As I have beaten into everyone's heads by now, Creative Live was nothing short of a life changing experience for me. I came home, put in my notice to leave my full-time job, have stepped out of my comfort zone and reached out to second shoot (and am!), and got serious turning my "expensive hobby" of wedding photography into a full-fledged business. All along the way I've been cheered on and supported by the J*Star Jets, we have kept each other going! I can confidently say that without their support, I don't know if I could have acted so quickly. Meeting each other and attending this crazy, whirl-wind workshop live (LIVE!!!!) did something to us. Something none of us could have ever foreseen. Some may even consider us crazies, but we know that as a whole are nothing short of inspired. Together we have taken the ideas and revelations we were shown and ran with then. Fast. And aren't going to look back. We've shared experiences, lessons in technicalities, (how do I work this camera contraption in my right hand?!?!) and obstacles. We've created a family amongst ourselves that we are eager to build upon into a community.
Considering our minor obsession with our fiery passions and each other, we have had to be creative in ways to keep in touch which time-zones and United States widths apart. When we parted ways, it was as if our right appendages were missing. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE NOW?!?! We couldn't continue to blow up each other's text messages all day (unless they wanna pay for that, then be my guest!) so we had to think of ways to stay in touch. And quickly. Before one of us had an aneurysm. So we got online and got crafty. Some of us *ahem, John?*, may even get a little distracted by our constant communication. ;) Get back to work!
Our first night back home, we were chomping at the bit. Anthony so generously dove in and created a "super-secret-we-are-so-cool-not-really" Facebook forum to aide in our withdrawals. Five minutes later, my email inbox was doused with 121 notifications and I was clamoring for the 'account settings' key. Imagine, me, concerned with overloading Facebook notifications. I know! Six minutes later I was hooked. For the past month we have posted and shared comments, suggestions, questions, and wise-cracks, enough to potentially bring Facebook crashing to the ground and Zuckerberg in disbelief. "For big moments, like the kiss, do you just go off rapid fire? Or do you wait patiently for THE right moment?". "I'm doing an engagement shoot this weekend, any suggestions on good lenses to accompany the 50mm 1.4?". "Oh my gosh pleaseeee look at the screenshot I just took of Candice during our Skype chat...". Having a place to ask, learn, laugh, and vent to peers that we respect and trust has been key in maintaining our momentum and growing our businesses.
Having used Skype for the past year to talk to my fiance in Afghanistan, I encouraged everyone to sign up. Little did I know I would spend my Friday nights watching Natalie cook dinner for John or impatiently waiting for Tim to answer the video chat while he scurried to prepare his 'costumed' greeting. Being able to talk to each other one-on-one has forged our friendships. When I posted that I was "in a funk" in the J*Lounge, John immediately signed on, family in tow (with pup Norah!) and brightened up my day. Candice and I have stayed up way past MY bed time editing photos together and talking pose inspiration, and Erin has introduced me to her adorable sons. Christy was introduced to my clan of pups (three Maltese!) as Leo always steals the show. Tim and I reflected upon the resistance we have encountered in our current life changes, and Anthony...well, Anthony's is always on a delay. Or walking on the moon. Dude, we need to get you faster Internet. Regardless, he keeps me laughing hysterically in between 4 minute pauses. We love talking to each other so much in fact that we even PAID for Skype to do group calls. But quickly canceled our subscriptions once we realized iChat could do it for free. And better. Oh heavens, I am never going to get a word in now...
We be tweetin'. Me? Probably to the point of annoyance. We share each other's work, links, and keep an eye out for opportunities for each other that could be missed. Case-in point: Erin and I both follow a North Carolina photographer who I absolutely admire. Erin noticed she tweeted out (isn't it ridiculous that is a legit verb now? 'tweeted out'? Oh Internet.) that she was looking for a second shooter for an upcoming wedding. Considering my feed was clogged by my responses to none other than the 'Jets, I had overlooked it. Encouraged by Erin, I reached out to this particular photographer (who really, I LOVE) to second shoot, or at least take her to lunch one day. Low and behold, guess who is second shooting with Millie Holloman next weekend? ME! *Dying*. Knowing that someone else in the creative industry has your back like Erin did is indispensable, and I could never thank her enough. Keeping up in 140 characters or less has helped us network with other photographers, Creative Live viewers, and general cool people. Spreading the love and helping each other out, not just the 'Jets. That's what it is all about.
We have made leaps and bounds in our plans for the future, with our businesses, relationships with each other, relationships within ourselves, outlook on the industry, and creatives in the field. Candice is even flying out to Denver to help John second shoot a wedding and Tim has filled my brain with so many cool ideas I don't even know where to begin, the video above being one!
Thank you, J*Jets, for being you. You guys rock. You are the epitome of cool, and I am unworthy to be in a group with you. I am excited for what the future will hold for all of us and the people we meet, share, and learn from along the way to building our brands. Let's continue to pay it forward, not just to each other, but to all we encounter. But Tim, please keep cool ideas like this that I can have to yourself, would you? ;) (Special thanks to him, because he thought of this video idea and ever so graciously passed it along to me. Way to put the pressure on! Be easy, I just don't have the radio personality that boy does. And I tend to ramble...)