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6 reasons why my workshops are different – my post on East Side Bride.

Alt Photography Workshop + POOL PARTY

Technical photography workshops are awesome, necessary, and extremely productive – but this is not one of them. Here are six reasons why my workshops are different:


I am not a “rockstar photographer.” I’m just a person who is sometimes totally full of shit, but I also spend a lot of time working on myself as an artist and I really really care about my work. My focus is on the quality of work we put out there, and most importantly our personal relationship to that work & what it can teach us. I am honest and revealing and have no intention of pretending to be someone I am not. I am not going to tell you how to skip the hard part & become a successful photographer overnight – QUITE THE CONTRARY.


One of the main subjects I cover in the workshops, is how critical I believe it is to connect with our work & put ourselves into our art. Often times, photographers will focus on finding more expensive equipment, or spending hours looking at the work of other photographers in their industry for inspiration. As artists, we need to put ourselves & our experience into the work we are producing in order to create something that stands out & resonates with us. A majority of people who attend my workshops are photographers, but because I focus on The Artist, I often have other creative business people in attendance too – like bloggers, calligraphers, magazine editors, writers etc.


My work is certainly not for everyone. I focus more on what intuitively clicks inside me while I’m shooting than I do on perfection in composition, lighting etc. In fact, I often do what would be considered “technically wrong” in order to get the results I want. I have seen a million pretty photos, but it’s often the blurry, strangely-cropped, under/over-exposed images that stand out for me the most. Why? Because I can personally relate to them. Because they reveal something deeper, more beautiful, more honest, more human. Let’s just say that if I had to choose between Ansel Adams and Diane Arbus, I’m going with Arbus.


Besides my more philosophical lectures, I also cover real-world examples from my experience, discuss experimentation, how to get the clients you want, self-branding and many other practical subjects. I leave ample time for Q & A to structure each workshop around the attendees. I invite incredible guest lecturers to focus on subjects that are vital in running your own creative business. For example: Anne Sage on the important role of social media in self-branding (Bay AreaSan Diego Workshops), Chloe Aftel giving a hands-on Polaroid class that will blow your mind (Bay AreaSan Diego Workshops), Emma Case on not compromising (London Workshop) etc. These are artists & creative people whom I admire and respect and have learned so much from.


Yes, we spend a few good hours discussing all sorts of deep, intense and important topics – I pose vital questions that we need to ask ourselves… blah blah, BUT I also believe in not taking stuff too seriously. If we’re going to work hard, we’re going to relax and/or play hard too. Some of my workshop after parties have included: glamping sleepover in a giant beach house overlooking the ocean with musical guests Tim & Nicki Bluhm (here’s video by Bay Area workshop attendee Sara Wilbur Photography), dirty-hip-hop dance parties (London & Italy video by Son Of Shark Pig), … and sometimes celebrity guests! The beautiful Sarah Carter will be our model for the San Diego workshop. Wine & friends, plus clean & tasty gourmet food is of utmost importance! (Nicole of Gjleina is catering!) … And we will also be taking some hard-core pool breaks.


I love how people keep in touch after my workshops – they become friends, ask for help reviewing an edit, travel across the country to hang out together, do awesome photo projects together, or even start a Facebook group specifically for all the people in the workshop they attended, including me. It’s RAD.

I am so extremely super-excited about my upcoming 2-day workshop on June 28th & 29th at my house and studio in San Diego! You can learn all about it HERE. Find out more about my workshops, content I discuss, videos & interviews with me, attendee testimonials and more HERE.

I was delayed at the airport on my way to SFO for my recent Artist Workshop, and sitting right across from me were these 2 nuns- I loved that their habits where completely navy blue and that ALL their luggage matched their outfits- everything navy blue- cute! (shot on 35mm film)

  • May 25, 2012 - 5:21 pm

    julia wheeler - holy shit. i kid you not… those were nuns from my high school in nor-cal. trippy!!

Wow! What an awesome and fun and full 2 days we had at my Bay Area Workshop.
I am currently gearing up for my next few workshops- 1 in San Diego (at my house!) on June 28th & 29th (sign up HERE) and New York at the end of July (mailing list), plus another London workshop coming up later this year (mailing list).

