Last month, I took a day to invest in my business in one of the best ways I know how - attending a workshop. Not just any workshop, though. I'd followed (okay fine, stalked) Sarah Libby since we moved to Oklahoma City, and fell in love with her images, her style, and her keepin-it-real transparency from day one. I love that her images aren't forced in any way - she uses authentic posing to capture authentic moments, with real colors and no unnatural filters or presets (that's another post for another day). Her images are bright, bold, and timeless - pretty much everything I've always hoped to deliver in my own images.
So, when I saw her announcement that she'd be hosting a workshop, I came out of my Sunday afternoon nap coma in half a second flat, jumped for joy and then immediately started SCRAMBLING to register because I knew this was an opportunity I would seriously regret passing up.
What. A. Day.
Coincidentally, my friend I love to second shoot with, Jordan Mobley, had registered too (great minds), so we hopped in the car and headed to Southwind Hills venue south of Norman to join Sarah and 13 other wedding photographers for an intensive day of learning and shooting (and drinking champagne because #whynot).
We began the day listening to Sarah speak on the ins and outs of how she runs her business and how she's built her clientele to become one of the most in-demand wedding photographers in the state. She was an open book, answering ANY and all questions we had, assuring us there are no secrets to success, and passing along nuggets of wisdom I'll be forever grateful for. I filled up the cute little notebook in our gift bags QUICK.
Right after lunch, we headed outside to shoot in full-on sun. This was actually one part of the workshop I was looking forward to the most. As Sarah put it, on a real wedding day, it's rare that you get to shoot during golden hour. You're usually in somewhat of a rush and dealing with whatever light you have to get the best shots you can - and often that's in bright, harsh afternoon sun. So we watched her do her thing, soaked up the sun and all the knowledge we could, and assuaged our fears of shooting in less-than-ideal conditions. Aren't the models we had (a real-life couple) just beautiful?
After the first shooting session, we came back inside to watch Sarah edit the photos she'd just taken, live, right there right in front of us. I learned a few things about Lightroom I didn't know before and got to see how she organizes her massive inventory of files, which was helpful.
Finally, we headed back outside during golden hour to shoot another gorgeous real-life couple. We watched as Sarah guided them through poses and literally chased the light to get the best shots, and then took turns posing the couple ourselves.
Why this workshop was worth the investment
I'd attend Sarah Libby's workshop again in a heartbeat. Aside from finally getting to meet a photographer I respect and admire the heck out of, along with a dozen other ladies who I now consider friends, the structure of the day was so helpful and the lessons so worthwhile. Styled shoots are great, but they're not the most realistic if you're wanting to get practice for real wedding days. This was different. We had some beautiful styled elements from talented vendors, but we shot quickly, efficiently, and in real conditions.
Sarah shared a wealth of knowledge, both technical and creative, and truly did not hold anything back if it could help US become better photographers and business owners. She's all about serving her clients, but in a way that doesn't diminish her own expertise and style.
I'd highly recommend a Sarah Libby Workshop for any wedding photographers like me who have recently entered the industry but have a working knowledge of wedding day workflows and just want to become better at their craft. That being said, there were photographers there who've never shot a wedding before, and a few who've shot dozens and dozens. Just about anyone can learn valuable lessons from Sarah to help take their business to the next level.
Sarah hasn't announced her next workshop yet, but you can find more info here and follow her on Instagram for updates.
Sarah Libby Workshop Vendors:
Sarah Libby, you da best!