For my 30th birthday week back in May of this year we decided to spoil ourselves with a trip to Tuscany in Italy and book onto Mike Larson from California’s workshop. I have been following Mike’s work for a while now and heard him speak on a few podcasts. He has a fantastic business ethic as well as producing clean, fashion-esque images for his wedding clients.
The topic under discussion was specialization and how we can implement that into our photography business’s. Mike has a relaxed, no nonsense style of teaching which is just up my street. We covered how to photograph a styled bridal fashion shoot, getting published, branding, marketing, networking and most importantly on the last day in the last couple of hours: Working on ourselves. Honestly, this was just such a thought provoking part of the day. The question was put to us: what are you actually like? How do you act online and in person? Day to day actions and how we cannot just flip a switch and become a better, nicer person just for our clients. The fact that we need to work on ourselves from the inside and spend time considering how we act and how our actions effect other people around us. We need to work on our every day lives in order to become better business people. The two are not indistinguishable. Stay away from negativity which can be rife in any close knit industry. Hold yourself back from ranting on Twitter and Facebook. Your client’s may be reading it. Two weeks later you probably won’t remember what it was about anyway but you have put the moaning out there. It can be all too easy to form the habit of Tweeting every single thing that goes on, but before you click that button, stop and think – would you say that to the person’s face? Or if it is another issue perhaps it could be sorted out in person or over the phone? We all do it every now and then, but being aware of these things and controlling it is so important for us as photographers and others in the wedding industry. Remember that we are all people with feelings at the end of the day. Don’t slander and rant at people that you don’t know. Always give people the benefit of the doubt. That is something I learned from my Dad. I believe that most of us are good and are just trying our best to get through things daily. Be careful what you say, it can hurt.
Practical steps we took after the workshop:
• Tweaked our website with my fabulous web developer Dominic
• Had letterpress business cards printed
• Actively shooting more styled bridal fashion shoots
• Continuing to submit work in order to get published
• Putting into practice “posing” / directing techniques for our couple portraits
• Bought a California Sunbounce reflector and used it for a styled shoot
• Kept in touch with a few key people from the workshop who are super!
It really was a great bunch of people from all over Europe who attended. Being in Tuscany, Italy it drew us from the UK (with our South African accents!) attendee’s from Italy, Germany, Holland and more! The stylist came over from LA, California. There was a melting pot of cultures which made it so interesting. We all stayed at Villa La Sleva, which I would highly recommend. Craig and I hired a car and he did a sterling job of driving on the right hand side of the road for the first time ever! Our Sat Nav got lost in the bottom of the bag and I had to navigate from the passenger seat using the google map’s directions that I had printed out just in case. Well, we made it in the end – after a few detours that is!
We where lucky enough to be asked by Mike to model as the “engagement shoot” couple and had some wonderful photographs taken of us during our time at Villa La Selva. I have added one of the shots to our About Page and will blog them as soon as I have more time. One thing Mike pointed out was that as photographer’s we should get photographed by another professional from time to time. It is an eye opening experience to be on the other side of the camera and it helps you to relate to how your client’s feel when you photograph them.
Here is to good friends, good pizza, good wine and a fantastic workshop by Mike Larson!
Wedding Photography and styled workshop in Tuscany by MIKE LARSON WORKSHOPS
Design Styling & Invitations by Vanessa from ALCHEMY FINE EVENTS
Floral Design & Furniture Rentals: Floralia / Table Settings: SMALL MASTER PIECE
Cake by ERICA OBRIEN
Venue is VILLA LA SELVA in Tuscany, Itlay
Jewelry by RACHEL LIGH
(cream ruffle dress with sparkle) BHLDN
(white dress) ANGELA SANCHES via M BRIDAL SALON
Floral Design + Furniture Rentals: FLORALIA
This is where we stayed:
Group shot of all of the people involved in the workshop, photographer’s, models, stylists… what a fantastic bunch of people!