photographer education

Being Real: Rochester NY Photographers

Last week, we spent four days at the Inspire Photo Retreat in Connecticut, taking classes to further our education in photography and business. 

I could tell you about all of the things we learned to bring our clients better images. But I'm not going to. Let's be honest, that's not what is most important to either of us.

What we found this week cannot be measured in better images.

So what did we find? Friendships. Mentors. Encouragement. Ourselves.

We talked it out for hours. We laughed, we danced, and we connected to each other and made new friends. We even ugly cried – daily.

The most important thing we found was a renewed sense of purpose. We needed others to hold the mirror up to us, get us to dig deep and be vulnerable. Because how can we ask this of you, if we cannot do it ourselves?

We were reminded of our "why", and why it's so important to share our real selves with you. Even with the massive list of "to-do's" we brought home, I'm so grateful for this experience. Even the ugly tears. 

 Helping you cherish those relationships that matter most to you, will always remain goal number one. We have a lot of work to do, but we're refreshed and ready to make it happen.

~ Erin

On Convention and Our Photo Family: Buffalo NY Photography

Every March, Lori and I throw some clothes into a bag, grab some gear and head out of town for an important weekend away. It's kind of an anniversary trip of sorts for us. Seven years ago at the PPSNYS (Professional Photographers of NYS) Convention was when we really got to know (and like) each other. It led us to where we are today.

We do it every year, and every year we come home exhausted after two nights of 2am bedtimes. But we also come home better educated, inspired and with grateful hearts for the many relationships that keep us coming back.

A few of our less than professional (iPhone), but fun moments from the weekend with our photo family.

A few of our less than professional (iPhone), but fun moments from the weekend with our photo family.

We're educated by industry leaders all weekend. But we also learn from each other, not as competition but as a photography community, ready and willing to help each other grow. 

We're inspired by our peers. They are our photo family. There's no way to accurately describe what it feels like to be surrounded by so many talented, fun and caring people all at once. We stay up late, because we want the experience to last as long as possible.

To be able to connect with the people who get us is humbling and motivating at the same time. We are constantly reminded that we have a community like no other.

So yeah, we come home exhausted - but also grateful for the friends who inspire us, remind us who we are, and why we do what we do.

We're ready. Ready for the busy season ahead, and ready to share our inspiration with all of you.

~ Erin

PS - Below are some of the photos we took on the last day. We did a photo walk around Silo City, an abandoned factory area. There was inspiration everywhere, with textures, doorways, grit and grime. Three instructors wandered with three different fashion models, but all we could think about was getting a high school senior in that space! There are SO many options for unique photographs here.

For Photographers: How to survive wedding season...

This one goes out to all of our fellow photographers and wedding vendors!

We got into this job because we love the people, the moments, and the excitement of a wedding day. However, it doesn't take long to start feeling the effects of the long days. Aching shoulders, bad backs, tired legs and thumb blisters (yes, that's a real thing). Oh, and let's not forget to mention sun burns, bug bites, and grass stains on every piece of clothing we own.

But if you are like me, you still love it! Through all the aches and craziness, I still love capturing this once in a lifetime day for the amazing clients we have the privilege to serve.

We need to take care of our bodies

So, if we want to stay in the industry more than a few years, we need to take care of our bodies, right? So, how do you do that? Everyone has their own method. And if you don't have one, you need one! I have found mine in yoga.

When I did my very first photography internship with Neil Sjoblom years ago, I learned about everything from lighting, to editing and people skills. But I still remember the day he told me to take care of my back.

I believe he had just come back from the chiropractor. Even though I was young and pain free, I took his advice and purchased a rolling bag to prevent future shoulder pain. I later invested in the Spider Holster system to take the weight off my shoulders and move it to my hips. These two pieces of equipment are some of the best investments I have ever made.

Step two for me, has become yoga. My path to daily yoga was not a straightforward one.

My first experience with yoga was in college, and as much as I wanted to like it, I thought it was strange and uncomfortable. I drifted away from it for a few years, and then tried again at a handful of different local studios.

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but this is my best guess:
 One day, I didn't want to leave the house to go to class, so I searched online for yoga classes. I did one with Jillian Michaels, and a few others whose names I have since forgotten. Then I found Yoga with Adriene. I instantly connected with her personality and yoga style and subscribed to her channel. I mixed at home yoga with classes for quite a while. 

Yoga on the beach!

Yoga on the beach!

The Game Changer: Daily Yoga

Then, two January's ago she announced a new program: 30 Days of Yoga. This was the turning point for me. As someone who still only practiced 1 or 2 times a week, this was a challenge to do yoga 30 days in a row.

It was truly a game changer. Never had I ever felt so flexible, so confident and just plain good about myself. Since then, I have become much more dedicated and try to practice every day.  At this point, I am a 5-6x a week yogi. I like to start my day with yoga, and sometimes practice before bed too! When I don't practice, my body reminds me. I've learned to listen to my body, and give it what it needs. 


Yoga for Photographers

Somewhere along the line, I tried the Creative Live Course: Yoga for Photographers with Vanessa Joy. She put things into photographer terms, and offered some ideas specific to our field.

Now, yoga is a must for me before and after a wedding. I do lots of stretching which gets my body ready, and the slow pace and meditation gets me mentally ready. At the end of the day, I'm usually wound up from the excitement, so yoga calms me back down and stretches me out so I can sleep.

I have even been known to do some stretching DURING a wedding! If I can sneak off for 5 minutes and find an out of the way spot, I can stretch my legs, do some forward folds and feel energized for the rest of the night. It is seriously transformative, and I cannot recommend it enough.

If you have tried yoga in the past and didn't like it, maybe you just need a different instructor. There are so many styles and forms of yoga, I believe there is something for everyone, you just have to find it. 

For me, yoga is my secret weapon for surviving wedding season.

What works for you?