In January I was fortunate enough to travel to Texas and attend the highly sought after Foundation Workshop. It’s a week long, intensive photojournalism workshop for wedding photographers, and it was hands down one of the best things that I’ve ever done for my career.
Jeff attended last year, and we both agreed it was the perfect fit for both of us and that I’d benefit from the experience. And that’s what it is. An experience. I’ve spent the last year wondering what it would be like for me. I went into it with an idea of how it would go, and in some ways I was right, and in others I was so surprised. Like how you don’t just grow professionally and learn to take better photos … you become a tight knit little family in a few short days and leave feeling like a new (and very tired!) person. Everyone has their own unique experience. It almost can’t be explained.
I landed on the most amazing team with mentors Daniel Aguilar and Brett Butterstein. They somehow saw through my photos and after only a short time of knowing me, attached my personality traits to my shooting style in a way I had never thought of before. It was eye opening. They taught me more than I thought I could possibly learn in a week – how to compose differently, see light, listen, connect, to stop and think, to never settle, and so much more. Their knowledge and support came through every single time you talked to them. They’re such genuine people and so clearly just wanted to help us all succeed and become better, more confident photographers and people.
I was so excited about every single thing that happened. Even during critique when I was being told some disappointing things, or if I was getting frustrated while shooting, I was still excited! I was just so happy to be there and learn from people who I’ve always respected.
The biggest thing I took away from the week was to trust my instincts. I was constantly doubting myself and my composition and thinking “is this a good shot?” I learned that no one sees the world like you do, so shoot the way you see the world. That’s what will make you happy and help you stand out. I stopped doubting every composition I made and stuck with them. Now when I have a camera, I shoot what I’m drawn to. No more thinking “is this weird? Will anyone get it?” It’s made photography even more appealing, intriguing and thought provoking than it was ever before, which I didn’t think was possible.
I’m so thankful for Danny and Brett and my wonderful teammates who have already become lifelong friends. It feels as though we’ve known each other for years. At Foundation, you bond so fast with people that you instantly become more excited about their success than your own. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing you have that support all week, as you make it through all of the ups and downs, and well after you part ways.
And this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Huy. His dedication to helping photographers grow is astounding. The week was flawlessly executed with a perfect balance of learning, high emotions and fun, ending with the incredible, cheer filled finale of seeing each student’s slideshows. Knowing how far everyone had come in such a short week was just the icing on the cake.
I think I’m still on a high from it all. It’s forever changed the way I think about photography, has created the most incredible friendships and memories, and we’re beyond excited with the direction that Cooked Photography is heading.
Written by Jenn.