Back in November, I was doing my daily routine of stalking my very favorite photographer ever on instagram (@megloeks--warning, you might be scrolling for hours) when I saw that her latest post mentioned something about her coming to Salt Lake for a photography workshop. WHAT??! I immediately got hot flashes as my fingers flitted from one website to another in order to find out more details. haha!
I signed up as soon as I could, but was so disappointed to see that Meg's shoot along class was already filled. I even messaged one of the director's to see if there was a waiting list or something, but no such luck. So instead, I browsed some of the other photographers who were also going to be there and picked another one to join for the class, hoping I would still be able to meet Meg.
A few weeks ago, the day finally came an I found myself feeling so anxious about going by myself. I kept asking myself what in the world I was thinking going to a weekend retreat by myself with nearly one hundred other photographers! It didn't help that I had just been away from my family for nearly a whole week in Kansas and so I felt guilty leaving for another 3 days since I would be just staying the night at my sister's house in order to avoid driving back and forth every morning and night.
Ryan and I switched cars and because his car had been parked in the sun all day and the AC was broken, I was a hot and sweaty mess by the time I rolled into the hotel parking lot...20 minutes late.😩
Once I slopped into the lobby, I was overwhelmed with dozens and dozens of ladies standing around already chatting with one another like they've been best friends their whole lives. I made my way to the check in table to get my name tag and swag bag (aka a bag with a coffee cup and mints lol), and then proceeded to be the most awkward human being in existence. I didn't know or even recognize a single soul, so after standing around for a couple of minutes I went into the bathroom and wiped away the sweat and tears that were nearly started to take over. After a few encouraging texts from Ryan I decided to brave the crowds again. If only they had all been sitting at tables, it would have been way less intimidating to introduce myself. Oh well. I stood by myself again close to a tight circle of women and tried to inch my way in. After probably ten (yes, TEN!) minutes of standing around, about ready to run home any second, a couple of ladies stood close by so I seized my chance and attacked them with my name and questions about who they were on instagram. It went pretty horribly, but at least they mentioned that people were ordering dinner from the hotel cafe, so I stood in line to oder food (even though I wasn't that hungry, but it gave me something to do lol), and finally was able to sit down by someone and strike up a conversation. She ended up being one of my buddies for the rest of the weekend. Phew! I got off to a really rough start and even considered canning the whole thing and running back home, but after confiding these feelings to a couple of girls, they assured me they felt the exact same way. 😅
Because I signed up a couple of weeks after the early bird registration, I missed out on the extra shoot along at Antelope Island. There were about 20 of us who had to stay behind for a walk around the city to photograph street life (not my cup of tea, but at least my new buddy, Gina, was also left behind). We all commiserated in the fact that we were being left out and had to stay to do something really lame. Gina and I even considered driving ourselves out to antelope island and sneaking into one of the shoot alongs, but we lacked the guts.
The next morning was much much better, and I even made a few more friends. It was much more structured, which meant I didn't even have to worry about talking to new people if I didn't want to haha.
I went to several classes and listened to speakers and then walked down to a restaurant where we were supposed to have lunch with the guest photographers. We were automatically assigned to a photographer, but my table was right next to Meg's table, and since our individual schedules hadn't been monitored, I sneakily slid right over to her table instead. Gina was in Meg's group, so we both talked about our idol photographers. Mine being Meg, her's being Tara (@taraherron_photography). Then Meg entered the restaurant and then sat RIGHT across from me (cue fainting Hannah)!
I ordered a lemonade and then she ordered the same thing (🙇♀️lol), then she told me she liked my shirt and I blubbered out some sort of thank you. I was so dumbfounded to be sitting right by her, I honestly couldn't think of any questions to ask her, although she did announce that she was pregnant and even said that they are considering the name Scout and I told her that Jane's nickname is Scout. So basically we are BFF's now. 🤓
She even humored me with a selfie together haha. Then I sat front and center during her presentation and was able to sneak another picture then. It was definitely the highlight of my weekend being able to meet her and sit in on her classes.
The rest of the afternoon went by quickly with more short classes and moving around. Then We broke up into our shoot along groups and I was still considering sneaking into Meg's class. haha But she was doing an indoor session and I actually wanted to work more on my outdoor, so I decided to stick with my assigned photographer. I was in the same group with a few other ladies I had made friends with, so that was really nice and so fun. Everyone was really friendly and the shoot along with Melissa (@missmelis1112) ended up being amazing. We went to Ensign Peak, which I had never been to before, and the sky was beautiful and the flowers were in bloom all over the hillside, and the model family was just so perfect and sweet. I learned a lot about how I want to direct my own family sessions and was really happy about how my photos turned out. Here are just a few that I've edited. I took over 800 so I still haven't had a chance to go through them all yet.
The clouds were amazing. The sun would break through and create such gorgeous light. The city was beautiful, so I took about 6 photos and stitched them together to create this panorama effect.
Sunday was the last day, so we finished up with a couple more presentations and some editing demonstrations, which were really fun to watch, then said our goodbyes.
All in all, it was really a fun time and I learned a lot even if it was a really rough start haha.