At FOTO, we are committed to helping our fellow creatives flourish. In our Q&A style blog series, Coffee with Creatives, we are highlighting the unique expertise of some of our favorite professionals, sharing tips and information on relevant topics to bring you some practical insight and inspiration for the important work you do.
Today, we are talking with Born to Shine Conference founders and educators, Ariel Perry and Jodie Brim, to discuss tips on dreaming up and executing a boutique photography conference!
First things first, how do you take your coffee?
Ari: Vanilla Latte
Jodie: Vanilla Almond Milk Latte
Tell us about yourselves & how you got into photography.
Ari: I couldn't find a job in my major. Photography kind of fell into my lap. I started working at portrait innovations. I started taking classes and going to workshops and started my business 2 years later.
Jodie: I got my big break into photography from my wedding photographer. She allowed me to shadow her to build my portfolio. Once I felt comfortable + confident, I began booking my own weddings in 2012 and that's when I formed my business.
So, you both just got back from Nashville where the Born to Shine Conference was held. Tell us about the mission of the conference and what type of photographer it's geared to.
Ari: It's a boutique conference geared towards intermediate photographers who want to increase their revenue + sharpen their skills + create a sustainable photography business.
Jodie: The mission is to create a community of love and diversity for photographers from all walks of life. We wanted to create a conference that is impactful and so motivating that you'll leave feeling empowered to apply what you've learned and start getting the results you need to grow your business.
Can you each share your favorite part of this year's event?!
Ari: Seeing the light bulb go off when one of our attendees learned how to get the photo right in camera versus spending 3-4 hours editing.
Jodie: I had sooo many favorites! My favorite part was when I took a moment to scan the room at the welcome party to see if there was anyone alone...not conversing with anyone. It made my heart so happy to see each attendee open up their minds and hearts to connect with each other without even knowing them. That’s what this conference is all about. Building meaningful relationships that are impactful and inspire each other to dream bigger!
When did you start dreaming of this type of educational event? What made you turn your dreams into reality?
Ari: The Summer of 2019 was when we started dreaming of this event. We held workshops each year prior to this idea and we wanted to create something that would have a bigger impact.
Jodie: We were searching for boutique conferences and could not find one. So we created one.
How significant is the event location? Why did you all select Nashville for Born to Shine 2020?
Ari: We sought out to find a cool, unique venue filled with natural light, and White Avenue Studio fit our vision perfectly.
Jodie: We love Nashville! It's a town full of creatives, good food, good shopping and so many things to do! It forced us to get out of our comfort zones because we were used to planning events in our hometown. We are connected to photographers all over the world and wanted a city that was easy to fly into.
How did you piece together the conference schedule and lineup of speakers and instructors?
Ari: We were very intentional in choosing speakers who would hit every aspect of what a photographer would need to run a profitable business.
Jodie: We knew we wanted to have a welcome party to loosen everyone up, a lineup of speakers to impart the knowledge attendees need to excel, and multiple styled shoots to learn the strategy behind shooting magazine-worthy images for their portfolio.
Anything special you do to make your conference fun as well as educational? Why do you think this is important to your attendees?
Ari: The fact that it's a boutique experience. We are able to give each attendee a personal level of attention that you just won't get at the larger conferences. The feedback we've already received from attendees is that they love they were able to actually speak to the keynote and other speakers and didn't have to fight through a crowd just to even try to say hello. They had real meaningful conversations and that is what makes our conference unique and special.
Jodie: It's important to them because they were able to learn without judgment or intimidation.
For anyone on the fence about planning and hosting a conference, retreat or workshop, what sort of advice or words or encouragement can you offer?
Ari: Be prepared. Hire (i.e. pay) a conference coordinator.
Jodie: Stay positive. The dream you have will become a reality by having a solid plan; be intentional when selecting the team to help execute your vision.
And lastly, what Fotostrap do you wear?
Jodie: I have the Blush Fotostrap.
Photos from Madalyn Yates Photography
Looking for more inspiration from industry creatives? Check out these other Q&A's:
Coffee with Creatives: Misty Rodda's Tips on Keeping a Fresh Perspective
Coffee with Creatives: Katie Lamb's Tips on Finding that "Mompreneur" Work/Life Balance
Coffee with Creatives: Mastering the Art of Low Light Photography with ClickPro Dana Leigh
Coffee with Creatives: Caroline Jurgensen's Tips on Running a Business with her Spouse