In the past, you may have seen me talk/write about Clickinmoms. After Ellie was born, I bought a dslr in the hopes of capturing her as she got older. I loved having professional photography done, but couldn’t afford to do it more than once or twice a year. Because of that, and my complete lack of understanding of how hard photography actually is, I thought buying a big camera would make that easy. I found that recreating those professional images were much more difficult than expected, but found an art form that helped me learn to express myself in a new way. I don’t remember the details but I stumbled upon a group for photographers and moms. They were offering 40% off of memberships so I bought a lifetime membership, without even really knowing what it was. It turned out to be an amazing because I learned how to create art for myself AND I met a group of women that I adore. If you’re even remotely interested in photography, I highly recommend checking them out.

What is Clickinmoms? Clickinmoms is a company dedicated to connecting and supporting women photographers in their artistic journey. They have a magazine, a school dedicated to workshops, a yearly conference, and Click Pro. As I mentioned above, my first experience was through Clickinmoms, their online forum. It’s an online forum with tutorials, image shares, a place to ask for critique, and much more. There are so many FREE tutorials there and I learned a lot just from doing those. When I truly began to connect with other women was when I took my first workshop. I have taken so many, it would probably be hard to count but my favorites include When They Grow Up by Kellie Bieser, a Photoshop and Lightroom Class, Visual Rhetoric with Courtney Larson, and The Mindful Approach with Ardelle Neubert. I would say these classes were instrumental in my development as a photographer AND I got to know some women on a more intimate level. I began to meet people in person through  retreats, a trip to  Click Away,  and another trip to Click Away. The only logical next step was to apply for Click Pro. I asked for help from a couple of people who were willing to spend time reviewing my portfolio and it took a LOT of work. It took me about a year and a half of building, revising, building, and revising. I took a couple of workshops to help me along in the process and asked for a lot of help. I know a lot of people who have applied and didn’t make it their first time so I was nervous that I wouldn’t get in, but after adding my final image to my portfolio which consisted of 150 images representing my best work, I finally said screw it and submitted. A week later, I got an email that said, Congratulations and I am dead serious when I say that I read it several times just to make sure that’s actually what it says. I couldn’t believe it. I had set a pretty high goal and achieved it. And I am so grateful I did because I am happy to be a part of an amazing group of women. And I am proud of believing in myself enough to actually go for it. 

So what does it all mean? It means that I get to be a part of a group of women that are amazingly talented. I get the honor of seeing their work up close and personal every day. I get to participate in posting to the Click Pro Daily Project, to be a part of IG Loops, and even be in a directory within Clickinmoms. I have access to an advanced learning library and at some point, I may even get the chance to teach. I think more than anything, it was a goal to work towards, and while I don’t need anything to validate my work, it felt like a really nice celebration of it. I have gone back and forth with my need for acceptance and validation, so I am weary of putting my value as a person/photographer into anything, but I am going to accept this as a way in which I can feel proud of my hard work, my vulnerability, and my courage. Hard work because I literally had to take LOTS of pictures to get 150 portfolio worthy images. My vulnerability because I had to ask for people’s feedback and hear it. And lastly, my courage because I had to just submit that dang thing. I am slowly getting through all of the ways in which I can participate as a Click Pro Master and I am enjoying it as I go. I feel honored to be in the presence of so much talent and am grateful that I put that faith in myself as well.