Category: Workshops (page 1 of 2)

Inspire 2014 and the Ripple Effect

Looking back, I have realized that walking away from being so deep in my boudoir business was absolutely the right thing to do last year. I knew I needed to stretch more. Most importantly, I knew it was time to acknowledge my BIG DREAM that involved helping people dig in, get vulnerable about who they truly are, and then take that and make it the core of their business.

Once your business is about you? No one can compete with that.

2013 was focused on finding a way to help women to feel amazing as hell about themselves; after all I am the Avenger of Sexiness. I just want to do so much more than I could ever do with a camera in my hand. Through photography I could reach 80-100 women a year. I want to reach 10,000 a year – and that is just the start.

So I drove, and I drove, and I drove. I thought a lot. Working through big changes like this in my business, a shift in how I accomplish my mission (but not a change in the mission itself) is very hard for me.

In the middle of my trip, I went to Stephanie’s house in Calgary. The dream we had been talking about for well over 9 months became a reality on her dining room table. It was time to create a Business Coaching program.

We created Vivid & Brave. We built the foundation of our Life+ Group Coaching program, with a pile of post-it notes, three sheets of posterboard, and a lot of big dreams. We poured our hearts in to it. We launched it immediately.

Then, when we were all done and thanks to the encouragement of Sarah Austin Lehberger, we applied to speak at Inspire Photo Retreat, 2014. I was still in Calgary when we got the news that we had been selected. We were ecstatic beyond words, and so honored. I’m pretty sure there were tears involved.

Our dream was coming true. It was time to start speaking.

Bonnie shares her Manifesto, created at our workshopTo prepare for our 3 hour workshop at Inspire, Stephanie & I got together in January at my house in Houston, Texas. (A lovely break for her from a very harsh Calgary winter this year!) We built our slides, hashed things out at 2am, had an argument or two that involved us going to our separate corners, and in the end – built a workshop. We then recruited Houston photographers to join us for a trial run so we could work the kinks out. So glad that they came out for us, as it really helped us make it an even stronger presentation!

Finally, February arrived. Stephanie & I headed off to the Inspire Photo Retreat.

For the record, I’ve been to countless workshops over the years, conferences ranging from small to large, both in the blogging world and the photography world — and NOTHING was like this experience. NOTHING. HANDS DOWN. It was simply the MOST amazing experience EVER.

Stephanie had some travel delays getting there; the road to your dreams isn’t always easy. That meant that I arrived Sunday night without her. For a fleeting moment, I felt like an outsider, as the majority of attendees are from the Massachusetts & Connecticut area and it seemed like they all knew one another already. That feeling quickly faded away, as I was immediately welcomed by everyone I met. Sunday night was spent in the Gazebo Graveyard laughing & talking until the wee hours of the morning, and I was hooked.

Teaching with Stephanie at Inspire 2014

Stephanie & I gave our workshop on Monday, and it still fills me up with butterflies thinking about how amazing it was to see everyone really digging in, giving it their all. Opening up and sharing with us. Posting online. Sharing their declarations. Creating their manifestos. Dreaming of personal projects to come.

Thomas Flint at the Vivid & Brave Inspire 2014 Workshop

We had no idea just how much it was going to impact people though until dinner that night. Over and over, we had people come up to us and tell us that they had heard about our workshop, and they wished that they had been there.

Somewhere around 1am, we asked one of the Inspire staff members if we could do it again. There was a gap of time and an empty room, and we posted a sign and invited people to join us. And they did.

Graham Scobey at a workshop I taught at Inspire, 2014

I’m still a bit speechless just thinking about it.

Want to know the most interesting observation? I never once asked someone what type of photographer they were. For so long, I’ve identified myself as “photographer” – and at Inspire? It never came up for me. Instead we talked about our passions, our hopes, our fears, our plans and our dreams. Sure, there was business thrown in there as well. Yet I never asked anyone what type of photography they did. It just didn’t matter. In the past 7 years, I’ve never seen that happen.

So many of my friends, both new & old, summed up the Inspire experience so well – you should go check out the posts that Patricia Miller, Sarah Lehberger, Jen Lightful and Sharon of Bittersweet Books have shared.

It has only been two weeks since we left, and yet I can’t wait to return in 2015 when it moves to Portland, Maine! (I hope there is still late night karaoke & dancing on the schedule next year!)

Singing and Dancing at Inspire 2014

I left Inspire a very different person than I was when I arrived.

To my Inspire friends, I owe that to ALL OF YOU. Every last one. You made my dream a reality. You touched me, you listened to me, but most of all? You revealed yourselves to me. You shared your heart & your soul. You were Vivid & Brave with us. I adore you all SO MUCH and the only thing that sucks is that I’m 1500 miles away …

Inspire Photo Retreat 2014

Thank you, with more gratitude than I can even put in to words. Inspire 2014 changed my life. This will go down as one of those big pivotal moments, and I know when I look back a year from now, it will be even more obvious that that was the moment when everything turned.

So What’s NEXT??? WPPI 2014!!!

