One week ago I was down on Amelia Island Florida surrounded by over 1,000 other photographers. I was attending the Click Away photography conference as a teacher excited to share my ideas, as a photographer eager to learn, and as a friend thrilled to finally give a “real life” hug to the women who have become such an important part of my photography journey.
To say the weekend was incredible is an understatement. It was truly a transformative experience.
Like so many photographers, I consider myself to be an introvert. I like the quiet of my home – I recharge with some “me time” and a cup of coffee. So you could say that I was bit intimidated at the prospect of spending three days surrounded by people I had never met in person before. Sure, we already had wonderful virtual relationships, but real life can be different….
I arrived late on Thursday night after the sun had set, went straight to my hotel room and tried to get a good night’s sleep. I woke with the sun Friday morning my stomach a bundle of nerves. I changed my clothes 3 times, slung my camera bag over my shoulder, took a deep breath and followed the Click Away signs to where the conference began.
Immediately, as refreshing as the breeze coming off the ocean, I realized all that worry was for nothing.
Yes, Click Away was incredible to teach at……teaching is my passion, so to have an opportunity to invite participants into my shooting style was amazing. I also hosted a business panel, another passion of mine. As a CPA, and I get geeky excited when I get to talk business.
Further, I was sponsored by the incredible Millers Professional Imaging. Millers, with their unmatched commitment to quality and the value they place on their client relationships, fully embodied their values at Click Away. Offering support, a smile and encouragement to me and to all other photographers who passed by their booth, they were a positive light through our three days together.
I even had the opportunity to attend a few shooting sessions of my own to watch some of the inspiring artists I admire work their craft.
And yet, truly the most incredible part of the Click Away conference was the energy. Our little corner of Amelia Island was buzzing with smiles, and laughter and words of encouragement. There was so much good given forth. Everyone was a friend. It was an infectious energy that radiated from everyone I passed. I could feel it and it filled me up.
It was the most wonderful testament to just how special this community is. We’ve all heard the phrase “community over competition,” but phrases are easy to say and often harder to execute in daily life. Not at Click Away. This was community at its finest. Everyone working together, lifting each other up, sharing techniques and ideas. All of us woven together by our common love of photography.
These are my people. This is my community. And I have returned home from Click Away and the warmth of that island feeling full of inspiration and gratitude.
Below are a sample of some of the images that I captured during the two boutique shooting sessions I taught called “Capturing The Moment That Matters” that were focused on capturing honest and authentic connection.