Etsy Captains’ Summit 2016

Last week, Lindy and I took off to Toronto to attend this year’s Etsy Captain’s Summit. Every year, Etsy Canada gathers team captains from across the country to come participate in a special conference where we share ideas and celebrate all things handmade & vintage.

The first Summit was held in 2014 and originally centred around the Etsy: Made in Canada market. In order to attend, each team had to agree to put on the market in their own city, which was great for putting on a united front and making Made in Canada the big cross-country event it deserved to be, but it also meant some really great people doing really great things stayed home for 2014 & 2015.

This year, Etsy lifted the requirement of putting on a Made in Canada market, which meant a huge contingent of new faces and new ideas. It’s always so inspiring to be around my fellow team captains. It was a group of almost 60 motivated and accomplished individuals, meeting to discuss a common goal: supporting our local handmade and vintage communities.

Since Made in Canada wasn’t the focus of Summit this year, it meant there were new learning opportunities, too. Canon is a new partner to Etsy this year, which as a Canon photographer, was a pretty big deal for me. I was asked to lead a photography workshop this year and I believe the email I sent back accepting the task was the text equivalent of non-sensical excitement, illustrated entirely with exclamation points and happy emojis.

Lookbooks & Life, Canon Presentation This workshop was one of the highlights of my whole year so far – and I’ve had a lot of highlights this year! I was able to share some experience photographing people and working with models to create branded and useful lookbooks. I shared some tips and tricks about using depth of field wisely, softening light by bouncing flash, and how to make people feel at ease in front of the camera.

These are all simple tips that once learned, can make marked differences in the quality of one’s photographs. I wanted to keep everything simple, but effective, and I’m really happy with the positive feedback I received after the workshop. I was nervous going into the workshop, because after being on the receiving end of so much good information for a few years it was important for me to be able to give back. And though this sentiment applies to so many things for me, it especially applies to photography.

I would not be where I am with photography today had someone not taken time out of their schedule to answer my questions and to offer their experience for my consumption. I think that’s one of the great things about the photographic community: a willingness to share. There will be more to come out of the #EtsyXCanon partnership, I’m sure, so stay tuned!

After two days of non-stop brainstorming, it was time to come home and I’ll be honest, that first night back in my own bed was probably one of the best sleeps I’ve had in a long time. My mind had been so thoroughly exhausted from all the excitement that it was finally silent for the night. So not only did I make a bunch of new friends, learn a tonne of new things, and come home with a brand new clipboard, but I was gifted a fabulous night’s sleep!

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