"My business exploded because I went to Inspire last year." Words cannot describe what Inspire has done for me, not only business-wise but socially too.
For years I shot film in Los Angeles, mostly editorial (for practically zero money, but lots of exposure), music and families on the side while producing television. When we moved back east after 9 years, I stayed home with my kids and photographed families and kids for a small income. Then I decided I wanted to make money! Hey, there is nothing wrong with making money doing what you love and it took a lot of time to realize that I wasn't selling out, and that I simply wanted to contribute financially to our family again, while still being home for our sons, one who has autism. So I figured weddings was the way to go. I captured a few for friends and then said to myself, it's now or never.
So when I jumped into weddings about a year and a half ago, I thought I knew what I was doing. I reiterate...THOUGHT! And then I attended my first Inspire conference last March. My good friend Meg, who I clung too for the first two days, encouraged me to go and I'm so happy she push me to do so.
I received amazing information about not only what I was doing right, but what I was doing wrong. And I needed to hear that. My price lists were wrong, my sales pitch was wrong all of it wrong wrong wrong. But no one EVER told me that. They never came out and said "you are doing all this wrong" What they did do was give encouraging words of advice and were willing to share every single bit of information that helped them along the way. No question went unanswered. Just sitting in those rooms with everyone was inspiring enough. All the attendees that were there encouraged me to be a better artist. They taught me how to manage my time better, get my workflow in order and schooled me on many things I had no clue about. Shoot Q? What the heck was that? I had no idea how to do off camera lighting, I didn't even know my camera could pull that off. Branding? Never thought of that before Inspire. The whole experience was a crash course in everything I needed to hear and see. The photographers, teachers and now new friends that I have made over the course of the year, after attending are what inspire me. I learn from them every day, whether it's online in a Facebook format, or getting together at PUGS, I'm constantly inspired by them.
The other thing that Inspire did for me was give me the self confidence to take the skills I've learned over the past year and apply them to side projects I usually just day dream about and actually bring them to fruition. I am now shooting fine art photography as well and my latest project was approved by Kickstarter for a show and book I'm collaborating on with a special needs school in Pennsylvania. I don't think I would have had the courage to take that leap if I didn't attend Inspire last year. And.....that's why my 5 ft booty will be going back this year! Can't wait to see everyone because while it will still be a serious learning experience for me, it will also be social as well.
Kristin Chalmers Photography
Here are a couple images from "Broad Spectrum - The Camphill Project", that I'm working on: