I had this great post in mind for New Year’s Day and just as I started to sit down and get everything ready for it, I started feeling feverish. My husband is just getting over pneumonia as are a few of my friends and I knew that my symptoms were exactly the same. So we headed down to the hospital for an X-Ray and sure enough, I did have pneumonia, but it wasn’t very bad…yet. After 3 days of no improvement my fever stopped responding to Tylenol or Advil so I went back to the hospital for another X-Ray. The antibiotics I had been given weren’t working and now the pneumonia was pretty bad. So they put me on the strongest antibiotic they had and sent me home. Unfortunately I’ve been advised not to take on any sessions this month, but thankfully all of you have been so patient and understanding about all of this! In any case, now that I am able to sit upright I wanted to get on here and wish all of you a happy new year and give a big thank you to everyone for making my 2011 a wonderful and exciting year!
At the end of this year I was very busy. In part because September-December is known to be the busiest season for photographers, but also because I decided to throw two workshops in the mix over that time. Those of you reading this who are not photographers might wonder why I do workshops if I already have a growing and fairly successful business. The answer is not a simple one as I do workshops for a variety of reasons, but mostly I like to compete with myself. When I learn something new and nail it, I like to go out and get some new knowledge and try to “top” the last image I was happy with.
In October, my good friend and mentor, Andrea Joki of Ajaton Photography came out from Finland. This is my second private workshop with her and I learn a few new tricks every time. Andrea is a wealth of knowledge and you kind of have to see her more than once in order to just absorb all of the information she shares! We had such a great group of photographers here for this workshop that despite all the mishaps that are bound to happen during a workshop, everyone kept their sense of humour and we photographed everything come rain or come gale force winds hahaha! Here are some of the images from that workshop:
This was a lighting technique I really wanted to learn for a project I will be working on over the year and I am so happy that Andrea was able to show us how to light and process these images…the before and after’s are incredible for these (one day I’ll share one, but I want to share that in the context of my personal project later)
This location was calling to me…unfortunately it didn’t go entirely as planned, but we had a good time there and got some great images despite the fact that Andrea is going to kill me over this location (literally) *ducks and runs*
In December my husband and I headed off to Miami and then Bahamas. We were going to be attending one of Scott Robert Lim’s Bahamas workshop! I have never been to an international workshop before and I had been really excited about this one in particular. I did a workshop with Scott on Vancouver Island in the Spring and just learned SO much from it I had to have my husband come so that he could learn as well (he is starting to learn so he can assist with weddings and other business end parts of Ashleigh Wells Photography). We had a couple of wonderful, relaxing days in Miami and then headed out on a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas with the Scott Robert Lim gang. The workshop was incredible as usual and both myself and my husband came home with some new skills and more importantly some new friends! Here are a few images from that trip:
This one is taken in the conference room on the cruise ship. As you can imagine those are not particularly attractive surroundings, but Scott is all about working with what is there and boy did he ever teach us a lesson on how you really can use anything you are given if you’re creative and understand off camera flash!
I am so happy to have Scott and Andrea as mentors in my life. I feel mentorship is a very important method of growth, especially in an industry that is changing so rapidly. It is important to have someone or a group of “someones” who have been there and done that. It has helped me jump light years ahead with my work to have mentors in my life so if any of you are reading this and are feeling stuck with your own photography business and/or imagery, find a mentor who’s style and/or business model you admire! Photography is an industry with a lot of newcomers due to the increasing affordability of DSLR cameras, but there are no traditional avenues of education that teach all of the beginners how to shoot CORRECTLY and how to run a business for the long term. If you choose a school program for photography, they are all based around fine art, but if you want a portrait business you are on your own unless you find mentors and attend workshops and conferences in order to understand the ins and outs of the industry. I have chosen a team of mentors based on different aspects I like in each of their work so don’t think you have to find someone who is “perfect” and exactly like you. As you can see the kind of images we were getting from Andrea’s workshop are very different from those we were getting from Scott’s. I personally chose Andrea as a natural light mentor because that is one of her strengths and she works in a similar environment to me. I chose Scott to help me with off camera flash, which is one of his strengths and BOTH mentors have taught and continue to teach me a great deal about running a successful business. Having a mentor doesn’t mean you come out of the process as a clone of the person mentoring you…quite the opposite! A mentor will help you to find the things that are important to you in your imagery and thus will help you determine your “signature style”. Once you have that, the sky is the limit.