Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a real page-turner.

As I walked through the long corridors of rich red carpet at the Georgia World Congress Center, I was as happy as a schoolgirl going to a new class. Except this time, I was a businesswoman attending a new conference. With great anticipation, I signed up for my first ever Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) event!

My excitement quickly overtook nervous feelings of walking into a room of nearly 400 people trying to do just what I do every day--to make their living as a photographer and stand out among the crowd. I once imagined this idea to be a bad thing. Too many artists I've encountered along the way pull off that smoldering back-of-the-cafe look that screams unapproachable and scoffs at the very idea of conversing over current creative works. But everyone I met at WPPI University in Atlanta was passionate about photography, and that passion broke down any insecure walls. 

What lifted the fog, and what makes total sense, is a little something the amazing Jasmine Star spoke about during her session. When I'm out capturing a new starry-eyed engaged couple or beaming bride and groom, I'm not competing against every other person who owns a camera and calls themselves a photographer. Only I can be the very best me! (I know you're all thinking, DUH, I thought you went to college, Erin, but hang with me!) Anyone can rent a two-foot hubble telescope lens and attend one photography course after another. No one can be a better and more passionate version of me. 

I decide my story. I wrote the chapter on meeting and getting to know my couples so we're friends who greet with a big Southern hug before the big day. I cue in the laughter and excitement as the bride gets ready with her most intimate friends. I type out the tears that well up within me every time a young man commits his life to his bride and reminds me of my own groom. Page after page fly by like a good read you just can't put down. And no one can plagiarize my experiences with my clients. All I have to do is keep being the very best author I can!

That's a lot of "me" talk, but Jasmine's ideas and inspiration are for the everyman. That's the best part! Each one of us was designed to tell a unique story that no other person can. What a privilege it is to try and do our very best work!

So yes, over the past three days I learned even more about f-stops, eccentric lighting, and even how to use the "skinny tool" in Photoshop (yeah, so enjoy that last bite of brownie!)---but I also took away something just as important as these technical tools---the encouragement to go with gusto and write a new and exciting page to my unique story every day.

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