BEFORE WE CAN ACHIEVE GREATNESS, WE HAVE TO ACHIEVE GOODNESS
-SOME RICH GUY
I just returned from Atlanta an hour ago and after spending 7 hours in the car—my brain is fried but I still feel the enthusiasm and creative juices flowing from yesterday's workshop with Sam Hurd and many other talented photographers from all over the Southeast.
I have been following Sam since I started my journey in the wedding photography industry. Without a doubt, he has inspired many of my images (and he led me to purchasing my first prism a few months ago). Sam started the day telling us his first love was magic (and as a kid, he hoped to be a magician) well, I'd say (and a few of us mentioned in the afternoon) that he did turn out to be a photo magician and reflects and paints with light like no other photographer I have seen.
Not only that—he is a super laid-back, helpful and energetic dude.
We spent the morning talking about the business side of things and Sam was extremely transparent—showing us what he sends to clients, what programs he uses, as well as his general workflow. I truly did not expect him to divulge so much about his business and it made me feel like we're all in this together. As photographers (and other creatives) in an overly saturated market, it's easy to forget that we all have the same purpose while we are struggling to stand out and book awesome clients. We are all chasers of light, generally hate paperwork and have to put on a front that we are (somewhat?) organized in all of the chaos. Sam showed us many programs and apps to make our lives easier and reiterated to focus on what's most important: creating EPIC images.
I will digress for one moment and add that this workshop could not have came at a better time—smack dab in the middle of wedding season, with loads of editing and galleries to upload. My life has been in complete chaos and having a moment to see others in the same boat and taking a breather to explore Atlanta for a day gave me a chance to reflect. To look back at where I was a year ago, before I began adventuring out of the box and shooting how I wanted to shoot. And now, in 2015, I am walking next to one of my biggest influences and asking him about free-lensing tips. What a year it has been!
Sam began the day telling us that before he dove into wedding photography (while working as a photographer for the National Press Club) he spent a lot of time researching the key players in the industry. He studied their wedding portfolios and decided that he would do everything the complete opposite. He studied light for months, practicing on dummy heads and wooden play models. He learned how to turn a crowded hallway into a soft-lit portrait studio. He shot epic portraits in hotel bathrooms and yellow lobby's. He was (and is) a master at turning nothing into something.
I am inspired by Sam to take the same initiative this season and to stop feeling like I am stuck in this socially constructed photography box. I'm anxious to break the rules. And first things first, to break one of my 50mm lenses in order to start free-lensing.
Thanks again, Sam, for spending the day with us.
Here are some of my favorite shots. Also: many thanks to Amy and Ben for modeling for us!