In December last year I did something a little crazy. I bought a plane ticket to Baltimore and flew there for a one day workshop with Nessa K & Sara Byrne. That’s a long way for a short time, but every penny was worth it. Nessa & Sara weren’t there to hold our hands and tell us to dream big, they were there to help us be the best photographers and business owners possible. Both women are insanely talented photographers, but what struck me the most about their workshop was their honesty. They shared their knowledge, experience, and wry sense of humor with us in Nessa’s exposed brick studio that she shares with my other favorite photographer, Sam Hurd. After four years of documenting weddings, I needed the kick in the pants to take risks and stop being lazy. As nerve-wracking as it was, my favorite part of the (12 hour!) day was when they did critiques of our most recent blog post. Even as an extrovert who doesn’t mind being in the spotlight, that was terrifying. Their honest and kind critique, in front of 12 other phenomenal photographers, reminded me that growth isn’t a bad thing. Failure shouldn’t end with shame, it should precede progress. If I’m not willing to look at my work critically, how can I get better? I’m so thankful for Nessa & Sara’s input, encouragement, and bravery in choosing to be real with us. It would have been much easier to preach an inspirational message and let us carry on, unchanged. So if you’re looking for a workshop that doesn’t challenge you and just gives you lots of warm fuzzies, don’t attend one of their’s! But if you want to talk about Wes Anderson, the magic of light, and seriously grow as a photographer and business owner, please be crazy like me and fly across the country to wherever their next workshop is!
P.S. Here are some photos from our jaunt into the chilly streets of Baltimore!