Every year I try to attend at least one photography workshop or educational seminar or class or something to keep the inspiration flowing and the knowledge developing. In March I road tripped down to Leesburg, Va., for Rebekah J. Murray's One Swell Day workshop. I've followed Rebekah's work for awhile now, and her photos are just magical. There's no other word to describe them. (Check them out for yourself!) She is such an inspirational photographer, and I knew that by attending her workshop I would find some renewed energy surrounding my own work and brand and business.
That was a good hunch because Rebekah is just as inspiring a person as she is a photographer. Everything about One Swell Day was positive and calming (there were only eight of us attendees, which was SO nice for an introvert like myself; I love personal and intimate gatherings), and from the very first thing Rebekah said--"You should do this however you want"--I knew it was going to be a fantastic experience.
I drove to Leesburg by myself (which was refreshing in and of itself!) and arrived just in time for a delicious dinner at Clyde's, plus a photo critique and discussion about our StrengthsFinder assessment results that we tackled before we arrived. Let me tell you, photo critiques are super helpful! I learned things about my shooting style and my brand that hadn't even occurred to me because I was so enmeshed in keeping up with everything. I highly recommend trying it out if you're a photographer. (I'd love to do/have another critique, and I'd be happy to trade with people if anyone's interested. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!)
That realization, along with the things I learned about my strengths, were totally worth attending the workshop as it was. And that was only the first night!
The next day, after a night of girl/photog talk with my roomie, Shalese (she was super nice to provide a few of the photos you see here!), we dove in to everything creative + business-oriented. Some of my biggest takeaways? That I need to set aside time to be creative just because. Cultivating that side of my brain even more will help me be a better photographer. That I need to focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses. I'm always trying to turn my weaknesses into my strengths, but it makes much more sense to spend my energy on things I'm good at and will get return on! I think I'll have to remind myself of this every day for the rest of my life. That I need to continue to surround myself with like-minded people. Every time I attend a workshop (Making Things Happen, Unshop), I'm left refreshed and empowered knowing there are other people out there like me, who get how hard running a business can be and want to cheer you on each time you reach a little milestone. One Swell Day was another empowering experience for me, and I drove back to Cleveland ready to tackle this 2015 season with gusto.
A HUGE thanks to all the awesome people that made the workshop happen: Rebekah (obviously) A Daily Something Skipper Films The Virginia Artisans Events in the City United with Love Rust Manor House Bonnie Sen Photography Victoria Louise Photography
(Photos by Shalese Danielle Photography and my trusty iPhone)