Looking for a super fun Seattle Photography Workshop for Women to treat yourself to this holiday season?  Look no further!

Hi there darlins! – My name is Nikki McLaughlin. I am a Seattle-area wedding and portrait photographer. I am passionate about many things (books, Anthropologie, antiques, red wine) – but none more than my family, my friends, my CAMERA {her name is Lola} + the storytelling images I have created with her. I also cherish the opportunity I have to TEACH – What an honor to empower women with knowledge and CONFIDENCE to become storytellers with their own cameras! I recently taught my first CONFIDENCE Workshop, and I asked Me Ra if I could share what happened!  I had 7 AHA Moments this day, and 25 photos to illustrate those wonderful AHAs, but let me first describe the scene of my Seattle Photography Workshop!

Call me presumptuous. When my students had each squealed, clapped, laughed AND cried in only the first 15 minutes of my Growing CONFIDENCE Photography Workshop, I KNEW it was going to be a successful day! {Only at a photography workshop for women only – on gaining confidence – is it safe to presume success from making people cry! Ha!!!!}

I started by telling my attendees just how wholeheartedly I believe in the importance, the power, and the privilege of being a storyteller with my camera. I recounted how grateful I am that I attended Me Ra Koh’s Confidence workshop several years ago – how much my approach to photography and my images changed overnight as a result. I talked about my photographic journey a bit and then I filled the big screen behind me with these words:

“I want to teach my children that my camera is not meant to stop them in their tracks BUT RATHER TO RECORD the {sweet, fun, fleeting} tracks they are making.”

I then shared one photo after another of my two boys – the images I treasure most…the storytelling ones. And with that, I had nailed down the purpose of this photography workshop. We were not there simply to determine how to get a great exposure BUT how to use our knowledge of our camera equipment to capture the stories in our lives – to become historians.

This is when the first tears of the day starting rolling (which made my heart smile).

The ladies swooned over the fun workshop SWAG (Anthropologie monogram mugs, chocolates, custom coasters and vintage floral notebooks) and their GORGEOUS workshop manuals – beautiful illustrated 50+ page workbooks, masterfully written by the one and only Me Ra Koh, based on years of teaching her award-winning CONFIDENCE workshops!

 

I loved Katie’s comment: “This workbook is so pretty…I feel like I shouldn’t open it or write in it… I just want to stare at it.”

Despite Katie’s {super} sweet hesitation, we dove into our workbooks {and the AHAs started flying!}

AHA #1: I (and my students did too) LOVE one of Me Ra’s quotes featured in our workbook that begins “Despite all the fear that says you aren’t smart enough, the passion, the deep passion, to capture your child never leaves you…” This is such an incredible intro to a book filled with SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE! The next two pages of the book are filled with easy camera settings to change your results immediately! The first aha moments of the day came from going over some of these settings – especially tips on shooting in aperture mode to create buttery images; and shooting in continuous mode to keep up with our ever-moving little ones!

AHA #2: Two of my students were in the market to upgrade their camera equipment so they were delighted to discuss lenses. I watched them busily jotting down notes as I discussed which lenses I prefer to use at different times and in different settings – the in’s and out’s, the why’s…  With each new “AHA,” it seemed their holiday wish lists were growing longer and longer right before my eyes! tehe!

AHA, AHA, AHA (#3)!: introducing the magic three! “aha” after “aha” after “aha” came when we talked about Shutter Speed + Aperture + ISO and how to balance the three for perfect exposure.  The ladies loved the concept of “shooting wide open” (at a low aperture/f-stop) in order to let in a ton of light while also achieving a nice blurry, buttery background. We discussed in-depth the importance of ISO when shooting indoors – what a difference turning up your camera’s ISO can make when in an area of your home that has low light! We all took a few moments to practice or “magic 3 skillz” and created some fun “mug” shots!

AHA #4!: finding magical light! Magical LIGHT  is always one of my favorite aspects of photography to talk about! Turns out my students loved hearing about light as well! It was one of the BEST AHA discussions of the day! We discussed the delicious golden hour light that can be found the hour after sunrise and the hour prior to sunset. We spent even more time discussing shooting indoors taking advantage of AMAZING {natural} window light. I shared some tips and tricks about reflective window light – telling my students that there is a very strategic reason most walls, bedding, rugs and furniture in my home (despite having two messy little boys!) are white or nearly white. I LOVE to bounce window light off of ALL of these things. This conjured up three great big AHA’s!

 

Laughter + tears + AHA #5!:  (refuse to say cheese and) Capture the Story! This part of the workshop is so incredibly fun to teach. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the subject of storytelling. This is the number one reason I wanted to be a teacher. I want to help women begin to photograph their kids “just being kids!” My students and I laughed and teared-up and laughed some more as we talked about all of the amazing things the kids in our lives do on a daily basis and how incredible it is to have images that capture their sweet personalities! I again shared some of my favorite storytelling images… more tears and laughter! So awesome.

AHA #6: in the details: While elaborating on ways to tell a story with an image, we discussed capturing the “details”… tiny baby toes, chubby toddler cheeks, a child’s favorite toy, a messy face after a first birthday cupcake, baby toes covered in bright blue chalk (detailing the story of a day spent tagging up a back yard)… This was such an AHA, eye-opening reminder of WHY we should “Refuse to Say Cheese!” and the ladies ate it up!

Heads stuffed to the brim with new knowledge and stomachs growling, it was time for lunch! So much fun to chat with these women and hear their excitement about putting their new knowledge to the test! We laughed SOOO much exchanging stories of all the times – with our kiddos (and students – Katie is a middle school teacher!) there were instances in which we should have grabbed for a wash cloth or broom BUT instead went straight for a camera! (YAY!)

More GIDDY {swooning} + laughter + AHA #7 (through 100!):  Immediately following lunch, we started our LIVE SHOOT with two suuuuuper sweet mom + baby combos! Baby Miles (I must have a thing for baby boys named Miles!) and Baby Jack were to-die-for sweet! We (and our lenses) all went crazy over them! I set our models up in two of the best lit spots in my home and we started snapping away!

baby toes, infant, Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

I WAS BEAMING WITH PRIDE as I watched these ladies, in their creatively genius ways put to use the workshop tips and tricks. They made adjustments to their settings. They adjusted the available light – opening window coverings, opening doors. They moved their subjects around to capture light and capture detail. They bounced ideas off of each other. They were TOTAL ROCKSTARS!

You would NEVER know that prior to the workshop, KATIE had never even picked up a DSLR! She captured this gorgeous photo of sweet baby Jack’s little hand grasping his mom’s finger.

tiny hands, infant photography,Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

SO sweet! Katie has some serious composition skill and a great eye for detail! She took some really fun detail shots of toys in my son’s room.

detail photography, aperture, composition, Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

Katie has an incredibly rad personality! When Lindsey and Marisa were trying to capture some shots of sweet Miles on his tummy and he refused to stay still… Katie took one for the team (team paparazzi by now) and decided to hold him still (whether he liked it or NOT. HA!) Love this shot:

Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

Watching MARISA compose her shots was so amazing! Marisa fell in love with Miles and Jack and (I dare say) the 50mm lens!

Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

These shots of baby Miles are stunning:

infant photography, Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

infant portraits, tiny toes,Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

It was SOOO fun to have my super sweet, super talented baby sister LINDSEY at the workshop too and I could not be more proud of her! I love the creativity in the shots she captured! AWE-mazing:

mom and baby, Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

mom and baby, restoration hardware, Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

mom and baby, restoration hardware, Camera, Storytelling Photography, Seattle Photography Workshop for Women, Me Ra Koh, Oliverblue Photography

I LOVED every bit about this day! What an honor to be sharing knowledge about something so dear to my heart – and with such amazing, talented + creative women! Woot Woot!

Marisa had this to say about the workshop:

“What a great way to start a love affair (with your camera). Nikki’s class was the perfect balance of fun and informative, hands on and inspirational. Watch out Nikki, you may just be creating your own competition!”

Bring on the competition ladies! My heart will SMILE  – as I will have done my job, darlins!!!!!

Live Creatively!

Nikki

connect with me at http://oliverbluephotography.com and SHOW ME SOME LOVE {well, LIKE} on my Facebook page to be the very first to know about giveaways and promotions from Oliverblue Photography!

PS – TREAT YOURSELF to an awesome holiday gift: A Seattle Photography Workshop for Women! I would love for YOU to JOIN ME for my next Growing Confidence Workshop  in the new year! Saturday, January 11th. only 8 spots! Get yours now and SAVE 20% with the early bird special (discount valid through November 30th. Use code: earlybird).  Purchase your spot {right here}.

PPS – Some of my all-time favorite words on CREATIVITY:  “It’s not what  you look at that matters, it’s what you see” – Henry David Thoreau.  A fun way to hang them in your home {here}.

One Comment: “25 Photos from a Special Seattle Photography Workshop for Women!”

  1. Morgan Simon says:

    Nikki you are AMAZING!!! Love you as a photographer, teacher, friend!! I so wish I could have been there but seeing these photos is the second best thing!