I don't do a lot of photography workshops. I wish I could. But goodness gracious they are expensive when you're a new business. It's a conundrum because it's when you're new that you can benefit the most from this hands-on education. I knew from the start that I was never going to spend money before I earned it, so this past year of business has been a careful balancing act of investing in my business (in terms of gear, marketing, and branding), my own education, and paying myself. I went to my first workshop with Abby Grace Photography this summer and it was the perfect first experience. It touched on a lot of different topics and gave me a direction to grow in.
After that workshop, I thought about where I wanted to grow next and realized that I wasn't prepared to raise my prices and hit that new level of client expectation until I improved my own technical skills. I knew I could shoot a wedding day, but I wanted to know that I could shoot a wedding day beautifully in less than ideal, unpredictable situations. And when you're a photographer, that means understanding how to control LIGHT.
Enter workshop #2. I learned that the awesomely amazingly inspiring New England wedding photographers Justin and Mary (check out the galleries!) were coming to Richmond to teach one of their famous lighting intensive workshops. I'd heard a lot about this particular workshop and it came highly recommended from other photographers I admired. So I signed up, bought myself a few pieces of lighting equipment, and I waited...
The big day finally came last Thursday.
I have pages full of notes.
The sun is a small light source.
Flashes are just windows.
Other important facts.
Justin and Mary are so in the know that they knew to come to Richmond and order from Bottoms Up Pizza.
Erik couldn't believe I didn't get home until 10:30 that night.
I talked with other workshop attendees about our brains feeling like jello with all this packed in information we were receiving. It was an awesome feeling. If I didn't have that "drowned in new information" feeling after a workshop, I'd be really disappointed because it would mean I invested in something that I didn't need.
After all the jam-packed learning and note-taking, we got to practice our skills with some gracious models who came in to volunteer their time. One of those models was actually Abby, the teacher from my first workshop, but I think her ballerina skirt and overall awesomeness made her an extremely popular subject, so I don't even have pictures of her! I didn't want to waste time standing in line, so I worked with my own lighting set up shooting people's coffee cups and the other attendees while they worked. It seemed like a more authentic practice for wedding receptions to me and it was more important to me to learn how to use MY gear than to play with expensive gear I won't be using for a long, long time. And when I wasn't sure about my settings or my set up, Justin was right there to look at MY camera and MY flashes with me. It was pretty fantastic, but certainly not portfolio worthy art...
Here are a few photos I snagged of one of the models. You can tell I was just creeping in from the sides, not at all concerned with the backdrop behind her, but completely concerned with the light.
It was a fantastic experience for me. I'd highly recommend it to other photographers who use flash just because you have to, not because you like it (me). Justin and Mary will teach you how to make flash simple and enhance your photography with it. Their style is different from mine, but their techniques can be applied to any style, and it was especially helpful to learn how to apply these ideas on a wedding day. There's nothing crazier to shoot than a wedding, so doing it with intention and strategy is huge! If you're a photographer and want more information on this workshop in particular, check out this page.