I am excited, so so excited to be attending the Showit United conference for the third year in a row. I chose to attend this conference because of the sense of community before, during and after the conference. It’s not 1000s of people in a giant conference centre trying to get past each other to get to the next workshop. It’s more like a family reunion.
When you attend Showit United, expect to be hugged. By everyone! I was a bit apprehensive about this my first year, not knowing what to expect. A rule that you hug when you meet, even people for the first time… awkward? NOPE! It’s amazing!!! It really makes you feel welcome right away, like you’ve made it into the cool kids table on arrival. Everyone is so friendly and genuinely excited to meet you, let’s face it we have followed each other on Instagram for years probably so it’s nice to put a person to the profile.
So coming from Vancouver (Canada) and going to Pheonix – the outlet mall capital of the South, I pack lightly because the first thing I do it go to Target & Premium Outlets to see what goodies they have. So unlike the people that attend the conference that have confessed to buying a new wardrobe before attending (no not everyone does this). I like to really make it fresh, I arrive in Phoenix the day before the conference and go on a little shopping spree. Confession: last year I had to buy an extra suitcase for my shoes. ??♀️
I don’t like to travel on the plane with too much gear, because I don’t want to be asked to check it if my bag is too big…. not happening! Also, you really don’t need too much gear (the first year I brought too much!). I will be packing my body (Canon 5dm3) + 85mm 1.4 (I have brought my 70-200mm instead of this in the past, but the 85 is a new lens that I really want to play with) + 100mm macro (I love detail macro shots, I also found it to be beautiful for portraits and details during shoots). I will not be bringing a flash this year, I brought it the last two years and never used it. The light is so beautiful in Arizona. I would however bring it if I was doing one of the evening or OCF shoots.
When choosing your gears, keep in mind there is about 25 other people at a styled shoot, so you want a lens that’ll shoot through the other photographers. You don’t want to me that person going right up to the couple because you really want to shoot with a 35mm and be in everyone else shot.
I like to keep it comfy but nice, the type of outfit I would like to make a good first impression… every day 🙂 A nice summer dress with some light layered sweaters (the conference room can get cold) during the day, I’m usually sporting sandals or flip flops when I’m not shooting.
For shoots I wear long pants and runners, make sure to take close toed shoes for your shoots before the cactus do jump, it’s not a joke.
This years Zoo dinner, I will wear a nice casual outfit, skinny jeans and a nice top again with a sweater because the Arizona evenings can get chilly as soon as that sun goes down.
The Gala… oh the Gala, I like to go all out. This year I have a beautiful sparkly long gown. If you hug me, you will get sparkled… this is your warning. I will be wearing flats with my dress though, I know it’s not “gala-ish” but last year I ended up barefoot after an hour because by feet are used to heels and there is a dance floor… hello!!
– If you are arriving anytime on Saturday, I plan a very casual dinner for the early birds. This year we are doing it pool side; 7:30pm, I will have some glow sticks so you can find us. Bring a snack and a drink and come hang out!
– If you need afternoon coffee prepare yourself, there really isn’t anywhere to buy it at the hotel. There is a Starbucks down the street if you’re renting a car (not necessary for the conference – but I like the freedom to leave).
– Everyone is so friendly at this conference, just go up and talk to people. Just hug them first ??
– Sponsors will have drink tickets at the events. Go introduce yourself!!
– Be prepare to take notes and share notes! Lots of notes.
– Don’t plan too much. My first year I did three shoots on top of the conference I arrived Saturday afternoon and left Wednesday evening. It was way too much. I found I was go go go all the time and didn’t have time to relax, enjoy the sun and amazing pool, and just chat with people. Last year, I chose to leave on Thursday, and only did one shoot and it was amazing. It gave me time to exchange headshots with friends, and do some detail and casual photos around the beautiful hotel.
– On your flight back home make a plan, you’re motivated and excited. We will learn so many things and have so many ideas you will go home and be a little overwhelmed where to start. Baby steps. Think what you want to do first and plan out how it’ll fit in your life and business. Don’t try to do everything at once, or you’ll probably do none of it. Don’t wait till you get home to make your plan, when your plane touches down and all your client emails and family hugs come pouring in you’ll lose momentum.
If you’re coming to the conference make sure to come find me. Say Hi!! (with a hug!).
Tell me in the comments what you’re most excited about the conference??