Dream Big | I Heart Faces Photography Conference ~ Dallas, Texas

In the grand scheme of things, I have been a photographer for a very short time. I have only officially been in business for two years. I begin my journey into photography a very long time ago when I signed up in my first semester of college for a photography class. I loved it. I loved putting the film in the camera knowing that you had to get the perfect shot in only 24 shots. I loved unrolling the film in the darkroom onto the reel. The part that got me excited was watch my image show up on paper after rocking a few chemicals back and forth.

Funny thing is, I didn’t take the one digital photography class that was offered. Just didn’t think I needed to. HA!

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So fast forward to two years ago. I knew I needed to start learning. There was so much information out there. I signed up with two online forums. Both of them had amazingly talented photographers but one of them could be quiet harsh. I realized that I was spending more time learning from the women (and men) over on the I Heart Faces site. The weekly challenges helped me focus when I needed something to photograph. And I grew. and grew… and am still growing.

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I have been dreaming about going to a workshop even before I officially went into business. The allure of really learning from other photographers is overwhelming. But the cost can be scary, especially for a family trying to live on a firefighter’s budget.

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I have seen workshop announcements going up all over the place but with the price tag equalling a mortgage payment, it just wasn’t in our cards. Until… I saw the information going up for the I Heart Faces Conference! It was perfectly priced, and even better it was in Dallas! And the icing on the cake was a particular keynote speaker whom I loved on cL!

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So fast forward to this time last week. My photographer friend, Theresa asked me if I wanted to make a weekend of it and stay at the hotel. (She lives farther away… the hotel and my house are equal distance from the conference location) I figured it would be a great start to an even greater weekend.

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My friend Theresa had also asked me if I would like to go with her to pick up Amandalynn, a friend that I only knew of online and really only by the amazing knowledge that she shares with others.

I decided on a few highlights of Dallas that we could see before she had to dash on out to do some of her VIP duties. We stopped in the West End and meet up with another awesome, online photographer friend Maki. Then we walked around the streets of Dallas taking all that was around us.

After the West End our stop was Thanksgiving Square. There is something about the quiet room and the stained glass that just makes a photographer happy.

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Dallas Photography

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Dallas Photography

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On our tour o’ Dallas we also saw the JKF memorial, the Old Red Courthouse, and we drove by the Arts Districts. I think all in all it was a win for my first sightseeing tour of Dallas!

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Then it was time to head to the hotel. As we drove in Friday Dallas traffic we talked about everything. We shared in our excitement and nervousness of the next days conference. We talked about families and kids.  It was like we had been friends for years.

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After getting settled in our new friend was off to her special pre party and we headed to dinner, then talked and waited not so patiently for the next day.

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The plan was to wake up early so we could get to the conference early. I like to be early 🙂

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Garland Children's and Family Photography

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Dallas Family Photography

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We found a great table and peeked into the gift bags. We got to know are super cool table mates. And settled in as our day began with the amazingly honest Kelle Hampton. I am a newbie to her blog but it you read about Nella’s birth story, have a tissue ready.

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Her words of life were inspiring. Her challenge to photograph the ordinary and let go of perfection was a gift.

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Next up were the panel sessions… and as we were waiting to get started I saw the amazing Sue Bryce 🙂 If you are not familiar with Sue Bryce she is the Australian portrait photographer of the year (2011 and 2012). She has built her business photographing women. She is inspiring many, including me, to give the gift of amazing portraits to women.

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As I saw her talking with the two panel speakers, I told my friend Theresa that if she walked back our way I wanted to say hello.

As luck would have it she did! I jumped (literally) at the chance to say hello and thank her for her cL workshops in person!

(so thankful for Theresa to capture that moment!)

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The day continued as we listened to the tons of information from some pretty savvy business women. We then had lunch and walked around Southfork Ranch.

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I was even able to talk to Sue again 😉

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I Heart Faces conference Dallas Photography

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Seriously these horses were let into their arena and jumped around. I captured this photo a few seconds before this horse headed toward the fence where I was standing. I do admit to moving pretty fast away from the fence 🙂 You could call it, running like a scared-ie cat!

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Dallas Senior Photography

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Garland Childen's Photography

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After lunch were our workshop sessions.

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Most of my photographs include the heads of the twenty or so others trying to get the same shot 😉

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This panel was presented by wedding and engagement photographer Amy Karp. She shared how she poses, some techniques that she uses and answered many of our questions! We so needed more than an hour with her.

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Garland Engagement Photography

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Dallas Engagement Photography

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Garland Engagement Photography

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My second workshop session was with talented Lori Nordstrom. She was spoke about her experiences, what she does and why she does it. I even got to help her pose a newborn 🙂

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Dallas Newborn Photography

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Garland, Forney, Mesquite Newborn Photography

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Rockwall Newborn Photography

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Dallas Newborn Photography

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Forney Newborn Photography

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At this point in the day I knew I had made the right decision by signing up! It was worth every penny!

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So when Sue Bryce got up to give her ending keynote, it was icing on the cake!

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Dallas Glamour Photography

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It was the perfect day. I was surrounded by so many people who love the same thing I do. These women are running businesses with the love they have of making beautiful photographs. The vibe of the entire day was excited, energetic and happy. People not afraid to ask questions or just to say hi to someone standing next to you 😉

I have been following a photographer on twitter whose thoughts have been #dreambigandleap.

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After this weekend of Dreaming Big, I think I am almost ready to leap!

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I can not wait until next year!

Thanks to Angie and Amy who made it a day to remember!

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Dallas Photography

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2 comments
  • KellieOctober 12, 2012 - 9:29 am

    Great job chronicling your weekend! And I am super jealous of the whole Kelle Hampton thing ya know! (The dinner offer still stands so I can pick your brain!)ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth AlexanderOctober 12, 2012 - 10:49 am

    Love it! Thanks for recapping a great conference!ReplyCancel