Now Stephanie and I are focused on doing everything we can to get the Vivid & Brave message out there. We are heading to Las Vegas next week, and we realized — why not do it again? So we are! We are offering up the same workshop on Tuesday, March 4th or Wednesday, March 5th at the MGM. Want to join us for the Rediscover You Workshop? We would LOVE to have you there! Join Stephanie & myself, and go home with new insights into yourself, your voice and your passions.

Dancing at Inspire, 2014

Fast Track Group Anniversary PARTY and Fast Track Roadshow v2.0!

I had the MOST amazing year last year. Thanks to the Fast Track Photographer movement, I got to witness professional photographers coming together and being for each other time and time again. In Houston, Las Vegas, Austin, and online. I think it is so critical when you are self-employed to find like minded people who can support you and be there for you when you need it. Fast Track provided all of us with that opportunity.

Back in May 2009, I hosted the very first Fast Track Photographer Roadshow at my studio. At the end of the two days, as we were talking about commitments and things we were going to do, I said that I wanted to see a group of photographers come together once a month. A meetup where we talked about business tips and other photography related topics, new & old photographers alike. Dane asked me what that would look like. Then he asked me when I was having the first meeting, and being true to who he is he forced me to pick a date right then and there for the first one. (Really, that is how Dane rolls. I’m glad he is that way because it forces me to act.) I said that we were going to do them on the First Thursday of the month at 7pm. Every month. We met up in June, and then skipped July because of the 4th. The first BIG meetup, open to everyone, was August 2009.

Tomorrow night, we are throwing a BIG PARTY!!! 12 months later, we have met every month. People have met each other. We’ve openly shared what we know. The motto is that we are For Each Other, and the people exemplify it every month. I am SO proud of the people that have been participating over the past year, whether they came once or have been there monthly. I’ve witnessed, first hand, so many amazing things. I know that I would not be where I am without all of you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the photographers that have participated this past year!

If you’re a professional photographer in Houston and you want to join us, we would love to see you there! First Thursday, every month, doors open at 7pm and our presentation starts at 7:30pm. If I’m ever not there, someone else will be, so don’t worry about that. Just come out and join us! The only thing we ask is that you come prepared to be supportive of one another!

I’m also SO EXCITED to announce that Dane will be returning to Houston in March 2011 for Fast Track Roadshow 2.0. I can’t wait! The first Roadshow 2.0 just took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota a week ago, and there are several others coming up before it makes its way to Houston – so look to see if there is one near you! I could keep gushing about how awesome it is, but I’ll let you go read the site yourself.

I love this video that the Fast Track Calgary group created for the Fast Track Minneapolis workshop attendees. So very, very awesome!

Lean In from Brad Van Gyzen on Vimeo.

Not in Houston? Find your Fast Track Group here!

Join Us! First Thursday Photography Meetup – Houston, Texas

Austin PUG Meetup with Dane Sanders

Hey, photographers! Keep reading to the end, because this post involves YOU!

It is hard to believe it was just a week ago that I headed out to Austin for the Fast Track Photographer Roadshow Workshop. It seems like so long ago! But last Wednesday the workshop kicked off with an amazing PUG event put on by Suzi Q and hosted at Studio 563. That place is *amazing!* What a gorgeous studio Andy, Eric & the team have put together. It was also super cool to see Scott from San Antonio who attended the Houston workshop, and Ben, Caroline, Matt, Francis and Errol who were in New Orleans with me just a few weeks ago. I got to meet Nana and Voto too! What a fabulous time!

The above photo was taken by Chip of Studio 563 who drove in with Craig from Houston. There is a lot of others on his blog; I haven’t downloaded my photos yet. Eep! I was too busy hanging out with everyone at the workshop and being in the *now*.

I had warned Andy when I first talked with him about using the space that we had had nearly 50 people at the Houston “Standing Out in the Crowd” presentation, so it was probably going to be packed – but I think he was a little surprised to see 60-75 people there packed into the studio!

The workshop was nothing short of amazing. Having been an attendee myself just a few months ago, it was interesting viewing everything that was happening from a different angle. People were asking me about what was coming up, and I refused to tell them – I wanted them to experience the magic of it all. I know that all sounds so hokey in writing, but there is no other words for it.

The Workshop Attendees

Photo by Danielle’s mom, taken with Dane Sanders’s iPhone and processed using the Shake-It app. GoGoGumby joined us for the shot.

At the end of the workshop, we talked about where we were going from there, and I shared with everyone that I plan to continue the First Thursday Photographer Meetups (FTP Meetups – just like Fast Track Photographer!) — and some of them even joined in considering doing something similar in their area! I’m so excited. Really though – ANYONE can do this. Come on out and join us! It is incredible what we – individual photographers – can achieve when we band together and support one another!

I need you guys to help me out though. I can’t do this alone. I need you! If you’re in Houston, I want you to come out and be a part of what we’re starting here. And if you’re not in Houston – that is ok! Start something up in your area. Don’t try to work in a vacuum.

