I’m honestly not sure where to even begin. Last May, when I quit my previous job to take my photography business full time, I wrote myself three little notes on Post-its, and placed them on my computer. The three notes read: “Follow Your Dreams”, “Be Kind to Yourself”, and “Go to Mystic”. For a number of years, I had wanted to go to the annual Mystic Seminars, which had been held about 30 minutes from home, in Mystic, Connecticut. Many of my photographer friends had gone, and said that the programming was very good, and the atmosphere was fun, and the speakers were approachable. Having been to other larger conferences before, the intimacy of Mystic appealed to me. So I wrote my note, and hoped I could find my way there.
Happily enough, I managed to buy my registration for Mystic, and then it became real. But the best part? The seminar was moving to Portland, Oregon! I have been wanting to visit the Pacific Northwest for a long time, so this was really fulfilling two goals in one. But if I’m being really honest, one of the major factors I was excited to go to Oregon, was to head to Astoria. Home of the “Goondocks”. For those of you out of the loop, it’s the town where the movie “The Goonies” was filmed. Growing up loving the 80’s, this movie was the bomb when I was a kid. So I knew I had to visit. Here’s the hose, and a few other shots around the area, as well as an image of Haystack Rock, which was also featured in the film. (Most images in this post will be from my Fuji x100s, but there will also be some cellphone shots. Those will be in square format)
On the way back to Portland, I made my poor husband pull over, so I could go photograph in the woods on the side of the road. Yes, I really did. Can you blame me, when all you see are these amazing moss covered trees everywhere?
The next day, we spent some time exploring Portland, and of course made a stop at Voodoo Donut. Later on, we stopped at one of the many food trucks in the city. This place is a foodie paradise! Portland is a pretty rad town. Reminds me a lot of Providence.
So after a couple days, the real fun began, when Mystic Seminars started! I had a blast at the Meet and Greet, and got to meet some really amazing people from all over the US, and Canada. Even some folks from right there in Portland. It only made me more excited for the programming to begin the next day! And look at the cool swag!
The seminars were jam packed with amazing speakers, and honestly, I’m still digesting my notes. One thing I was doing as the programming was going on, was writing down some of the quotes or ideas some of the speakers were saying that really hit me, and writing them in my notebook. (Thanks for the notebook, Fundy!) I’m going to share some of these here, and thank the speakers who said them. (These are all iPhone images.)
This was from the awesome Dan O’Day. He was the last speaker of the first day, and while I enjoyed all of the previous speakers that day, he was a good note to end on. Especially as he had all the attendees take one of his cards, and write their information on it, and then give it to someone we didn’t know. We all have to go to the website of the the person on our card, and give them feedback. Love this idea, and can’t wait to do it!
This was from Jamie and Heather of Dark Roux Photography. I loved that this really spoke to me, as I feel that my ambition is one of my greatest strengths. When I want something, I will try my damnedest to get it!!
This was from Gabe McClintock. Man. This hit me good. I adore photographing weddings and couples, but I feel like sometimes I shoot them the way I believe I’m SUPPOSED to shoot them, instead of how I WANT to. This is a big thing that I will be changing this year.
And this last one is from Ewan and Brianna, from The Last Forty Percent Photography. They are really revolutionizing the way Modern Boudoir is photographed, and they were so inspiring.
But there were so many speakers who inspired me over the course of the three days. From Dave Brosha and Charleton Churchill, who gave me hope that I can still do landscape photography, and weddings, and not have to choose or be pigeonholed into one or the other. And may even be successful at combining the two!
And I can’t forget some of the innovators, and awesome talents of the Starks of Stark Photography, Sam Hurd, Sergio and Kelly (whose seminar I missed), along with Hiram Trillo. And then there was the super inspiring, Huy Nguyen, who reminded us to train our elephant!
But it wasn’t just photographers there, the trade show was filled with amazing companies, all there to aid us in making our businesses better. Many of them I use, and others I hope to use soon!
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the presentations of Blair and Christy, who run Get to Bizness. I am one who needs to really fumble around some of the marketing stuff, so their presentation was super helpful to get me focused!
Every day, I took some time to just get out and explore, and sometimes shoot. Here are some more images:
Honestly, I could still be typing, and I have my little notebook full of notes. But the time to take notes and just reflect has passed. It’s now time to do the hard work. So, that said, I mentioned I have a couple announcements. Here they are:
I am going to be changing the way I photograph, especially couples and Boudoir. No props. No filler. Just awesome people, in a great setting, with sick lighting, and with the couples: pure love. I have a bunch of shoots lined up with some awesome couples, and I can’t wait to get started!
I am going to go back to my roots and continue photographing travel and landscapes, but more of them. There’s no reason I can’t photograph other things besides weddings. One message that was weaving in and out of many of the speakers’ presentations was to shoot what you love, and shoot for you. I love my personal projects as well, and will continue those.
And here is the big one: I am changing my business name. Over the course of this year, I will be working on new branding, and a new website, and will be dropping the name “Bellaria Designs Photography”. I will instead just be using my name. Dawn Temple Photography. My photography is me. I am my photography. Time to own it!
Whew. Ok, so I think that’s it, except to thank one last person. My husband. Without him, I’d never be where I am right now, ready to hit the ground running, knowing he’ll always be there to catch me if I fall. I love you, babe.
Thanks again to Walter, Angela, and all the Mystic Staff and support. And thanks Portland. You were pretty swell, and I can’t wait to see you again!