The truth about doing a photography workshop…

I get it. You’re sitting on the fence, wondering if you can REALLY afford that large chunk of money thats most likely in the $1000’s. I have been there…TWICE.

I’m saying I get it because I really do get it. For me it wasn’t just the forking out of money but it was also other fears of being in a room with other photographers who knew what they were doing plus getting mentored off an incredible photographer you’ve obviously followed online for a while #shyyy! You’re wondering how it will really benefit you and your business…

I have attended two photography workshops in just matter of 10 months apart and both were SO different. The first one I attended was the Reverie Revival workshop hosted by the extremely talented and kickass American family photographer Hailey Faria. If i’m being honest with you I didn’t actually plan to buy a ticket to her workshop. I LOVED her work SO much, so that definitely wasn’t the reason. I just didn’t think it would benefit me because I just had no idea what could possibly be learnt! It was purely a reflection of myself and what I thought of myself. I was working in a shearing shed the day that she announced she only had one ticket left. I stood there at the table talking to a girl called Alli. We have a lot of in-depth life talks. She has always pushed me forward. She MADE me book it…literally. The only thing holding me back was that I had a fear of being out of my comfort zone. I booked Hailey’s workshop before I even booked my tickets to America.

Hailey Faria is incredible and I’ll always always be so grateful she came into my life. I actually deep heartedly feel like I OWE where I am today to her, because there is no way I would be anywhere near here if it wasn’t for her #mike Drop…I could go on and on about this girl…she changed me as a person, as an artist and I just simply found myself
and found my style.

I came home from the states…I quit my full time job of a Wool-classer a couple of months after going to her workshop. I ended up being a booked out photographer. I put my prices up (to what I deserved because prior, I was busting my arse and doing sessions cheap for exposure, experience and because obviously I loved my work..But I had to have another full time job to support me while I was doing this. So when you think about it, I was working so that other people could afford their family photos… I’d get paid in the love they feel when they saw their photos, but I had to find a way to fund myself and my life so that I could do this.
If you were to scroll back through my instagram you can literally see the change in my work in a matter of 6 photos ! “Hailey in my dreams” vs “Jayde met Hailey”. See if you can find it!

But still… is that enough to make you fork over that pay check that is probably worth about 4 weeks of work for a newbie photographer. I know how hard it is to part with that hard earned moola !

The second workshop I went to was a Free the Bird Workshop hosted by Jai Long from Melbourne who is nothing short of inspiring! Man who knew photography could actually be so business….eyyy!
I’d heard so much amazing feedback from other photographers who are now crushing it after going to one of his workshops. But could it really change me and convince me to again spend another 4 weeks worth of sessions to sit down and listen to how he runs his show? What if I wasn’t ready to take my business from hobby to full on business mode ?

I look at Jai’s work and I am amazed at how emotive yet soft and calm his photos feel. Prior to this I did wonder if this was the workshop for me because we’re completely different photographers, plus the self doubt kicked in again, not to mention the thought of being with other photographers freaked me out…again! But if I could learn off who I feel is one of the best in the wedding industry than wouldn’t I be the one benefiting? From gaining perspective and knowledge and actually LEARNING about business and who you are in your own business? There is no one and I repeat no one in this world who has a business mind like Jai when it comes to Wedding Photography (and if there is I bet my bottom dollar its because they too have been to a Free the Bird Workshop! Everyone is a different photographer and no one is a carbon copy of you. I realised I needed to observe the feeling of capturing soft and calm yet incredibly powerful photos and introduce new techniques in my work. So…I booked the last ticket to his Melbourne workshop!

I hardly slept the night before the workshop, thinking it was going to be so scary with 20 other photographers in the room… LITERALLY… I walked into the room and was greeted with a big hug from Jai who was so cool, calm and collected. I learnt an incredible amount of knowledge and business-y type stuff from these 2 days in Melbourne. Jai literally blew me away with his story and constant get back up and face your fear approach. I’ve felt like a failure so many times in my career (and still do) and from going to his workshop earlier this year every time I feel like i’m failing I just sit with myself and the feeling and know that I have to face my fear and step back into it. Find out HOW to make it work. Life won’t come to you.

If there was one workshop you need to go to, to take your business from “semi-comfy/ hard yards” to “holy crap thats a better way” than you need NEED to get to one of his workshops. Every photographer I have talked to that has been “Freed by the Bird” has said remarkable things and are now conquering their business! I think every photographer NEEDS to attend his workshop! We can never and should never stop learning from others around us who inspire us. I believe it’s the only way forward. There are so many photographers in this world and there isn’t a better workshop to attend to help you move forward in your business in order for it to thrive !

Top 10 things I have taken away from a workshop.

  1. Facing fear. Facing the feeling of going to a workshop and putting yourself out there. To then come home feeling so inspired and with a fresh perspective of yourself.
  2. Confidence – so important. I come home feeling confident and backed within myself to implement what I have learnt knowing its the right path.
  3. Connecting – connecting wth the other photographers there ! So important ! You learn just as much off them even
  4. It’s a chance for someone to observe you. I tried to change a moment in a session during Hailey’s workshop. At the end of the day she told me “allow that moment to unfold as is – because then you have just interrupted the connection your capturing and you might not get that back again” I think of these words EVERY session.
  5. Insight – Insight into new technology, business moves. What to start doing and what to stop wasting your money on.
  6. Sorting your finances out! Free the bird is one man who knows how to HUSTLE.
  7. Growth – You HAVE to grow. Think of yourself in the mosh pit. Where do you wanna be?
  8. Inspiration – I’ve read some mixed reviews lately about styling sessions etc. Styling sessions have honestly changed my career! I feel like an artist again. The feedback I hear from just simple helping with colours and styling from the mother makes me know I am doing the right thing for my clients. Stay in your own lane and your clients will come to you for you.
  9. Working on your flaws. Workshops allow you time to see your flaws and then putting structure in place to help you work with them or fix them.
  10. Power – You hold all the power within your business. You’ll leave the workshop feeling so POWERFUL.

So…should I be booking a seat to a workshop?

We as photographers always fail….On a daily… but we get up and brush it off and still produce art and holy shit do we aim to DELIVER. It’s pressure I get that. It’s a big investment I get that also. Jai’s workshop made me look at me. Not my art. It actually took the pressure more so off my art and got me back to basics with business. I went into his workshop with a total open mind to sit back and learn. I made myself connect with other photographers. There are so many wonderful photographers who go to his workshops who are out there literally travelling the world photographing ideal clients. Get amongst it. I learnt about light. I always winged that shit in sessions. But I learnt to look for the light in the dark spots. I came home and realised I also needed to look for the light in the dark spots in your career also.

From me to you reading this, the ones sitting on the fence… I urge you to go…book it… make a commitment to yourself. Absorb how you can bring what you have learnt from them into your business to make it you. I promise you investment wise, your money you have invested will return quicker than it would have just working on yourself. Your able to skip steps (skip the mistakes others make – they’ll happily share this with you)

Check out below for behind the scenes photos from Free the Bird Workshop with Jai.

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