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March 10, 2017

Reflecting on Showit United 2016 Conference | Hotel in Tempe, Arizona | Phoenix Marriott Tempe at the Buttes

I want to share my experience of attending the United conference this past November.  I had attended my first United conference back in 2014.  I knew it was time to attend another conference this year not only to grow as a small business owner but for myself also.  United was a great fit for me 3 years ago and once I saw the list of speakers I knew it was the right fit for me again!

I reached out to a few local photographers to see if they were attending and quickly learned that I may not know many at this conference.  When I purchased my ticket months prior, I was confident in myself!  Yes, I can travel by myself!   Even though I wasn’t sure anyone I knew was going, I will go, I will make new friends.  But, that confident feeling changed as soon as I got there.  I kept asking myself ‘What am I Doing Here?’  I was constantly questioning, Why? I was stepping out of my comfort zone.  I called Sean and expressed how I was feeling.  Of course being a rockstar husband, he said no you’re meant to be there!  I quickly realized I was here for a reason.   I needed to take full advantage of my time here and think back to why I wanted to come here in the first place, TO LEARN!!!  I picked specific speakers to listen too with one goal in mind, becoming a FULL TIME PHOTOGRAPHER!

Below are my Top 5 Highlights of my trip:

  1. Meeting other photographers
    • Getting to meet others in your industry is a key component. You can learn from each other and know that you are not alone in the industry.
  2. Attending breakout sessions that I thought would help me achieve my goal to going full time
    • Yes becoming a full time photographer has been a goal of mine since the very beginning. t Some of the speaker’s sessions hit home hard and I found myself crying as I listened to them.  Especially Mary Marantz!!!  I love you girl.  All of the speakers were amazing and I had many tears throughout the week.
  3. Styled Shoots
    • Learning from the pros.
  4. New headshots
    • Dressing up in a gorgeous Badgley Mischka dress from Rent the Runway for the Ball and on top of that getting photographed by Chad was amazing!!! He set up all these light stands and made me feel like a model.  Not going to lie when I was getting my photo taken I was secretly smiling in the photo because I knew I was pregnant and no one there knew yet.
    • Also work up for sunrise headshots with my friend Sarah from Heather & Sarah Photography. When in Rome, I mean Arizona, you got where the dirt and cacti are!  Love my new headshots!
    • I will share more photos in another blog post
  5. Going outside of my comfort zone
    • Questioning why am I here? Am I at the right place?  Do I fit in?  What am I doing here?  As I reflect on this trip, I’m proud to say that I did do this on my own and can do it on my own!  I made some amazing new friends and love that I got an opportunity to attend this conference.

I’ll be sharing more photos of the styled shoots next week!

Xoxo Jen Araya

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