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We have been in the process of designing a brand new location to our flourishing studio closer to the Philadelphia. This means, that our seminar will be officially the Grand Opening of our new studio! I think this will be a very good opportunity to invite everyone into our actual studio so you can really see how everything works from a logistical, artistic, and financial standpoint.

Our new studio is located on nearly 2 picturesque acres that sit up against a golf course {feel free to bring your clubs boys} The grounds offer fruit and weeping willow trees, a beautiful little pond that spills over a small waterfall into the stream that carves it’s way through the property. The new studio itself has ample parking, a state of the art theater presentation room with a 100″ screen and boasts all the favorite man cave amenities like darts, cards, and video games, and of course alcoholic refreshments. It offers a comfortable place to learn for the business classes along with all the high tech instruments needed to share information.

The upstairs in contrast hosts our ballroom-like loft studio, with cathedral ceilings, enormous windows for natural light, and an overall “contemporary antiquity” that blends all the newest luxuries with the character of antique furnishings. The outdoor patio overlooks all the grounds which will be lush and green in the beginning of spring when you arrive.

With this location, it gives some of our closer photography friends and business enthusiasts from the Philadelphia area a chance to come to the seminar, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to make the trip. There is also a bed and breakfast and Holiday in within 2 miles of the studio. Its incredibly important to us that we are able to host seminars that can accommodate the people that truly want to learn and invest in their future success. Its also a very unique opportunity to invite all of our attendees to be the first to really take advantage of all of the ammenities our new location has to offer, and observe an insider look at how our studio runs and works on a daily basis.

I believe that being able to really see the inner workings will help all of you aspiring to begin or further your professional careers.

Tuition to attend the full 4 days is $400, or the 2 full day classes for $350. Friday will be focusing on photography and shooting, and Saturday will be focusing on the business end. You can attend a single day class for $250. If you decide to attend our super Monday class 5/16 you can receive a $100 discount for our seminar. We also are offering a $550 special for couples that would like to bring their significant others. They can sit in on the classes, or enjoy the amenities the location has to offer.

We have been doing some polling with our photographers looking to have photography be their sole income and the majority of you seemed to want to earn in the neighborhood of $50,000-$60,000 dollars. We will be taking sometime during the business day to teach you how to reach that goal this year with a very detailed breakdown of investment, how to price your work, the products and companies you should be working with, where and how to market, and how to exceed that goal. I will be sharing ALL the information I have on how I built my studio to do that in less than 2 years, and how I overcame a lot of the obstacles a lot of you are also encountering like having young children, other careers, financial hardships, lack of funds to invest in marketing etc. I offer my personal promise that you will leave with a detailed map of directions for how to reach and succeed your goals, all you have to do is implement them into practice.

I understand this is a major investment, I know that it requires an enormous amount of trust and faith and you have been told that you would forever live the starving artist life, that it’s good for extra cash but not viable sustaining income… The people saying that are the ones that will never survive doing something that they love. I encourage you to let go of all the fears that I know you have because I have shared them with you in different stages of my professional journey, and believe enough in yourself and your craft to reach beyond your highest expectations for success. I can promise that with that belief, hard work and the tools, education and resources I am providing that every single one of you that come can far exceed the milestones I have achieved

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Things you should bring with you:
-laptops {there will be complimentary wireless internet provided}

-your competitive nature and favorite video games {there is xbox, wii, and a card table!)
-a notebook {we’ll be sharing a lot of information in a short time and it is good for you to have a notebook on hand to help you recall important things you wanted to remember after you go home}
-camera equipment {we’ll be shooting throughout the seminar but have an entire day dedicated to it on friday, bring your cameras, flashes, lenses, cards, etc} Leave the tripods and studio lighting equipment at home please}
-sneakers or comfy walking shoes {we arent going to be in this beautiful setting and not take advantage of it!}
-portfolio {we’ll be doing reviews, ipad, book, laptop, pick your 5 best images for review.}
-questions {start writing them down now as you think of them, about business, marketing, advertising, pricing, photography, lighting. photoshop, etc, anything you want to know make sure you have a list so you don’t forget what is important to you to take away from this.}

We will be providing refreshments through out the seminar.

