I've had many daydreams about attending a photography conference. There are tons of them all over the world. I've fantasized about spending a weekend away with photographer friends in a far away place doing nothing but shooting and talking photography. All.Day.Long.
Exotic (and expensive) photography conferences are currently out of reach so when I heard that Adorama was sponsoring an event called Blographer in New York City I was ecstatic. I signed up and bought me and my roomie Joanna tickets immediately. Adorama did not disappoint. The conference was held in a beautiful and well lit location, the food was delicious, there were a ton of giveaways (I swear there were at least 30 prizes), crazy generous swag bags were handed out, and of course there was plenty of fascinating and wonderful photography talk.
It's been a few weeks and I've had time to reflect and digest the mountain of information. I had a fantastic time at the event. I truly loved it and can't wait to attend another (hey Adorama how about Chicago in 2013?) but I was surprised that my major takeaway had nothing to do with the technical aspects of photography. Conferences are interesting because when you are attending your first and have no idea what to expect your mind is totally open to whatever comes its way.
I learned to let go.
Rachel Devine, an incredibly talented photographer whose blog I've followed for years, spoke about the art of visual storytelling. During the discussion the issue of photo theft and watermarking was touched upon. Rachel does not watermark her images. She is a very in demand professional photographer who travels the world shooting for clients like Target, Nikon, & General Mills. I was immediately taken aback.
Wait a second. This incredibly talented person puts her work out there, into the internet abyss, without the protection of a watermark?
That's right and Rachel's success has not suffered a bit because of her decision.
I've had my work poached a few times. It's not a good time but after I handled the issue I asked myself why it bothered me so much. No mother wants a random creeper having pictures of her kids but the reality is I can't stop it and neither can a watermark. I've always been conscious of the kinds of images I choose to share publicly. I'm comfortable with my choices.
My kids are safe and it has nothing to do with a watermark. Rachel's discussion made me question whether I was hiding behind the false sense of security that my watermark provides. I began to think of all the time I spent obsessing over protecting my work. That time would be better spent perfecting my craft and improving my photography skills.
Have I decided to ditch the watermark?
I've continued to do it out of force of habit but I may eventually stop. I want to create the type of images that scream Veronica Armstrong without the help of a huge watermark. I enjoy sharing my work. Great things have happened to me personally and professionally because of my work. Sharing is a part of the journey. What am I afraid of? I can't stop anyone from stealing my photos, photoshopping or cropping out my watermarks, or using my work for their personal gain.
It's hard letting go of the watermark security blanket but I think I'm ready. Obsessing didn't stop my photos from being stolen but it did occupy precious time. I want to grow into the kind of photographer whose images convey such emotion, skill, and depth that they are immediately recognizable as mine to the knowledgeable viewer.
Obsessing will never get me there but hard work will. My time is limited, my first photography conference taught me how to spend it more wisely.
This is post number 2 in my series as a Clickin Moms Blog Ambassador. Don’t forget you can use the code VERONICATRIAL for a free one week ClickinMoms membership AND/or VERONICA20 for a 20% off discount off a trial, six month, or one year membership.
Be sure to check out my fellow ambassador Mandy's awesome post on the WHYs of shooting in Manual Mode. This one is a keeper.
I'd love to see you in our wonderful community.