Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Remember that 1 Spot Left? This is What Happened!

Remember that 1 Spot Left?  This is What Happened!

This month I taught my first Me Ra Koh Growing Confidence Workshop. I had so much fun sharing about the Workshop yesterday on the blog! The beautiful women that came, found confidence and captured some amazing images of some sweet mamas with their babes…it was an all-around amazing day!  As promised, I want to share the powerful back story to what happened before the workshop. A miracle!

All week I was putting together the last preparations for the five ladies attending the workshop.  I had one spot left, time was dwindling, yet somehow I knew that spot would be filled.  My sweet mentor, Me Ra, had so much faith in me and kept telling me that the spot would be taken. I posted on Facebook one last call, hoping the woman who was meant to come would see it. Me Ra was also kind enough to share it on her Facebook page. As I prepped for the workshop, I kept praying. 

I prayed for that woman that was hungry to fill her soul, dig up her creative spirit and shoot from her heart to find the Confidence that lies within her. I prayed for her to find the Workshop and for her to somehow have a clear agenda on Saturday so she could attend. I prayed that out of all of the thousands of women that live in the DFW area that He would find the one, the one that needed to be there that day. Thursday came and went. On Friday, sweet Me Ra shares my post again. That afternoon I receive a message from a woman with the last name Melton asking me to call her because she can’t find the date of the Workshop and wants to attend. 

Her last name is Melton, my last name is Melton, this is the one! I called her and when I shared that the Workshop was the next day she said her schedule was full, she would have to attend the next one. I told her “No, your last name is Melton! Of course you can attend!” We laughed and parted ways. I was left confused because deep in my heart I knew she was the one, but why did God want it to be at my next Workshop when my heart felt Saturday was the day. Five minutes later, the phone rings.  She came, and with her permission, this is her precious story.

Every year my father sends each of us a check to be spent in memory of my mom. The only thing he asks is that we not pay bills or do anything of the dailyness; it must be used to do something that connects us to her in some way. (Something she would do or an adventure she would take...And she was a beautifully magical spirit. Her name was Orinda (means 'magic power') and she always embraced life. Even through her cancer, she continued offering beauty to the world. Her writing, her art and photos...always just bring out the joy of life.) She traveled, took photographs, took cooking classes, music lessons, name it! And she loved everything she did. Everyone she met. Every place she explored! She connected with life, and it came through in everything...especially her photos. 

So I sat with this money and remembering my 'iridescent' mom! And then I saw Me Ra Koh's Facebook call out to Texas Moms! I even said out loud, "Oh, I think she would do this! She would love this! And I even drove home from work ready to tell my husband what I wanted to do. I left you the message with great hope. When I talked with you and found out the workshop was the next day, I was discouraged. I couldn't possibly fit it into the schedule. I would just be content to try again in March. I even prayed about it, and just asked God to bring me a peace. And then Carl, my amazing man, looked at me and said, "And what about this check? What about your mom? I'll take the kids, the errands, the everything. You go, Jenn! You embrace this!" 

I called you (Jill Ann) back! I was so giddy. It was joy filled and peace-filled and perfect. I couldn't even sleep the night before because I was excited about this opportunity! So when you asked during the workshop what we wanted to get from the day, I knew I wanted to do more than just learn how to use my camera! (Which I desperately needed to learn, btw!). I wanted to embrace the memory of my mom; to see what she saw through that lens. (I used to help her when I was little; even in the dark room or holding the light meter by the subject). And, Jill Ann, you gave that to me! The workshop allowed me to explore light, and to emotions (conflict) and to the story! My pictures are better because you taught me the technique, but my heart is better because you reminded me of the purpose; telling the story. I did have several 'Aha!' moments...but my greatest moment came last night.

On my drive home (after stopping by the camera shop to pick up my nifty-fifty): I cried so hard because I was missing my mom, and she soooo would have loved this workshop, and I just had all these memories come flooding back of she and I out on these photo walks: sitting and waiting for the light to be right, laying on a railroad track at sunset, checking the weather for cool cloud formations, and so much more. I was laughing and crying and smiling. I realized at that moment that I have been afraid to use a camera; afraid to even pick up her old cameras; afraid that it would never measure up to what she created. But looking over at my camera, I discovered what she knew all along: taking photos, for her, was never about photography; it was about spending time with me. It was about discovering the connection with people and life. And today, I was snapping a few shots of my youngest daughter, and realized how at peace I am.

These moments are not promised, but they are cherished. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives, and for helping me capture what my heart sees (no more 'flat' pics for me!) I feel empowered to succeed. I feel released to explore. And I am encouraged. So I thanked God today for my day yesterday, and I'm so glad you were a part of it!

These workshops are about so much more than teaching women to use a camera.  I can’t say it any better than her powerful story.  And I can’t believe that this is only the beginning of me teaching workshops.  What a humbling honor…to be a part of someone’s life in such a beautiful, transforming way.

I asked Jennifer to send me some images of her youngest daughter that she had taken before the Workshop and images she has captured following the Workshop.  She went right after my heart for kids with their lovies and shared images of her youngest with her bear that she has had since she was born.  Sigh.....


After Growing Confidence....

Truly Smitten!  Beautiful Buttery Blurry Background!

She loves to sit on the ledge outside her home with her bear.
Simply gorgeous magical light here to enhance the story!


Playing hide and seek with her buddy.  He picked a great spot!


Thank you Jennifer for sharing your beautiful story! Your mom over-booked me that day as she certainly was a 7th seat taking in all the Workshop had to offer right by her daughter's side. I have been blessed beyond words.  Much love to you! 

xo, JA

NEXT Growing Confidence Workshop February 8, 2014.  Sign Up Coming Soon! WATCH MY FACEBOOK PAGE for an amazing Cyber Monday DEAL!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Growing Confidence with Jill Ann. A Photography Workshop for Moms.

First Growing Confidence Workshop SOLD OUT! Woot! Woot! I can not tell you how in awe I am to have this opportunity through Me Ra Koh to reach out to the Dallas area Moms to help them Grow their Confidence with their DSLR. To empower them to get comfy with their camera to be their family storyteller through imagery!

What an honor it was to meet these 6 beautiful women that attended my November Workshop! They all have their own story on what brought them to the Workshop, different skill levels and knowledge of the DSLR. The thing that they all have in common is the drive to be a better storyteller for their families!

One of these ladies filled the last spot THE DAY BEFORE THE WORKSHOP!!! You DO NOT want to miss tomorrows blog post about how God showed up and brought her there! Make sure you grab a box of kleenex and meet me on the blog tomorrow to hear her story! Whooooo, it's a good one!

We started off the day with a lil' SWAG! I had pictures of the SWAG bags I put together for the ladies and for some reason can't find them! Figures during busy season! So here is a little bit of what was included, a picture retake! Lol!

That jumps me right into the part of the day where I had a little mini panic attack. We were moving along so nicely. Happily going through the Workbook and learning all about the Magic 3 to prepare the ladies for a live session with the mommy/baby models. I kept looking down at my watch to make sure we were on track for the 1:45pm arrival of the models. Weeeeellll, kinda rushed my sweet ladies thru lunch in order to allow time to finish the material. Let's be honest, I felt like I quickly stuffed their faces so we could move on! Only to find out that, yours truly, forgot to change the time on her WATCH from daylight savings the prior week! OY VEY! We had an extra hour to spare, like daylight savings happened all over again! Yeah! Totally meant to do that to make the ladies laugh as hard as they did! Thanks for the support guys! 

The moms and babies arrived right on time and can I just say these ladies rocked their sessions and had some serious "A-HA" moments! I kept feeling like I was going to cry watching these ladies put to practice what they were taught through the day! Look at some "behind the scenes" images of the ladies at work!

It was soooooo hard to choose which images to share that these women captured! As they say in Texas, "Y'ALL" did AH-MAZING!  Here goes!

I'm going to start off with Marie! It was beautiful watching her confidence grow and the excitement she had in her eyes as she saw the images she was capturing! Take a look at this ADORABLE little boy smiling from ear to ear playing with his mama!