If you have any questions about what to bring or not to bring, thoughts or concerns about the seminar please dont hesitate to message me.

For your convenience we recommend: http://www.shearerelegance.com/ it’s a very quaint little bed and breakfast only a mile away from our studio location. For those of you wishing to go a little more mainstream there is also http://www.hiexpress.com:80/hotels/us/en/limerick/ptwlp/hoteldetail only a little further down the street.

The closest airports for those flying in is Philadelphia or Allentown airports.
We already have the seminar more than half booked, it’s important to us that we keep it small in order to allow a lot of one on one time and the intimate setting that we promised. Please don’t wait to book! We anticipate with the more local setting that it will sell out in the next few days. Below you will find the syllabus.

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Seminar:
May 5th DAY 1
3:00 PM – 5:00PM Arrival
5:00 PM Arrival Dinner
6:30 PM Self-Assessment and Discovery Session Your Dream Life and how that correlates with your business. Defining your professional and personal priorities, focus, and goals and implementing them into a successful business plan.
7:30 PM Obstacle Recognition and Overcoming It What are your obvious and subtle obstacles, subconscious, logistical, and financial, and how do you overcome them and turn them into strengths.
9:00 PM Round Table Reflection and conversation with peers.

May 6th DAY 2
9:00 AM Setting Up for Financial Success Sole Proprietorships vs Corporations, Setting up bank accounts and financial breakdowns, Pricing your work for profit, What you make as opposed to what you keep, taxes, write offs, financial projections. How to make $100,000 next year as a photographer.
10:30 AM Natural, Studio, Low, and Challenging Lighting Situations Understanding how to maximize your efficiency shooting with studio lighting, dramatic, portraiture, and glamour lighting, how to overcome obstacles and challenging situations with low lighting, Learning to manipulate natural light.
12:00 PM On Location Shooting Shooting outside the studio, a roaming shoot in different locations and learning how to have the backdrops compliment the model and enhance the image instead of it competing with the model.
2:00 PM Lunch
3:00 PM Free Shooting and Reviews Free Shooting time with the models to test out and implement all the new information you just learned, this is time to play with the camera or take some down time to yourself, we’ll also be doing private mentoring and portfolio reviews at this time.
6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Boudoir The finer art of boudoir photography, setting yourself apart as an artist from everyone else shooting nearly nude girls, and how to market yourself to be paid well for it when so many others are shooting it for free.
10:00 PM Round Table

May 7th Day 3
7:00 AM Sunrise Reflection A high fashion couture photoshoot to get your creative juices flowing, and coffee and conversation on the deck.
9:00 AM Seducing Your Client How to start appealing to your ideal clientele, marketing yourself and your photography and standing out from everyone else, booking the initial sale and keeping your clients throughout their lives.
11:45 AM Brunch
1:00 PM Seducing Your Client Part 2 of the class, business, creating a brand, stepping up from your competition, how to get to where you want to be efficiently and quickly, turning your craft into a career. {this class is an all inclusive business of photography class, and will explain how I went from $25 sessions in my basement to owning my own studio, selling $10,000 wedding packages and working with celebrity stylists, magazines and influential people in 2 years.}
3:30 PM Lunch
4:30 PM Photoshop a step by step process from beginning to end on the tools of photoshop and how to use it to enhance your images and aid in creating your unique signature style.
6:45 PM Dinner
8:00 PM Photographer Challenges a series of photographic challenges and games designed to improve your photography skills and teach you to think outside the box and on your feet in everyday and unique situations.
10:00 PM Round Table

May 8th Day 4
9:00 AM Self-Assessment After the classes and time to reflect have your priorities or focus changed? What new practices and thought processes do you need to implement into your photography and business? How much closer are you to your ideal career and income than you thought?
10:00 AM Branding Continuity Creating a lasting and impacting brand for your studio that will separate you from your competition, and tie your clients to you indefinitely for generations.
12:00 PM Seminar-Assessment A review of the seminar, what you learned, what you wanted more time and energy spent on and your suggestions for next year’s seminar.
1:00 PM Brunch and Goodbyes

Payments can be made by Check or Money Order to:
Jessica Lark
Couture Manor

787 North Lewis Road

Royersford PA 19468

And you can also go to: http://www.couturemanor.com/photocart/index.php?do=photocart&viewImage=110098 and reserve your place at the seminar, any questions or concerns please call us at 610-960-1115.

We love being able to afford those the opportunity to learn and we love being able to share our passion by helping others. We are firm believers that sharing knowledge in a hands on environment with other like minded people is the best way to grow. “if you want to go far, go together!” Can’t wait to see and meet all of you!

Like everyone else that owns a small business the economy’s shaky stature made me wince and I was concerned about the ability for my little company to stay afloat in a sea of financial chaos and uncertainty. Everyone else was sharing the same fears and apprehensions and there were numerous studies showing that couples we postponing their weddings or at the least scaling back on what they were spending… that was good enough bait for most professionals to start discounting if not abandoning their pricing structure for something that would be more affordable and appealing for their clientele, especially in our industry where we are already fighting against the shoot and burn photographers that in undercharging are teaching potential brides that is all their family heirloom is worth, and the quality of that first heirloom is diminished because of it.
For me personally there was an added element of panic this year because Michael was called to deploy and because of such took leave from his duty here to spend time with his family. We had enough money in savings to cover our expenses for a month or two until he left for afghanistan, and at the moment time together with the kids was the most important thing to us. So when the military changed their minds {that NEVER happens} and postponed his date, I went from having to only financially support my studio and craft, and enjoying the benefit of having extra spending cash to being the sole source of income for my studio and my family. Panic was a bit of an understatement.
So when we got a call from a friend about wedding photography there was more pressure than usual to book it, because we needed the money. Now. So we offered a discount for the day, and then when they hesitated on the price we continued to negotiate for several days, not only fueled by financial pressures but because they were friends, and at one point we realized that we had nearly discounted to half our usual rates…but was $3000 now worth the possibility of $5500 later? At that exact moment it seemed like it was with our mortgage payments looming in the near future for both the studio and our home.
When I start feeling overwhelmed or conflicted I read over notes I have taken from other mentors and the wisdom they have shared, in seminars, in books, in lectures and tutorials. I came across one by Skip Cohen, where he said “Just because they say it’s going to be a bad year for the economy doesnt mean it has to be.”
I let the wedding go, as much as I wanted to photograph it because I loved the couple, and because we needed the income right then.
We booked 2 other weddings that month that gave us a little breathing room, then we got another call from a sister of a friend of ours that came in, their wedding was the same date as the one I had passed up, so I was grateful that we would at least rebook the date, and feel that I made the right decision in letting it go. Not only did they book. They booked an $8000 package. When a few weeks before I had been considering doing a $5500 package worth of work, and outputting all the overhead for it with $2000 less of income. Really had I accepted I would have lost a substantial amount of income, and a wedding that I am super excited about shooting because the couple is absolutely adorable, and fun, and has some really wonderful things planned for their wedding that I am going to love sharing stories about with 2012 brides.
Fear is crippling your success. For some of us it’s lowering prices because we are afraid of the competition undercutting us on price, or we’re afraid of the economy making us another small business casualty in the wake of the financial insecurity. Some of us it’s fear that if we leave the security of day jobs we’ll fail, fail at our passion, fail at providing for our families, fail at being successful in pursuing our wildest dreams and being everything we dared to when we were 5. Fear that if we accomplish everything we are hoping to that the sacrifices will be too great, or we will find ourselves still feeling unfulfilled…

When you are ready to let go of your fears, what you can accomplish is limitless, in my humble opinion coupling that with compassion would be an amazing energy with boundless possibilities to change your destiny and impact the world.

It has been an interesting thing for me to observe the weird fetish that obsession is. It seems that it is a constant tiding between love and hate but always a passionate attachment…though it gravitates more towards a loathing that infects even the affection. I have been blessed to have many awe inspiring mentors and teachers, whom I have learned more from in a very short time than I imagine I could have in a lifetime without them.

Some people are destined to be teachers, it is a part of their being, and you can tell them in the sea of instructors, speakers, gurus, experts and mentors, because they take more pride in their prodigies successes than their own.

