Relaxed Sunrise Beach Couples Session . Oahu, HI + The Game Changer In Attending Workshops

Aloha all my beautiful friends and readers! Today I am here to talk about something that has become a very important subject in my life recently and has taught me a lot about who I am as a photographer and business owner. Before I dive into this, I just want to set the record straight that this is all my own words and everything I’ve learned and been taught be others over the years. I attended my first ever photography retreat back in the spring of 2014. I had just come out from a rough year with my faith and the direction I wanted to go in life. Though, with a lot of rest and conversations with my family and God, I decided to pursue photography full-time …although, I had no clue what I was doing, let alone how to even start or do a business on my own and at only 17 YEARS OLD. SWEET POTATO FRIES YES SEVENTEEN. I’m now 22 and I’m still trying to figure out this whole business of mine, but at the end of the day it all comes down to hard work, perseverance, and 100% patience and faith in everything you do. Believe me, I know that all sounds easy and I’m just saying “stuff”, but to be as blunt as possible this thing I call my job requires every unsteady hand, sweaty palm, and pain-stacking headache hard work and once you experience it it’s going pay off so much and it’s going to be the greatest adventure you’ll have signed up for. 
Okay, back on track to talking about attending my first retreat/workshop! Sorry ramble on a lot!!
I had just been introduced to Delight & Be, a community of young Christian women ages 16-22 who strive to glorify our Heavenly Father through the creative arts. I never knew such a workshop like this existed and after two weeks of praying about attending Delight, I came home one afternoon after school and my mom told me I was going to Virginia! My heart automatically exploded and next thing I knew I was on a plane by myself for the first time ever to Virginia, about to meet and instantly connect with 20+ other women around states whom I never met a single one of. This was a whole new thing I’ve never experienced in my life, but little did I know I was in for much bigger ride than I would ever had expected. Delight was the first place to encourage me to start my photography business. They were the ones to help restore my relationship with God and how keep Him rooted in my business 24/7 and simply gave me the mindset to dream big.
That’s not even half of my main reason why I’m writing this post tonight. Fast forward five years later I decided to attend my first workshop in years with Evolve Workshops . It had been almost 3 years since my last retreat with Delight and knew I needed to escape the winter vortex of Minnesota and head some place warm for a couple of days and re-gain a newfound perspective on my business. I’ve been told by numerous people about their workshops and after countless of research of me looking over different workshops and instructors, Evolve’s Hawaii Part II with Anni Graham stuck out the most to me. 
I believe I signed up three weeks before the retreat and right as I signed up my mind was nowhere to idea, nor the concept of me leaving in just a few short weeks for Hawaii. I definitely ran for it and never looked back. But I’ll save all the behind-the-scenes drama of me not believing for weeks I was going to attend. This is literally me before every single trip I’ve ever booked and embarked on in my life. No joke. 
I arrived in Oahu on a Sunday afternoon, just after spending the early weekend with my friends at the YWAM base in Kona on the big island of Hawaii. We drove 45min north of Honolulu to our Air B&B, there we spent our first night getting settled in and connecting with each other …and as you can imagine the rest of our week consisted of beach hopping, photoshoots, and lectures, you know all the good stuff ;) 
I could literally go on all day writing about my time with Evolve, although there probably wouldn’t be enough human words to fully describe how incredible every single moment that was spent on the island. 
The founders, Jami Findlay and Kortni Ellett were the instructors that I was looking for and helped me breakdown every question and insecurity I had as a business owner. Being a well seasoned photographer, but never having much access on how to improve my SEO and social media traffic was really important to me, especially when I was searching for the right workshop that would provide the most value in the season I was in in my photography and Evolve most certainly delivered. They exceeded beyond my expectations and provided each and everyone of us with the resources we were looking for. So if you are a newbie photographer or been in the photo industry as long as I have then Evolve is definitely where it’s at for you! Though, I maybe basis as there are many other amazing workshops out there for everyone. Though, to everyone who hasn’t attended a workshop yet, here are few helpful tips in choosing the one that suits you best.

  1. Research the heck out of workshops!!! The internet and Instagram is your oyster and I have stumbled upon some the coolest workshops on social media. Though, before you go GAGA on picking out your workshop make sure you read up on ‘Who They Are”, what’s included in workshop (*accommodations, transportation, meals, etc…) and the instructors/photographers that will be speaking. *This may seem very little, but learning from a photographer you look up to the most and know they are successful in what they do is very important and makes the experience of attending a workshop more meaningful and worth wild. Take it from me, as Anni Graham is someone I look up to daily as a photographer and knew she was going provide something that no other photographer could and the way she challenged me to photograph couples in the most unique way was a skill I knew I was never going to learn from anyone else.

  2. Make of list of everything you want to be taught or ask questions about. I’m a little scatterbrained when it comes to asking multiple questions and advice from others, though if you can make list of at least your “Top 3-5” questions you want answered then you’ll definitely walk away with more knowledge and understanding. Don’t be afraid to ask or reach out! Hey, we are secretly want you to ask us a million questions haha!!

  3. Is it all about the quality or quantity you are looking to get out of from the workshop? This was brought to my attention by a close friend of mine not long ago and it really got me thinking a lot about my personal views on the clients I take on and those who we all consider our “ideal clients.” Believe me we all have that ideal client. We all want to attract that one couple that will best represent us a photographer and get along with, but do we ever stop to think beyond the stereotypical “ideal couple” we all pray for? In the simplest way possible why not try to attract the couples that automatically see your worth and already understand who are and what your style of work means, even if that means they aren’t the ideal off-the grid boho couple you were hoping for. Following me? Where I’m going with this is, YES it is important to build up a style people can recognize coming from you, but at the end of the day it’s truly all about the quality, the character we portray onto our clients, and the client’s that are going make us better photographers and want to go the extra mile to serve them best. THIS IS WHAT WORKSHOPS ARE ALL ABOUT! They guide us to not only to where you want to go, but inspire and equip us with the tools that will continue to root us into the kick-ass photographers we are meant to be.

Ivy HansenComment