The Art and Business of Portrait Photography Workshop

This past Friday was a great treat for me. I decided this year that I could only spend money on attending ONE workshop. Photographers, you know, that is a challenge! There are so many people offering so many workshops that it's very easy to drop tons of money into attending all of that educational goodness. Yes, workshops teach us important skills as business owners and photographers, but come on... they're also really fun and a unique way to meet like-minded people in the industry. So I needed a restriction to make sure that I was only attending a workshop that I felt would really enhance my business practices. 

My focus in 2015 has really shifted from my first two years in business. At first, I was trying to learn everything I could about everything. There's a lot to learn when you start a business. And for me, my actual photography skills were a big part of that. Understanding my camera, utilizing light in new ways, posing my clients, etc. But this year, I have been very business-oriented. It's true what everyone says... your talent doesn't matter if you can't run a successful (i.e. PROFITABLE business).

So when I saw that two amazing portrait photographers, Rachael Boer and Sonya Ruth, were offering a workshop called The Art and Business of Portrait Photography, I knew that this was the one I'd been waiting for. I've never attended a workshop that wasn't geared toward wedding photographers... isn't that crazy?? And considering how hard I fell for portraits this year, it seemed time to break away from that. Really for me, it was the word "Business" that jumped out at me. I wanted solid business advice. 

In the past, workshops I attended spent a lot of time on the speaker's story, the "how I got here" kind of introduction... which takes a long time and often turns into this oddly familiar phrase, "I didn't know what I was doing at the time, but hey look it worked out for me!" I know people speak that way to be humble and truthful but it has always shaken my confidence in what that person was teaching. I'm a plan and goal-oriented person. Making plans off of what someone thinks worked for them in hindsight just doesn't feel right.

This workshop was nothing like that. Sonya and Rachael took turns teaching and I told them later, it was like one would light up one side of my brain and then the other would light up the other side. Sonya showed us how she captures and edits drool-worthy images like these:

And Rachael would take the floor and talk about all the things that the other teachers I've had didn't want to focus on... things like pricing and selling your work and developing practical systems to DO that. 

We also had the opportunity to photograph TWO families (the first photo in this post is from one of those shoots! More to come!). This was so much fun for me because I don't get to work with nearly enough families. My clients tend to be wedding couples, seniors, and then the occasional family. And I love those clients, but it is a treat to try something new and families are exactly what I've been itching to photograph lately. It was great to see how these successful portrait photographers interact with families. It was also great to finally see someone who loved their 70-200mm for portraits as much as me haha. 

All in all, it was a jam-packed day and I've been reviewing my notes this week reminding myself of all the things I learned and want to implement for 2016. I have some changes to crack down on and I'm excited to try some new things. 2016 is looking to be a big year for me, and I cannot wait.

If you and YOUR family are ready for updated portraits, please contact me so I can put all these new skills to use for you!