When someone can take something that you have shared with them and turn those words into something tangible that they utilize in their journey towards their goals and surpass expectations, in my humble opinion there is no greater compliment to your caliber as an instructor. I hope to be so lucky as a teacher.

I will be the first to admit that I struggle at times with understanding thought processes that vary so significantly from my own. Still I do not understand why one would teach and invite genuine admirers of their craft to become self proclaimed disciples, and then when they do genuinely well and implement what they have learned into a successful venture instead of being proud for their success, and of themselves for having had an integral part in that they instead speak poorly of them to anyone who will listen and respond with bitterness and try to undermine them.

It would be an insult of intelligence to anyone that takes the time to read this to say that this is purely hypothetical, but it has been a war that began as an unsolicited attack, for no other reason than my success in my artistry, business and finances exceeded what was expected, mostly because of the amazing kindness and generosity of other mentors that were above the levels I had hoped to reach and shared freely there knowledge and wisdom to allow me to take the steps they took and avoid the falls they had along the way. It is disheartening to me to say the least, and I have struggled much with the knowledge that someone who was once so great an influence and who I thought so fondly of has pushed so hard to ruin what I considered an essential friendship and would speak so poorly of me to mutual friends and colleagues and be naive enough to assume those words would not come back around to me, and I am disappointed in myself that as often as I have heard similar sentiments spoken about every other in our industry of mutual acquaintance that I would have even momentarily entertained the notion that I would be any different.

For the record, though I will not mention names, because it is important to me that my personal thoughts and experiences with someone does not alter or affect another’s opinion or relationship with someone else. Though the place in our lives may cause our paths to part as this juncture, I still rest in the hope that many more may find what originally I found, in inspiration, knowledge and passion with a 1st mentor. It saddens me that my hard work and my outlook has caused in any way a emotional or mental distress in someone I considered a friend, that we could not simply agree to disagree, especially when I had no idea we were disagreeing in the first place.

At the risk of sounding slightly pretentious, it’s good to have those opposing you, it’s good to have “haters” it shows that you stood up for yourself, that you didn’t cave on your beliefs, or what matters to you. It is important to see this as a positive, that loving or hating you, they are still paying attention, and in most cases cutting you down is the only way they can find to measure up to what you are doing. It’s easy for us at times to hear the negative over the positive, we’ve been trained to do so with news and media, reality tv, and real life… we use “busy” as an excuse for why we have no time for our loved ones, our friends and colleagues, our fans; but make all the time in the world for our adversaries. It’s human nature I guess, but I encourage you to rebel against that inclination, and continue on your path, better yet carve your own, and rest in the assurance that the darker they try to make things for you, the brighter your light shines. And the light that shines in the darkness is a beacon for those finding their way.

I have much to write you, so much has happened in the last few weeks that I dont really know where to begin, and to write it all would be a novel rather than a blog post. As a result there will most likely be subsequent individual posts regarding them. Still in cliff notes format:

Little Miracle Baby Owen, who’s family I wrote about a few blog posts before who defied death in a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Session, is doing remarkably well, he just celebrated his one month birthday, and there are no words I could offer that would express my joy or gratitude for his health.

I have a seminar approaching that I have been giving hints to on facebook and twitter, we’re still locking down the details but it is pretty set that the seminar will be a retreat at a beautiful 10,000 sqft lakefront mansion in the mountains. We are limiting the class size to 20 students and it is 4 days, 3 nights. We’re planning on the 3rd week in May, just waiting to lock it down. Tuition is going to be not more than $500, though we will be offering an early tuition discount for those that sign up in the first 72 hours.

There’s more, but it can wait for it’s own blog time 🙂

On to yesterday and tomorrow.

