Each year, I budget for myself to attend workshops, conferences or coaching in order to grow as a photographer and business owner. There’s so much to consider when running a business. Even more, the divide & blend of being a creative artist and a business owner can be a lot to juggle. It’s like a war between my right and left brain!
This Spring, I elected to attend the Hybrid Collective, a conference that specializes in educating and inspiring photographers who shoot both digital and film photography. While I don’t capture film for my professional work just yet, I wanted to attend this conference because of the stellar line up (Erich McVey, Greg Finck, D’Arcy Benincosa, just to name a few…), and to learn more about what it takes to truly capture hybrid work.
All of this goes back to one of my original goals at the beginning of this year: get back into film photography.
I learned so much at this conference! These speakers were vaults of knowledge that only come from experience, and I’m so thankful I saw the investment for what it was and jumped on the train (well, plane) to attend this conference!
Here are the top three things I learned at The Hybrid Collective:
1. I’m afraid to shoot film but I need to shoot film.
There is a lot to consider before choosing to be a film/hybrid wedding photographer. From a digital perspective, the initial fear is money. Each image captured on film costs between $1-$1.50. For example, a roll o Kodak Portra 400 costs about $8 a roll (if you purchase in bulk). Each roll is 16 frames when shooting medium format film. To develop that roll, it costs $12-16. Then you have to match your film edits to your digital ones and that takes more time. And in this world of entrepreneurship, time is so valuable.
Film is also scary because it’s physical. After a wedding, I can’t immediately back up the images to a hard drive or the cloud, so I have to take serious precautions to make sure my couples images are preciously cared for.
Even with all of these considerations, I still need to give film a try. There’s something so ethereal and captivating about a film image that can’t be matched with digital (although a lot of photographers try). I also believe there is something historical in the process of creative film work. It takes far more dedication and artistry, and after shooting digital for so long, those are the roots I long to get back to.
2. Travel is where my heart is.
Ever since my first international adventure to Nice, France, I fell in love with experiencing new cultures. Seeing a new landscape makes my heart flutter, and even more, FOOD! But what I love the most about travel, especially to other countries that have a deep foundation in history, is the landmarks, architecture and old-world elegance that is so hard to find in the United States (minus my favorite spots, Savannah and Charleston)! What you’ll see in the next year is me taking serious steps to do more travel work and destination anniversaries and weddings. Get ready. Also, reach out!
3. I need to do more personal work for myself.
It’s so easy to be stagnant in this industry. I love capturing weddings but so many times, the weddings I capture begin to feel the same. There’s still SO MUCH love for these weddings but when you capture 100 cake cuttings and cupid shuffles…well it feels very similar. As I look back through my work, my favorite images come from the interactions between my couples. The love there is amazing. So I plan to chase after that connection through personal work, collaborating with others and creating photographs that inspire me and others to react. Also to continued learning technically how to produce work that sets me apart.
I’m writing this post to keep my thoughts organized, but also to give myself some accountability. I never want to be comfortable with the work I’m producing. And I always want to give my couples images that they’ll proudly display in their home. Through this conference, I feel invigorated to produce even better work that I have before!
Here’s a peak at some of the images I captured during my masterclass with Erich McVey