This was such a wonderful 2 days in so many ways! We had a husband and wife team, 2 sisters, and 2 babies-in-utero there – a first time ever at one of my workshops. Plus so many friends, guest lecturers, shoots and stuff going on all at once- we covered pretty much everything from my deeper more philosophical subject matter, to technical, business, creative, editorial, workflow, portraiture and lots of hands-on stuff. Plus eating, drinking, music and so much more. In fact, I couldn’t have said it better than the attendees themselves! Read all about it in the AWESOME attendee reviews of this workshop HERE, HERE, HERE, HEREHERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

I have organized tons of photos taken by the attendees as well as sweet Kaz from Woodnote Photography who provided coverage of the entire event.  Thank you Kaz! I love the photos and so happy to have such a rad new friend!

All photos credited above each set of images.

Photo below: Studio 222

I rented this gorgeous giant beach house in Pacifica, CA- this was the view we had to deal with! The house had tons of secret rooms and lofts with hidden doorways that led to other rooms.

Photos below: Woodnote Photography

Photos below: Shutter Sam

Above, Chloe‘s Polaroid lecture and her stunning work!

Photos below: Rory Amber Photography

Above, Chloe‘s dogs paid us a special guest visit during our Polaroid project! The last image is of our shoot for Rue Magazine with the amazingly talented styling skills of Erin (Apartment 34), produced by Anne Sage of Rue Mag/ City Sage blog. We did a shoot featuring Three Babes Bakeshop (and then we ate their delicious sweet & savory pies!) Images coming soon in the next issue of Rue!

My dear friends and clients Tim & Nicki Bluhm hung out and sang at my workshop after party, an exclusive little performance just for us! We also gave each attendee a copy of their beautiful cd Duets.

You must watch this little video shot by attendee Sara Wilbur Photography of one of the songs they played!

Photos below:  Patti & Russ of Ressull Salvi Photography

On Day 2 of the workshop we had my friends, special guest lecturers Anne Sage (Rue Magazine / City Sage Blog) discussing social media and creative business, and master photographer Chloe Aftel teaching us about Polaroid cameras using Impossible Project film. We also received some discount coupons from Impossible!

Above left, Nicki and I getting a little snuggle in on the couch. On the right- me talking to the cops at the after party: The neighbor decided to flash my guests his private parts through his window, and then had the audacity to call in a noise complaint on us! So I asked the officer if we could file a counter-complaint at his genitals… he said No. But still… Anyways, we had a blast that night! Dinner, wine & live music… I loved hanging out with everyone there- what an epic group of people! After that, everyone crashed out in the house…

Chloe Aftel lecturing the next morning… Photo below: Studio 222

Photos below: Woodnote Photography during our Polaroid session. We teamed up into pairs of two as Chloe allowed us to use her slew of cameras to create some Polaroid magic…

Photos below: Jetkat Photo – waiting for the Polaroids to develop and then hearing all the excitement and gasping around the room as we slowly turned each one over to look at it…

Photo below: Woodnote Photography

And here are all the Polaroids everyone took of each other! So beautiful…

Kaz & I teamed up and shot these of each other. But the middle photo with my head replaced by a blast of light (what it looks like when my “mind is blown”) was taken by the fantastically beautiful Véronique Roch-Lefebvre.

My favorite one that Kaz took of me below.

The beautiful Rachel who produced the video that her fiance cinematographer Drew Dorsey shot of the workshop, interviewing the attendees. Photo below by Sarah Layne Photography

The crew! Group shot & all other photos below by: Woodnote Photography

The gift bags for my attendees!
Customized canvas tote bags from FBS Print – I use mine all the time now / Customized notebooks from Paper Coterie – everyone loved these!/ Had to share the beautiful sounds of my dear friends & clients Tim & Nicki Bluhm‘s Duets CD’s / Gorgeous art magazine Sioux Magazine / Cookies shipped from my favorite place to eat in LA Gjelina /  Discount coupon specifically for my workshops from my lab George’s Camera

FOOD! I wanted the BEST- Clean, super yummy food for my group- and I hit the jackpot! Catering provided by Square Meals (SO GOOD!) and delicious breakfast & baked goods by Batter Bakery – we ate like royalty!!!

