Click Away in Salt Lake City

12 Oct

It’s been a month since I was in Salt Lake City at the Click Away conference! I still have to go through my notes again from the sessions, but I was sure to edit my photographs pretty quickly after I got back. Here’s a little summary of how things went down. It’s a little long, but if you’re into photography, didn’t get to attend the conference and you’re interested, grab a cup of joe and let’s chat.


I met my sister-in-law in Salt Lake City for this conference, so it was a bit like a girls’ weekend. 🙂 Who doesn’t love a good girls’ weekend and 3 days to learn about photography while hanging out in a new city? We learned a lot, got some great shots and made some lifelong friends. It’s funny how quickly you can make friends when common hobbies come into play. There were so many creative minds and intriguing conversations, it’s hard to know where to start.

One very memorable moment comes from the first day, early in the morning with the keynote speaker, Elizabeth Gilbert (yeah, you know… author of Eat, Pray, Love). I enjoyed listening to her thoughts on the ways we can stifle our own creativity because of doubting ourselves and our abilities. This is so true, and not just in the sense of creativity, but also in our professional lives in general. My favorite quote from her speech: “You didn’t do all that work to get to the brink of the door just to turn around and leave.” Well said.

On Thursday I attended “Finding your Style: A Personal Journey” (panel session with Emma Woods, Summer Murdock, CJ Nicolai, Meg Bitton and Jodi Arego. If you follow any of these photographers, you know how very different their styles are. Each one had a unique perspective on what it means to find your own style, but they all agreed that your style should reflect you and not what’s currently popular or what will sell a lot of sessions. I really connected with something that Summer Murdock said: “I was that kid with the 110 mm camera around the neighborhood. I wasn’t making art by any means, but I was learning and finding my way.” I laughed a bit and thought, “I was that kid, too!” I’ll never forget my trusty 110 mm camera. It was neon green and I couldn’t get enough of hearing that little click and having to wind the film to the next frame. I truly thought I was documenting amazing things, and I’m pretty sure my parents spent a good bit of money on film (and developing) for me, but I loved it.

I went to a few more sessions on Thursday, but the more memorable ones for me took place on Friday and Saturday. Rachel Devine shared “Photoblogging and Real Life”. It was nice to hear a perspective about making money with your photography without solely booking sessions for portraits. I’ve said before that portraiture is not really my thing. Perhaps it will be one day, but for now, I like learning about and practicing other genres. I was really happy to hear her say that commercial photography is entering a new era. I’ve had many photographer friends tell me that I should look into doing some commercial work because of the style of photos I shoot. Who knows? A second business one day? {Don’t tell my husband. He’d have a stroke.}

Allison McSorley’s “Creating Compelling Compositions” was great. I learned a lot about different types of composition, and also got a refresher on things I had already learned in the past. Candice Zugich’s session on “How to Find You in Your Work” was refreshing. I love her style of portraits and how she doesn’t mind breaking all the rules of photography. And get this! She’s only been shooting with a digital camera for something like 18 months! Impressed.

Courtney Slazinik’s sessions “Mastering the Art of Lifestyle” and “Social Media: Get Your Images Seen by More People Than Just Your Mom” were completely full of helpful information. Her good nature and friendly demeanor make her fun to listen to, and on Day 3 of a jam-packed conference, that says a lot! Here’s a shot from a Photo Walk I did with Courtney.

DSC_4061My absolute favorite session was with Cole Thompson. His style and work are a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I enjoyed how he suggested working on several series of photographs for a period of time to try to develop your portfolio. He shared many anecdotes, photos and techniques. He was very honest about his work and what inspires him. One of my favorite lines from him: “They who walk in another’s footsteps, never find their own path.” He mentioned that so many photographers compare themselves to others and try to mimic styles they like from others, instead of finding their own style and path. And another other line: “I don’t take pictures. I create images.” The images we see when we look at something are what we want to portray in an image that we share. Like I said, I loved his session. By far, for me, his was the best of the conference. And it was the last one on my schedule, so I walked out very pleased with my experience.

On Saturday afternoon, we were given the choice of several locations to go to for an off-site shoot. We chose to go to Historic Ogden. And while I didn’t get as many good shots as I wanted, I did get a few that I’m happy to have.


DSC_4241Probably the best part of the conference was meeting so many like-minded and creative people. It was a nice break from work and a fantastic outlet to really immerse myself in learning about and practicing my photography. The speakers were very generous with their time, and you could just feel a sense of excitement the whole weekend. I also found a running buddy and new friend from Canada, Kristina Nichol. Check out her work. I think you’ll love it!

There are things that I think most attendees would agree should change for the next time they hold the conference, but overall, I think for it being the first one of its kind, it was incredible! I can’t wait to hear where they plan to hold it next year. Hopefully they’ll have more street photography sessions. Can I sign up again yet?


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3 responses to “Click Away in Salt Lake City

  1. Mary

    October 13, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Thank you for sharing details of the conference Madalena! It’s great to hear more about the sessions, and very glad you’ve linked the hosts to their pages. I’ll definitely be following a few of them from now on.

    • mypersonalcoffeebreak

      October 13, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Sure thing! You would have loved the conference! Maybe you can come next year… 😉

      • Mary

        October 13, 2014 at 9:46 am

        That would be awesome!


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