what is smug mug?
Started back in ’02, Smug Mug is a paid digital photo sharing site, great for avid photographers, both the pros and the ones who just love photographing.
We’ve been told about their monthly SMUG meetings and decided to check it out…ESPECIALLY once we heard Roberto Valenzuela was coming. But more on him later.
what is a SMUG?
SMUG | SmugMug user group
Straight from their Facebook group page | A SMUG is a place where you can learn, teach and meet up with other photographers who share your passion. It’s also how we can tell you what’s happening in our world and discover what’s happening in yours. SMUGs are a great way to connect with other photographers and add a few weapons to your creative arsenal.
NOW onto our 1st night with the OC SMUG and the master photographer of their event: Roberto Valenzuela.
who is roberto valenzuela?
- High school economics teacher to internationally renowned wedding photographer in < 6 yrs
- Winner of 45 international wedding accolades (WPPI)
- 3 time international first place winner (WPPI)
- Top 50 wedding photographers in the world (Junebug Weddings)
- One hilarious speaker
We scanned around the room to spot the man we’d seen so much online…and there he was…all laidback.
In the next hour, he shared his story and how we can change ours.
The most important thing I took away that night from him was this: Treat your camera like an instrument.
If you’ve got a background in music like we do, you know what it’s like to have to memorize and practice and perfect every piece of the music so that you can play it flawlessly for your performance. Or if you’re like me, you might’ve had days when you didn’t practice so much and found yourself making very public mistakes that you cringe to remember.
Like with music, he emphasized practicing perfectly, the right way…constantly, rather than approaching a wedding praying that out of the 3,000 shots you’ll get some that are good that you can Photoshop to look great.
Then, he showed how his practice to perfection changed how he approached every wedding and the incredible imagery that came out…In…credible.
Seriously, if you get a chance to take his workshop or hear him speak, he rocks.
Oh, and did I mention I jumped at the chance to make a fool of myself?
Roberto asked for a volunteer to pose 2 people out of the audience (a non-couple, which is even more fun to deal with that extra awkwardness) to create as MANY poses as possible in 1 minute out of ONLY ONE type of pose: looking at each other.
I know I learn best under pressure and in front of an audience so I jumped at the chance to make a fool of myself.
Roberto went from “Good, good…okay…no…no…no…” Still, the experience was priceless.
We left determined to go to the next level in our photography and PRACTICE PERFECTION …constantly.
Thank you to OC Smug Mug for an awesome event!! Can’t wait to connect more with that great group of people.
Also, a BIG THANK YOU to Roberto for the awesome lesson!
Oh and remember how I said Roberto was laidback and awesome? Well, whenever we meet these rockin’ photographers in person, I’m always amazed at how they’re not just awesome in photography but in person. I sent him a little note on Facebook thanking him and got this response back!
from roberto valenzuela
“Drexelle, you are a rock star for getting up in front of everybody and posing the couple. I gave you a hard assignment and you did it beautifully. I want you to know that I give my self those assignments two to three times a week. Even now. Thank you for being such a trooper and so kind. Your email made my day by the way! : ) Keep in touch. “
We hope this encourages you photographers to network, learn, step up and let yourself make mistakes as you grow to perfect your craft!
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