The best decision I ever made {Southern Minnesota Photographer}

Rewind to August. I am sitting at my parent’s guest house chilling with my family on vacation. My friend, Megan, (who I met in Vegas at WPPI last winter) sends me a message asking if I am attending Showit United.

Ummm, what? I had never heard of it. I told her I would do some research and get back to her.

A few weeks go by and I she reaches out again. Did you look? Oh yeah, need to do that. So I did. The more I read about this conference the more I was intrigued. It seemed so close-nit. Everyone talking about it was so jazzed to go back, or excited to be first-timer. I never heard such buzz about a photography conference before.

September came and I told Megan, if you’re in, I’m in. She was on it. Found us tickets through some unfortunate souls that had things come up and couldn’t go. Let me tell you, these attendees were heart broken to give up their tickets. It made me wonder what was so great about this conference.


Yes, you read that right. It was plastered all over about how there was no shaking hands at United, you got and gave hugs. All. The. Time. It’s all good, I’m a hugger. Plus, I thought, they couldn’t be serious about that, could they?

They were.

Megan and I flew into Phoenix at the same time (worked out great!) and took a tour of the airport. Unintentionally. We ended up in the wrong terminal for our ride. Oops. But guess what? Field was there, with what? A hug. Yup, my first United hug.

The rest of the week was amazing. We stayed at this amazing resort and everything was right there. Classes, breakouts, styled shoots.

There’s the kicker.

When I registered the styled shoots were sold out. Bummer right? Well, I got my butt out of bed every morning and was able to get in on two amazing shoots. One to learn marketing videos.

The amazing Makayla and James were all about helping us, and we had a blast!

While out and about in the desert, Megan mentioned jumping cacti. Not joking. There are these large cactus that seem to jump out at you when you walk by they stick to you. Painfully. I got just a couple of the stickers in the bottom of my foot and it was awful.


Then our friend, Canada (aka Nikki) got a bunch in her shoe. Good times.

I am excited to implement some video into my sessions.

One of the many amazing things about this conference, is that they have events for us each night. We all got together the first night for a pool party. The second night was a fiesta and line dancing, and some late night singing 😉 (If you follow me on SnapChat, you got to see that). The third night was the black and gold ball. We didn’t go. But, next year, I will go to this amazing party we heard so much about the next day. It is the only regret I have from that week.

The last morning I was up again, in hopes of getting a spot in a shoot. And I was able to attend one with Montana Dennis.  Let me tell you, it was the most educational shoot I had been at in a long time. He shared so much of what he has learned through the years and to not be afraid to be different. I needed that.

Our model couple was adorable.

Montana doing his thing!

Megan and I invited him to lunch with us that day, and were able to pick his brain and he answered all of our questions. He is such a genuine person. I have been talking with him about him coming to Minnesota for a workshop and I am SO EXCITED!! (Stay tuned for more information, local photog friends!)

The last day was a whirlwind of information. I attended a four hour class with the amazing Abby Kyhl from Seven Summers Creative. She is so down to earth and so willing to share her wisdom with us. It was amazing.

Megan and I relaxed the last day and absorbed all the information we just fed our brains. Eager to put into action our new plans. And we also prayed our suitcases were under 50 pounds for the flight home the next day.

We got up early and did our head shots before heading to the airport.


How beautiful is my friend???


Played with some double exposure of course…

Triple exposure. I LOVE how this turned out!! Pretty much sums up the week.

I registered for next year before I even left the resort. I knew I had to. I want to come back next year and see the changes that I implemented work. So far, so good.

Photographer friends, invest in yourself. Invest in education. These amazing people that speak at these events have been where we are, they want to help us achieve our goals. We are all in this together.

This is why I am so willing to help new photographers, I wish there had been someone there to guide me when I first started. Don’t ever be afraid to ask.



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Shields Valley Montana

Kyleen Olson is a  Shields Valley Montana Wedding and Portrait Photographer that specializes in capturing the imperfect moments of life. She loves helping her clients to find the authentic moments and spending her Sundays with her family.

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