FIND (FILM IS NOT DEAD)! :)

In a world where comparison runs wild because social media has taken over and peoples opinions seemed to be shared as gospel truth these days, I found myself sitting in large warehouse in Atlanta (thanks again Zack Arias) with near tears streaming down my face as Mr. Jonathan Canlas shared his heart. He shared his inspiration, his workflow, his business strategies, his tag lines, his client experience, his _____ (fill in the blank because he shared it ALL with us! :)

I have been to workshops in the past but this one was (and still is) different for me!

You see, we’re at this crazy transition in life right now…packing our entire house and selling it, expecting a baby in mere weeks and having many conversations about “our future” as we plan and dream and get excited about these changes. Without making this crazy personal, I’ve struggled with some of the changes that are coming my way…what will my days as a part Mom/part business woman look like? Is this even possible? How are other people doing this? Will my photographs and my creativity go down the drain because I’ll be so exhausted to even do anything else besides cook dinner? But as I sat there and listened to Jon gush about his photography, his life, his kids (all 8 of them!), his family, the reasons why he photographs….it dawned on me!

To him, it isn’t about knowing and practicing business the way that he does it. To him, there isn’t a special “formula” that he stirs together to form photographer success that he encourages you to emulate. He doesn’t have special secrets that make him more sought after than the next, he is simply FULL OF PASSION! To him, it’s about being a photographer, a family man, a Dad, a husband. To him, it’s about being an artist. And to him, it’s about falling in love with your craft over and over and over again.

He is an artist to the core of who he is! It’s about having a voice and a vision for not only your business, but your photographs and your life.

It wasn’t about what cameras you shot with or how you chatted with a client to make them book you. It wasn’t about your workflow or marketing strategy, Sure, don’t get me wrong…..they are all important pieces to a puzzle when owning a business. But what I should have realized long ago, is that the passion that I have for my craft as an artist that is FAR greater than the steps and strategies that I take to run a business. And THAT is what will get me through any transition in life! :) As a soon-to-be Mom I NEVER thought that I’d feel partially crippled by the idea of becoming a Mom. I always imagined that I’d have 4 million eager feelings and 900 excitements about a baby (and I still do…trust me, boy do I ever) but as a woman with many dreams of success of my photography (and textile) business, I felt like it was going to turn me upside down into a world that I didn’t even begin to know how to navigate. And it will. And I’m ok with that. Because what I realized as Jon shared for three days, is that it’s about MY passion and MY journey and MY desire as an artist to know that this is the EXACT reason why I’m a photographer in the first place.

To me it’s about people and stories and light. It’s about living the life that I have always dreamed out with my family. I’m a photographer and an artist because I HAVE to be and no amount of change in my life will ever effect that! :) Eh?

Jon is a teacher and a giver and an inspirer! :) He instills confidence in the slightest way and encourages growth in places you didn’t realize. For three days we all scribbled notes as he eagerly shared strategies and how-to’s, we watched him photograph couples and got a renewed fire for the way he interacts with clients and we spent time learning and learning and learning together….and those three days were perfect for me! :) Amazing food, fabulous conversations, the “house of integrity”, and rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls of FILM! :)

Sure, I learned some tips and tricks in running my small photography business that I KNOW will change the way I do things….and I also learned plenty of strategies that will make my business more successful (YAY)! :) But more importantly, I walked away with a renewed fire inside of me for the craft of photography and the desire to be an artist!!! :)

 

I’ll be posting a SLEW of images throughout this week of my amazing time in Atlanta…but for now, here is a glimpse into my experience in Atlanta! :)

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To Catherine, Jon and Joe….my week was AMAZING and I owe you all 400 million hugs and high fives for that! :) THANK YOU! :)

  • April 30, 2012 - 7:15 am

    Jen O. - Beautifully written Emily. And Jon is the man. LOVE these images.

  • April 30, 2012 - 7:18 am

    Dani - Amazing, mind blowing images Emily! So beautiful!

