I’m a huge believer in the ‘right place, right time’ mentality. That some things are just meant to be.
When I first learned about this photo retreat called ‘Inspire’ in 2013, the timing wasn’t quite right. While I had met one of the organizers’ husbands, Matt, in Boston, and quickly realized he and Enna were actually my neighbors, (and amazing people) I still felt out of my league.
Just leaving my day job, I was certainly not quite prepared to go off and meet new people pretending to be a full-time photographer.
I wasn’t pretending. I was a full-time photographer, but MAN did I feel like a fraud and heading off to share experiences with strangers seemed too much at the time.
But come 2014, I was signed up and geared up to go.
I still felt like a fraud.
But at least I was a fraud who had successfully employed herself for 1 year. Not to mention the 6 years and nearly 150 weddings I’d already shot at that point, so I figured cool. Let’s go learn things.
The retreat had a great facebook group for alumni and newbies alike. Through that group, I was quickly drawn to one of the leaders, and that year’s speaker, Carla. Her personality jumped off the internet and directly into my heart. I was determined to know her.
Off I went to Sturbridge, MA with Matt for the adventure. Ever the early bird I got there the day before with a few others. I was immediately taken into the fold. But there was no sign of Carla yet.
The next morning at registration, I spied her and tried to present my awkward self to her. She was everything she seemed to be and more. I was hooked.
The dinner system was one of numbers out of a bowl to find your table. The first night I landed in the very back of the function room and met some great people. Carla gave her keynote welcome speech and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The second night, I drew the same table number. I was NOT happy about being in the back of the room again.
So I did a thing.
I cheated the system.
I walked out a different set of doors and used the restroom. Then? I palmed my table number and put my hand back in the bowl. My number 24 all of a sudden turned into a number one.
Well at least I was at the front of the room I thought. And I took my table happy for a different perspective and to not feel trapped in the corner…
And then Carla sat down and I was like holy sh*t. I manifested my destiny.
The rest is history. We’ve kept in touch ever since. The following 3 years I attended she was the first person I sought out.
I also met Lindsay that first year. In a different circle, but still, a soul that immediately found a place in my heart. *I later learned we both had the same intention of befriending Carla and went to various pseudo-stalker lengths to do as such 🤷🏻♀️😂
In 2016, our group finalized it’s forever when Ashley & Kate – both of whom had been at previous Inspires, found their way to us.
Kate and I met and bonded at Carla’s class that year, and Ashley, who seemed so quiet and unassuming, landed in the same space with us one night and we knew she was a kindred spirit.
We texted all year long and got together here and there when we could. Ash and I live closest to each other, Carla and Kate aren’t too far, and Linds is the furthest away from us 😢But thank god for technology. We can be together in some capacity whenever we need and want to be!
2017 Inspire was the year of us, our little group solidifying our bond and learning and growing as people and photographers, together.
Since then, we’re in contact nearly every day. We’ve done multiple trips and ‘camps’ together where we work and learn and relax and share and vent and champion and support each other, even sometimes with tough love and hard truths.
This past February, we held camp in Brownville, VT at a beautiful Airbnb.
We decided to do a headshot exchange to get some fun, personality-filled photos of each other to up-level our online presence!
I’ll share the favorites that they took of me soon, but first, here’s a look at some of my favorite, most creative, and most trusted people in the whole world.
Carla is our glue. She really was the essence of what attracted us all together. She’s our Oprah. I’m completely in awe of her easy way of asking meaningful questions. We’re both neat freaks and rock a great kitchen dance.
Ashley & Kate are ‘craft services’ the two of them are so full of arts and crafts and mad food skills. The foodscapes they pull together out of thin air are astounding. They’re both incredibly kind and loving and full of ideas and projects.
Lindsay is just as skilled in the meaningful questions area, and she has the most interesting stories of travel and life in her Indie Movie hometown. She’s quiet and introspective one moment and the next she’s talking about the time she fought a tiger. (Ok, maybe not a tiger, but for real – the life she lives!)
I’m like the den mom & tech support. I make sure that the messes are cleaned up, the schedules are kept to, computers are set up and that everyone has what the need and want.
We work well together, like an unwritten system of checks and balances that we didn’t necessarily know was missing from our lives, but now that it’s there – now that they’re here – I don’t know what I’d do without them.