There is a reason it is called The Experience Workshop – not only did I learn how to better my clients experience, I also learned how to give myself grace. It was basically an out of body experience.
Serving my clients has always been a top priority, without them I wouldn’t be able to work from home where I am most comfortable. I wouldn’t have even considered this workshop if it weren’t for my clients.
What drew me to The Experience Workshop wasn’t the content I would come home with from the styled shoots; it was the little description in the instagram bio.
‘A photography workshop focused on loving yourself + serving others.”
For those of you who know me personally, you may know that self love has always been a struggle. I’ve lived with anxiety and depression most of my life; learning to cope and live with it is something I am always working on.
When we pulled up to the house we were welcomed by so many girls; thank god they were huggers because I needed one at this exact moment in time. The previous few weeks had been very rough for me. I had just been told by my optometrist I had to wear my glasses for an additional 3-4 weeks before going back for more testing. I’ve been hoping to have laser eye surgery to correct my terrible (terrible -6.25) vision.
I had the negativity of having to wear my glasses hanging over my shoulder for so long that I was getting really down about having to be in the Florida sun; and I’ve always felt that wearing my glasses hinders my ability to photograph well.
I have never felt so at home with 20 strangers than I did at The Experience Workshop. I’m talking to the point where we were all crying night one. After coming to so many realizations, we were all in the same boat and were not the only ones struggling with similar things, it was hard not to cry.
Learning to give myself grace, and set boundaries to better my work life balance was the most valuable thing I got from The Experience Workshop. Being the person that will work from 9 am to midnight, I felt the pressure to have to respond within minutes to every call, text or email from a client.
The pressure to post on social media everyday was also exhausting. There have been days where I’d sit and stare at a photo I WANT to post; but thinking my audience won’t like it and it won’t get good engagement. LET. ME. TELL. YOU.
POST IT GIRL.
Who gives a [insert explicit word here] what the IG algorithm says. Post twice a day. Post without captions or hashtags. You’re not present on social media for the likes. I now see instagram as my own little album of my clients instead of just as a business tool. Yes, getting inquiries is great, but I don’t feel the pressure to always be on. I have never been so positive about my work-life balance. Think about it. If Instagram and Facebook disappeared today, would you and your business survive? This was a concept that I’ve thought about but never really took to heart. After night one, I realized that social media was an important tool, but not something that I should fall victim to.
One topic Ashtyn, Liza and Charissa covered was The Comparison Game. The idea that what soandso was doing to get 10k followers is what I need to do to get 15k followers. NO. This was so far from the truth.
If my clients met me and I was wild and obnoxious, they would wonder what got into me. I am the furthest thing from that photographer who busts out the latest dance moves at your wedding, but I can guarantee that I will be the one giving you a smile when I sense some tension in when mom and dad start arguing.
If you love the photographer who is sharing their everyday life on IG, and someone who is very “out there”, I am far from your girl. Posting stories everyday, sharing my life is so not me and it won’t work because y’all will see right through it. I try to show my face every now and then to show that I am a real person. I am a very quiet, introverted human who loves working from home with coffee in hand and cat on lap. Want to learn more about me, check out my about page!
We dove right into business. No tears during this right? LOL. GOOD ONE. We talked a lot about being yourself within your brand and not what you think will appeal to others. This had me reevaluating website copy, social captions and my welcome guide to make sure it sounding like me and not a scripted me.
I always felt like I had to be loud and outgoing to appeal to my clients, but that got so exhausting. Learning to tone down my brand to make it reflect me more as a person, was the biggest take away from business strategies.
Day two was a long day learning business strategies, but we got out of the house! We went to a local boutique hotel, called The Wellborn. Envy Lifestyle & Event Design, along with their designing, Ocean Hawks Rentals, Little Wild Bloom, Love Based Beauty, Petrichor and Beryl, Solutions Bridal and Current By John Craig, had organized a beautiful styled shoot.
We split into four groups and photographed two amazing couples, Jacarri and Lo, and Christina and Brandin. Just being able to see how others work and interact with clients was a huge takeaway. Also being outside without a heavy winter coat. That was pretty nice too. I was even able to practice some more film, this has been another way for me to express my creativity.
This was a very long day. So much was packed into a 12 hour period, every bit of information was so useful and eye opening that time flew by so fast. Before we knew it, it was time to leave for the final styled shoot. Three stunning couples were glammed up and ready to model. These shoots were styled by Cherish Events; along with Olivia Bowen Bridal, Coffee Garden Orlando, Marin Makeup Artist, Rymer Hair and Makeup.
This shoot was so unique for me because I am so used to the midwest, not a tropical climate, and at this moment in time…all the greenery considering everything back home is white or brown right now.
Thursday meant time to say goodbye to all my new friends. Having this kind of support system in this industry is so valuable. Most of my close friends live across the state and country, not many that I see on a weekly basis but ones I know will have my back even from a thousand miles away.
I am thankful for The Experience Workshop for letting me know that I can have a work-life balance. I can have it AND serve my clients, providing them with a one-of-a-kind experience. Right when I got home from this workshop, I set a boundary of no longer shooting on my days off, aka Sunday and Thursdays. These have always been the days I’ve told myself where my “days off” but I’ve always photographed and done work.
I no longer accept sessions on my days off, and have started to log out of social media on these days to allow my self to focus on my health, my personal goals and overall just taking a day to breathe and center myself.
To any creatives out there, if you’re trying to find that balance and better your clients experience, check out The Experience Workshop.
I also made a short film from my experience but YouTube is being a pain and not letting me embed it, you can watch it HERE.
All images above edited with Aubree Belle LOA Presets.
Styled Shoot Vendors: