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Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone: How a Bold Move at a Convention Rewarded My Photography Career

Have you ever considered taking a leap of faith in your career, even if it meant stepping into unfamiliar territory? I recently found myself in just that situation. You see, I'm a beauty photographer, deeply passionate about capturing the artistry of hair and makeup artists (HMUA) in my work. But I'm not an HMUA myself, not by a long shot. I can barely draw a straight line with eyeliner, and I trim my hair twice a year at best. So, when I got the opportunity to attend the Caper '19 convention, a gathering dedicated to HMUA professionals, I knew it was a chance to bet on myself and my art.

Paul Mitchell School Caper 2019
Erin Holmstead Photography

A Photographer in a HMUA World

I'll admit, I felt like a fish out of water. I wasn't there to pick up makeup tips or learn the latest hair trends. My mission was to share what I do best – photography. You see, this convention hosted some of the most influential figures in the HMUA industry, my dream clients. These are the people I aspire to have in front of my lens, either for portfolio work or as referrals to other clients. They are the lifeblood of my business, and Caper '19 was a goldmine of opportunity.

Capturing the Essence of HMUA Artistry

Armed with my camera and a pocketful of business cards, I plunged headfirst into the event. I photographed artists on stage, in the hallways, and in candid moments outside talking to students. Whenever I spotted a model, I'd politely ask if I could snap a few shots, always keeping my business cards ready for distribution. I hustled as though my life depended on it.

The Astonishing Results of Taking a Career Leap

And guess what? It worked. On the first day, the Vice President of Marketing approached me, having spotted an image of mine on Instagram, and asked for permission to use it in their press release. I left that convention not only with this exciting opportunity but also with a wealth of new contacts and potential clients. I had built an entirely new portfolio featuring the legends I admire. The most incredible part? I received an invitation to return the following year.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson: taking a chance on yourself and your art can yield astonishing results. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, just as I did. Seek out your dream clients, wherever they may be. It might mean attending an expo or convention in a field entirely unrelated to your own. Invest in yourself and in them, because I can promise you this: it's an investment that pays off.

Paul Mitchell School Caper 2019
Erin Holmstead Photography

My Proof that It's Worth It

So, don't be afraid to take risks, put yourself out there, and believe in the power of your craft. You never know where that bold step might lead you. I'm living proof that it's worth the journey.

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