Back in 2008, fueled by a Venti (something I never do) latte on a cross-country flight, I started listing (something I always do) and thinking, and thinking and listing about what would make a really great workshop. Not just your run-of-the-mill canned seminar or even an all-day shooting workshop, but something that would have impact- lasting impact.
I've been to plenty of workshops myself, and love the "I can do anything!" rush when inspired by the topic or the presenter or the images or the shooting exercises. I've bought the gear they showed off, subscribed to the links they suggested, scoured back blog posts for content I may have missed. A few days, then weeks or more would pass, however, and that motivation would fizzle, would fade. I'd never take the new gear out of the packaging. I'd forget what trick I wanted to try and, oh man, where was that bagillion page Powerpoint reference manual they passed out anyway?
At the top of my workshop must-have list was the experience. I wanted to recreate that feeling of camaraderie from summer camp or college, of going through something unfamiliar, challenging and vulnerable with strangers, and coming out the other side with skills gained and solid friendships. In wedding photography, we often work alone and edit alone, so having a core support network is critical to our learning, growth and success. We need pals to hold us accountable, to learn with and to lean on. I didn't want to sit in a lecture hall or retreat to a sterile hotel room at days' end.
So I picked a cozy compound in Cape Cod for the first few years. And now in Maine. On the water. A farmhouse for sleeping, an estate for editing and the most darling coastal towns for shooting, specifically. And did I mention the classic Maine lobster bake?
The content for this grown-ups' photo retreat? Simply storytelling. Isn't that why photography exists at all? It's the center of our work as wedding photographers and is sometimes sadly overlooked as folks' prefer to focus on buying the fanciest gear or dousing their images with presets or assimilating to what their competition is up to. This workshop doesn't touch that one bit. Nope. Nada. This is about assessing each individual's strengths and weaknesses, about pushing through our personal best to another level, about not being afraid to admit what you're not great at and tackling it once and for all in a safe environment.
I invited the smartest, most talented and most fun photographers from my inner circle to share, to help inform and enrich. There is no splashy gear to parade. There are no egos to stroke. It's just a get-down-to-business-without-actually-talking-about-business shooting workshop. 10 students. 2 teams. 2 instructors. 5 days of photographing, editing, listening, laughing, learning, growing, magic.
Registration is now open for 2014 Roots Workshop's Uprooted Maine location, French's Point in Stockton Springs, May 4-9. Visit rootsworkshop.com to learn more and request your invitation to start your wedding season not just inspired, but better.