that I now call friends, for making this such an unforgettable experience and for breathing life into my heart and soul! Here’s to next year!
Photos of the parties and speakers by Cassia Karin
PS stay tuned for blog posts with my photos from the styled shoots!