So now for the BIG NEWS!!! The next Houston First Thursday Photographer Meetup is at my studio, 1024 Studewood, in the Heights tomorrow night. (September 2, 2009) Doors open at 6:30 for meet & mingle time, and we’ll be meeting from 7-9pm. Or later. I’ve never been one to kick people out, but I understand if people need to leave at 9. It is opening to anyone in the photography business, or aspiring to get into the photography business. We plan to discuss pricing, and it is a round-table style discussion where everyone can join in!

What: First Thursday Photographer Meetup
Date: Thursday, September 3, 2009
Time: Doors open at 6:30, Meeting from 7:00 – 9:00pm
Where: 1024 Studewood (Across from Hello Lucky and 10 1/2 St; next door to Davis Hardware)
Parking: On the sides of the building or across Studewood

And to answer the question I’ve received a few times – as much as I would *love* to see you over on the Fast Track Forums, or see you take the workshop, or even read the book … you don’t have to do any of these things to attend. No membership in anything is required. You just need to be a photographer and be open to supporting others in the community.

Leave a comment if you plan to join us and you haven’t already told me some other way – I want to make sure we have enough seats!

While I’m talking about big news … did you know that the Tofurious SEO Workshop tour has just opened up its other dates? The OC Workshop sold out crazy fast – get in on this while you can! He’ll be in Houston in October!

New Orleans, Las Vegas & Austin – Travel Update!

August is normally the quiet month for us. There aren’t a lot of weddings – it is just too hot in Houston this time of year. If you had asked me back in July, the only thing on my calendar for August was a trip to New Orleans for a photographer’s meet-up that I was helping to coordinate for a group on Flickr. It was otherwise going to be a fairly quiet month. Or so I thought…

Then the opportunity to go to Las Vegas for Skip’s Summer School came up. It was just too good to pass up, and so even though it followed right on the heels of my trip to New Orleans (I was home for 36 hours inbetween the two), I am SO glad I went! I met the most AMAZING people this summer, and it has been a HUGE inspiration! Thank you to everyone that made that happen!

The trip to New Orleans was the perfect kick-off to the trip to Las Vegas. I joked that it was like I was in training. In Vegas, the Fast Track Photographer community was on fire! We kicked it all off with a fantastic meetup that my friend Lain from Lubbock put together. You can see a bit of it in the video below that Ray Pryor of Emotia in Chicago created. Can’t you just feel the buzz? It was so awesome! From there it was two solid days of school, where I got to learn from some of the best leaders this industry has to offer. As a bonus, there were only 360 or so people there – so everyone was so accessible!

The best part for me was all the people I met, by far – and the fact that Dane Sanders helped in his own magical way to bring so many of us together. You can just feel the energy in that video – and that was within hours of arriving in Vegas. Just imagine how it was after we had two days to bond! It was so moving to help out with the table after Dane Sanders spoke and getting to hear from so many people such awesome feedback! Dane is the MAN! If you get a chance to attend one of his workshops, I can’t recommend it enough! (You can check out the upcoming dates and sign up here – and use the code Christine_Workshop_New to get $75 off of the price!)

I’ve been home for a few days now, and Elaine & I went down to Galveston on Saturday for Melissa & Brandon’s wedding reception — not only was it fantastic seeing their family that were in Belize in July, but to meet the rest of their family & friends *and* get to see Elizabeth & Michael, one of our May wedding couples! It was a happy coincidence that we discovered a few weeks beforehand that Elizabeth & Michael are friends with Melissa & Brandon – we had no idea about the connection, and they didn’t even realize until after the fact that we were working with both of them on their weddings!

I’m hitting the road one last time now in my crazy, crazy August – it is off to Austin, where I’m going to help out with Dane’s workshop! There are still seats available, and it doesn’t start until tomorrow, so get in while you can if you’re interested! If you’re in the Austin area (or willing to make the drive over) and you can’t do the workshop itself, join us *tonight* for Dane’s presentation on Standing Out in the Crowd – FREE! (RSVP here.) Hope to see you there!

More from Mexico!

Golden Sun Language Barrier

I returned home from Mexico last Friday evening, and yet I’m still swirling with thoughts about the trip. Amazing doesn’t seem to sum it up. I was truly blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time with some truly, truly amazing photographers.

On the second day of the workshop we went to a different Hacienda in a nearby town for a shoot. We spent part of the time with Cameron Ingalls and one set of models, Valeria & Martin, and the rest of the time with Jose Villa and the models that we had worked with the day before, Miiriam & Daniel. It was great seeing how Jose & Cameron work, and learning tips from both of them!

All of the photos in this post were created while at the Jose Villa’s Workshop. The top photo was take while Valeria was waiting inbetween shots with Cameron. The rests were all created during my time working with them. The language barrier was interesting at times — in one of the photos, I asked Daniel to kiss Miiriam’s forehead – and instead she kissed his! But I loved so many – it was hard to narrow it down to just a few!

I’ll write more about the workshop – along with photos of everyone – once I can get it all together.


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