We have one bottom bunk left and one king bed for the Savvy Workshop in Alys Beach!! It's only two weeks away...so if you still want a seat, grab it now!!! The king bed can also be shared by friends... great way to save money!
We are so excited to go back to Alys Beach... my favorite place ever! The attendees are in for a treat... so much fun and learning in a gorgeous location...with four amazing speakers!!! And the swag bags are AWESOME!
We had a great time at the Savvy Studio Workshop last weekend! The shoots were so much fun...great little models (recognize the one with braids? My sweet little Ava was a trooper modeling for all those photographers...having her best friend model along side her made it much more fun!) Our guest speaker was amazing! Lisa Furey taught the girls so much...I even learned a ton! I have much more to blog about (it's been quiet on the blog lately)...so much blogging to catch up on! I'll get there (eventually). Enjoy some of the images for now of our future fashion designers in action.
Hi all... It's been weeks since I shared my story about my sweet Ava. I was overwhelmed with the love and prayers we received! I had read every comment here on the blog and on Facebook...and every email. And I apologize for not getting back to each one of you. I want to respond to each of you! You took the time to reach out to me and I thank you for that! I'm so thankful for that! I'm even more thankful that you pray for us. You have asked friends to pray for us...you've added us to prayer groups at church...your little ones are even praying for Ava...I'm so touched and thankful! I've never felt such peace in a scary situation because I know so many people are reaching out to God on our behalf. He is hearing your prayers and answering them each day. Her speech has improved! She still struggles...but we saw a miraculous improvement. The night I posted about her struggle, I had made a video earlier that day of her. It makes me cry to watch it...she wanted to audition for a speaking part in the first grade play. She was telling me the lines she needed to say. I videoed her practicing. Bless her heart...she couldn't say those lines but she practiced and practiced... and still wanted to audition. As a mom, I wanted more than anything for her not to audition...my heart couldn't handle her getting on stage and struggling to speak... you can imagine how it could turn out. Being laughed at could damage her little heart forever. I know you are supposed to let them try things and make mistakes...and get up again...but this was more than I could handle. So.... I posted here about what we were going through. And within two days, she said the lines perfect! No struggle at all! I was amazed...and thankful for you all! But I will admit I was scared people would stop praying for her if I told them she was doing great. Embarrassed to say that. She did audition...and she said she did good. I wanted to contact her music teacher and explain the situation...and ask her not to choose Ava. It's too scary to think of her on that stage. Her speech comes and goes. She's had another seizure but it didn't seem to take away any more speech...thank God. But when she gets nervous, she really has a hard time talking. I didn't email the teacher...and I haven't heard if she got the part. I know in my heart I can't let her take that risk. (please don't bash me if you don't agree) We leave for New York on Saturday. Her appointment with the neurologist is on Monday. I have talked with this doctor twice on the phone...he's amazing!!! I had waited for the phone call for two weeks...and during the Savvy workshop last weekend my cell phone rang...it was a Sunday morning...and it was from New York. I ran out of the studio and took the call. He spent an hour on the phone with me... prayers were answered! We have a wonderful, caring doctor taking on her case. He has started treating her already (ordering blood work, etc) and we know we are doing the right thing going to see him. The bad news is our referral was denied from our insurance company. We are hoping they change their minds...paying out of pocket is not a good thing. But we are blessed to have found him and it will be worth it. I will keep you all updated.
On another note, I recently decided I wanted to stop working...stop photographing...stop doing the workshops. I wanted to be a full time mom. I wanted to walk away from it all. A dear friend who is also a photographer said something that has stuck with me. We are creatives. It is instilled in us...and without it, we will goes crazy. It's our outlet. And it's true. Giving up my outlet might not be the best thing for me. I'm still struggling with this. I love hosting the workshops. Last weekend was such a wonderful time with all of the girls. I realized how much I need this. We need our outlets...we need to feel we make a difference... we need our girlfriend time! And the workshops bring me happiness. I'm grateful to have the chance to host so many great, talented women. Thank you again for your prayers...for Ava and my entire family. We sure can use them. Someone told me recently I was being so strong. I've never seen myself as a strong person. But when it comes to your babies, we can become strong. And you know what makes me strong... Ava... her happiness and smile. She's a happy girl! She's not letting seizures and epilepsy get in her way. As long as I see the joy in her eyes, I can be strong. And if I ever see the joy leave, I have a feeling I will become stronger in a different way..in a fighting way. I will fight for that girl. Just as all of you will fight for your babies.
