The MJ 2 Day Workshop: Part I

Categories: Business & Photography.

On a warm summer day last July, I was arriving at this beautiful home just outside of Boulder, Colorado…Since Melissa is based out of Phoenix, AZ, she relies on generous hosts when traveling for workshops…and Kirsten and her family, who offered up this gorgeous home for us to enjoy, did not disappoint.

From the front porch you got a gorgeous view of the mountains, the home was filled with amazing natural light (this is something most photographers REALLY appreciate haha!), and there was plenty of space for us to sit back, learn, and enjoy the workshop.And the workshop was AWESOME. First off, I’m just so amazed by not only the photographer Melissa is, but the person she is. She’s extremely giving and generous with their knowledge and experience, is down-to-earth, funny, and a strong business woman to boot.

Day one was spent focusing primarily on the technical side of photography: shooting techniques, lighting, flash, working with clients, and more. That evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Med in Boulder, and then headed back to Kirsten’s for the mock engagement session. Tina and Cody, our completely awesome and adorable models, were super photogenic and the setting was to die for…I’ll be sharing those images later today in Part II.

Tuesday, day two, was jam packed with all things business. I’ve heard this plenty of times before, but Melissa really drove home the fact that running your own photography business is 20% photography and 80% business. Fortunate for the big giant nerd in me, this is good…because I really do love the business side and having total control of my “baby.” But for many others, running a business kills their drive to shoot, and it’s important to be able to acknowledge that.

That day we covered tons of great topics…workflow, album design, online presence, branding, vendor relations, meeting with clients, and so much more. And, since the lighting got a little weird on us for the mock e-session, we took advantage of the mid-day sun to let Melissa show us how to shoot in typical crappy mid-day ceremony lighting. Here’s a tender moment between Katie B and Becca as Claire (the officiant, note the hands haha!) says the typical wedding stuff…
I feel like I attended the workshop at the perfect stage of my business. I’ll have been in business since last fall, and during the past few several months I’ve learneda lot. I’ve shot some really great sessions, really developed and continue to develop my technical skills, and have managed my business and planned for the future of it. What I learned at the MJ 2-Day will help me continue to grow my business in the direction that I want for my life and my future, and absolutely be an asset as I gradually move forward with gaining wedding experience and jumping into the somewhat overwhelming wedding industry. My path is a bit unique because I still want pet photography to be a huge part of my business model, so finding that balance will probably be a challenge. However I know what truly drives me and I definitely believe that by embracing these two things that I love so much (pets and love), I can be the best photographer I can be for my clients.

So not only did I walk away with a lot of inspiration and new knowledge, but I was able to bounce ideas off of Melissa, meet so many other wonderful and talented photographers, have a really great time, and enjoy the beautiful setting in Colorado.

To all of my fellow attendees: Katie DerusTracy Woodger-BrozKatie BradshawBrooke SummerBecca Wood, Susan PacekJessica MaidaAmy PeckinsKelli BolingKirsten Leah BitzerMegan RefnerCathleen Schmidt, and Claire O’Malley-Shisler…you guys were awesome and I’m so fortunate to have met you all.

If you’re interested in seeing what Melissa had to say about the Boulder MJ 2-Day, you can find Day 1 here, and Day 2 here. Her pictures of the home the workshop was held at, the surrounding areas, and the details, are amazing!

Anndddd to wrap it up…a fun little outtake.
At the end of day 2, Melissa was rotating each of us in groups of two as she shot head shots and the rest of us shot each other. Katie D and I saw this super sweet rusted old keep sitting at the back of the property behind Kirsten’s home, so of course we knew that would make something awesome to  shoot on. Well we definitely encountered our fair share of obstacles, because the first thing we came to was about a 3 feet wide ditch filled with muddy water. So we swapped off cameras and took turns putting our REALLY SWEET jumping skills to work (haha)…Once we got to the other side, we were met by a five strand wire fence. Of course we knew it could quite possibly be electric, so I touched it a few times to see how bad it could possibly be…and nothing.

I was pretty sure we had the clear to try climbing through the fence when Katie bent down to start and I held the strand ONE more time to make sure…and well, after that I was definitely sure that it was hot, and really glad that Katie hadn’t started to be on her jolly way to the other side of the electric fence haha.

So, no sweet rusted jeep pictures, but it definitely made for a good story and good ditch jumping practice…ha.

Come back later today for my images from the mock engagement session…you won’t be disappointed! Beautiful deep blue skies and a wide open field…my kind of pictures!

Oh, and a big shout out to Sara, Melissa’s pretty B.A. office manager who coordinated so much more than I could even wrap my head around and also made a ballin’ dinner for us the second night!

Click here for Part II!


One Comment Sweet As Tea

  1. Jeni says:

    Sounds like loads of fun fun fun!

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