Saturday, February 20

My true experience at Shutterfest 2015

I didn't think I would ever actually publish this post but something Sal said in the Image Competition video posted this morning got me thinking. I feel I need to share this and yes I am submitting to the Image Competition again this year.  It is one way I plan to grow and learn in my craft.  Last year was the first competition I have truly entered. Outside of this experience the only other judged setting I've partaken in was for the student art shows at my University in which I had most if not all of my entries accepted into the show. So the competition was a brand new adventure for me.

Below was originally written on April 24, 2015...
I have been struggling to as to whether I should keep my business a business.  I have been riddled with self doubt and basically ready to throw in the towel.  I attended the first Shutterfest conference in 2014 and left inspired and ready to go.  My return home left me less than enthused.

I set about restructuring my pricing.  In the mean time, I was busy trying to get hired.  The sad thing is I couldn't even get booked by those wanting cheap photography.  I was posting on requests in local fb sales groups essentially pimping myself out to the lowest bidder and still not getting hired; needless to say this did not help the ego at all either.  So by the time Shutterfest 2015 rolled around, I was really considering calling it quits.  I had pretty much resigned myself to going back to a hobbyist.  
That being said the start of Shutterfest this year did not have the umph I was expecting or hoping.  I had the beginnings of sinus issues going on and well I just felt disconnected.  I still followed most of my plans.  I headed over to the other side of the river to shoot the arch from the Illinois side.  Albeit a bit chilly and the sunset was a bit lackluster I enjoyed being out there with other fellow photographers.  I headed back to the conference and made a mistake.  I attended the judging of the image competition; don't get me wrong, I learned a ton from sitting in the room and listening but I was super deflated after seeing the scores on two of the four images that I submitted.  Were my scores terribly awful no, do I know where I need to work on my skills yes!  But the thing is I left the judging feeling totally and completely deflated.  I still had two other images that were left to be judged and due to the sheer number of entries at the last minute those two images have been docketed to be judged at a later date.

Day one of the conference, Sal spoke about pivoting in his opening platform class.  When we see something not working we need to pivot and change direction.  Anyhow, the feelings after the image competition set the tone for the rest of my time at the conference.  I made the most of my time the best that I knew how.  I, along with a few others, rented a human during the first breakout session and started to feel my spirits lift but still felt meh.  I even participated in a newborn workshop and even with the adorable newborn I was able to take images of I still had those doubts lingering over my head; maybe I do need to give up.  I attended the rest of the conference classes on my schedule for Tuesday, even attended the comedy show but never really shook the feeling that set in.

Day two of the conference, still feeling blah!  I've had a full nights sleep.  *GASP*  Yes, I actually slept during Shutterfest.  Did I miss out on some awesome stuff happening? I know I did but I know that in the long run it is the sleep that I needed.  My breakout classes were both hands on classes.  I already posted about my day here.  And needless to say as my day progressed, my mood and spirits did too.  Even if photography doesn't become my full time job, I'm okay with that.  I love my day job where I get to work hands on with kids at the school and I know that 99% of the time my schedule fits my boys schedule.  But I do know that photography will always be in the mix.

Fast forward to April 23rd, I learned that I was chosen as the winner of the $1000 Travel Expense for Shutterfest 2016.  This simple little experience has helped to flip that switch or rather pivot my way of thinking in my mind!  I'm still working on my images from Shutterfest; however, I am near finished with those!  I still have some self doubt but we all do.  Photography is a huge part of who I am and it will always be a part of my life.  I am amazed at how this a simple random winning can be such a huge pivot point for me.  In its own little way it screams to me that I am worth it and I do deserve to follow my dreams!  And yes Sal...I am pivoting!  

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