When I was pregnant with my third child, I had the same thoughts as most of you~ it doesn't matter if it's a girl or boy, just as long as it's healthy. I was thrilled to find out it was a girl, especially after two boys. And I was even more thrilled to see a healthy baby arrive. We were blessed...three healthy kids! Five years later on the anniversary of the day of her birth, I honestly thought we were going to say goodbye to her. She had a seizure that morning. Not your typical type of seizure, I had no idea what was going on...she went from a confused state to a completely unresponsive state within minutes. It was the worst 10 minutes of my life...holding her lifeless body waiting for the ambulance to arrive. We left the ER that day thankful she was ok but with no answers. It took three months of hard work on my part to get her an EEG and with that came confirmation that it was a seizure and they gave us a diagnosis of a type of epilepsy. They said most children with this only have one seizure and don't need medication. We were happy that with... it sounded like a good and easy diagnosis...no problem. We could handle that. At the same time we were dealing with her having issues at school. She was in kindergarden and struggling. We kept hearing she "had trouble focusing" and she was so far behind her peers. Thank goodness my pediatrician encouraged me to have her tested for a learning disability. I admit I was completely shocked when her test came back with so many learning problems for this girl that I considered to be so bright. We were lucky to get her help right away and get her on medication to help her focus at school. But in the back of our minds we felt like the learning issues were due to seizure activity. They reassured us it wasn't related and we accepted that. After that, we thought everything was great with her health. She had a wonderful special education teacher at school and she loved her! She was still struggling in school but we were happy with her progress. She still struggles with her behavior (thank goodness for A.D.D. medications) and loses her temper quite easily. About 2 months ago she woke up with a strange stutter. It wasn't a normal stutter...it was a "lose your breath and no words come out" type of stutter. It was shocking to hear and frightening. It happened over the weekend and on Monday morning her teacher emailed concerned after hearing it. I called her pediatrician and told her something was off. She said to keep an eye on her and let her know if anything changes. When we saw the Dr that week, I mentioned how odd the stutter was and also told her that Ava had pooped during the night while sleeping that weekend. (Something she had been doing lately at least once a month) My Dr immediately said it sounded like seizure activity. I got her an appointment with her neurologist that next week. I had managed to video Ava while she was trying to talk and showed that to the neurologist. He seemed concerned after seeing that and wanted her to have an overnight video EEG. He mentioned a rare "horrible" form of epilepsy (his words) that we needed to rule out that caused speech issues. We went in for her overnight EEG a few days before Thanksgiving...and I'll admit I thought we had over reacted to her speech issues and she most likely wasn't having seizures. I would have known if my daughter was having seizures, right? The on-call neurologist acted the same way and seemed irritated we were there just because of a little stutter. After a miserable night in the hospital (I was miserable....Ava was uncomfortable and not happy...which made me miserable), the irritated neurologist came to our room in the morning and said Ava had some seizure activity while awake but once she feel asleep, her brain was constantly having seizures. She was not sleeping...it appeared that she sleeps but her brain is not resting. They ordered an MRI for the next morning and continued to monitor her that day. Thankfully her MRI was normal and she was put on a anti-seizure medication. Whew...I was relieved! The MRI was good...so that meant everything was good! Seizure meds will make it all better and we are good to go. The week before Christmas we met with her neurologist just to review everything. I wasn't worried...we already knew it was all good. And boy was I not prepared for that visit. He said what we already knew... she's having seizures at night...MRI was good...she on meds to stop the seizures...and the "horrible" rare epilepsy that causes children to lose their speech and cognitive abilities...we think she might have the early stages of it. WHAT? My face started burning...I turned so red I could feel the heat escaping my skin. I couldn't comprehend anything he was saying. He said he couldn't say for sure if she did or didn't have it. They know so little about it and he just didn't know. If they can stop the seizures, then they can stop the damage. The damage that is irreversible. Most of the children don't regain the speech they have lost or the cognitive ability. I really can't bring myself to write what the damage is if they don't stop the seizures... I just prayed that she didn't have it. I was devastated...I didn't want to google it...I knew it would break my heart. But after an hour of being home, I went to my computer. I read about it...and actually felt a little better about it after reading more. But I also felt in my heart she had it. She was such a bright child and I felt something was taking that from her. So many things I read sounded like what we were experiencing with her. I was just happy we had her on medication that was stopping the seizures and more damage. And 10 days after that appointment, she had another seizure in the middle of the night. (we know this because had another "poop" in the night). I knew then we needed to get serious and see a specialist in this type of epilepsy. Every seizure takes more away from the child. We did notice her speech was affected a small amount by it but not a big change from before. The Dr increased her dose of medication and I started searching for a specialist. I got on forums and Facebook groups for this type of epilepsy... and one name keep appearing as the top Dr in the US that treats this condition. We have an appointment to see him at the end of January in New York. Five days ago, she had another seizure during her sleep. It took so much of her speech that I want to cry. I'm honestly heart broken...she can't ask me a question or even tell me something with struggling beyond belief. It's not a stutter anymore...it's a sad struggle with her brain thinking and wanting to say something but somehow it won't let it out. I'm scared...I'm so scared for her! We take our speech for granted...but when it's slowly taken away, it's terrible. And from a child! A beautiful little seven year old girl! Kids are cruel...how will they treat her? Of course they will make fun of her, no matter how much I want to hope they don't, they will. They will judge her. People will hear her and make judgments about her... and I want to cry and change this for her! I want to make her better! And with each seizure, she will lose more. Please let this medicine work...please God let this medicine work. I'm feeling helpless...but I can do something to help her. I can ask you, my friends, to pray for her. Please pray for my sweet Ava. Please.
