I Will Click Away – A Photography Conference Recap

In Inspiration, Urban Exploration
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Last month I attended a photography conference in Seattle. It was hard to pass up the event with the location only 45 minutes away from home and then, there was the line up of speakers and teachers. Can you say Jesh de Rox, Summer Murdock, Brooke Shaden, and Yan Palmer, to name a few?! Oh and let’s not forget getting to hang out with fellow Viewfinder and dear friend, Alison Bents all weekend *BONUS*.

It was pretty much awesome all the way around. (and that’s a whole lotta linkage for you to follow. go ahead, click those links- have your mind be blown and then come back and read what I have to say…. mmmmkay?)
Vanessa Simpson Click Away 2016Over the past few weeks I have had some time to sit and process my weekend. I re-read all my notes, and then, made fresh brainstorming notes of my own. I didn’t learn a whole lot of technical things over the weekend- sure, Summer touched on playing with shutter speed and using her tilt shift lens. And Brooke spun her Photoshop magic before our very eyes while she was on stage. I can’t forget the way  Ashley Crawford sorta blew my mind talking about pushing film and using a hand held light meter instead of the one that is built into my camera (hey, how about that old school stuff?!).

But those aren’t the things that have been singing to me, or what has been stirring in the forefront of my mind for the past four weeks (it’s good stuff if it sticks with you for more than a month, don’t you think?).
Vanessa Simpson Click Away 2016Wanna know what HAS been doing back-flips in my mind?

Whether it was intentional or not, there were overlying themes talked about through out the three days. These tips, these talking points, they can each be applied to photography, but guess what? I keep feeling them sneak into places and spaces when I don’t have a camera in my hand at all. Why I think they have had such a strong hold on me is because the points can be applied to ALL of life…

Ready for a little Photography Conference Boot-camp?

You don’t get “good” at something if you don’t

a) practice

You don’t get “good” at something if you don’t

b) challenge yourself

You don’t get “good” at something if you don’t

c) make mistakes

Vanessa Simpson Click Away 2016When we see the images that other photographers post on social media, or have hanging on a gallery wall – we sometimes forget all the time that went in behind the scenes to create and build that photograph.

Friends, those images didn’t just happen.

When you see an athlete at the Olympics – they didn’t end up on the podium with a medal around thier neck without time, energy, and dedication.
The words that were repeated during ClickAway were truly a wake up call for me in so many parts of my life right now. Am I WILLING to put in the werk, werk, werk, werk? And guess what? just like your metabolism starts to run higher when you exercise more (woot!), your creativity starts to boil over and break out of your heart when you use it more often. Did anyone else get a visual of The Hulk mid transition, with his green muscles ripping up his shirt and pants like I just did? because that’s what I want you to think of- practice your creativity and it’s gonna get bulky up in here – ideas and new projects and photo series.
I think I like the idea of a highly creative metabolism….
The deeper I have gotten into photography (ie attempting to make a business of this art) I have sometimes let it slip as to why and how I got to this place. I love this art. I love it because it frustrates me to no end (how do I get that angel I want, how do I make the image look on the screen like it does in my mind, or how do I get this darn off camera flash to friggin’ fire correctly?) Photography slows me down, it helps me SEE the amazing that is this world. But if I don’t practice my practice the seeing, I don’t practice the clicking if I don’t practice with my camera in my hand, viewfinder to eye, finger to shutter – I stop growing, learning and I stop growing.
So what am I doing differently? I have made a little pact with myself.  If you are feeling these feelings too, and are ready for a little kick in the booty like I am I am going to ask you to do the same. I am going to pick up my dSLR on the regular (meaning practicing a little bit a lot-(just like my yoga practice, have you seen my project #yogawhilethecoffeebrews on instagram?). Just 5 minutes of playing in the shadows and in the light every other day, I am going to photograph things for ME again. Half the battle is taking the darn thing out of the bag and turning it on (just like lacing up my running shoes and hitting the pavement – the first 5 minutes are the hardest).
Why? becuase if I want people to pay me to do this gig, I have to photograph what I LOVE first, to learn when there isn’t the pressure of pleasing anyone but me. I have to find the JOY and I have to be willing to make mistakes as I go in order to learn and to grow. I want to be lit up inside by my work and feel something when I see the back of my camera – and I want you to do the same.

Are you ready? I know I am.

Keep chasing the light, Vanessa

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