My trip to Dallas was the dream I never knew I needed. Ironically, that seemed to happen a lot in 2020. Taking time off of shooting weddings to fully incorporate styling into my brand through a course was mainly what I was surprised by. But, coming upon the Glow up Challenge with Charla + Jen via Develeope Academy influenced my work and increased my confidence exponentially. I remember reading Jen’s post and being immediately sold but I honestly didn’t join right away. It took me a few days to join in (that’s the processor in me) but, after some time I felt in my gut that this was indeed for me!
Once I joined, I was blown away. I’d known Jen for a few years because of the family she created through her Presets and The Edit, her other educational resource. She answered questions, gave tips and always a friend and encouraging voice. So I went into the challenge knowing the education was going to be solid and it was. After 5 days of learning I felt so strongly that I wish I knew this when I first started my journey as a photographer. But I resolved that If I did, I wouldn’t appreciate the glow up happening in me and for me.
What changed things even more for me was that once the challenge was over, I shared my love for it through a testimonial and won a ticket to the Develope Academy’s Workshop in December.
Going out to Dallas was a leap further into being the photographer I always wanted to be, to create work I am deeply proud of. For me it wasn’t just about going to another workshop. It was stepping out into the deep, going further out to see that I could actually create everything that was in me. Growth has always been a part of my process and something I always say is the more I grow personally, the more my business grows. And I see that more than ever now.
This would’ve been my second trip this year so it felt a little less unnerving to be flying and reserving rentals during this time. Traveling and pursuing growth in my career during a pandemic actually gave me the fuel to pursue what was ahead with enthusiasm. While I didn’t fully know what to expect I knew things would not only change for my business, it would change for me.
I began the morning picking up more gear from Aperturent, thankfully I was familiar with renting due to my times at the Atlanta Location and their COVID safe process was seamless. Upon arrival we were treated with coffee from the beautiful Adolphus Hotel to get our day going , stations were being set up to teach us how and what to document, with education behind every story of the day. The model, Francesca was as sweet as pie! We all adored her and her beauty but what I loved the most was that she knew my name upon meeting her and attempted the same for others. While we went in groups at each station whether it was the table scape, flat lay, or our model stations, each time we went to take portraits of her she focused on your portrait direction. But there were in-between moments where she saw us and gave us a look or pose, letting us know she was in-tune with the importance of our individual creativity. I loved that!
I also appreciated having opportunities to give her direction based on my style which is both editorial, and emotional, my own unique strategy that brought out her inner beauty. I can’t say enough about the day. The time went by beautifully-I made friends-connected-learned and walked away full, and in awe of the experience. I stayed past the time to take selfies with the hosts, who were the friends and women who believed in me and what they taught through the challenge.
2020 wasn’t all bad. My faith + the hard moments helped me to look up and forward to create beauty in a year we all needed it. I couldn’t be more ready to serve my couples and vendors again with beautiful, dreamy work that I believe in. While emulating the look of film is practical, it’s all heart, vision and passion that drives me.
I wish I could share every image I took that day but here are a few of my top picks.
There’s so much more to enjoy but I hope you enjoyed these selections as much as I do. Dallas and this experience was good to me. The Hotel, the best sushi I’ve ever had after shooting and the friendship, was just what I needed.
To Charla and Jen, heartfelt thanks to you for the opportunity.
Where to find me:
Email: renee at reneejael.com