Hmm, where do I even begin? How do I sum up a weekend that had months of coincidences leading up to it? I guess I will start about 7 months ago when I saw a thread on my favorite photography forum (www.clickinmoms.com) about Joy Prouty's inspirational instagram feed. So I hopped over there and checked it out, and started reading some of her blog. Her and her husband and four kids just sold their house and most of their belongings, and set out traveling the country in their tiny and adorable trailer. Yeah, I would say that is pretty inspirational. Their journey happened to start in the PNW. I remember oohing and ahhing over the beautiful scenery they were experiencing. We were living in PA at the time, and a job in Seattle had just fallen through. I was happy at the time, but after seeing the beauty out there on Joy's blog, and I half wished we would have moved to Seattle. As luck would have it (or maybe the universe was listening), Josh got a job offer in Portland a few days after discovering Joy and her journey. A few weeks after that we found out he got the job, and two months after that we lived in the PNW- Vancouver, WA to be exact. How incredible was that?
I followed Joy's journey, which lead them to a beautiful property up in Northern Washington. We were neighbors! Looking back through it all, I couldn't believe how fitting it was that the Prouty's wound up settling right near where I found them, and where I wound up. A few months after that, Joy announced her workshop to take place on her property in WA. Everything started making sense then. Of course I would go to this workshop. I didn't need airfare, and Josh decided we could afford it. He wasn't with me when I saw the post about the workshop, so I texted him and said "OMG JOY PROUTY IS HAVING A WORKSHOP AT HER HOUSE IN FEBRUARY" His first question was of course "How much?". And knowing the answer already, I replied "Only $1400 ;)". But he surprised me and said something I will never forget- "I think we can spring it". I am so, so grateful for this man. We (he) has invested so much into me and my photography business/hobby. When I am feeling down and want to quit, he lifts me up and tells me to power through, and that it will all be worth it. How lucky am I?
The workshop became my Christmas and Birthday present last year. I jokingly told friends I would pay Joy the workshop sum just to hang out with her at her house, and the photography aspect was just the icing on the cake.
When I got the email letting us attendees know what would be discussed at the workshop, I became so excited. Breathing myself back into my business? Learning to love the art again? This all couldn't have come at a better time. I was revamping and updating and changing everything about my business.
So here is the story in photos. I will mix in some instagram photos because it seems necessary :)
Here are a few of my favorite things I packed for the weekend; Chocolate, Mason Bar Tumbler, DIY gifts for matching journals, an audio book (The Spectacular Now), kleenexs, my handmade journal, and of course my camera and it's DIY strap that got a lot of attention that weekend (in person and online).
Two days before I left, Southern WA got hit with some crazy snow, and there were 50 car pile ups and all kinds of craziness. Apparently WA doesn't salt or plow! I was terrified that I wouldn't make it, but the highways were fine, and I was literally on I5 the entire way to the hotel. Plus the gorgeous snow was very lovely to look at.
Here is the workbook we all got, with Joy's beautiful story written inside, along with lots of tips and tricks of the trade. Also pictured, my journals and DIY camera strap.
A few of the beautiful women I got to meet and connect with. Allison, on the very right, was my roomie!
A close up of my DIY camera strap. When I say DIY, I mean it! That thing was hot glue gunned together, no sewing what so ever. I literally just had to cut it off because I had to send my camera in to Nikon :(
The gorgeous flowers that adorned Joy's breakfast table when we walked in that first morning. She gave us mimosas and a delicious, home cooked meal.
Of course (#ofcourseshedid) Joy's floor was painted in colorful flowers. This is the kids playroom/school room.
A few of us antiqued when the workshop was over. I got my first quilt (much to my husband's dismay. "I've never been a big fan of quilts" hahaha oh well!). I also got a bunch of fabric and lace doilies, an old book on the pacific, a vintage tower camera, and other assorted goodies. I hope the antique stores around here are as good! So many treasures :)
And now for the real photos, and the entire story… Go grab a cup of tea and join me :)
The Prouty's house… It's even better than instagram let on. Vintage, rustic, thrifted galore. And some Katie Daisy here and there as well :)
Joy Prouty's Trailer. Yup, I stood in it hehe. I sat on her bed while she told us some not-so-fairy-tale moments from life on the road. It's cozier, more colorful, and more fabulous than your wildest dreams :)
The chicken coop with all those cuddly chickens, the greenhouse that is to DIE for, and random goodness in her yard.
Getting cozy for day 2 of the wildflowers bellingham workshop :) Quilts and afghans all day!
The delicious meal that was prepared for us on the second day of the workshop. Um, YUM! Joy even made homemade goodness like her banana butter for the pancakes.
Taralynn working hard in the kitchen :)
Some snaps to prove how deliriously comfy we were!
Joy prepping her models, and feeding them marshmallows.
All of us gearing up for the first shoot in the cold!
