Designer Trek 2016 | South Lake Tahoe | Business

 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California

I’m writing this blog on the plane from Los Angeles to Charlotte after a long, full, and happy weekend at Designer Trek 2016. In all honesty I think I will be processing what I learned and gained from this weekend for a long time, but I have some immediate takeaways – and some gorgeous pictures of Lake Tahoe! - to share today.

Designer Trek was a weekend billed for those in the creative industry from photographers to writers to graphic designers. While there was some variety, most everyone was a graphic designer or some sort – though the range of design (UX, UI, illustration, branding, and more) was in itself incredible to witness. This was so refreshing to me. While I love the photography world and the wedding industry, it did good for my heart and my mind to be completely away from both of those spaces for a weekend and learn from people that are extremely talented in areas different from my business.

The first day was one of the longest days I can recall. I was extremely sick last week and was not sure I would even be able to go. But that morning at 3am I got in my car and left for Richmond, landed in Dallas a few hours later, and then boarded my final flight to Reno, Nevada. When I arrived it was only noon and I had already been awake for 12 hours.

We arrived at the biggest house in South Lake Tahoe (thanks, HomeAway!) and settled in to our rooms. Many introductions and a taco truck later, we sat around the fire that evening and heard from one of the HomeAway gurus about their takeover from Expedia and what that meant for the user experience. Even though I was fighting sleep the whole time it was fascinating to consider all the innovation that goes on behind the scenes at a company like that. I finally stumbled to bed after having been awake for 23 hours, with only 2 hours of sleep the night before.

 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California
 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California

Above was our house, and below is the view right outside the back yard.

 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California

The next day we started with a hike to Pope Beach. It was a pretty easy excursion and gave me a good chance to get to know a few of the people who went. Lunch on the beach followed, then we headed back to the house. All the in-between downtime gave us the chance to build great relationships and learn about the other 34 people in the house with us.

 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California

That evening was the best session of the whole trip. The founder of Nine Labs in Atlanta spoke about the creative process and the final work we create. He talked about not holding our work so personally – while it is important it is not our everything, and when we make what we do so deeply ingrained in who we are, we only stand to lose in the end. We all discussed the tension between bettering ourselves every time we create and being more satisfied and excited about the creative process than being married to our final work. This got my wheels spinning about how much effort I put into the process versus the final result...something I am still processing now!

 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California
 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California
 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California
 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California

Sunday afternoon was beach fun day – it’s a surreal thing to be on the sand in a swimsuit with snow-capped mountains the background! I had a ton of fun, maxed out the MPH on a jetski, and played football. That night we finished with a steak dinner and a talk from one of the designers at InVision about what’s coming next for them and what it means for the creative world.

 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California

It’s hard to summarize such a full weekend in just a simple blog post, but if I could say one thing it’s this: I am constantly inspired by those around me. I sat watching in amazement as one designer created an epic t-shirt, then proceeded to scrap the designs, change the colors, and revise it until it was perfect. I met someone whose career started with a coloring book he made for his younger siblings. And I met people who have talent in areas I never even knew about.

So today I leave inspired, my heart and mind swirling with ideas of how to create to the best of my abilities every day. I leave with friendships formed from so many fun, exciting days together. And I leave renewed after a weekend on my favorite coast (sorry, Virginia!) with another amazing trip logged away in my memory forever.

 Designer Trek 2016 by Circles Co. | South Lake Tahoe, California

Maria Grace Photography

My name is Maria, and I am a wedding and family photographer based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, but I am always excited about traveling. I love families who truly enjoy spending time with each other and living life together. I love couples that are looking forward to their wedding day because they are so excited to finally be married to.