The planning

Given the success of the first meet up, I really wanted to host a second. I met so many fantastic people through the first meet up and learned something from each of them too! For round two though there would have to be improvements, better structure mainly.

I was loving the work of Braydon Hopper, and found his urban portrait photography inspiring. I decided it would be fun to get a bunch of us together to do something a little different than shooting in nature like we usually do (not complaining, but change is good). I asked Kim (KG Photography) and Courtney (Taylor'd Captured Moments) to help me out. One of the downfalls to the first meet up was too many photographers in each group and no one really designated to help with questions for anyone who had them. Kim and Courtney had naturally helped fill that gap with the extensive workflow/posing skills and their confidence, making them my first choice to help with this event.

We had it all set up, and then...COVID. Much like everything else in 2020 it was put on hold. We waited and waited and finally it seemed safe to go forward with it. We picked a date and opened up seats for photographers. It was a logistical challenge because I wanted six models, two makeup artists, and a total of 12 photographers. I needed a space to host it, the leads, the makeup artists, and the models.

I decided on the Twisted Cork for the location because it is beautiful and the food is fantastic. We weren't shooting indoors but who doesn't love being in a beautiful building? Then came the makeup artists. A last minute change of availability for one of the makeup artists opened up an opportunity to work with Smoulder Make Up Artistry. I had yet to work with Daphne but she had done makeup for the styled wedding shoot I had done with Kim and Veronique (Cedar and Oak Photography) earlier this year, so I knew her work was beautiful. Hailey M. Makeup was the first artist I asked. She's done a fair amount of faces for me over the last few months and I knew she would crush it.

Models....I had models lined up for March. By the time September came around one couple had to cancel, one of the models moved to the island, and another had to be switched out for personal reasons. Somehow it all came together and we ended up with the most amazing models I could have asked for. They aren't professional models, just regular people who had awesome attitudes and it was the perfect fit.

The day of

Six months late but better late than never! We started the day at the Twisted Cork, using their banquet room for makeup applications and giving photographers the chance to get to know each other and mingle while the makeup magic happened. We trickled in one by one and all of a sudden we were all there! Honestly I imagine it was a little overwhelming for those coming in not knowing any of the photographers. Some of us have been friends or known each other for a long while and we shoot together for fun reasonably often, but we are always happy to meet new people!

Eventually makeup was completed! Okay it actually didn't take that long, especially since Daphne did her own makeup before coming to the restaurant. Now it was time for introductions, a break down of the day and to get shooting!!

The photographers were broken up into three groups and each group was going to cycle through the models so we could get all get a variable experience with posing different couples/individuals and personalities, while we flexed our creative muscles. My group consisted of myself, Justin (Wilson J Photography) and Jess (Jessica Rennaye Photography). We had a couple of last minute cancellations so we ended up with a more intimate group, which I think worked really well.

My first group was portraits with Riley and Daphne.

I can be a fairly loud, enthusiastic person, especially when it comes to photography. I typically have a general plan or idea I want to follow but this time I wanted to just let the group guide me where we wanted to go as a whole, not as an individual. We walked over to city hall, making our way around to the library, the art gallery, miscellaneous buildings along the road, and then headed to the parking garage on third ave. We had fun, laughed, put Daphne and Riley into some pretty awkward poses, and got some fantastic shots.

I started to appreciate Justin's enthusiasm for leading lines and the technical aspects of photography that honestly, I tend to not focus on. Obviously there are some rules I generally follow but I really try to focus on the emotion instead of the technical aspect, so it was great to see someone applying the rules as they went. I can't wait to see his photos!

Jess is shy, but she lit up when she had an idea, and she took her ideas and rocked them. She reminded me to use what is available to enhance your photos (like flower beds) and that awesome rainbow cross walk.

Next up was lunch! I didn't think to get photos of the food before we ate, and this will already be long so I wont describe it to you, but it was great! The Twisted Cork never disappoints; if you haven't been you need to go.

Next up: Rikki and Jaime! I didn't know these two before the session. I followed Rikki on IG and I love the content she posts. They just seemed like they would be really awesome people to work with so I asked them to model and they said yes!

They were a dream come true. They are so comfortable with each other and in front of the camera that everything felt effortless. Their style fit my vision perfectly and I vibed off it. We went a different direction for Rikki and Jaime's photos and we took a more grunge styled approach than with Riley and Daphne's portraits, using the old buildings and railroad tracks as a backdrop.

We added in some of the basic session fundamentals; grass. We found a grassy (weedy?) section along first ave and they snuggled right up. I thought it would be cute to have one of them give the other a bouquet so I picked some random flowers (weeds) from the grassy area and Jaime gave them to Rikki. Not going to lie, this part made me super emotional. It was just so damn cute!

I'm looking forward to working with these two again in the future!

Part Three: The Last Round

If you have ever spent multiple hours shooting, you know how mentally exhausting it can be to be "on" for a long period of time. As a lead today I really felt like I needed to be "on" the whole day. It was my event after all. So by now I am mentally tired and my feet are physically starting to hurt. We're on hour 5 if you're wondering. Trish's feet are also killing her because she wore heels. They weren't huge heels but as we all know, heels are not the friend you can hang out with for long periods of time.

We wandered around closer to the Twisted Cork for this one. It was obvious Trish's feet were bothering her and our creative juices were starting to fade, but it was still a great time. Trish is a sweetheart and Brady is a lot of fun too.

We headed back to city hall, this time to use the nice green, leaf covered grass as a backdrop. We headed to Crimson Dawn Collection and borrowed their entry way for some cute, intimate photos that essentially look like they could have been in an old school telephone booth.

After a lot of kissing in the cozy corner we moved on to drunk walks utilizing the city streets. We brought the energy back up and went right into piggy back rides! Brady gave Trish one of course, but then Trish showed off how strong she was and piggy backed Brady...remember, she was wearing heels! That's one badass babe.

After a quick trip to the courthouse stairs and the wood innovation centre, it was a wrap!

The End

Just like that it was over as fast as it began. Despite a six month delay it went off without a hitch and everyone loved it! We succeeded at developing content, learning and teaching, growing from each other and networking. Want to know the crazy part? It all went according to schedule too!

We said our goodbyes and parted ways, but the end isn't really the end. A few photographers and I are planning some shit to keep us, and hopefully you, entertained in the coming months.