One of my life mottos is that there are no accidents. Life has a funny way of giving you just what you need right when you need it- whether it's to teach a lesson or establish or strengthen relationships. My belief in this sense of order and purpose was validated when I stumbled upon a very special photography workshop called "Telling Stories with Lifestyle Photography" taught of Colie James Photography.
I've taken a few photography classes both online and in-person. None have compared to this workshop. To say I learned a lot would be complete understatement. Straight out the gate in the first week of instruction, Colie provided a 60+ page PDF chock full of info about the difference between storytelling and lifestyle photography, composition of storytelling images, the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to shoot a compelling story, and so much more. A PDF with new content was given to each week and they were always chock-full of information. I had so many "aha" moments during the workshop. I learned more than I ever anticipated I would.
Colie is a natural teacher. Her lessons were always clear and it was clear from the beginning that she wasn't holding anything back and generously shared her knowledge and expertise. Her knowledge was our knowledge. Aside from that generosity, two things stuck out for me about the workshop. The first was how intensive it was. Colie set a high bar from the very first day of the workshop, which is generally not something I've experienced in most of the workshops I've taken. Slackers need not apply. She provided us with challenging assignments that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. And that's exactly what I needed. Through her instruction and corresponding assignments, I stretched beyond the limits I had unknowingly placed upon myself and my budding passion for photography. At times it was hard to keep up, but I am so grateful for the tempo she set because it got me into the practice of shooting daily and more importantly it opened my eyes to the beautiful "stories" that were constantly unfolding right before me.
The second thing I appreciated most about the Telling Stories with Lifestyle Photography Workshop was the in-depth feedback she provided each week. It was clear that she took time and care to examine each of my assignments. She offered me pointed feedback that clearly articulated how I could have made the shot(s) better tell the story I was trying to tell, and she did this while I also acknowledging my strengths.
I took Colie's workshop early in my photography journey. I didn't have all the technical aspects of photography figured out, but what I did know is that my heart was leading me to storytelling/documentary photography. This workshop was instrumental in solidifying that passion. And while this review is long overdue, in many ways I'm glad I took my time to write it. It's given me many months to digest the knowledge I received and to really witness the impact it's made on my work as a photographer. Colie's advice and guidance is always playing in my ear as I shoot a story.
As my final assignment for Telling Stories with Lifestyle Photography, I shot some close family friends during their dinnertime/bedtime routine. While the shots are far from technically perfect, I love them just the same. My goal was to capture the true nature and unique beauty of this family doing something they do day in and day out. I think I did that, and that makes me proud. Here's a link to the blog post with some of the images from that session: http://www.halonaphotography.com/blog/2013/09/09/storytelling-session-cardenas-family
Oh, one more thing before I close. The next run of Colie's Telling Stories with Lifestyle Photography workshop begins in June and registration is currently open. Here's the link for more information: http://coliejamesphotography.com/photography-workshops