I have been planning to go to an annual blogging conference in Toronto for about two years. I didn’t go to the first one, held in October 2010, as I was new to blogging, and didn’t really think that a blogging conference would be beneficial to me. I was wrong, and regretted my decision not to go before the conference had even been held. I didn’t go the second one in Toronto, despite having bought a ticket. I was nowhere near Toronto last October, given that we were just getting settled in India. I was sad to have missed it too, and vowed that I would attend in October 2012, no matter where we were living in the world.
I purchased my ticket the day that they went on sale, and started to make plans with my two travel partners, Anna and Krista. They are simply awesome travel companions, and it was just assumed that we would go together. We chatted back and forth about the conference over email, until one day Anna let me know that she had been contracted to shoot the conference as their official photographer! I offered my congrats, and then she sent me a note that both excited me and terrified me – she asked me to work as her second shooter for the conference! Although I have never actually shot anything other than family get togethers and little children’s parties for my own use, I was pretty pleased that she had faith in my abilities and trusted that I would produce the images that she needed. She has seen a lot of my pictures, so it is not like she didn’t know what she was in for.
In the months leading up to the conference, I was pretty quiet about my role. It was almost as if I did not believe that I was going to be working the conference, and that Anna might just send me a note that she had found someone more qualified. I prepared though, by studying the types of images that had been used before and treating any event that I attended as a gig, where I would try to get the right kind of shots. Willy even talked his work into allowing me to shoot one of their conferences to get some practice in. It was very worthwhile, as I learned a lot about shooting this type of event, and was able to produce a series of images that they were happy with at the end.
The morning of the first day, I was beyond nervous. Instead of taking my last bit of free time and doing something fun, I holed up in the room and checked, double-checked, and then triple-checked my gear. Once I was certain that it was working properly and all was clean, I fired off a couple more test shots for kicks. Then it was go time. Once I started to take pictures I was fine, and even started to have a little bit of fun. It helped to have great friends and a supportive response from conference staff and attendees alike.
The weekend basically flew by, but it was a lot of hard work. I don’t remember the last time that I shot that much, and my hands were sore from holding the camera by the end of each day. We went non-stop from registration, through the parties, the sessions, the exhibitors, and the fun excursions that people went on the last day. I could not believe how physically tiring it was, and I am now even more impressed by professionals, like Anna, who do this all the time. This was my first time doing any sort of work in over a year, and I returned home Sunday night and fell into bed, exhausted.
It was a great experience for me, and I am pretty sure that Anna liked enough of my shots that she was happy too. Most of all it was a great learning experience. Yes, I take pretty pictures, but I have lots left to learn, and much more to practice. I am happy with how the weekend turned out. If you are curious to see any of the pictures, both our pictures are available in the most recent sets at http://www.flickr.com/photos/77190089@N06/sets/.