“You do you.”
When I first heard about the Free to Be Me workshop from Rachel, I was so excited! This was the first photography workshop I’d ever attended, and I was so eager to see other photographers in action and learn tips and tricks to help grow my business. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure what to expect walking in, and I have to admit, I was a little nervous! Walking into a room full of strangers and putting myself out there is a stretch for me, but I arrived coffee in hand and Rachel and Ellie immediately made me feel at ease. Their encouraging smiles were so welcoming and they had the day planned out so perfectly!
The theme of the workshop, as you make have guessed, was “Free to Be Me.” Ellie spoke passionately about how success and failure, and how failure happens to everyone… what matters is how we choose to respond to it. She talked about social media and the comparison trap, how it’s nearly impossible to get on Instagram and not see something that we wish we would have done/could do… but how instead, we should celebrate the work of others and also celebrate our own. My main takeaway from the day was that everyone has their own style… so I’ll do me, and you do you. If I photograph a wedding, it doesn’t have to look like *insert legend wedding photographer A* photographed the wedding… because they didn’t. I did! And my work is going to look different from theirs. Sure, it’s great to learn new things from other photographers, but in the end, they are going to do their thing and I’m going to do mine! It’s a beautiful concept.
I don’t know if Rachel and Ellie planned it this way… but as I’ve seen the images from this workshop appear on other photographers’ Instagram feeds and blog posts, I’ve been blown away and how everyone has embraced “I’ll do me, and you do you.” All the images look SO DIFFERENT! Every photographer in attendance worked with the same models… same florals… same lighting. There were even times when we were all photographing the same moment. Yet through composition, editing, and countless other variables no two photographer’s images look the same! It’s incredible.
In the past six months, I’ve spoken with a handful of other photographers who are farther along in their business than I am, and one thing piece of wisdom I’ve heard over and over is, “Find your style. Find what you do best, find what you love most. Then perfect it.” I’ve been moving along in that journey over the past few months and this workshop was the icing on the cake! When you aren’t concerned with how someone else’s work compares to yours, you are free to celebrate their successes, support them in their failures, and grow as a person and as a photographer! Why try to be someone else when you’re the best at being you?!
So here are some of my favorites from this workshop, a la Michelle Joy Photography. Because that is who I know how to be. 🙂
A HUGE thank you to all the amazing people who made this workshop possible!!!
SPEAKER: Ellie Be Photography
VENUE: Gentlebrook Event Center
FURNITURE: Modern Vintage
FLORAL STYLIST: Fair Rarity Flowers
DRESS: The Dress Bridal Boutique
MENSWEAR: The Black Tux
HAIR & MAKEUP: Beauty Therapy
PROPS/DECOR: Hartville Hardware
MODELS: Amy Robertson \ Darrin + Valerie Semick