On Thursday, I had the SUPER exciting opportunity to head down to Fredericksburg, VA and attend my very first photography conference! It was the Come Together Event with the lovely Katelyn James and Amy & Jordan Photography. I wasn’t sure initially if I was going to attend, as it was from 4 – 10pm after a normal work day, but I couldn’t be happier that I chose to make it happen. I’m not sure I can even put into words all that I learned from these leaders in the industry. But I’m going to try anyway.
The entire event was held at the historical Stevenson Ridge property in Spotsylvania, Virginia. It was BEAUTIFUL. The long driveway lead to a nice, secluded farmhouse structure. There was ample space, and it created a quaint, rustic feel that was the perfect setting for both the crowd and the topics of conversation of the night. The setting itself just naturally inspires creativity.
The night started with an hour of mingling with other photographers and creative individuals (I think there were around 150 or 200 people in attendance! Some even came from 7 hours away for the event!). Doing a quick scan of the room, I realized that I was one of about five guys in attendance – haha! I started doing some loose networking and meeting with other photographers and hearing about their backgrounds. I absolutely loved it – hearing about others who were successful, hearing their struggles, hearing from photographers that were just starting out…the stories were all so fantastic to hear. Soon after, the event kicked off!
The first speakers for the night were Amy and Jordan Demos, a husband and wife photography team based out of Arizona. I have actually only been following Amy and Jordan for a few months, but the cool thing with these two was that they instantly made you feel like family. I had the pleasure of talking with Amy a bit before their speech, and learned about their history as two elementary school teachers that transitioned into the phenomenal husband and wife team that they are today. I also was able to sneak in a quick photo of me with the two of them – also known as a #demossandwich! During their talk, they captivated the audience with jokes, stories of past experiences, and some insight into them as persons. Let me tell you…they could not be a cuter couple. They spoke about social media, and gave us some excellent tips on how to improve our social media presence, without letting it take over our lives. I learned so much from them that it alone could have been called a good evening from there. But that was only one half of the night…
Now, if you know me well, I have probably mentioned Katelyn James to you before, as I am SUCH a huge fan. I have been following her blog for a few years now, and always look forward to the latest post. Her topic for the evening was blogging, and about how important blogging is to a business (in this context, primarily photography). She was as nice and knowledgeable in person as you’d expect from her persona on her blog and website! Her words were insightful and meaningful. She was impassioned. Her message was clear, and I could tell that she TRULY cared for her clients. I learned so much about creating a business relationship from her. She discussed how her hashtag for brides (#kjbrides) came about from one of her brides coining it one day, and it has now become a cornerstone for her business. She vividly described all of the stories of various moments she has had in her time as a photographer where her work truly made an impact on her clients, as opposed to just being a part of the day. In fact, that was probably the point that was the most central for me in both speeches.
Being a photographer is so much more than a job – it is about creating connections, building a community, and giving to others. In the end, I think that is what every photographer wants, isn’t it? The ability to not only create special memories for clients, but to be a part of something bigger – to give people the gift of something that lasts a lifetime.
I left the workshop feeling full of new life and energy. There are many exciting things coming up for my business as a result of this workshop, so stay tuned in the near future for lots of new updates via this blog. I can’t wait to share them with you all!