My Workshop with Sarah Beth Photography | Stephanie Simmons Photography

Every year I set goals for myself.  What I want to accomplish personally, professionally, for the family.  These can be things I want to learn, or just experiences I want to have.  Last year one of the goals I set was to attend a workshop in person.  I had done a lot of classes and workshops online, but really wanted to benefit from being right there in the moment and seeing first hand how photographers work, how they interact with their clients, use light, and build their business.  So I started looking around at who my favorite photographers were, who’s work really spoke to me, and of course, logistically who I could travel to.  It didn’t take me long to realize Sarah Beth Photography hit all three and was exactly who I was looking for.  I just love her use of connection and light and the fact that she specializes in families. She really shoots from the heart and her work is stunning and so filled with emotion.

I started looking into her workshops only to find out she was doing an application process this year, and hand picking who could attend.  I spent a lot of time filling out her application and really going into detail about what I wanted to learn from her and sent it off thinking no way would I ever get picked.  So I started looking at other workshops but there was no one else I was excited about and had resorted myself to thinking maybe this year just wasn’t the year.  Fast forward to fall when, surprise!, I’m pregnant with baby number three.  And two weeks later while I’m still processing that, I got the news I also got a spot in one of the workshops.  I still remember calling my husband and saying, “What do I do? I don’t want to turn this down, but we’ll have an 8 week old! This is crazy, I have to turn this down, right?” And his response? “We’ll just make it work somehow”.  Man, I love him.

So here comes August and the reality of being 8 weeks postpartum and traveling with three small children and I was seriously doubting my sanity.  Add on the fact that I had never done a workshop before and was feeling incredibly intimidated and nervous to meet Sarah, but she is amazing.  She is one of those people that is high energy, hilarious, and just makes you feel at ease instantly.  We started out with a teaching time learning all about shooting, posing, and how to build your business, and then moved on to a family session outdoors.  Let me tell you I cannot imagine being a model family.  There were eight of us workshop attendees plus Sarah, which makes NINE cameras in your face constantly.  Yet this family made it look effortless, and watching Sarah work was so inspiring.

Sarah Beth Photography Workshop

Sarah Beth Photography Workshop

Here are some of my favorites from the night. This family was a dream.

outdoor family portrait in a field at sunset

Look at how he looks at his Dad.  Totally heart melter.

outdoor family portrait of father and son

Or this complete HAM.

Lifestyle family portraits of little girl and her Dad

And of course, can’t forget the adorable baby brother.

lifestyle portrait of father and baby at sunset

Then this magical moment happened.  I had waited to get a shot and by the time I got up there, the family was pretty much just standing around.  And then the little girl TWIRLED.  Right there, in the gorgeous light, all her curls just floating around her.  And I was right there at the front to capture it, which is my absolute favorite picture from the night.

Lifestyle portrait of little girl twirling in a field at sunset

And just a few more favorites.

outdoor lifestyle family portrait

outdoor family portrait of mom and dad

lifestyle family portrait in a field at sunset

lifestyle family picture of family walking together in a field at sunset

So what did I take away? When I first came home I remember feeling overwhelmed with it all, but once I had a few days to sit and process it all, not to mention do a few sessions I realized just how much I learned.

Keep it simple.  I spend way too much time worrying about posing, locations, lens choices, blankets, props, etc. and at the end of the day that’s not as important.  Simplifying things down and focusing on connection and light (my two favorite things) is what really matters.  The rest is secondary details.  I cannot tell you how freeing this revelation was.  I can spend hours worrying about finding new, different locations, different poses, unique sessions when at the end of the day getting my clients to interact is where the magic is at.

Stay true to my style.  I was shooting so much for what I thought my clients wanted, and was finding I didn’t connect with my work.  Listening to Sarah really gave me the inspiration to shoot for me and my vision.  Just in the first shoot I’ve done since I got back, I felt like I shot more for what I wanted my style to be and loved it.

It gave me more confidence in who I was as a photographer, and helped hone my vision of what I wanted my business to be. I came back energized and motivated for my sessions and my business.

Of course there was more like how to pose better, how to use light better, how to interact with families better, and there’s a lot more I’m still processing through.  Thank you Sarah for an amazing night.