This past September I attended my first styled shoot out at the Maples Estate in Schoharie, NY and I'm still not over how awesome it was. At the beginning of 2020 I wouldn't have thought I'd end up at a styled wedding shoot, let alone shifting my focus towards weddings and elopements; but here we are. As I followed more experienced photographers this summer I started to become familiar with the shoot-out concept.

At first glance, the idea of going and being around other photographers trying to get "the shot" TERRIFIED me. Maybe it was that I thought I wasn't good enough to go to one yet, maybe it was the fear that there would be a "mean girl" mentality from other photographers. But when I saw the announcement for the Rohemian Styled Shoot Out hosted by Cassandra Daye Wedding Co. something drew me in and I decided to just go for it.

Instead of giving you a full breakdown of the day, I'd rather share with you the swirl of thoughts that flooded my mind during and the days after my experience. While these are my thoughts from the styled shoot, the sentiments are pretty applicable to just about anything else! Let's do it!

Community Over Competition is Real

Getting into photography I thought it was a photog eat photog world out there but I'm continually surprised and overjoyed by how much of a community feel exists in the photography space. Maybe it was the group I was with at the shoot out, but everyone thoughtfully lifted each other up and made sure each of us got an equal opportunity to get the shots we wanted. I left the shoot out feeling like I made photog friends, not competitors.

You get what you invest in and investing in your skills is important.

It's no secret that it's important to invest in improving your craft, regardless of your field but not all investments are created equal. The ticket for this day was pretty medium on the spectrum of shoot outs and workshops, but it felt 1000% worth it because no detail was left behind and it didn't feel over-sold.

Going with a friend can be helpful

Fortunately a local photographer friend was up for going to this shoot out with me! It definitely helped calm my semi-introverted nerves knowing I'd have a familiar face there. Side note: having photography friends is fun because you can push each other to go beyond your comfort zones.

High Quality Practice is Invaluable

Being able to play around with camera settings and try new poses in a styled shoot setting provides an invaluable opportunity for high quality practice. You want to be practicing at a shoot out, not at an actual wedding!

Everyone is on Their Own Journey

I knew this already, but going to an event like this definitely reinforced the idea that everyone in on their own path and we all started somewhere. There were people at all stages of their photography journey at this shoot out, from pre business launch to seasoned photographer.

Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone is How You Grow

Fear, complacency, anxiousness all keep us from doing things beyond our comfort zone. But every time you work up the courage to push past your safe space you open new opportunities and create space for growth.

People are Rooting For Your Success.

Often times we are our own worst critic but many people out there are rooting for you to succeed. Photographers or other industry folks host these styled shoot outs so people have an opportunity to improve their craft and find community.

I know that this was just the first of many styled shoots and workshops in my future. All in all, it was a positive experience and I feel so grateful for that! If you're thinking about trying one or doing something else that feels a little out of your comfort zone, I encourage you to do it! You'll never know what could be waiting for you on the other side.

Thanks for reading!