I went on a trip to California… almost a year ago, and I am finally writing about it now! Well, the truth is…. I get a little vulnerable in this post, so it’s been sitting, waiting to be posted. Waiting until… I don’t know. I guess until I was brave enough to press “publish” and really put myself out there.
I decided that I needed to go to a photography workshop. I was feeling a bit stuck with my work and I needed something that would help get me excited about photography again and push me. Being my own boss means that there is nobody here telling me that I need to work harder, so workshops are super important!
So, I chose to go to the Heck Yeah Photography workshop in Joshua Tree, California. The speakers were amazing and well… California! I am a HUGE fan of heat and sunshine, so enough said, right there!
My main goal in attending this workshop was to push myself out of my comfort zone. Direct and photograph couples in front of other photographers (who were all amazing, and this is terrifying for me), learn some new techniques, get close to people and do things that I would normally shy away from. You may notice that a lot of the images in this post are closely cropped. I used to shoot from afar and never get too close to my couples for fear of making them uncomfortable. Turns out that in my experience, more often than not, the closer you get to people, the closer they feel to you, emotionally. The more willing they are to let go and be themselves while being photographed. This is a great thing for me because I love it when my couples become vulnerable and allow me into their emotional, intimate, and connected side with their partners. The more love, the more snuggles, the closeness… that’s what I want! I didn’t photograph from the sidelines this time and for me, that was a huge accomplishment.
Speaking of being vulnerable, somehow, Aundrea, from Undresses Moments, convinced me to get in front of her camera. On a mountain. Naked. Oh ok. Yeah sure… what did I have to lose?? My dignity, maybe, but what the hell. YOLO, right? After all, I DID go to the workshop to get out of my comfort zone. To be vulnerable. To have new experiences. I expect my clients to get vulnerable in front of my camera… I should probably give it a whirl myself, right?
Aside from that scariest part of my trip, here are some other highlights:
- Climbing the boulders in Joshua tree at sunrise, twice!
- Seeing a roadrunner in real life!
- Meeting José Villa!
- Photographing Ben Sasso and Katch Silva!
- So many flowy dresses!
- I was attacked by a cactus and spend two hours pulling prickles out of my legs!
- Wandering the desert at night whilst drinking champagne out of a coffee mug! (Keeping’ it CLASSY, J-Tree!)
- No kids! (hence the last point)
- Laying by the pool.
- More laying by the pool.
- Live bands, bonfires, and casual conversations with many photographers I admire.
Honestly, that list just doesn’t look long enough to do this trip justice…
The point I really wanted to make with this post is this. Get uncomfortable. Let go. Do what you want. Don’t let your anxieties hold you back. I feel like I’ve grow an immense amount personally as a result of my experiences on this trip. I’ve learned to let go a little and make myself vulnerable. When I photograph you, I want you to do the same. Let me in to see who you are as an individual and who you are with your partner. Please be snuggly, affectionate, loving. Connect. I promise we will have fun, it just won’t be all mush. If I can do it…. trust me… anyone can (you too, gentlemen)!
In the meantime, enjoy these super sunny images!