Attending a photography workshop has been on my bucket list ever since the day I created a bucket list (which, naturally, was right after I saw the movie The Bucket List. Novel, I know.) Earlier this year I realized that most of the Bucket List bullet points were things that I had mentally stowed away for a much later date in time. I guess I unconsciously think that someday the heavens will part, and suddenly there will be an overabundance of vacation time that I can't figure out what to do with, or a windfall of money that I am struggling to spend, and that will be the prime opportunity for Bucket List Checking-Off. Perusing my list this past winter, I realized this reasoning was seriously flawed, and I righted myself, saying "Self, it's time to make things happen. Pronto." So I did.
That's why when I found out Laura Siebert was hosting an outdoor workshop in Dallas in June, I didn't think twice about carving out some much-needed vacation time or depleting the savings account a bit more on the heels of a seventh-month run of unemployment. I also managed to shrug off the notion that Dallas might be sporting ungodly hot temperatures of, like, 104 in an attempt to serve up a hearty dose of southern summer. Nope, I didn't worry about any of that. I just signed up.
I've long been a fan of Laura's blog and her breathtaking ability to capture pureness & authenticity in emotion, relationships and interactions. It's something that's hard to describe in words, but when you see her images, you'll understand what I mean. As for me, I've been struggling for a while with my style, trying to figure out how to define and position my "look." I'd see other photographers doing cool things, and I'd try to adopt ALL of their techniques and wrap them into mine. One minute I'd be crazed over fresh, flirty, highly saturated images, and the next minute I'd find myself drawn to moody, less processed looks. I'd go from traditional, posed, fill-the-frame smiles and then want to break out of the mold and shoot only candid, carefree shots with unexpected crops. I bought I-can't-even-tell-you-how-many sets of Photoshop actions. I was all over the place. I think every photographer goes through this for a period of time, particularly when starting out. Problem is, I didn't feel like I was making much headway in cruising out of this funk. I know we're always our worst critics, but truly... I was a hot photographer mess.
As I thought more about my style, I started to find that I really wanted to develop classic, timeless images. I always kept coming back to Laura when I thought about someone I'd want to learn from. I realized that so much of her lure was not about her photos themselves, but about the way her subjects were connecting with one another in her imagery. So, a chance to be mentored by her was truly Bucket List worthy.
All of this build up to say, of course, I was not disappointed. Laura had so many tips and tricks for getting subjects to "engage" in front of the camera, which has always been one of my main struggles. She also spent an entire day on post-processing, helping me recognize that more is not always better. i think most exciting of all is that I feel inspired to get out and start shooting again (yes, I'd been in a slump, if you couldn't tell.) I will leave you with the images from the workshop, which in my opinion speak for themselves.
Three cheers for Laura. Take her workshop if you ever get the chance. xoxo.
P.S. "AUNT" TAMMY, IF YOU'RE READING THIS... I EXPECT A COMMENT BELOW! I posted this just for you. :)