Camp Climb | Summer Camp for Creative Entrepreneurs

In August, I spent an amazing, unplugged weekend in New Liberty, Iowa at a Girl Scout Campgrounds for the inaugural Camp Climb retreat. It was exactly what my mind and soul needed after a busy summer wedding season, before heading into an even busier fall season. I went into the camp only knowing a couple of people attending, including speaker Dannie Fountain (aka my Google/Squarespace/marketing guru) and fellow Champaign-area resident Leah Longueville who I met with for coffee before the camp once we both realized we were from the same place. People travelled from all over the country to attend this camp, and I met a ton of new, awesome & inspiring women.

The campers were split into 3 groups - base, tent, and peak campers. As an established business, I chose the peak camp group and I was so inspired by the women in my group!

Friday evening started out with a meet-and-greet and social activities — sangria, leather luggage tag stamping, and flower crown designing. We then had dinner and the evening speaker, Carrie Anton from Wonder: An Idea Studio who talked about brainstorming. We then enjoyed s’mores by the fire outside before turning in for the night into our super uncomfortable camp beds! LOL A short thunderstorm

Saturday morning was up early for yoga in the fog (my first time ever doing yoga!), breakfast, canoeing in the lake, casual chats lakeside with Jenna Kutcher, and chair massages! After some great conversations, time for relaxing and lunch, it was time for the afternoon speaker series.

First up, Dannie Fountain who talked about 20% projects — essentially saying that you should commit a certain amount of time each week to work on a personal or passion project. At the time of camp, my new podcast was just a solid idea in my head with no real guidelines and one interview lined up. Camp was kind of the catapult that made me push to make it my passion project. I have been loving doing the interviews, editing, and getting the episodes ready to roll… stay tuned for my projected Oct. 1 launch!!

Then Amber Krzys encouraged us to stop pleasing people and start serving them instead. “You cannot give from your depletion,” she said. “Serve yourself first.”

Camp Climb founder Emma Hicks then did a panel discussion with Michelle Calloway who was one of my fellow peak campers. They talked about business and family, being from the midwest, and took questions from the audience.

The final afternoon speaker was Jenna Kutcher, host of the Goal Digger podcast, photographer, educator, and blogger. Jenna also did a Q&A from the audience and was truly an open book which was so nice to hear. She was super down-to-earth and personable. She gave me 3 great takeaways that I have been implementing into my business and hope to keep using.

Saturday evening was the pool party and food truck pizza — so fun and so delicious! There was also wine and Summer Shandy! Some people went down to the lake again then to release paper lanterns after dark, but many of the peak campers chose to go back to our cabin and organize our own mastermind session. It was a super time of bonding, inspiration, snacks, and camaraderie. It was great getting to know a fantastic group of boss babes on a slightly deeper level. A few of them also have podcasts or have been on each other’s podcasts, so I’ve been enjoying listening to them since camp!

Sunday morning was time for breakfast, a long walk, a cold shower, meditation/reflection time, and then closing ceremonies. Then it was back to Illinois and home!

I already have the dates for the 2019 Camp Climb on my calendar (Aug. 16-18), and am anxious to hear who the speakers will be when they are announced soon (edit: one was announced just after I wrote this post!)

Photos in this post by me (cell phone shots), Iron & Lace Photography, and Sweet Little You Photography. Part of the unplugged weekend was letting other people take the photos, and let me tell you — it was SO nice!

The 2017 Reset Conference | For Photographers & Videographers


Gosh, where do I start?!  The Reset Conference gets better and better each year, and I’m not just saying that because I’m now on staff as a part-time blogger!  I decided to go the self-proclaimed “nerdy” route and take all business classes on topics like law, marketing, corporate collaboration, systems, branding, social media, turning web traffic into clients, and time management.  I also heard most of the keynote speakers who talked on creating a brand and photographing men.  I didn’t take any photos with my big camera except for those during my shootout, so the photos below are all from the shootouts (and a few are courtesy of my friend Kristin at kDarling Photography!).

group of photographers on the steps of Monument Circle

I wanted to share a few of my biggest takeaways from the conference, starting with my favorite speaker who I heard from TWICE — Dannie Fountain.

Dannie’s 2nd presentation focused on working with corporate clients, and she outlined for us a foolproof plan for reeling in big business.  She showed us that there are advantages for big businesses to work with small businesses and that we shouldn’t be afraid to seek out big opportunities.  Everything she said just seemed to click with me and I will definitely begin implementing her plan into my business.

parachute dress shootout with Sarah Jane Photography

Elle Danielle is a lawyer-turned-photographer, so she has a very interested perspective on my profession.  Her talk was on legal myths and truths for creatives, and while several of her points are things I already have put into place, I definitely picked up a few new items.  The first three things on my to-do list when I got home were to update my contract with these new things that I’d been missing. I’m all about protecting myself, while also being fair to my clients.  And sometimes we get bad advice on social media or there are gray areas, and Elle helped me to see a couple of those weak spots.

fun photographer shootouts at the Reset Conference

Courtney Slazinik is a website and SEO guru who runs the Click it up a Notch site. I heard Courtney speak at Reset a couple years ago and it was nice to see her changing her presentation to keep up with changes in the industry, Google, and social media.  My biggest takeaway from her presentation was to run a couple apps on my site to see if there is any wasted space and to see what the “hot spots” are where visitors are clicking the most.  I may also go back to having a static front page rather than my “blog page,” so watch for slight changes in the future!  Courtney also gave great tips for email newsletters which I’m going to start revamping soon.

wedding couple shootout with Kara Kamienski Photography

I also sat in on a Q&A with Christina Ramirez, a high-volume senior photographer in San Antonio, along with two of my good friends, Suzy and Rebekah from Jukebox Photography in Champaign.  Christina gave some fantastic tips on pricing, packages, bonuses, senior rep programs, hair & makeup, plus much more.  She has a solid business model and it was awesome to hear her talk so confidently and passionately about it.

family photography demonstration with Sarah Beth Photography

Lastly, one of my other enjoyable sessions was Jeff Rojas, a New York City photographer and author who has had his work featured in Elle and Esquire magazines.  Jeff literally wrote the book on Photographing Men, and he is phenomenal at it.  His approach is relatively simple but super efficient.  He encouraged us to converse with the people we’re photographing to learn their stories, use body language, forget posing, and everything else will fall into place.  Plus, he was hilarious!!

golden hour sunset family session with Sarah Beth Hill

I can’t wait for next year’s Reset Conference!  The pressure will be on to top this year’s lineup!!

#reset2017 #theresetconference