Sleepless in San Jose

Have you ever had one of those sleepless nights where your brain is preoccupied with so many things that you just lay there, staring at the ceiling… for hours (and hours)? I had a night like a week ago. It was the night before I was scheduled to do a presentation on model photography and Photoshop Lightroom techniques for the Silicon Valley SmugMug user group.

My brain is weird. When I have something big coming up, it (my brain) starts running “what if” scenarios; What if no one shows?  What if too many folks show up? What if the model flakes? What if my gear breaks? What if I come off like a doofus? And on and on it went… for most of the night. Now I’m not saying I wasn’t prepared, because I was. I’m very comfortable teaching folks about photography, and even more comfortable behind the camera.

But for what ever the reason, I was still nervous. Not stage-fright nervous, “Murphy’s Law” nervous.
Ok fast-forward to the next evening. Showtime! Thankfully everything went extremely well, and my “what-if” scenario nightmares stayed just that — fiction. Ok, yea maybe more folks showed up than I anticipated (150+), but that’s a good problem to have right? To manage the meeting, I used Meetup.com, a service that’s designed to help manage events, attendee lists, RSVPs, etc. It worked like a charm, in fact within hours of launching the event, and with the help of a few Re-Tweets from Alex Lindsay, Steve Simon, and Aaron Mahler — all 75 RSVP slots were taken!

That’s the power of Twitter, a few bursts of 140 characters to our Twitter followers and we filled an event. Nice. Still nervous though.

Ok, deep-breath… it’ll be fiiine Frederick.

Then boom, SmugMug sent out an email to their Silicon Valley customers — and the waiting-list started to grow… and grow. Again Gaaa! This was great! I mean, people were actually interested in coming to see me talk? Oh wait, I DID mention on the Meetup page that there’d be a “hot model” there, hmm. Yea, that must’ve been the draw, either the hot model or the chance to learn some cool Lightroom digital make-up techniques.

To make a long post short, the event went off without a hitch. OK maybe there were a few hitches, but because there were some really great folks there supporting me none of the gremlins that popped up were show-stoppers.
A huge thanks to Ziv Gillat, Co-Founder of Eye-fi, and Jeremiah Njoroge (also on the Eye-fi team). And a few other members of the user group as well for helping with set-up and break-down of the gear.

Having help from friends made the event far less stressful, and I was able to concentrate on trying to get my message across to the 150+ attendees which was; how to photograph models, and how to retouch them to perfection in Photoshop Lightroom.

I’m really looking forward to hosting upcoming TWiP, SmugMug, and other photography-related events. If the success of this one was any indicator of the future, it looks like these Meetups might become THE Bay Area photography event to go to each month.

And a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to learn, meet, and mingle with other photographers. The turn-out to this event shows just how strong the photographic community is.

To keep track of these events and be notified of upcoming Meetups, be sure to join the This Week in Photography Meetup group.

I’ll look forward to seeing you at the next event!
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