Thursday, April 23, 2015

CONFIDENCE Photography Workshop | Dallas

About a year and a half ago, I met Me Ra Koh for the first time. I was attending the Click Blogger Retreat in the Outer Banks (my first mama getaway), and Me Ra was there as a speaker.

Prior to the blogger retreat, I'd read Me Ra's book, Your Baby in Pictures, and viewed some of her photography online, but I didn't know much else about her.

At the retreat, Me Ra shared bits and pieces of her life story, and I was inspired by her resilience and optimism in the face of so many challenges.

Like many other attendees, I fell in love with her.

With her charisma. Her charm. Her passion. Her confidence.

That was 2013.

Fast forward to late 2014...I learned that Me Ra and her husband, Brian, would be presenting a photography workshop in April 2015 in Dallas. I had been on the lookout for a mama getaway, so I quickly signed up.

A few months later, I got a big surprise by email. Partnering with Southwest Airlines, Me Ra offered me a Southwest LUV voucher, which nearly covered the non-stop flight from Sacramento to Dallas and back.  (Yes, you read that right: Southwest now flies non-stop from Sac to Dallas...sweet, huh?!)

I was thrilled! And grateful. And even more excited to attend the Confidence Photography Workshop. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@jharless), you've likely seen some of these iPhone shots already.

The flight out to Dallas was perfect, and I checked into the NYLO Hotel in Plano on Friday afternoon. (The iPhone shot above was actually taken the following Tuesday for my 3-year-old son who was requesting a photo of my airplane.)

This was my beautiful hotel room. When I first entered the room, I dropped all of my luggage by the door, grabbed my iPhone, and hopped up on the coffee table (I'm vertically challenged, what can I say?), so I could snap this shot. 

Then, I jumped in that big bed for a 2-hour nap.  (It was so needed after getting up at 3:30 am for my flight out of Sac!)

Later on that day, while I ran on the treadmill (at 10:30 pm because I'd had a nap and was still on PST!), I ruminated about what I hoped to gain from the Confidence Photography Workshop: the opportunity to learn more about photography, to hone my skills, to be inspired and empowered, to fill my creative well--and to just plain have fun. 

I can honestly say that it was all that...and more.

During the Confidence Photography Workshop, I laughed a ton. (Me Ra has the best laugh; it's totally infectious. And Brian is hilarious! At one point, he was up on a table, imitating a monkey who tried to nab his breakfast cereal in the jungle. So funny.)

I connected with women from all over the United States. All moms. All photographers. (Some bloggers like me, too.) All very welcoming and friendly and excited to be there. 

I teared up.

I learned how to turn that annoying beep off on my camera, and how to use the center focus point exclusively instead of constantly toggling my focus points. (Thanks for your help, Brian!)

I ate. And ate. (The chicken caesar salad was delicious, and the warm chocolate chip cookies were decadent.)

I took image after image after image.  




Not in a spray-and-pray-kind-of-way, but in an oh-my-gosh-I'm-having-so-much-fun-kind-of-way.

Shutterbug heaven, I tell ya.  
On Saturday afternoon, I took photos of 6-month-old Baby M and her beautiful mama.

Here are a few of my favorite shots:


All images were taken with my Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon EF 24-70f/2.8, and edited using Lightroom and Photoshop. (I'm a big fan of RadLab's stylets.)

On Sunday afternoon, I took photos of this sweet family. They were so patience with us (a group of four photographers) as we told them where to sit, where to stand, and where to look. Over and over again.

This 6-year-old boy was just precious!  He reminded me of several sweet first grade boys I taught years ago.

I saved my favorite for last.  Isn't this mama just stunning?!

All of the family images were taken with my Canon 5D MarkIII, 24-70 f/2.8 and 85mm f/1.8 (for the headshots), and edited using Lightroom and Photoshop.

I loved that this photography workshop included equal amounts of learning time and practice time.

By Sunday evening, I felt more confident shooting with my camera, more confident posing subjects (although I know I need more practice in this area), and more confident using my external flash.

Things were really begining to click!  (I couldn't resist. Smile.)

Best of all, I was filled with sheer excitement about what my photography future might hold.     

Hats off to Me Ra and Brian for hosting such an amazing workshop, and thanks again to Southwest Airlines for spoiling me with a LUV ticket. 

Last, but certainly not least, I'm grateful to my husband for taking care of our son, our doggies + the chicks, so I could enjoy this super fun mama getaway. You're awesome, Babe! 

P.S. Want to hear more about my adventures in Dallas? Stay tuned for a second post!

*This post contains affiliate links. What does that mean? If you click on any link and make a purchase, I'll receive a small commission--with no extra cost to you--which helps to keep my blog humming along. Thanks, in advance, for your support!    


Anna Holland said...

These photos turned out GREAT!! Thank you for spending time with our family and getting some great shots. You were a pleasure to work with. :)

Me Ra Koh said...

Wow Jennie!

I am so honored by this beautiful post you wrote. And the photos you captured are just AWESOME! Brian and I loved having you in our Confidence Workshop, and congrats again on the Southwest Airlines voucher!!! So wonderful! But I'm even more excited to see how this photography journey continues to unfold for you and your sweet family! This is only the beginning of much goodness to come! Three cheers to confidence with your camera and no more shooting in Auto!

Mindy said...

Loved reading all about your trip Jennie! So glad you've been able to tap in all of your creative awesomeness with your writing, photography and blogging!

Jennie said...

Thanks, Anna! Wishing you and your family the very best.

Jennie said...

Thanks, Me Ra! You're the best!

Jennie said...

Thanks, Mindy! I'm having a blast.

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