And a few more from Kaz (Woodnote Photography) below…

I cannot say enough about Stacy, my workshop intern assistant who was so awesome that I ended up offering her a job as my Workshops Manager / Social Director … She completes me. Thank you Stacy!

Special thanks to Cinematographer & friend Drew Dorsey for video coverage (coming soon!) and his gorgeous fiancee Rachel for producing the little film we’re making. So glad we all got to live together in that giant rad house for 3 days! Also a very special thank you to my best friend Rob who set up the AV for us and gives the best hugs in the world- I love you , brother.

Read some AWESOME attendee reviews of this workshop HEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE and HERE.

I am currently gearing up for my next few workshops- 1 in San Diego (at my house!) on June 28th & 29th (Sign up HERE) and New York at the end of July (mailing list), plus another London workshop coming up later this year (mailing list).

This shoot for the Rue Magazine (pgs 53 & 54) at my house, was styled by the super sweet couple Nick & Aleah over at Valley & Co…  I (obviously) tried the perfect summer cocktails AND recipes that they created specifically for this shoot– SO good. You can download the recipes right on pg 54! PLUS, I highly recommend Rhuby (a tasty Rhubard spirit) created by Art in The Age… delicious.

Pages 53 & 54 shot on expired 35mm film. Pg 4 digital.

I took this shot on my Virgin America flight to San Francisco last week for my 2-day Artist Workshop….

Btw, Virgin, you were an asshole to me TWICE on my way back home – You didn’t let me get on my flight back & you forced me to wait 4 hours at the airport to get on another flight- which was actually fine because I made some new friends, incidentally I also made some new friends on my flight there too, so whatever… then I went to pick up the book I had left on my plane ride into SFO just 3 days previous, and you had already sent it out to headquarters…. totally annoying… but I still kinda like you, and your beautiful planes, and the fact that you don’t care about showing HBO & nudity on your in-flight entertainment. And I also really enjoyed your Virgin-produced Boing Boing channel… super cool!

35mm groovy film (straight out of the camera)…

  • May 1, 2012 - 10:19 am

    a love supreme - this made me giggle 🙂

  • July 11, 2015 - 9:45 pm

    Christian - What camera were you using. I am trying to get into 35mm photography, but know little about it. I am looking for a camera that produces images similar to this one of the plane. Any lead or info would be greatly appreciated thanks.

I made a collage of every single cell phone pic that was tweeted by everyone during my 2-day Bay Area workshop this past week… which totally still seems like it was all a dream to me. I am still trying to get back in my body after this incredibly amazing, beautiful and intense experience, and I will write more when I gather some images together and do a proper post. I just want to say THANK YOU to each and every person involved… I’m overwhelmed with joy at such an incredible experience, and truly honored to have spent time with every person there… thanks guys…

In the meantime, some beautiful posts from attendees about the workshop with gorgeous photography and detailed descriptions can be found on these links:

Rory Amber Photography
Becka Robinson
JetKat Photo
Melina Wallisch

Everyone’s tweeted cell phone pics of the workshop:

  • April 24, 2012 - 2:55 am

    Nissin Flash - Pics are superb. Cool photography by everyone.

  • April 26, 2012 - 1:50 pm

    kate skogen - yeah! what a great collection! nice to see all our new pals! and a photo of my shoes 🙂 can’t tell you enough how much i loved the workshop!

  • May 4, 2012 - 2:45 pm

    Becky Joiner - That combo is soo cool great way to express everyone’s experience as one big experience. Love the community spirit!!

  • September 20, 2012 - 4:48 am

    tokina lenses - nice photos

  • November 27, 2012 - 3:36 am

    KPITBoard - unique photography.

  • December 14, 2012 - 2:45 am

    mehreen shah - photography at its best !!!

I have arrived at the beautiful big beach house in the Bay Area for my two-day workshop which starts tomorrow… it’s gorgeous out here.

  • April 18, 2012 - 8:49 am

    Nicole - Wow! Look at that natural light flooding the room! Gorgeous architecture, windows, floor, view, furniture and you 🙂 What a photography dream! I wish I could have attended your workshop. Maybe one day I can :)That’s beautiful, you have outstanding taste.