It’s been almost three months since the AJ Workshop, but I have been holding off on writing this so that it could go on my new blog. I’m sitting in my office chair, attempting to collect my thoughts for this special post. I just sit in the silence watching the cursor blink, anxiously waiting for the words to be typed out. It’s tough thinking of the words to say when mostly all I have are feelings. Feelings of a full heart and maybe some butterflies as I think back over a special couple days of my life. Honestly, I am not going to be able to keep myself together as I put this post together…and I’m going to pre-apologize for the length. But thankfully, you won’t have to see that! Let’s take it back to how it all started.
If you’ve followed me for at least the past year or two, then you know that I am a huge proponent of education. I love learning and growing, and truly believe that if you want to push yourself to be better, then education is a must. The majority of education that I take part in is online, either by webinar or in The Academy [but that’s another post]. Education for me isn’t always about my camera and shooting, which is important, but there are business aspects as well. But I digress. Back to the story. I love to find in person workshops, because I find that I retain more information and am rejuvenated and inspired in a new way. So, for the past couple of years, I’ve made the effort to invest in myself and do what I can to make that happen. This year was no different. I really began to think on where I’m at with my business and where I want to go. Last year I took an amazing in person workshop that I gleaned more technical skills from, so this year when scouring around, I didn’t know if I would go that route again or if I would try and find something that had more of the business side that I need. Back in May I really began to seek out a workshop for sometime in 2016. There was one that I had my eye on that I knew would increase some technical things that I’ve been working on, but then along came Amy and Jordan. [If you don’t know who they are, then check them out here.] They had an Instagram post about opening up another summer workshop, and I immediately stopped what I was doing and emailed over to inquire for the date. Jordan emailed back that it was in July, which was perfect because I had nothing booked during that time. Alas it was decision time. Which workshop would it be? Though I’ve followed Amy and Jordan for years and been on their website more times than I dare admit, I scoured it, reading attendee reviews and workshop blog posts. I watched their education video, got choked up, teared up and just felt this connection to two people that I’ve never met. It was then that I knew without a doubt that the AJ Workshop was where I needed to be. July in Scottsdale. It was now a reality. Oh and since you may know that I am in love and obsessed with the desert, that was just the frosting on the cake.
Fast forward to our Sunday night social with our workshop group. I was pretty nervous meeting all of these new faces. You might not ever know that I am kind of introverted since I’m so much fun and seemingly outgoing! But, sometimes I get intimidated meeting new people and especially those who I look up to. Are these two people who are greeting me with a smile, hug and offering me a donut going to be the same people who I’ve been following for years [that makes me sound like a stalker]? The answer was glaringly obvious – yes, yes they were. They were my new best friends without even knowing it, haha! Over the next couple of hours, we all had a great time just getting to know each other. Nothing formal, no business, just bringing people together. The next two days would soon become some of the best days to date.
Day 1. Day 1 was all about photography. From some camera basics to lighting and posing. I’m going to be totally upfront and say, I didn’t sign up for this workshop for Day 1, I was going because of Day 2. But, I was wrong. I needed Day 1. I needed my brain to be retrained and to stop and think about the little things. The basics, the fundamentals. It was a fantastic day, from learning more about Amy and Jordan on a personal and business level to our indoor styled shoot and outdoor session. I was so excited about our outdoor session because I
like L-O-V-E shooting in the desert. It’s seriously the best. However, we were pressed for time due to the impending storm about to roll through…it was Monsoon Season. It was Florida rain mixed with extreme wind…that blew around sand. It was an experience and I can honestly say, those images are some of my favorite. Unfortunately, we didn’t have as much time as we’d hoped out shooting, but I wouldn’t trade it! Afterwards, we went back to our workshop space and dove right back in.
Day 2. Day 2 was business oriented. These were the things that would cut me deep, some serious gut check moments. These were the words that I needed to hear. The questions that needed to be presented to shake my core. There were several moments throughout the day that left me choked up and tears in my eyes. It was like Amy and Jordan were presenting me with answers to the questions hovering around in my mind. I was being challenged. They have really challenged me in my business like no-one else has before. They were real and honest, and didn’t hold back. It was exactly what I needed. Things aren’t happening all at once, but it’s the little changes here and there that are going to add up. One thing Amy and Jordan preach is that “Success isn’t for the chosen few, it’s for those who choose” and so, I am choosing my success! Here are two educators who are truly believing in the students sitting in front of them. Equipping them for small successes that will in time lead to bigger success. I know that looks different for every individual, but it’s true. Our group ranged from photographers who have never shot a wedding to those of us who may shoot 20+ weddings a year. We’re all different, but we all have the common goal of elevating ourselves in this crazy industry. Amy and Jordan are there to help make that happen.
I couldn’t believe how quick those two days went. They were jam packed with a lot of richness and love. I count my time at the AJ Workshop as truly invaluable. I cannot wait to continue applying everything that I learned into my business. When I look back through my notes, I can tell that my biggest take away was to “Be Intentional.” Whether those were the words they expressed, or just as I interpreted, but to really be intentional with my shooting, blogging, running the business, loving and serving clients. I cannot recommend this Workshop more. It was exactly what I needed for where I was at. My only regret was that I didn’t do it sooner…and maybe that it wasn’t longer…like a
week month! But I think that’s just because you don’t want to leave all of these new souls that you’ve connected with. I’m so grateful and blessed that I had this amazing opportunity! It was exactly what I needed and more than I could have imagined! If you are considering doing this workshop, all I can so is: DO IT! You won’t be disappointed.
Amy and Jordan, you two are so amazing! It was an awesome two days…even if we didn’t leave Tuesday until close to midnight and I was up at 3:30 the next morning to catch a flight home. Your humble and loving spirit is refreshing and your impact on this community is real! I count myself blessed to have met the both of you. #imanajphotographer <— yes, I’m making that happen!
Below are a few images from our #ajworkshop! These images are courtesy of Amy & Jordan! Thanks guys for these beautiful images!
Yes, I’m there front row absorbing it all, osmosis success, right?!
We Nikons are always the minority. Look at us with our ExpoDisc!
Our fantastic group!! AJ Workshop number 10!! We were the best yet!
Oh, and I got in front of Amy’s lens for a headshot!! Talk about being nervous!