Many of you have been following my photos and seen my last few magazine cover images for the new DStripped Magazine. It’s been really fun and I am luckily working with people that have a very couture and artistic creative process similar to my own. The collaboration is so emotionally and artistically fulfilling for me, and the projects I get to be involved in are magnanimous and high energy and it’s just the most fun I’ve had in exercising my creativity in a long time. I was exceptionally honored when they asked to feature me on the other side of the lens with a special feature they are doing on influential and noteworthy business women, shot by a prominent celebrity photographer and styled by an amazing celebrity stylist: Steven Dillon, who has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Allure, W, been on shows like The View, and Access Hollywood, and styled hair of people like Michelle Rodriquez, Yoko Ono, Liam Neeson, Kate Hudson, and a long list of other celebrities and royalty. A fairly impressive resume to any standards. Getting treated to a haircut and style by him obviously incites a very girlie reaction for the want to jump up and down and shriek hysterically and excitedly. So you can imagine how amplified that sentiment is when I get the phone call that the photographer was unavailable and I was receiving an invitation to work along side him for the Dstripped cover photographing these amazing women, women like the Author of “Cancer Vixen”, Marisa Marchetto, whose book has been adapted for a movie and she is being played by award winning actress Cate Blanchett. Photographing on the Atelier’s Rooftop deck overlooking all of New York City…you could say I’m stoked. Last night myself, my ever more essential studio manager Martha, our talented MUA Amanda {incidentally both of which have been featured as cover models for DStripped in the last 3 months}, and my favorite Caterer Nick of NClare all got to go to Manhattan last night meet with the editors and creators of Dstripped, the stylist and case out the location. Clint then treated all of us to dinner in the city at a very posh Thai restaurant called Peep, while we discussed the new project of shooting an ad campaign for Raw Salvage Jeans, American made, and au natural with an incredibly sexy and high fashion concept it’s going to be fantastic.

So tomorrow I will be in Manhattan shooting influential women on a high end building’s roof top deck with an NYC skyline view, for a fully catered shoot with amazingly talented Steven Dillon, for a Magazine Cover…pretty cool for only being in the industry for almost 3 years.

It is of course an amazing opportunity, with talented an accomplished individuals in my industry, however as if that were not enough, as always I am extremely humbled by their altruism. Steven Dillon also operates his charity project “Cuts for a Cause” which I am very excited for the chance to help participate with in however small a part I may be able to play.

For me the measure of people’s worth in my life is not defined by their connections or possessions, but by what they give, and it never ceases to humble and inspire me when I meet people that I admire professionally for their talents and accomplishments always have amazing causes close to their hearts that they are as dedicated to as their crafts.

We should all be so selfless.

I’ve been having a secret love affair with reflections lately, playing with mirrors and other reflective surfaces in my pictures and capturing the reality and how the distorted story of the image is retold. There is something philosophical and poetic about it; about how the sometimes the well manicured and put together, polished version of ourselves is not exactly the reality of the situation, or that while everyone else sees a gorgeous and well presented image, we often look at ourselves so self critically… I think reflections show the exterior to the world, but there are many instances where we see through our own reflections and into what is beneath the surface, something we have trouble finding beauty in as easily, because while there seems to be a society driven definition of attractiveness in appearances, inner beauty is often measured and weighted in very different distinctions depending on who we are trying to appeal to. And while some characteristics are irresistible to some, they are entirely a turn off to others, making it an endless and futile struggle since most of us have difficulty accepting that we can not be all things to all people… even to ourselves. On the other hand I feel that often times the people around us are also personal mirrors; you can judge a lot about a person by the company they keep, and allies, adversaries, and strangers pass judgement on the things you say and do, often based on their perception of the circumstance, never asking for validation or contradiction from you on your own behalf.

It is a difficult place to find yourself in at times, especially with technology having made us so accessible and vulnerable to the entire world, deciding what is the right piece of yourself to present. I have found often times that when people make comments, tweets and statuses in a woe is me fashion that for as many people that respond with words of encouragement or support twice as many others take heart in the misfortune and drama because misery loves company, and often times the same persons that say something nice will speak to other poorly on your behalf outside of the interwebs where they can rally in a collective turning up of their noses without fear of having to feel judged. Similarly no matter what you ever say in your defense usually the first impression no matter how unjustified, people will retain some of that simply because we do not want to feel that we have been unfair or rash in our decision to pass judgement unfairly. It is always hard for someone to jump to the wrong conclusion and come sincerely forward and apologize without following that with reasons why although wrong we were justified in that conclusion because it was all that could be deducted from the circumstances, and so we are not wrong or bad for assuming, because even when we are wrong there is some nature of truth in it. We’re wrong but not really.