  • April 30, 2012 - 7:19 am

    Krystal Muellenberg - ahhhh as if I didn’t want to go to a FIND workshop badly enough already. amazing heartfelt post, emily! and your images. as always. stellar.

  • April 30, 2012 - 7:22 am

    Devin - This looks awesome, and like lots of fun! Are the women in your pictures the models, fellow photographers? Either way, they make for great photos!

  • April 30, 2012 - 7:23 am

    Jane Erickson - You were in the right place, with the right people, at the right time this weekend! You have passion for everything you do – I can picture you grocery shopping with passion. You’ll be a good Mom and continue to be a happy person.

  • April 30, 2012 - 7:30 am

    Anda - This is my favorite post from you ever — I loved reading it so much! The images crack me up — so funny, some of them (in a good way :)). YOU, by the way, look RADIANT!

  • April 30, 2012 - 7:50 am

    Amy Paulson - LOVE this. And you. And I cannot wait to see how this little one brings a new side to your photography. I’ve seen how each of my little ones has changed me. And in SUCH beautiful ways. By the way – you are gorgeous. AND – you were less than 2 miles from my house!

  • April 30, 2012 - 8:02 am

    Kelsy - LOVE this post, Emily!!! You (and of course Jon) are SOOO right on about every single word!! It looks like you all had the best time – such fun images :) I hope you enjoy your last few weeks of pregnancy!! Thank you so much for sharing your FIND experience with us :)

  • April 30, 2012 - 8:20 am

    Lucy Taylor - Hi Emily! I am about to give birth to my first baby girl in June and also a photographer! I totally agree with your post and having similar fears/stresses. I’m going to the FIND workshop in October and I can’t wait! If you ever want to swap stories or share successes, let me know! Can’t wait to see your little one!

  • April 30, 2012 - 8:35 am

    jess - :) you make me happy

  • April 30, 2012 - 8:52 am

    athena - “To me it’s about people and stories and light.” Yes. OHMYGOSH yes. I am soosoosoooo happy to know you – to know that this feeling – this thought- is normal. That’s it’s okay to be a photographer because you can’t imagine any other life. That it’s okay for your “ideal client” to be someone who makes YOU light up, too. Not becasue of what they wear, or where they shop, but because of how they feel – who they ARE.

    It’s amazing and inspiring and soul-filling to be your friend, Em. fReal. Keep doing exactly this. Exactly you. Forever and ever.

    You’re an amazing photographer (gah! these images! they are magnificent!), a crazy talented sewist-knitter, and you’re going to be an amzing mother to Baby Steffen.

    Just keep being exactly you, and you’ll do it exactly right.

    Always.

    Much love, friend.

  • April 30, 2012 - 9:45 am

    Liz - This post gave me goosebumps. I’m a firm believer in following your passions-and from that, everything {everything!!!!!!} falls into place. Because God has GIVEN you those passions. And so, He will BLESS it!!! And He will give you GRACE for each season–baby is a new season-and you, my sweet, will flow into it with grace, beauty, and balance. and on those days that you can’t see straight and need to just cry into your pillow-call me. I will bring you a cup of tea, snatch baby, and let you sleep. promise. xoxoxo

  • April 30, 2012 - 12:09 pm

    Melissa Oholendt - YES, YES, YES!!!! Love this post. LOVE and am so encouraged by your experience with FIND!! XO friend.

  • April 30, 2012 - 7:13 pm

    Carly McCray - As someone who has struggled with exactly what you outlined, you CAN and will be able to do it! Loved this post + your honesty Emily! (And you look adorable too, by the way!):)

  • May 2, 2012 - 10:41 am

    Kate Botwinski - Em, I have no doubts that you’re about to love life even more in the upcoming month. Your work doesn’t even need an ounce of improvement or more passion- but I know it will only get more impressive. You can and will succeed at anything in your path. I love you my friend. I can’t wait to BE there and see it all light up over the next year. I’m proud of you, as always.

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