Well, we did it! We hosted our first (and definitely not last) photography workshop! It was a huge hit and all of our students were so excited with what we had to offer and teach... but on the backend of operations... hosting a workshop was insanity (but, more on that later)....
+ WHY WE DID IT +
We've been to a couple other workshops, and sad to say, we were pretty disappointed. From the large groups to unorganized structure and learning almost nothing, we felt a bit ripped off with $1500+ price tags per workshop. But nevertheless, we still wanted to GO to a workshop but really couldn't afford any this year. Plus, all the workshops were out of state / country. And then this question came up...
"Why aren't there any workshops in San Diego?!"
Oh snap... light bullllllllb. Then all the wheels started to turn...
Why AREN'T there any workshops in San Diego? There are so many photographers here taking pictures of the same spot, don't they know about this spot? And that spot? And that place?!
All our years of adventuring, we know a lot of seclusive spots, se we figured we'd share those spots and the knowledge we knew with our local creatives. We are by no means experts, but we love sharing what we know. Thus, the Daydreamer Workshop was born!
+ WHY IT WAS AWESOME +
We wanted to give our students the most bang for their buck, so we actually had a total of 7 styled shoots throughout the day!
Two shoots in the lush mountains of Jamul (thank God for the recent rain), two urban lifestyle shoots with a couple of adorable fashion bloggers, and THREE romantic couple shoots at the beach.
We love diversity, and figured the different styles and lighting situations would create a good challenge for our students in addition to giving some awesome variation in their portfolio.
+WHY IT WAS A NIGHTMARE+
So, typing the entire story of what went wrong would literally be like writing a book.. so I'll just bullet point the stress of it all...
- Original wedding dress vendors decide they don't do rentals anymore (a week before event)
- Original male model decides he doesn't want to wake up for the event (not even joking)
- The company I rented the horse from FORGOT about my rental and gave me the wrong horse (also, most uncooperative horse ever)
- Original florist simply stops communicating
- My main couple had to work (seriously, could have cried, we planned for weeks)
- My timeline document wasn't showing up for everyone
But, on the plus side, my fish taco guy was LEGIT.
+ HOW IT ALL CAME TOGETHER +
Honestly, we could NOT have done it without the help of our amazing vendors. They came through in ways I simply couldn't imagine so just a big HUGE thank you to them all for their amazing talent <3.
When your last name is Bloom, you're pretty much destined to be an amazing florist lol. So... all I wanted from Leah were two bouquets and a couple boutonnieres... I love that she is a type A like me because HOME GIRL OVER DELIVERED! With a Subaru packed full of gloriousness, she came with props, stands, chairs, taught the class how to properly pin boutonnieres, stepped in as the official reflector holder and dress fluff-er and OH MY GOSH SHE'S AMAZING!!! I mean, those florals!!! Gah, Leah, I love you.
DECOR + FELT GOODIES
Coco Abeta | Instagram
Coco and I go wayyyyy back. And after the headache of my models canceling and trying to get everything together, I pretty much gave up on special decor. Then Coco stepped in. She makes these adorable felt pieces and random decor that I absolutely fell in love with. When I told her about the workshop, she was all in.
And can we talk about the floral crown she made for Gretta the horse?! OH MY GOSH, like, who does that?! Coco, you are amazing! Plus, she let me steal her husband as one of my male models.... if that's not true friendship, I don't know what is lol.
Ariel Tapia | Instagram
Another one of my friend heroes that just blew me away! We didn't have a whole lot of time between shoots to do hair and makeup (lesson learned) but Ariel came and did all the girls' makeup for our beach shoot IN THE BACK OF HER CAR.
Yes, you read that right. That just blows my mind because it goes to show you that true artists don't need the latest and greatest, and full studios, and kits and what have you. An artist can be an artist, anytime, anywhere, with whatever tools they are given.