I like to consider myself a compassionate person; however I also value very highly honesty, and my honesty at times I have learned is so abrupt and candid that it comes off as harsh or cruel. A lot of that for me is simply because I have much ambition in all areas in my life, and I find that people take an hour conversation to say in a nice and sugarcoated way what could have been said in one sentence, it’s a rip the bandaid off and let it hurt worse all at once rather than a little at a time mentality…I don’t actually know which is the right way, I suppose it depends on the individual’s tolerance for pain.

For me often times I find now that I resist my knee jerk reaction to retaliate or even defend my honor, in most cases I find myself thinking that if whatever the situation is did not warrant at least a phone call or request for my side of things then the person making the decision based on their view of someone else’s opinion of my circumstances or choices, simply shouldn’t matter to me. Equally there is much I don’t put out into the world at all anymore, mostly because my artistry has elevated the number of people that pay attention, and what I would say to friends I would not say to strangers, and what applies to clients may not interest my family, sometimes it’s as simple as what you would say to one friend would be heard entirely differently by another… A mentor once said: “Your life is not as important as the story you tell about your life.” Often times the things that matter the most, don’t; but they do because we tell ourselves they do. Sometimes there is no winning. If you say something you are just fueling drama and drawing attention to negativity, and while in the moment it may be ok, when you are over it and want it to be done, people remember and reference it continually because it is more entertaining than the boredom. If you say nothing, then either you do not care, or you are obviously in the wrong because you are not even bothering to defend your stance. It has been my opinion that most times people have made up their minds before they ever hear the story. I think with technology and how much information we are inundated with on a constant basis we have been trained to pull just enough information from the sources to thread them together and log it away, sometimes the little details make the most difference. Being a mother of young children I am constantly surrounded with cartoons and disney. There is one part of The Emperor’s New Groove where Izma and Kronk are locked in the closet and she says “Let us out right now and we’ll burn your house to the ground!” to which Kronk says, “Dont you mean or?” “Let us out right now ORRRR we’ll burn your house to the ground” and the little girl says “Well which is it!? That sounds like a pretty crucial conjunction to me”

Why is it so hard for us to take the time to listen? To assess all the info and details before we draw conclusions? Why is it that we make excuses for why we are too busy to make time for our loved ones, but allow those we dislike to live rent free in our heads, and have nothing but time to waste on them? Why is it so difficult sometimes for us to just accept that sometimes we have outgrown people, and places, and parts of our lives, and that in order to move forward sometimes you have to leave what is comfortable and familiar, and that perhaps what we are so afraid to let go of has far less to do with love than it does attachment…

To me there is something to this image that I relate to. Photographs I take, to me at least are always in some version a self portrait. Like songs we like, they mean different things at different times to us. People have their happy and sad playlists that cater to their emotional being, and different experiences suddenly make certain lyrics ring more true to us…this image is like that for me. It is a Melancholy Mona Lisa, you see that je ne sais qoui in the face that makes you wonder, but in this case a sense of self inflicted despondency and disarray beneath the surface; only the eyes give away the churning beneath the perfect encasing. …Perhaps you see something different.
…Perhaps tomorrow I will see something different in this image too.

As a complete side note, this image is out of the camera, I didnt touch it at all for post processing…you should come to my seminar I promise we’ll have fun on the photography day. The amazing model in this image is Rachel Breitag, recently in the new movie “How do you know” the Gown is by the immensely talented Darcy Law Couture, when Michael and I renew our vows, she’s the only person I’ll go to for my dress ❤

