Y'all. California Dreamin' Workshop Yosemite was insane. Epic, but insane. If you're ever thinking about hosting a workshop, well, be ready haha here is my overview of how it went.
WHY WE DID IT
We were pumped about this workshop because we really wanted to teach photographers the business side of things in addition to putting on some portfolio worthy styled shoots. Coming from a marketing and finance background, the business side of things come naturally to us. Most photographers are artists first with little knowledge of business aspects so we love educating people on that stuff. People are our passion so, it made sense to put that passion into something beneficial.
WHY IT WAS AWESOME
Um, all these people right here. Such a fun group, I'm glad our vibes attracted all the right people! This workshop wasn't amazing just because it was in Yosemite (although Yosemite is amazing) but what made it totally awesome were the people who came. Plus, we had support from our kick ass vendors that I absolutely adore!
HOSTING A WORKSHOP IS NOT FOR THE UNORGANIZED
I repeat - HOSTING A WORKSHOP IS NOT FOR THE UNORGANIZED! I'm a total type A, OCD, color-codes-and-alphabetizes her socks kinda girl, but hosting a workshop is a LOT of work. Requires a lot of communication, and synchronization on the hosts' end. A lot can go wrong, a lot DID go wrong. I'll tell you how this dream could have been a nightmare.
THINGS THAT WENT TOTALLY WRONG:
Yeah, Yosemite was on fire. It's not something we could have anticipated, but it happened, and completely threw off our schedule. What was supposed to be a 35 minute commute, turned into a 2 1/2 hour commute. I know, Y I K E S. But, it wasn't all bad, the smoke filled skiesand blazing fire made for some epic moody backdrops. (Making lemonade out of lemons y'all).
Oh models. No matter how far in advance your book, people are flaky. We literally had one of couple bail the week of the workshop - no emergency, no good reason, just didn't want to do it anymore. That's super inconvenient when you've already ordered clothing tailored to their size.
But then, something amazing happened. God opened up the skies and gave us Ryan + Maile. Ryan is related to one of workshop attendees and he was already planning on being in the area! Super bonus points, he and Maile had just gotten engaged and they are the cutest thing ever. BONUS BONUS points, the dress I ordered fit Maile like a glove. (Good looking out, God). And my OG couple (Daniel + Desiree) couldn't have been more perfect! Ah, just, cuteness all around, I couldn't have asked for a better set of models. But also, lessons learned. Have model contracts signed for drop outs and back up models just in case.
Didn't think shooting would get as crazy as it did, but it left a lot of people with hurt feelings because they didn't get the shoot time they wanted. Somehow, I completely missed organizing the shoots. Not like they weren't set up, just having a plan to ensure everyone got enough time. And most of that was due to the fact that the fires threw us off course and made our commute really long thus cutting our shoot times short. Lessons learned. But I have a system now! Which, had those fires not occurred, my large group shooting system would not have been made lol.
Oh man this was awful. Most of my students had no idea about the behind the scenes chaos but it was ridiculous. The host that we were renting the cabin from was insane. I won't go into much detail on that note, but just make sure you have iron clad contracts signed. Also, God bless her, but I let my mom be Chef Mama for the workshop. Love her, but never again. Cooking in bulk in a timely manner is not her strong point. The food was amazing, just really, really late.
But, all that to say, we freaking love doing this.
We learned a LOT this round hosting an away-from-home workshop. It was challenging, but man was it amazing. Maybe we're gluttons for punishment, but the reward from our students feeling empowered and ready to take on the world was totally worth it. We are so thankful that they chose to learn from and hang out with us. We love calling this our "job". With every workshop we're learning and growing and making it even better for the next shop.
So, who's ready for California Dreamin Workshop #3? ;)
PALM SPRINGS WE COMIN' FOR YOU!
Also considering doing another mini in San Diego soon... SD peeps, what say you??