UNITED Photography Conference | Scottsdale, AZ

leahhope

A few of you know that I recently attended a photography conference in Scottsdale Arizona. It is put together by an awesome team from Showit and is called UNITED. I have known of this particular conference for about two years and have had it on my list of “I would love to do’s”. The entire conference is based upon helping one another out and making genuine relationships to help further your business. I knew it would be great but really the word “conference” seems too uptight and corporate in a way. I picture board rooms and ties when I think of the word. UNITED really should’ve been called a “retreat”. I had no idea what I would walk away with from this amazing 3 days. I had no idea I would feel so alive (I know it sounds corny!) to be around so many creatives, I had no idea I would meet so many amazing people who literally hugged everyone, I had no idea I would be let into the personal lives of the photographers that I look up to and admire, I had no idea I’d be searching for tissues almost every time someone got on stage, I had no idea I would be so inspired not only about my photography business but LIFE! Seriously, I told my husband, Tanner that when I got home. . . or maybe I was telling someone over the phone and he over heard me say, “It was just so life inspiring!” He looked at me and kinda said, “Really? Come on. . . ” BUT it is true! Each speaker touched each.one.of.us. We are all in a different place in our lives & businesses but everything resonated with each.one.of.us. and that is what was so amazing. Just being real and telling it like it is was so refreshing and invigorating. Hearing one of my photography icons, Mary Marantz speak, I was literally captivated with her every word. She engaged us all and asked the hard questions of us that no one wants to say out loud. Part of her talk she asked us all to write down a sentence. . . “I’m not (blank) enough.” Then she made us fill in the blank and hold it up in the air. She told us to take that word and let it go because we are that (blank) word enough! It’s so simple. I didn’t really know what to put in my blank until I got home. I was feeling so overwhelmed (in a good way!), excited to implement all this new found knowledge into my business, so inspired by all the speakers and new friends I had made. . . and then it felt like I couldn’t do any of it. That it was being wasted. Because now I’m back to reality and real life. Where I only have an hour or so in the afternoon while the kids have nap time to get anything done. Where I need to go to the grocery store instead of working on my website, where I have to clean the house instead of blogging more to increase my following. . . all the REAL LIFE stuff seemed to be too much to do anything to help my business grow. I went from all these great, positive emotions to feeling deflated. I sat at the counter with Tanner and tried to tell him how I was feeling but I couldn’t do it without crying. (Literally sobbing in the kitchen.) Thinking about Katelyn James & Natalie Franke and their heartfelt emotions pouring out of them. . .  how could I do all of these things I want to do in this REAL LIFE? Without even telling Tanner about Mary’s talk, he said to me, “Sarah, you’re not proud enough of where your business already is. You’ve come so far in such a short amount of time and you don’t give yourself enough credit. Be proud of where you are and don’t feel like you need to overwhelm yourself all at once. I’m so proud of you and so are all your friends and family. You need to be more proud of yourself.” This is why I married this man. He knew, he always knows before I even tell him anything. He knows before I know. (I’m crying again. . . btw!) He knew my (blank) word. SO I’ve realized that I am happy with where things are right now and I still can implement things I’ve learned. . . I just don’t have to do it all at once. I can make time here and there to do small things and be proud of where I am in the meantime:) We get so wrapped up in thinking about the future, sometimes it’s hard to realize what you have right in the present. I cannot wait for next year’s UNITED “retreat”. I will definitely be putting it on my calendar:)

We also had the chance to sign up for some amazing styled shoots and this one was “First Looks & Bride & Groom Posing” with one of my favorite photographers, Abby Grace. We were supposed to head out into the Arizona dessert for this shoot, but as we were about to get on the bus there were crazy dark skies and thunder and lightening in the distance. We didn’t want to risk being stuck in the dessert in a major storm, so we shot in the hotel courtyard instead (which was amazing too!). I learned a lot from Abby and am so grateful to have met her! It’s awesome to see first hand how other photographers work and interact with their couples. What a sweet and talented woman! She makes it seem effortless! We worked with 2 awesome couples that were both already married and so kind to pose for us:)

I also was part of a Senior Styled shoot with another favorite of mine, Hope Taylor . . . but saving that for another post!

Phew. . . that was a long one, but I thought I’d share because I’m feeling great and taking it slow. Learning to say no to certain things and yes to others. I’ve been asked to speak to a class of women about my business and I’m not sure I would’ve done it if I hadn’t just been a part of UNITED and all it’s amazingness. . . so I said YES and I’m really looking forward to it:)

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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