I had the opportunity a couple weeks back to travel down to Durham, NC and attend a workshop hosted by Tamara Lackey. In case you are just being introduced to her, Tamara is a renown photographer most often associated with her outstanding family and children’s photography. Not only does she have a fantastic ability to connect and interact with her clients, but she has an outstanding head for business. And since both of those areas are something I’ve been really itching to focus on this year, I knew her Portrait Photographer Workshop was the ticket. Also my fantastic friend Lara Koppmann suggested it would be a great get together for us, and really who can argue with a couple warm days in North Carolina focusing on bettering your skills all while enjoying catered breakfast and lunch and then bonding with some fellow photographers? What I’m saying is that there really isn’t much that could be better besides relaxing with my family on a beach.
We had a yummy opening dinner and then the next morning it was right to business. We got into all the nitty gritty technical stuff, and then had a great image critique. After another delicious lunch it was on to our shooting clinic. We had some adorable models throughout the course of the afternoon as you can see in the photos. We started out with studio lighting (which I was very happy to learn because it means I can soon open the doors to my in-home studio!) and then moved on to location shooting.
Studio lighting clinic…and this girl was a trooper. She was so excited to model for us and said she wants to be a professional model someday!
On location clinic…these boys were so adorable, especially the older one. And you gotta give it up for the Toy Story boots…
This picture is “technically” wrong – but I just love love LOVE the feeling in it!
Tamara connects with her models and clients so well. And this awesome guy connected with my lens…inconspicuous I am not, clearly.
We made this little girl, Jamie, run around in circles for what seems like hours. This is my pal Lara giving her a peek at what she got. Jamie seemed to really enjoy hamming it up for the camera and didn’t mind endlessly running around for us!
This is the idea of what you want from all that running in circles…
Day two was a breakthrough for me. The biggest thing I came to realize at the workshop was that I’ve been, and always have, looked at images the wrong way. I’ve grown up in the disposable camera and digital camera generation. That’s not to say I’m inexperienced with film – I’m not – it’s how I learned in high school actually and a lot of the time I find myself pining for the darkroom like my 3 year old pines for a cookie. But with technology advances comes greater access to all sorts of things (in this case countless images), and perhaps a diminished value to what we once held dear. I realized at Tamara’s workshop that I wasn’t valuing the actual art I was creating – I was seeing it as a file on a disk – purely a non-tangible good. When I stopped and thought about it though, something rang out in my head. I always want my clients to LOVE their images. But what I really want is these images to hang on their walls for generations. To be the portraits of these and future generations, the way that painted portraits used to be. I want them to be handed down years and years and years in the future as an artistic record of the subject, the relationship the time and the emotion. I want your grandchildren’s grandchildren to have these images on their hallway walls to point out to their children when they are telling the stories of your family history.
It’s because of this that I will be soon changing my offerings. I will still have the disc of your images with a limited print release available, but it will no longer be built in to your session. My pricing will soon be changing accordingly.
So I have to give a huge thank you to Tamara for indirectly flipping a switch in my head, her crew (especially Sarah) for all they did for us during the workshop, my friend Lara for pushing me to go, and the group of 14 super talented photographers that were kind and very good about bouncing ideas off each other. I do have to throw out one last thanks to my amazing support team at home: my best friend forever to infinity and beyond Amber who watched my munchkin while I was away, and my unconditionally loving son and husband who saw that this was something I had to do. Even if it means he had to do more than his normal share of diapers. I love you.
Here’s a quick video of the workshop that Tamara’s production associate Kate put together for us!