Last week I did something a little out of my comfort zone. I went to Animal Image Makers, the first ever photography conference for pet photographers. What part of that scared me? I did it alone.
As much as I may come across as an extrovert, I'm really quite reserved about putting myself out there without the support of a like minded friend by my side. I like to blend in and be in a position where I won't be noticed. (This is probably one of the reasons I love candid style photography. Those of you who aren't crazy about being in pictures, I get it.) Since I know this about myself, I signed up for the conference right away so I couldn't talk myself out of it.
The 4 day conference was so much fun. It was jam packed with classes from national and international pet photographers and I was soaking it all in learning tips and tricks from each and every one of them.
Is that not the cutest pin??!!!
Besides instructors and speakers, this conference also included an image competition. It was not accredited, but it was a great introduction for people like me who have never entered a competition. I have a friend who is a fabulous photographer and an amazing image maker who is always telling me how much you learn from entering competitions. Dana Rose, of Rose Design Fine Art Portraiture has won top awards for her images and she pushed me until I agreed to enter. (Thanks, Dana.)
I won't bore you with the details, but one of the 3 images that I entered did quite well. It received the 3rd highest score (out of 68 entries) in it's category and out of 484 entries total for the competition, my image score was 21st. It was both thrilling and humbling. The image was this one... The Mountains Are Calling. Say hello to Birdie!
The best part of the whole thing was the people I met at the conference. Soooo many pet photographers, so little time. ;O) Will I continue to enter print competition? Probably not. I realized that I'm not willing to change my style of photography to that which would make good competition images. For instance, this image of Blu was not in the running because, well, her unmentionables are mentionable here. ha!
This "pose" and the look of joy on her face is what makes this image totally Blu! The personalities that shine through the images that I get for my clients are why I do what I do. So, as much as I LOVE looking at the amazing images in competition, I think I will stick to the stands as a viewer and supporter of others. ;O)
If you have the opportunity to better your craft, (be it photography, painting, or any of the arts) even if it means going outside of your comfort zone, don't let those little nagging fears stop you. You will learn and you will make wonderful friends with people who share your passion. One of the ladies at the conference said it perfectly,
The difference between online learning and in person