Q: How have you grown as an artist since attending Photo Native?
The Photo Native sessions really inspired me to focus my photography skills to just a few areas. I think when photographers decide to start a business, they feel like they have to shoot anything and everything in order to be successful, but after narrowing my subject scope, I've felt more creative and more inspired to pursue artistic and personal projects. I'm shooting what I want to shoot, not just because I have to.
Q: What business skills have you implemented since attending Photo Native?
I've become much closer getting my business brain together after listening to the bad-A speakers. Running a business is like a machine and once it gets going, the maintenance gets easier and easier. I'm not quite to the point where I'd call my business successful, but I'm confident it's coming, and Photo Native had a huge part in that.
Q: You mentioned you LOVED the community and friends you made here, can you expand on that?
A lot of times in the wedding industry, it feels like photographers are all fake friends. We wish each other the best and admire each other's work, but there is this underlying spark of jealousy when someone else gets published or has booked their entire season by January 5. But the Photo Native community didn't feel like that. There was always genuine support coming from the speakers and a sense of camaraderie from the attendees. I have friends from all over the country now after attending the shoot and dinner. I also loved that the conference brought together people of all different skill levels. I've been shooting for a long time but am a newbie to the business world. It was nice to meet people who were in the same boat as well as brand-new shooters and business savvy old-hands.
I've attended a lot of photo conferences and workshops, and Photo Native definitely had the best balance between creative and business sessions, and I loved that the speakers had different styles. I felt that having that diversity fed a solid knowledge base and contributed to a rich learning environment.
Q: What is your #1 takeaway from Photo Native?
There is always a niche or a market for you. Worrying about other photographers' work and how to keep up with them is a waste of energy. Surround yourself with a tight-knit group of support and craft your vision and your business to suit your needs, not anybody else's.