In June on the day after I returned from my D.C. trip, I attended the Color Inc. ATX Family Photography workshop. I first saw the event posting in the Austin’s Tuesdays Together Facebook Group, a chapter of the Rising Tide Society. Looking over the agenda of the workshop, I knew I would learn a lot from the experience; an added bonus: it was at one of my favorite shooting locations: Star Hill Ranch. I frequently go to Star Hill because we use the location regularly when we do Kelly’s Kids and Eleanor Rose photo shoots. The place has become so familiar to me, and I was looking forward to seeing the place in a new way and with a new objective.
My D.C. trip was so much fun! You can read the highlights here. The day after I returned from D.C. was a busy work day, but then I had to drive off to Star Hill for the workshop as soon as the work day ended! Luckily, I’ve driven to Star Hill from the office many times, so I knew by memory on how to get there and roughly how long it would take me.
When I arrived, I was happy to see a few familiar faces: Simi Sho of Uche Photography and Jessica Frey of Jessica Frey Photography; I quickly made some new friends at the table I was sitting at from us talking about a passion that we all have in common: Stephanie Friedman of Stephanie Friedman Photography and Joshua Simmons of Joshua Simmons Photography. The workshop was hosted by Color Inc., but the teachers for the evening were Liz Labianca, of Liz Labianca Photography, and Missy Mayo, of Missy Mayo Photography. Both women gave their perspectives on how to capture joyful family images, and we learned a little about their processes. It was so interesting to see how they each have different styles and approaches to a shoot, but they both capture beautiful and genuine emotion. They both agreed that you have to basically be as obnoxious as possible with kids to help get them to show that true childlike joy; it’s easier to start off with the classic poses first, and then let the kids run around and play. Both agreed having the family play games is a key trick to capturing joy.
After having a little discussion with Liz and Missy. We were all sent out to photograph three (out of five) families that were positioned around Star Hill. Each group had twenty minutes with a family, then we switched. Looking around, there were around 20 photographers for the first family. No one really knew how to start off. I started talking, which then turned into “Erin starts off the shoot with giving directions to the family for posing”. I was so nervous with all the other photographers watching me, but luckily, they all seemed to appreciate how I set up the first pose. Twenty minutes went by, and then we rotated to the next family. We were all supposed to stay in separate groups, but that quickly ended after the first round. One family had to leave because the baby was getting hot and fussy. Then another family moved to the shaded location. It basically became a free-for-all for the photographers. We walked around between the different families to take their photos.
I loved watching how other photographers work: how they pose, what they see through their camera, and how they communicate to the client. Playing with the kids and families was second best. Getting to take photos of said kids and families was the best part! By the end of the evening, I was exhausted. After shooting and filling up on the cheese, crackers, and other small bites, I was ready to head home and sleep. You can tell we were all spent after running around in the Texas heat and shooting for almost two hours. It was an awesome experience to learn and take photos. I can’t wait until I can go to the next workshop!