There is literally nothing better for the creative's soul then being getting out and being creative. It's something that we often forget to do, but it brings so much clarity focus and reignited passion for the work.
When my friends Christina, Spanki and True invited me to be a part of a collaborative to put on stylized shoot outs for photographers, my first reactions was that they had to have the wrong person. Never once have I displayed that I was talented enough or even enjoyed stylized shoots. My version of a stylized shoots is my girls dressed in my brand colors and denim and headed out on the town. That's how basic my shooting style is. But, reluctant, I agreed because I knew that these girls would challenge me to think outside of my comfort zone and that if they were asking me that there had to be something they felt I could bring to the table.
We all knew we were going to WPPI. We also knew that WPPI isn't always great at providing educational resources for senior photographers. We thought it was a great opportunity to fill that gap, and fill is what we did. We dreamed up an amazing shootout at Nelson Ghost Town and started our planning.
One thing that I knew immediately that I could offer were my girls, who were both excited and who's parents were equally willing to support me taking them on this trip!
We piled into the car, a group of high school juniors and seniors, and headed to the airport and we were on our way to meet the girls and our shoot out crew!
Even though the girls were only going to be in Vegas for just over 24 hours, we made sure to give them an experience to remember - because legit, if your parents let you go to Vegas overnight, you have to DO Vegas even if its in high speed.
Some of my girls had never been and enjoyed taking in the sights once we landed and unpacked our suitcases.
It brought me so much joy to see how exciting it was for them and how much fun they were having.
After just 4 hours of sleep, the girls woke up at 5a and went immediately into hair and makeup. SO professional. So humble, they set in their chairs and prepared for the day, while the girls and I came up with our strategy for the day.
On the drive to Nelson ( about 1hr and 15 minutes) we did a candid Q&A on the charter bus about our experience in senior photographer, an overview of how we run our business (all very different, but all in ways that work for us) and we had the opportunity to encourage the attendees, put them at peace that they were right on track and provide some fun insight on how to work with young people and to create a senior business that was impactful.
Each of us brought our unique styles to the shoot.
I was able to bring my urban flair, while Christina brought a very polished and pretty aesthetic, Spanki taught on emotion and connection and it was evident in the images that were created by the attendees who worked with her and True, with all of her imagination, brought her styled concepts.
It was amazing seeing how our four unique styles actually complimented each other really well AND added so much value to the attendees learning experience overall.
It was such a joy getting to know Christina, True and Spanki better and I was amazed by how well we really worked well together.
I learned so much by collaborating with these ladies.
Three Things I Learned by Doing This Shoot Out:
1.) Her Success Is Not My Failure - a lesson that continues to show itself strong in everything I do. Working with other photographers and collaborating with them, only seems to strengthen my own work, challenge me to go harder and to pull deeper to create art that is impactful and that is true to me. It helps me to see what makes me unique and to really build on my strengths and no part of sharing, working or collaborating with other artist dilutes any plans or vision that God has for me.
2.) Collaboration is powerful and necessary. No man is an island and getting out and dreaming and working with others brings so much joy and really is a lot of fun.
3.) Don't be Afraid to Stretch Yourself, even if its not your norm. I always speak about not being the "stylized type," but I think its okay to adopt something new to challenge yourself. To see if you can do it and to see what comes out of it. Maybe in that process you may discover something about yourself, or you might discover something along that way that really is who you are - and you can't get to that place without challenging yourself to think outside of the box.
Every time I get around these ladies now, I am excited about the discoveries I am going to make about myself, simply by being in their presence. They challenge me and force me to see my work in such a different light and to push to the next level.
Below a few images I got to make during this shootout
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Ike and Tash