Why are some secrets so hard to keep?! We've been holding onto a little secret for a few months now and it's been KILLING us! Thankfully, we recently received the "all-clear" to share our little secret with you. Ready?!... We were so blessed and fortunate to be able to attend the AJ Workshop in January! First...a little back story, then we'll get to all those lovely details.
Going into 2016 we knew something had to change in order for us to keep pursuing this little photography adventure we were on. Megan had been basically running the business solo for the past three years and she was getting pretty tired. James worked an unfulfilling, dead-end job and was in need of something different. And newsflash, we aren't getting any younger! So as we sat on the couch with a couple glasses of wine one evening in early January, we made up our minds that 2016 needed to be different. 2016 had to be something more than the status quo. We had spent the first 11 years of our marriage trying to survive, to make ends meet, and basically not mentally implode. But as we could see our mid-thirties on the not too distant horizon, we knew the time for change was now.
So we took a chance and made the leap. Not many people will tell you this, but perhaps one of the hardest things to do in this business is to ask for help. And we needed help. We had flat-lined in our business and had no clue how to improve, or what we even needed to improve on. Enter Amy and Jordan! Megan had followed Amy and Jordan for a while on the interwebs and on social media and had heard about their workshops. So after a glass of wine or three, we decided we needed to invest in this business if we ever wanted it to grow. And what better way to learn than to learn from the best. Amy and Jordan are REALLY good at what they do. As former school teachers, their passion for education is unmatched. They took their love for photography, their love for education, put it in a blender, and out popped the AJ Workshop. And we wanted in.
So the day after our wine-laced, business meeting on the couch (which is obviously the BEST way to have a business meeting), I went ahead and sent them an email and told them we wanted to attend. Long story short, they told us they were full in January, but we could attend in April, but then a week before the January workshop, someone couldn't make it, so they wrote us and said, if you want to come in January, you can, so of course we said yes!
Let me tell you something right here, right now. The AJ Workshop not only exceeded our expectations...it blew our expectations out of the water. We learned so much during those two days, we would need 100 blog posts to cover it all. But here are a few things that really stuck with us and gave us the much needed kick in pants we needed to get this business back on track:
1. Know your "Why." - This. Is. Crucial. This is why we were floundering and running out of steam. We had never sat down and really thought out WHY we wanted to do photography. What started as a little side hobby, slowly grew into a passion and a business. But we had never sat down during that progression from hobby to business to really drill down what made our little photography hearts beat. Amy and Jordan forced us on day one to write it out. Because without knowing why you do what you do, it becomes far too easy to lose your way.
2. Comparison kills joy. - I know we've all heard this before, but we'd never thought about it in terms of photography and business. If you are constantly comparing yourself to other photographers you aren't pursuing YOUR WHY, but instead you are pursuing someone else's. This was revolutionary for us. We realized that we weren't put on this earth to be someone else. Don't let comparison kill your joy or get in the way of pursuing your WHY.
3. Don't Hate, Collaborate. - You want to know what the best part about not comparing yourself to others? It frees you up to LEARN and GROW from other photographers and business professionals who have already been down the road you're on. Instead of looking at others with contempt and jealousy, you can look at them as allies and resources. There are so many brilliant and talented people (ahem...Amy and Jordan) in this business and you are doing yourself a HUGE disservice if you aren't utilizing those valuable resources to get better as a photographer.
So there you have it! Our little secret is out! We are so excited about where 2016 has brought us so far, and we can't wait to see what the rest of this year has in store!
Oh and here are those lovely details we promised earlier! Part of the workshop experience is being part of a one of a kind stylized shoot with some truly talented people!
Event Design: Ashley Gain Weddings
Floral Design: The Flower Studio
Desserts: A Bake Shop
Flatware: Casa de Perrin
Paper Products: Graceline Illustration + Calligraphy
Bridesmaids Gowns: Jenny Yoo Collection
Makeup: Arielle Rondeau
Hair: Emily Hughes
Bridal Gown: Mariee Bridal
Groom Tailor: Brothers Tailors
Venue: The Clayton on the Park