The Road to Success

Most photographers have not come from formal education. I am one of those photographers. I had a love for photography since I was young.  I always wanted to capture "the moment." My love for capturing moments and desire for owning my own business led me to becoming a photographer. I am like most. I bought a DSLR or what I also like to call "A Fancy Camera," I started photographing anyone who would let me, and then one day started to earn money for it.

For many photographers that is their story and that is all.

I want more than just that.

There are many things that separate a photographer, a good photographer, and a GREAT photographer.

Education is one of those things.

I firmly believe if you are not educating yourself you will forever be stagnant. I believe this in life and in business. Our world is forever changing. If you are not staying up to date or ahead of the game you will not succeed.

I seek out every opportunity I can to learn and grow in photography. I definitely don't jump at every opportunity.  I carefully select what I feel is best for my business and I.  When I found out Imaging USA 2013 would be in Atlanta, GA there was no question in my mind that I needed to head down there.

Lucky for me I didn't have to head down by myself.  My friend Dee, past bride & aspiring photographer, wanted to get in on the fun!

We had a lofty goal of driving to Atlanta bright an early Sunday morning, attend the Expo and a few workshops, then drive right home that same evening.  That is until we found out the Falcons & 49ers had a game that day. Has anyone else had the pleasure of dealing with Atlanta traffic before?  No. Fun.

So we decided to go down the night before and save us some frustration.

This gave me a chance to catch up on some uninterrupted reading! Remember, I am without a 2 1/2 year old!  This trip is more than just work people, it's a mini vacation!!

We planned out the workshops we would attend the next day.  Then I sat back and enjoyed reading Click & Professional Photographer magazine. Two awesome resources for photographers.

Then it was time to catch some zzzzzz (aka beauty rest).  'Night Atlanta!

Sunday morning we headed to the GWCC with open minds & dunkin donuts coffee!

We started our day of learning by attending a Marketing Workshop given by Steve Kozak. Marketing is a key component for a successful business.  Steve made some excellent points and provided practical suggestions. I am really thankful for the information I received from this workshop.

(As you can tell there were quite a few photographers in this workshop.  Lucky for Dee and I we  found a seat and didn't have to sit on the floor!)

Next, we head over to Sarah Petty's workshop. We were part of the lucky first 500 to receive a copy of her book "Worth Every Penny."  I had already read it, twice actually. She is smart, inspiring, and full of energy.  A wonderful person to learn from. I would also like to say this was the first time I tweeted just about every minute trying to win a prize.

After this workshop it was time to head to lunch.  We also took a quick break to catch up on social media and play in the water!

After lunch we headed to the Expo.  This is where a photographer has fun! There are hundreds of vendors displaying, selling, and educating about their products. It's a great opportunity to sample items and purchase at a special expo rate.  I was so excited to see one of my favorite vendors representing their beautiful work. Miller's Professional Imaging is my lab and I LOVE THEM!  They had a great booth.

Check out who had a booth!!!! Chickfila! Guess what?! It was Sunday. We all know what that means.

After a long 4 hours in the Expo we made it to our final class. Garrett Nudd & Lisa Stoner gave us valuable advice about vendor relationships.  Garret also served up his famous Guacamole.  He definitely earned bonus points for that!

Dee and I logged in 10 hours of learning and we were purely exhausted.

We left our last workshop, joined a million photographers & football fans in Atlanta traffic, and embarked on a 4 hour drive back to good old NC.

If you are ever in a car for a long drive and are completely delirious, it might be a good idea to start telling jokes.  Here are a few of our awesome jokes.  You can thank me later!

(a) Why did the math book go to the therapist?

(b) What is smarter than a talking cow?


Answers: (a) He had a lot of problems  (b) a spelling bee