Investing in ME and my business! Shutterfest 2018 is in the books!

I have learned very quickly that if you want a chance at being successful in today's photography world, you have to invest in yourself and your business. Photography business in todays day and age are instant. You really don't have to know much to get it started but you will have to learn a lot and stand above the rest to stay in business.

Inexperienced photographers that don't invest in themselves, their skills and their business will fade out. If you are not willing to continually learn new things and keep up with the trends you will not survive in the cut throat business that photography has become. This includes improving your skills and upping your prices. One of the biggest reasons that photographers go out of business in the first 3 years is they work their butts off and don't charge enough to make a profit. It didn't take me long to realize that if I kept doing things the way I was doing them that I would not be in business for long. I needed to educate myself not only with my photography skills but also the business side so that I could continue to serve my awesome clients and keep doing what I loved and I want Images by Christine M. Photography to be around for a long time!

This is one of the many reasons that I attend a photography conference called Shutterfest every year. This was my 4th year with my friend and studio partner Kara and it just keeps getting better and better! It was started by a well known photographer named Sal Cincotta. He is determined to change the photography industry by teaching new and experienced photographers how to market themselves, charge what they are worth and learn skills to back it up. He wants to put the VALUE back into photography. It's about forming relationships with other photographers and helping eachother along the way.

shutterfest 2018 conference in St. Louis Missouri

The conference is held at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Mo. It's two full days of photographing, classes and networking with other photographers and a 3rd, optional day of all business classes. There is nothing else like it Many well known photographers travel in to teach classes and many of them will hang around after class to answer any questions and take you on photo walks. One of my favorite instructors, Lisa Rapp, who is a newborn photographer based in Illinois was even teaching us how to wrap newborns while sitting in our jammies in the hallway of the hotel at 11 pm. SHE ROCKS! You can check out her beautiful work at Little Chics Pics

Lisa Rapp's newborn wrapping class on the big screen

Another amazing photographer that was at the conference teaching was Ana Brandt. An hour and a half class with her is eye opening and she has so much knowledge she is willing to share. She has been a newborn photographer for over 18 years and is so good at teaching others.

Ana Brandt's newborn posing class

My studio partner, Kara and I along with a few other photographers from Omaha, Kara J. and Stephanie S. had an amazing time while learning new techniques and getting to know other professionals in our area. We absolutely love getting to network with other photographers and having someone to bounce ideas off of and that can support you when you are needing advice on anything photography related. We all took different classes and shared notes when they were over. It's truly amazing when you don't look at other photographers as your competition but more as your tribe!

omaha photographers networking together

They have an amazing trade show where you can get hands on with products that are relevant to our industry and of course can buy props! LOTS of props at great prices! I think I saved over $500 stocking up on my newborn props while at the show with great newborn session items from Intuition Backgrounds. You can have your equipment cleaned by a Canon rep and even borrow equipment for free such as lenses and softboxes. They even have 12 meal trucks come and park out from of the Union Station so you are sure to find something yummy to eat. Oh and you can even "Rent a Human". Sounds crazy but it's actually a free modeling program that they do at the conference. Models come from all over to build their portfolios and in trade, the photographers photograph them for free and send them images after the conference is over.

Some of my props scored at the trades show!

I truly believe that you have to invest in yourself and your business to succeed. Whether it be a conference like Shutterfest, a workshop or even a one on one mentorship. Like I said, getting started in the business is easy, staying in business is not. I am so grateful that I have my bff and studio partner to be on this journey with and the other amazing photographer friends I have made and am making on the way. I want to always love what I am doing the way I still do 6 years later and making lifelong friends along the way! Check out my work at Images by Christine M. Photography!

Kara and I at Shutterfest 2018 St. Louis Union Station

A little fun in between classes with Stephanie S.

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