Getting TFO of My Comfort Zone: Portrait Meets

Updated: Sep 5, 2018

If there was one thing I thought I knew for certain about my photography, it was that I was for sure not a portrait person. Turns out I guess I was wrong. Here's the backstory: 


One of my goals this year along with diving into my personal work was an emphasis on trying new things and meeting new faces in the photo community. First, I started taking my social media accounts seriously and in March created a separate Instagram account dedicated to my professional photography. (Wish I had done it sooner...) I gave myself the challenge of shooting enough work to have content to post every day. So far, it's going well. I was worried that I would run out of gas, but I've been so excited about shooting different projects it hasn't been an issue. 

I've learned that Instagram is a great networking tool - shocker. Through it I've found so many other like-minded creatives that I'm inspired by - just amazing people in the community. I eventually stumbled upon these things called 'meetups'. I was intrigued by the premise of meeting other photographers and models and collaborating, but felt that portraits weren't for me. I've been shooting inanimate objects for most of my career, and portraits were a little rusty for me. Accustomed to really only shooting senior portraits and couples sessions of family and friends, it was nothing I was personally excited about. I loved the editorial approach but didn't feel confident I could produce that work, or if it could even be "my thing." I felt intimidated about what it would be like potentially shooting alongside other more experienced portrait photographers. But feeling that way frustrated me. There was no reason why I shouldn't be able to figure this out.

I have a few pages in my planner dedicated to quotes and excerpts that are motivating for me. When I get stuck I'll flip back and read through for a little extra push. For some reason the one below particularly resonates with me. It was the first one I wrote down on the very first page of my planner:



It was then I decided to go to my first meetup. 

The meetup was hosted by the lovely ladies of Let's Shoot: Boston. It happened to be their first organized meet, and it blew my expectations away. I met so many passionate and supportive women that showed me the ropes and took away all insecurities I had about shooting portraits. I learned that a lot of us felt the same way. I feel strongly that you never really stop learning, and was all about how much of a nurturing environment this meet was. I got some pretty kickass shots for my first crack at getting back into it, if I do say so myself. 



After that first meet I couldn't wait to get back out there to another. I found the OG folks from PortraitMeet, went to their next meetup in Providence, and had an equally exciting and satisfying time. It was so great to collaborate and talk with other talented photographers. I've been to four meets in the last two months or so and am loving it. 



I've tapped into a pretty amazing community and I'm so glad I took that initial step. It's still pretty fresh and new for me, and I'm still developing what my approach/interest is for portraits. But it feels good to no longer be the photographer that "doesn't do portraits" because of past experiences and insecurities. All it took was getting out of my comfort zone. 

© ALLISON SEPANEK PHOTOGRAPHY