I had the most amazing, incredible and other assorted adjectives experience all the way back in March. I've had many opportunities to talk about this, but it's been difficult to put into words. I was selected from 650+ applicants to attend a live broadcast of the educational website creativeLIVE.com this is an amazing outlet for all sorts of creative minded people, particularly photographers. It is a free resource for some of the greatest instructors and educators in our industry to step forward and share their wealth of knowledge. The teacher for my course: Sue freaking Bryce.
I know, unless you're a photographer or have been one of her subjects you're probably not familiar with the name. But once you see her work, you know it's Sue. Once you hear her speak, you know you're hers. If there ever was an educational enchantress her name would be Sue Bryce.
In Aug. of 2012 I drove eight hours out of my way to take part in a mini two day workshop called WPPI-U, the decision was made to do so solely because of a single speaker. Of course there were others that drew me in, provided me with invaluable information for my business and for my art. But no one touches your heart and speaks as genuinely as Sue. So her hour long keynote speech was worth the re-route and rescheduling. I even missed my oldest child's first day of first grade. Don't throw rocks at me! I was there for preschool and kindergarten, and this was the kick in the pants that I needed for my business. All that for AN HOUR of her time.
Fast forward to March--I would be there in person with Sue for TWO whole days. TWO DAYS. This time it wasn't just going to be a motivational, go-fight-win speech. It was the real deal. Breaking down your business pitfalls to the point that no excuses can stand. It was brutal, and I desperately needed every second of it.
You see, I love what I do very much. But, I can't simply give it away. I value myself, my talent, my hardwork, my years of studying and learning count for something! In fact I had my excuses stripped away in front of 50 audience members, 10+ staffers and the entire watching web-audience throughout the world. I NEEDED THAT.
I have an amazing talent to offer, and I so desperately wanted to share it that I was servicing the entirely wrong audience. My clients value the art of our collaborations, they appreciate the entire experience I offer and they want to have tangible memories hung on their walls. My clients aren't running to the kodak kiosk at walmart to print our pictures. Because I don't "take pictures" I create moments. I don't buy into groupon prints and canvases, I've shopped tradeshows with the best to offer in the industry and selected individual vendors for the products that I offer. It's more work for me to utilize many different companies when I could easily do it all through one. But, what you get matters to me. How long it lasts, how true it is to what I created and whether or not you'll be able to pass it along to our children matters to me. So I'm NOT the photographer offering 15 minutes for $25. That is ridiculous. That is not a business. That is not even a lemonade stand. I cannot and will not partake in such silliness, because what I do and what I can offer my clients is so much more important than that.
I've really known this information all along, I just didn't know that I was allowed to give myself permission to feel that way!
The next most amazing thing that I was in no way prepared for was to meet the incredible men and women that were there amongst the studio audience with me. We shared such a cathartic experience that we have bonded in ways that are unexplainable. We laid ourselves out bare boned to build ourselves back up with the amazing guidance that Sue offered.
It's taken me this long to come to a place where I can actually even talk about the whole thing because it was that personal and insightful. I have the steps I need to take, the path drawn out before me for success I simply have to choose to keep walking it every single day. And honestly I want that. I think you as supporters and clients want that, too.
This was life changing, and believe it or not, it was just the start of my week. Did I mention this lead up to my very first WPPI experience? 16,000 photographers in a single space for a week, yeah that is another blog waiting to happen!