You’ve gone to seminars. A local photographer talking about the basics. You’ve gone to the shoot outs, where they offer you a bunch of hot nearly nude models that distract you from the fact that they aren’t actually teaching you very much about photography, while you and all the other photographers end up with 35 of the same shots over each other’s shoulders. You’ve gone to the big conventions, and sat in a class with dozens or hundreds of others trying to follow every word of the teacher, and waiting in lines and hordes of your colleagues to ask your many questions and get a chance to have a moment of one on one time. Perhaps like me you’ve done all of these. Perhaps you’re ready for something a little different.
Over the last few months I have talked to a lot of photographers about what they want out of a seminar or class, and what they walk away from even their favorite classes feeling like they’re lacking. So here is what I see the solution being: What if you got to help design the seminar? What if it was 4 days and three nights? What if it was about the same price as Imaging USA but was all inclusive. A small intimate setting for only 25 photographers that are serious about their artistry and business. Not just class, but conversation, dinner with colleagues, a chance to talk and share the collective artistic natures of us as a profession, and gain the wisdom of each other’s experiences. This will not just be a chance to learn, but a chance to recharge, to find inspiration, to add to your portfolio, to set up your business for the best financial year ever. To get straight answers about how to price your work, how to step up to higher end clients, how to market yourself and create a greater return than people spending money to advertise with theknot and other large expense advertising. Whether you are looking to break away from the mundane 9-5 and pursue your passion full time, or you are taking your craft from avid amateur to professional and want to start out right, if you are looking to hone your skills, or learn some essential business practices, this is for you. Rather than a cold conference room with a powerpoint, I think in order to maximize what you are getting out of the seminar you need to be in a place that breeds creativity and inspiration, so we will be providing you a location designed to tap into all your inner creativity and foster aspiration and enthusiasm. I want all of us to be able to leave behind all the stress and chaos and dullness and clutter that tends to inhibit and bridle our creativity, and be able to really come face to face with our own potential, which is often hard to see under the mountain of responsibilities, chores, the mundane details, the naysayers, and doubts. If I can come into photography with no education in it, no training, no college degree, and no formal experience in owning or running a business; with 2 toddlers, and a husband in the military that was working 13-15 hours on days he actually got to come home; and I can in less than 3 years take myself from shooting on that little green square TFP in my basement, to owning a 1750sqft boutique studio with studio sessions averaging at $750 for just the sitting fee, and $5,000-$15000 weddings; I can only imagine what all of you are capable of with the same knowledge, and I am excited to learn from all of you too.
The seminar is going to be limited to a maximum of 25 people, including myself, it will be covering marketing, branding, advertising, business management, social and business networking, lighting, posing, modeling, photography, dealing with difficult shooting conditions, thinking outside the lens, boudoir, high fashion portraiture, artistic wedding portraiture, photoshop & retouching, portfolio reviews, and turning clients into lifetime investors of your work, and how to branch out to their friends and family and draw all them in. Aside from the teaching aspect there will be time to shoot, time to reflect, time to connect with the other photographers there, and to just enjoy the time to really focus on who you are as a photographer, and what your artistry is and is meant to become.

Over the next few days we will be posting a few prospective sites, we have some beautiful estate like homes in the mountains, complete with game rooms, bars, home theaters, gyms, beautiful views, and gorgeous rustic decors. We also are considering several gorgeous beach houses, with the ocean as a backdrop, the salt air, sand and water to play with, fantastic windows, and double decker wrap around porches. Our other head in the running is a very quaint bed and breakfast also near the beach, with a lovely vintage antique feel, victorian decor, intricate architecture and plenty of space to shoot and be introspective.

We will be posting images of our 3 finalists for locations and you will pick which one you like the best, democracy will rule so the most votes will win. We’ll have details about pricing as well, but are planning on making it mostly inclusive to encompass the seminar, your lodging, meals and other necessities, despite it being inclusive the investment will be extremely affordable. Selection of the property will have no effect on price, it will be a flat fee with no hidden or extra charges.

Due to the intimate nature of the seminar we’ll be accepting letters and calls from interested photographers, but if the interest is as high as we are expecting we will be limiting the invitations.

In addition to food, lodging, and education, we will also have some really gorgeous and amazing models to work with as well, and I am looking to you to give input on what you would like, in order to make this the most beneficial for you. I will do my best to accommodate all of your wants and needs so that you get out exactly what you hoped to from this seminar. Rumor has it that we have some really fun toys and gifts to give away too 🙂

On another note, since so many of you have contacted me with interest in being able to shoot more high end wedding clients, here is a new favorite bridal portrait of mine, I love that it’s pretty and elegant but edgy too.

Voyeurism.

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