Marie captured this gem for mama! Mom is a HUGE Longhorns fan! I'm thinkin' her lil' baby girl is also going to be a Longhorns fan! What do you think? Love it!

What a sweet image from Ashley! Mom is just smitten with her boy, I love her presence in the image and how his smile just makes me want to smile! Great moment captured!

Ashley used the rule of thirds here and placed the subject to the left of the image, not only does that draw your attention straight to him but so do those bright blue eyes!!!  

My heart melted when Aimee shared this capture! Mom looks gorgeous and content and baby girl is giving us a lil' yawn or maybe a sigh that says "she loves her mama!"

Oh my goodness Aimee!! You captured an ah-mazing moment of giggles here! Love the presence of mom and the squishy button nose from giggling! So much to love about this capture!

Rachel did such a great job capturing the mom's joy here. Look at that sparkle in moms eye showing us how smitten she is with her sleepy cuddlebug! Placing baby on moms shoulder is a very flattering pose for new moms! Lovely!

I think Rachel has the knack for capturing moments with mom! Mom and baby have nothing but pure delight on their faces!

I just want to reach in and snuggle this baby! Jennifer rocked this shot with great composition, catch light in his eyes and those sweet lil' dimply hands to boot!

OH.MY.GOODNESS! This is nothing but a priceless moment captured between the relationship of this mom and baby! Way to go Jennifer!

I feel like baby is looking right at me saying "this is my mom and I can be in her arms all day!". A sweet content moment captured by Brenda!
The next 2 images are also captured by Brenda! Can I just say this lady swooped in with her 100mm 2.8 Macro lens that she never told me she owned and went after those "defining detail" shots to tell the story! LOVE that she did these!
Brenda saw this moment through her camera when mom went in for a kiss. She not only nailed it but she captured it using moms curls to frame the defining detail of the lips! I could hardly contain my heart when I saw this! It was bursting with joy to see the creativity in this shot! My cup runneth over!

Here is another defining detail shot Brenda captured. See how the focus of her story is babies hand holding onto moms thumb? It also shows how tiny babies hand is in moms hand. The other amazing thing about this image is how she included babies lips on the bottom right corner, I'd say it looks like baby is smiling! All around a well composed shot and a great storytelling image! Mom will say years from now, "I can't believe your hand was that tiny!" With this image she can relive that moment in time over and over again!

As I said earlier, it was truly hard for me not to cry during these sessions. Seeing these ladies "get it" and capture ALL of these moments in MANUAL just filled my soul more than I even imagined! When I partnered with Me Ra Koh I knew it was all part of God's plan for me but I guess I didn't expect to feel like I have arrived to his ultimate plan for me to use my gift. There is so much joy inside me from the day I had with these women. I am humbled and honored that they chose to grow their confidence with me as their mentor. I can say with complete confidence that these ladies are going to do nothing but SOAR from here! Their families will never be the same. The moments they capture of their kids will be more amazing than they could have dreamed. I am truly blessed to have had each one of these creative spirits touch my heart! Thank you for being apart of my first Workshop, thank you for being the first 6 women that I got the privilege of teaching. 

I am beyond excited to be apart of many more mamas lives out there! I can't wait to empower more Dallas women to be their families storyteller! Are you ready to grow your confidence like these ladies did? What an amazing gift to you for Christmas AND to your family for a lifetime! Will you be joining me at my next Workshop on February 8th, 2014? Arriving in the Store soon and open to 8 mamas wanting to fuel their creative spirit! Looking forward to meeting you in the new year! Watch my Facebook page over the next few days for a Cyber MONDAY DEAL you won't want to miss!  

I promise I will have the CORRECT time on my watch at the next Workshop!

DON'T FORGET! MEET ME ON THE BLOG TOMORROW TO HEAR THE AMAZING STORY OF THE "LAST SPOT"! You will not want to miss it! Grab some coffee and your kleenex in the morning and I'll see you there!

Want to send these lovely ladies some encouragement for a job well done, post a comment below!

Much Love, JA xo

Contact Form


Email *

Message *