So, I'm just going to leave my rant about the dresses I made for specific models out of this and just brag about the service I got from The Dress Theory San Diego. The girls in there are so sweet and helpful, and when I went in and told them my vision, they did not disappoint. They aren't just girls working at a dress shop, they truly know their stuff, their designers, and have really good taste. Plus, they have freggin gorgeous dresses so... there's that.
JEWELRY + ACCESSORIES
I met Victoria in some random group I got thrown in on Facebook lol. But man am I glad she contacted me. I honestly wasn't thinking about having jewelry for the shoot, I had so many other things on my mind. So when she emailed me asking if I needed a jeweler, I said - Sure, why not?!
Little did I know she makes the most trendy little details <3 I really wasn't expecting much, but she hand made EVERYTHING. The necklaces, the earrings, the hair accessories, the anklets, the bracelets... ALL OF IT. And they are just so darling, be sure to check out her collection because I adore all of her stuff <3
Rachel Tucci | Instagram
Another long time friend/hero who makes some BOMB desserts! Not going to lie, I really just wanted her to make a cake for me personally, it had nothing to do with the workshop lol. But definitely surpassed my expectation. I just wanted a simple cake and was going to decorate it with a few florals... nope. Rachel came full throttle with this (most delicious) candle cake! My students didn't even realize it was a cake until I took huge bite out of it (sorry not sorry). So if you're in Diego.... get your some cakes by Rachel!
Special shout out to the bloggers and models who came in clutch! Literally, could NOT have done it without you guys!!
- Kelsey Soto | Instagram
- Lance Abeyta | Instagram
- Robbie Davidson | Instagram
- Mikey Byous
- Victor Aranda | Instagram
- Megan Oliver | Instagram
- Stefanie Strohl | Instagram
+ LESSONS LEARNED +
So, in putting on this crazy fun workshop, I definitely learned a few things that I thought I'd share with my fellow photog community.
1) Model Contracts
Can you tell I'm still a little salty at them? I didn't use model contracts because I was calling in friend favors. Uhhh, dumb move. Have a model contract release form, it protects you and it protects them. Additionally, I talked with a couple other photogs who've done styled shoots and they also recommend charging all the models + vendors a deposit fee that they can get back after the event. Kind of a genius idea to ensure that everyone actually shows up.
2) Backup Vendors / MUA
Only one of my original vendors showed up for the workshop, everyone else pulled out. So the super heroes mentioned above were definitely last minute vendors despite all my weeks of planning. HAVE BACKUP VENDORS... have backup everything... just in case. Life happens y'all.
Also, hire a freggin makeup artist. I personally don't wear makeup, so this was the last thing on my mind, but oh my gosh, the transformation that happens with a MUA comes on the scene. Your models feel extraordinary and your pictures look like magic. Just do it.
3) Be Organized
I'm a total Type A / OCD kind of person, so organization comes naturally to me.. but it doesn't for everyone. So if you're not super organized, hire someone who is, because things can get really crazy, really fast. I thankfully have my superawesomehotsexy husband assisting me... but not every husband is so accommodating lol
4) Costs + Payments
Know how much it will cost for everything before you price your workshop. That includes florals, dress rentals, food, lodging, gas, decor, fabric, models (if you pay them)... the whole nine. We definitely priced our workshop super competitively, but still made sure that the cost of putting on the workshop was covered by attendance fees and not coming out of our pocket.
5) Instructor Background
So, I really didn't think about this one until someone brought it up. Obviously, Sam and I are business people who became artists. Not artists trying to run a business. I have a Masters in Finance and a Bachelor's in Marketing and Sam has a Bachelor's in Advertising with an emphasis in Marketing.
Our class understood that we could teach them a few practical business + marketing items in ADDITION to photography. One student even emphasized that it was a "deal breaker" that how she spends her money was put towards good educational use. So, the lesson being, whatever workshop you go to, also check the instructors' backgrounds - what do they know? What can they teach you? Or do they just take really good pictures?
Because, if you haven't already learned... talent can't be taught, but it can be awakened.
Thanks for reading this super long + informative blog post! You made it! And keep your eyes out for more information about workshop #2... because it's happening!