What?? I won?!

As many of you know, I’ve been in Destin, Florida over the weekend attending one of the nations largest Senior conferences with 500 of the best photographers in the US!  Our schedule was jam packed, 8am-10ish every day.  We listened to some of the hottest photographers on the scene (Sue Bryce and Teri Fode to name a few!) and learned everything from posing to lighting and marketing.  I’m so excited about all the new ideas and trends I’m bringing back to the studio!

We left about 8:30 Friday morning.  We all intended on taking naps throughout the ride and switching up driving.  Yeah, that didn’t work lol!  As you probably predicted, we talked the entire ride.  Jennifer even tried to nap at one point and it lasted a whole 5 minutes.  I think the ride there and home was almost just as important as the conference, though.  We had a ton of discussion about our dreams and aspirations for our studio, and how we can achieve those things.img_0043

We arrived that evening and had our first meeting after registering.  We.  Were.  Pumped.


We spent the entire day Saturday in classes.  Teri Fode, one of the top photographers in the US was there to speak on Monday, and we saw her in the midst of everyone at some of our classes.  We were all star struck.  I wanted to go up and speak to her SO bad.  I even crossed paths with her that morning and MADE EYE CONTACT, and couldn’t do anything but smile and keep walking.  Finally, that night, I was walking past her and she looked up and I just went for it.  She was SO incredibly nice and enthusiastically agreed to take a selfie with us!  Here it is:



Y’all.  I can’t even.  When we floated away on cloud 9 and I looked back to see this, I didn’t know whether to laugh or lay out in the floor and cry, so Jennifer, Kimberly and I just chose to laugh and did so for about 10 minutes straight.  You know, the kind of laugh where you can’t breath and people probably think somethings wrong with you.  I mean, I’m a professional photographer and I can’t even take a picture on my iPhone!!!

Jennifer saw her coming our way so she told her what happened and we all belly laughed for awhile.  Thankfully she agreed to snap another with us.  I didn’t get it wrong this time lol.


After a day of classes and the above mentioned events, we were given a 2 hour supper break before coming back to another class, and we just had to go see a glimpse of the beach, even though it was almost dark.  It was beautiful.


Sunday started with a wonderful worship service with Luke McElroy.  To say I felt the holy spirit’s presence is an understatement.  He filled the room and it was so refreshing to see SO many people show up to the service and to be able to worship Jesus at a photography conference that way.  In fact, most if not all of the speakers referenced God during their journey at some point or another.  What a blessing that was.

We, once again, ran to the beach during our break.  The day was beautiful.  The temp was probably mid-70’s but the water was chilly.  Perfect day to sit on the beach and relax.



We finished Sunday with supper at Baytown Wharf, with a serene view of Destin in the distance.img_0182


Monday was TERI FODE DAY!  We spent the day listening to her.  She was just as amazing as I imagined.


Monday evening was the closing awards ceremony and party for the SYNC conference.  They awarded the photographers who entered print competition then the DJ carried the party until 11pm.  I may or may not have sang ‘Living on a Prayer’ with Jennifer on my snapchat.  If you didn’t see it, shame on your for not following me lol (btw it’s tdickson05 so go follow!) !


The conference was so much more than I even imagined.  It was so well put together.  We are definitely going again next year!

SO in reference to the title of this blog, ‘What?  I won?!’, here’s what that is all about.  I entered my name about a month ago to win a spot in a 3 day workshop with Gary Box (Box Studio’s) in Oklahoma.  Mr. Jim Cook bought and donated the spot for the drawing ($995 value).  Gary is another top photographer in the US and speaks at many events as well.  He will be speaking at SYNC next year!

I got a Facebook notification that he tagged me in a post yesterday, so I checked and I WON!  Out of 200+ names, they drew my name!  Y’all, I never win anything.  I was beyond shocked.  So, I will be learning from another one of the best photographers around April 2, 3 and 4!  I cannot thank God enough for this blessing.

2017 is going to be an amazing year of fun and RISK taking.  I’m ready.