Perspective: About The Queen Photographers’ Workshop
First, let me start off by saying that I was a little hesitant about signing up for the workshop. Before ya’ll jump on me, let me explain. My hesitancy had nothing to do with the knowledge or capabilities of anyone in QP Collaborative or QP. It was all about me…I had questions running through my mind. “Is this for me, do I think I should go, what if it’s geared towards people who have been shooting for years, what are they going to talk about, is it worth it???” I had thoughts running through my mind. “I’m going to be around a whole bunch of people I don’t know, many of them are already friends so I won’t have anyone to talk to, they are going to look down at me since I’m a beginner.”
Let me say that I really (and I mean really, really) enjoyed my first photography workshop!!!
I enjoyed everyone on the panel. The same fears and disappointments many of us have are the same ones that people who we categorize as “having made it” encountered during their journey of “making it.” One particular thing that resonated with me is something Kesha Williams said. When asked what was her biggest roadblock she replied that SHE was. I totally felt her on that. As you can see from my first paragraph all I was really doing was psyching myself out. I was too busy trying to stand in my own way. I tried to talk myself out of signing up and going to the workshop.
omgeeeeee Alrinthea Carter was hilarious!! I definitely need to go see her perform in Greenville. She brought light to a different area of photography that many of us had never heard of and didn’t have a clue as to what it is. I shoot landscape (and transitioning over to shooting people) but had never heard of rural exploration photography. Alrinthea explained what it is and isn’t, the do’s and don’ts, how she protects herself when she goes to the abandoned buildings, why she loves it, who she learns from, going to workshops, her roadblocks, etc. I learned that as long as you find your niche and then be good at it, you will be successful. Being successful does not always mean having lots of money. Do something that makes you happy, helps your mental state. To many, including myself, that makes you successful.
Jeanette Brewster helped me to realize that posting on your business’ social media accounts can be just as fun as posting to your personal social media accounts. I post to my personal FB and Instagram accounts several times a day. Why??? Because I enjoy it. I enjoy posting the food that i eat, people that I meet, my family and friends, funny memes, etc. When I set up my business’ FB account, I felt like I didn’t have enough content to post. I thought, why set up an Instagram if I don’t even have enough content to post of FB. Jean let us know that you don’t have to post your work 24/7 on your business’ social media accounts. You can post quotes, things that inspire you, photos of yourself, etc. You can even use apps to schedule your postings. You don’t have to have a vast portfolio, you don’t have to stress yourself out, you don’t have to worry.
Me still being a beginner had not a clue as to having a workflow and why it’s important. Sarajane Case put everything into perspective. She explained why having a workflow was important, what should be included in your workflow and that it should be automated (yep, automated!!!). She stressed that having a good, automated workflow will make your business life much easier. You won’t be stressed out about having to remember to send out a contract, reminder emails, questionnaires, invoices, etc. Set up an automated workflow and let it do all the work for you. Yeah, setting up an automated workflow may be a lot of work in the beginning, but think about it. Once you write up a contract, a thank you email, an invoice, etc once, you will use those same documents over and over. Put in the work up front and reap the benefits later.
There is soooooo much I can say about Kim Alston-Craven ‘s lighting class…Kim is testimony that you don’t need expensive, fancy equipment to take wonderful photos. Why spend a lot of money when you don’t have to??? Why purchase fancy equipment that you don’t even know how to use (or will never use)??? Kim showed us that with items from the Dollar Store, fabric from Wal-Mart, canvases from Micheal’s, gaffers tape, clamps from Lowe’s, a light stand or tripod stand, a folding chair, paint and some Yongnuo or Neewer flashes, you can produce professional studio photos. Did I mention that all of the above items combined probably cost less than 1 Canon or Nikon branded flash, less than 1 Alien Bee lighting setup?!?! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Kim’s class was hands on. We got to use her flash, fabric, beauty dish, etc.
The Kickback at the Manor
Yeah, about the kickback and the longest game of Uno EVER!!! 😂😂😂 I had soooo much fun. It was relaxing after a day of informative workshops to kick back and chill with the ladies and guys that attended the workshops. We were able to take off our professional hats and put on our chill mode hats. We played board and card games and conversed with each other. And there was FOOD (sorry, I get excited about food lol) and drinks. We talked trash to each other, encouraged each other, laughed with each other, conversed with each other, danced with each other, rapped with each other.
I ran a little late because we were having so much fun at the kickback I didn’t get back to my hotel room until after 1 AM. Let’s just say Uno is banned from all official Queen Photographers events lol. Jamie Fleming-Dixon showed us meditation techniques which involved breathing, stretching and clearing your mind. Boy, was that needed. During Jamie’s meditation session, I envisioned myself on a beach without a care in the world – no worries, no stress. All in life was perfect and balanced. After Jamie’s session, I thought, may be if everyone meditated the world would be a much better place.
Converting followers to fans on social media
Tyler J. McCall let us know from the beginning that there’s no secret process to getting thousands of fans. He summed it up by saying post less often and engage more. Know your audience (who you are trying to attract), give them your story, engage with them, be consistent and honest. Learn about the social media’s algorithms so that your posts can help you get followers that you can turn into paying clients.
How to make your $100 wedding look like a $10,000 wedding
Jessica Hunt laid down the law when it comes to making a wedding look its (and your) best. Research, prepare and know that the wedding is not YOUR wedding are key. Do your due diligence in getting as much information up front from the wedding couple so that you can prepare AHEAD of time for the wedding day. Find out the wedding couple’s story, scout the location, determine the couple’s timeline and align it with your timeline, find out what shots the couple wants, KNOW your equipment. Every wedding is not the same and there are some circumstances you can’t control and that’s OK. It’s how you handle the circumstances is what will set you apart from a $100 wedding that looks like $100 and a $100 wedding that looks like $100,000.
Styled shoot at the manor
so yeah, I thought the couples were models. I didn’t realize until the middle of the styled shoot that they are real couples lol. The styled shoot was supposed to be outside but the night before, the cofounders of the Queen Photographers checked the weather and saw that there was a 75% chance of rain. They decided to move the
shoot indoors. What were two of the things Jessica mentioned in her wedding workshop??? Research and prepare. The cofounders researched and were prepared BEFORE the date of execution!! Everything with the styled shoot was amazing. The table setting, hair, makeup and wardrobe were all on point!!! Nothing was out of place and everything had a place. Since the styled shoot was moved inside many people had to step outside of their comfort zone. We had to use natural light coming from the windows. The styled shoot provided photos for our portfolios but it was a way for us to learn from each other. Many of us found out how to use Kelvin for white balance. We learned how to bounce light, take detail shots, make the couples and the model feel at ease, using props, etc. We did get a few shots outside. Many think an umbrella is just for keeping dry during rain…but to us photographers, an umbrella can be used as a prop. We had to direct the couples on how to hold the umbrella so that we can get THAT shot but keep them dry.
I can go on and on about how GREAT of a workshop this was, what was discussed and what I learned but you should have been there lol.
Latoya Dixon Smith, Sierra Collins and many others did a wonderful job putting this workshop together. It contained valuable information and was geared towards beginners, those who have been a photographer for years and everyone in between. I felt empowered!! I felt like the QUEEN that I am!!!
This guest perspective piece was written by South Carolina Queen Photographers, Lateatia Ravenell. Lateatia is a photographer based in Columbia, SC. She originally posted this recap in our Collaborative Facebook group.