Joy in the Chaos: Family Connections

I'm finally getting around to putting all my thoughts and lessons down from the workshop with BreAnne Weston! The Finding Joy in Chaos workshop was amazing and I was so glad to travel with my friend Chrissy out to Utah. Get ready for an experience (and the gorgeous photos!) in this post! After some flight delays and one awesome Lyft driver, we finally got to our hotel. In the morning - coffee in hand - several of us carpooled over to this cute little studio for our morning classroom. After intros, BreAnne talked about going back to our “why” as family photographers and what made us who we are today, finding your inspiration through connections. Going back to focusing on the connections of people instead of all my posing cues was exactly what I needed at this point in my business. It was really refreshing and I can't say enough about the group of women who were there!

In my photography business, my go-to words are “joy” and “bright,” smiles and laughter. We talked about making the photo session an experience, which reaffirmed what I always believe in and showcase to my clients. The more it can be about spending time together versus standing still with "camera smiles," the better, more natural, more beautiful photographs and memories you'll keep forever. My favorite quote that she shared with our class is this by Elliott Erwitt:

“Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

Getting Technical

Of course, we talked about camera settings and differences between DSLR and mirrorless, which are always good reminders. The biggest change I am making to the technical side of my photography is starting to work in Kelvin for white balance. Essentially this is going to be all about how to make the photographs warmer or cooler depending on the light situation that you have and the consistency of color across your client's outfits. Since I started my business I've been using the ExpoDisc, which I still highly recommend. But as I've grown in my photography, learning Kelvin has been on my list to learn. Maybe down towards the bottom 😂, but definitely on it. Honestly…I was scared of it. But BreAnne and everyone around me showed me just how easy it can be, as long as you remember to change it when the situation suits! It gives you so much more control over the images, from what you're seeing on the back of the camera to smoothing out editing quite a lot. Some of the photos you see below do exactly that, and I was just floored when I saw them not only in my tiny camera screen but also on my computer. They needed very little editing (although I have new tricks here too!). I’m really excited to continue learning this and applying it to all my photo sessions. I focus primarily on getting the right skin tones to reflect my beautiful clients, and getting everything else in the background in sync is the second priority.

Changing It Up

I've mentioned to some folks that I'm going to be changing the way I do things next year, and this workshop was a big driver for that. It will mean more personal connections before and during the photo session, plus consistency in my backend for smooth sailing for both me and my clients. I really can't wait to launch it fully in early 2023. In the workshop, we also talked some about getting Dads on board, which honestly hasn't been a big issue with my clients so far, but it's always good to have tricks in your back pocket. If you are a Dad reading this, congrats, you're already on the photographers website so I know you'll be fantastic!! 😂😂 If, like 90% of my inquiries, you’re Mom, just know that I have even more tricks of the trade to get genuine smiles out of Dad and the young men in your life.

Shadowing Another Pro

Alright, enough on the technical side, let's get to one of the most amazing parts of this whole workshop! Being able to shadow BreAnne as she did not one, but two separate family photo shoots up in the mountains in Utah!! First of all, everything is gorgeous and the light and the trees and everything was simply beautiful. It's the best way that I've seen a workshop run, and it was so valuable. One thing that helped was that we truly were shadowing BreAnne. She was the lead and gave all of the direction, with occasional offshoots to explain why she did a particular move or setting adjustment. So we really got to watch her in action while quietly getting our own photographs of these two wonderful families. Also, serious kudos to the families and especially little kids for putting up with a horde of photographers!

It's so pretty out there. I can't mimic the specific tree colors and play of light coming in through the mountains of Utah, but I will do my best to work in this consistency using the beautiful parks and memorials we have here on the east coast (see my faves in my Location Guide!)

OK. I think this may be the longest post I've done in a long time, if ever, but there's just so much to fill in and talk about! I will let the photos tell all of their thousands of words, but stay tuned for part two when Chrissy and I get silly in the median of a four-lane road. I can't wait to share that with you too.

Last thing. Can I just tell you, I am so very glad I invested into myself and my business this way. Learning and engaging in person with a wonderful crew of women photographers was simply incredible.