Sweet baby Mabel snuggled up with momma. I WILL get to cuddle you my darling :) I love this shot of momma and babe.
Work it Mara!
What Taralynn looked like from the front. Bet her arms were burning after that session ;)
Hehehe hello! So many pictures of each other taking pictures…
What a photography workshop really looks like ;)
Lifelong friends :)
I love her face when she shoots. She is all SMILES :D
Joy shooting me up in the tree haha. I got some great shots up there!
I love these ladies. The laughs and cries were the absolute best. All so heartfelt and raw.
We kicked ourselves for not doing a session with this beauty. She knew how to work the camera, and her bump!
A few head shots of my favorite gal pals. Thanks for making everyone laugh Darcy!!
And this is how we got our selfies since Donny wasn't the best photog… ;)
What our days looked like:
Saturday-We all woke up at our hotels and met in the lobby for coffee/tea, then carpooled to Joy's house. The sights on the way were amazing. Washington has the best trees and mountain views. When we arrived, breakfast was cooking, and the whole family was there to greet us. Joy hugged us all with Mabel on her hip, and made us feel welcome. She gave us time to walk around and see her home, and take all the pictures to our hearts desire. We eventually gathered up in her living room with cozy quilts and mimosas. With our notebooks in hand, we shared our stories, and listened to Joy's. The absolute best part of the workshop was the intimate number of attendees. There was 12 of us women total, including Joy. It was perfection. I got to know each woman and we each had time to talk about ourselves and share our journey and our struggles. I feel like I got personal feedback not only from Joy, but the other ladies as well. It was so personal and worth while. We talked and talked and talked until it was time for the family to arrive and be photographed. During the family session, Joy shouted out her settings and explained everything that she was doing, and why she was doing it. After the session, she explained even more. The after-session discussion was so informative. We finished up and headed back to our hotels, and gathered in the lobby again for dinner, drinks, and a lengthy photography discussion about everything.
Sunday-We repeated the same steps, but when we walked into Joy's house, I swear it felt like home. I could have been there a thousand times before that day. We had another delicious homemade breakfast, and then got down to the nitty gritty. Joy showed us her entire workflow with the images from the day before. Holy AMAZING! We talked some more, and I even volunteered for a website critique. It was so great to get real feedback from a successful photographer with my ideal business. I have since been making a lot of changes. We chatted some more, had lunch and then geared up for a hilarious indoor shoot with her kids and chickens! Those images will forever live in my mind. I even got to wrangle some chickens with June and bring them inside. I got to carry in Shiny. We shot for a long time and change up room locations and shot some more. Then we got to the wing portion of the session, but our model wasn't feeling very modelesque. So Taralynn graciously became our new model, and oh my, what a beauty she was! We shot her a ton out on Joy's property, and then came inside to wrap it all up. We had another heartfelt discussion, and then went outside to get some great head shots of everything. That was such a blast. We said our goodbyes (or stuck around past our welcome), and then a few of us headed to a local antique shop recommended by Joy. We all needed quilts after that amazing weekend.
This workshop was everything I needed, and so much more. The support system, the brainstorming, the soul searching, the business tips.. the list goes on. My goal was to figure how to be successful without being a "sell out". I want to be more than a mom with a camera, sticking babies in baskets and taking the same photo over and over again. I feel very confident that I have the tools and knowledge to take my business to the next level.
But that weekend was more than a workshop. It was a retreat for my mind. It was food for my soul. Joy shared her entire story to us openly, and with love. To say I had a girl crush on Joy would be an understatement. Shh, don't tell her I said that :) Being in her home, meeting her family, chatting with her husband about vintage trailers, it was all such a breath of fresh air. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I am so thankful that I get to look back on these memories forever. I keep trying to sum it up, but fail at words. So many people have asked me about it, so I will share some tidbits from instagram and clickin moms:
"I knew I would leave a better photographer, with a good business plan. I never thought I would leave a better mother, with a more positive outlook on life. I never thought I would grow wings. Thank you Joy."
"we talked about so much more than photography. we talked about our dreams. we talked about art and love and pain. we literally had a cry session together. it was amazing. these other woman that i met are my forever friends now. i learned things about myself. i learned tons of technical things like marketing and working with clients and editing skills and pricing myself (she openly discussed this, and didn't tell each of us the same number), but it was just so much more than that. something you can't put a price on. it was food for my soul."
"but i will say if you are on the fence about it, DO IT. you won't regret it. there were lots of women there who aren't in business and have no plans to be, and i know they benefitted from it as much as i did. it was so beautiful.
and i will say something else. if you aren't sold on joy's work or lifestyle, this isn't the workshop for you. so much of her personality and life was breathed into the workshop, so if you don't feel a connection with her, you probably won't feel it with the workshop."
Obviously there are hundreds of photos missing, but we basically did 3 sessions, so each one is getting there own blog post. Stay tuned! They will be linked up here when they are finished :)