Unshop is the brainchild of Jeremy Kester and his wife, Ashley. It's basically a relaxed workshop where photographers get to gather in a safe space to talk, shoot, ask questions … the sky's the limit really. I got to attend in May in the Kester's hometown of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, with some of my awesome photographer friends. It really was exactly what I needed for the start of my busy season.
We spent a good portion of Unshop talking about industry standards and why we shouldn't feel compelled to box ourselves in. As a rules-follower, this was especially important for me to hear. I have a hard time allowing myself to do what I feel is right vs. doing what everyone else is doing because it seems right. While it's not an overnight change for me, I have lots of ideas swimming around in my head for slow season!
On day two, we visited McFarland's Llama Farm (yes, a llama farm!) for a relaxed shoot and picnic. I've used the word "relaxed" two times now and that's an important part of Unshop. There were no official rules for the days we spent in Mt. Vernon. Jeremy's goal was for us to slow down and do what we felt was right. If we needed to take a nap instead of shoot, then we did. I did a little bit of shooting with my friends Carolyn and Zipporah.
That evening, we sat around a bonfire at the Kester residence (talk about hospitable people! Jeremy and Ashley are the best!) and talked for hours. We asked for advice on struggles, shared funny stories and really just had a good time getting to know each other. While most of us came from Ohio, there were photographers in attendance from Iowa and Tennessee and the East Coast. Meeting people from across the country is my favorite part of attending a workshop or conference.
If you're interested in learning more about or attending an Unshop, get more info here. There you can also learn more about the "HH Boogie" bit. I highly recommend it all!