I have a confession to make... I am fast becoming a bit of a training junkie! I have such a thirst for learning and perfecting my skill and nothing quite beats that high you feel when walk out of an incredible workshop feeling totally inspired and motivated. There is such a vast variety of talented worldwide photographers offering an insight to their inner workings and sharing their tight lipped secrets, you really are spoilt for choice! I always stress just how important good training is, this is not a business you can just walk into by buying a DLSR camera and clicking a button. It takes years of practice, sleepless nights of late night editing, huge investments in props, backdrops and of course training to find your own personal style and strengths.
Just like any other trade we search for someone who has experience, qualifications, excellent recommendations and is going look after you and do the best possible job. If you wanted a brand new, beautiful extension built on your house would you trust someone with little or no experience with such an important job? Yes it can be expensive and we all know that our hard earned cash doesn't go far these days but I am true believer of the saying 'buy cheap, buy twice'. Photography is an investment, just like an extension on your house. It is something that you will proudly display on your walls, bring character to your house and those beautiful images will be something you will treasure forever.
This week I was lucky enough to attend the Northern Portrait and Newborn Expo in Blackpool which was held in the Norbreck Castle Hotel. It ran for two days and consisted of workshops with world renowned photographers such as Rachel Vavouven and Ana Brandt as well as a large exhibition of prop vendors and photography association representatives.
On the Wednesday I completed training with the wonderful Lisa McCormick from Newcastle. Lisa has made a name for herself very quickly in the photography world with her stunning outdoor images and unique, vintage styling. Lisa immediately made us feel at ease with her Geordie humour and talked us through how she styles children for their sessions depending on the season or location and how she deals with the unpredictable British weather. She then took us down to the very windy Blackpool shore where she scoped out the most fantastic little settings and showed us how to make the most of our surroundings, all it takes is a good eye and some great light! We were lucky enough to have possibly the most beautiful, best behaved 5 year old models who took direction incredibly well and didn't mind having a dozen cameras in their faces. After spending 2 hours photographing we then headed back into the warmth of the hotel where Lisa shared her post production secrets and how she brings her images to life. Below I've attached my edits from the images I took, I am over the moon with them and am so excited to get outside now and offer some beautiful outdoor sessions.
On the Thursday I met my photography idol, Ana Brandt. Ana was one of the very first newborn photographers I followed and my constant source of inspiration and motivation. As soon as I heard she was attending the conference I knew I had to get myself a place, no matter the cost! I wasn't disappointed one bit! I chose to attend Ana's maternity workshop as her maternity style stands out amongst so many others. The way she works with fabrics, colours, light and wind makes her elegant work truly a piece of art and not just an image. Ana spent time talking over how she prepares her clients for their session, creates her set ups, materials and gowns to use and how to position light to create that incredible 'backlight' look . She effortlessly flew through her transitional posing and gave us all 1 minute to do the same, not as easy as she made it look! We were lucky enough to have a beautiful mama to be (who is also a photographer) and her wonderfully behaved 2 year old as models. Ana led us all through each set up and showed us how to get the very most out of both mum and child then left us to it, practicing what she had demonstrated. It was such a brilliant afternoon filled with lots of laughs as Ana got to grips with British terminology and I left feeling utterly on cloud 9! I cannot wait to splurge on some beautiful gowns and recreate some of the amazing things I learnt on this course!
I will leave you with a image I think I'll treasure forever, me and Ana. This one is 100% getting put up on my studio wall!