Tap into your imaginative side and explore methods that will spark your ingenuity and help you release the art within. Join Tamara Burross as she demonstrates her creative process and artistic approach toward editing. She will share her extensive knowledge of action and texture application, as well as basic work flow tips to help you achieve beautiful results without compromising image integrity.
Kimmy Howard will share all of her newborn "tricks" as well as teach on parent prep, lighting, workflow, and posing. Her business of 4.5 years has been a success in the 3 states that she has lived in this short time & she will be sharing different tips to help grow a successful business & develop a faithful client base.
Kara May is going to work with models, hands-on, and show you how she guides her clients, making them comfortable enabling her to photograph natural, genuine emotions. She’ll share tips and tricks on working with children and teens that she’s learned throughout her 10+ years in the industry.
Images by Kara May
Laura Winslow will share her marketing strategies with us and show us how she keeps her clients happy and always coming back for more. She has created an amazing business and crazy popular blog and she has great ideas to expand your network and to market yourself in field saturated with photographers.
Tomorrow I'll tell you more about each speaker and what they will be teaching the attendees. We are thrilled to have these talented ladies join us!
Registration will be open on Thursday, Dec 19th!
If you would like to be on the email list to have access to early registration, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line...Savvy Workshop). The prices for the workshop start at $1400 and go up according to the size bed you choose. There is a VERY LIMITED number of beds at the lower price range. The bunk beds are the lowest price and we only have a few to offer. If you are wanting to attend and save money, consider sharing a king bed with a friend!
Here's a quick introduction and links to learn more about the speakers...they each have so much valuable information to share with the attendees and we have such a wonderful location and agenda planned!! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this workshop!
"The Worth of a Workshop" by Dyan Witt Remember those "Priceless Moment" commercials that Mastercard created in the late 1990's? I believe the worth of a workshop is priceless! Several years ago when I was an aspiring photographer charging literally pennies for my work, I never imagined I could afford to attend a photography workshop. The cost of the workshop could not be justified by the small amount of money I was making. I knew I needed to learn and grow to become better but I could NOT invest that amount of money in myself or my business. Let me tell you I was completely wrong to have had that mind set and I am here to discuss with you what has changed my business, my myself and my future to be brighter than I could have ever imagined! Last summer while surfing Facebook instead of editing, I came across the Savvy workshop that was going to be held within driving distance of my home. I immediately thought "no plane ticket" so that was one less expense. Maybe I could make this work… after several discusses with my husband (the money man), my mother-in-law (the babysitter) and a close friend/photographer (the support network) I registered for the The Savvy Photographer Workshop. So 13 months ago I sat in a multimillion dollar mansion on the waters of Alys Beach Florida trying to absorb as much information as I could during the Savvy Photographer Workshop. I learned the skills to create a successful boutique portrait business. I had the industries leading female photographers help me to create strategies to become a unique high end photographer. I learned about editing, customer service, marketing, packaging, contracts, SEO, website designs, how to stand out in the industry and countless secrets from the speakers who shared every detail about their successes. I wrote down my business goals one year- 5 years- 10 years out. And most of all, I created bonds with fellow female photographers that continue to grow stronger everyday! We uplift and support each other through private Facebook chat rooms, emails and phone calls. We share business ideas, marketing strategies and so much more. We are there to support each other no matter what! I have be lucky enough to attend both of the Savvy Sister~ Alys Beach workshops! Since the workshops, I have had several (okay MANY) questions. Without hesitation, the speakers that were at my workshops responded immediately with great advice. Yes, without hesitation! I have Laura Winslow, Kara May, Leslie Kerrigan from Seniorologie, Jamie Schultz, Kelli France, Alice Park from NAPCP, Stephanie Fisher and of course Marsha Mifsud rooting me on from the sidelines and they have all helped me. How could you put a price tag on something like that? I am so thankful for The Savvy Photographer, Marsha Mifsud, for creating such a unique retreat experience and helping me to make my dreams come true!! In less than one year, I am living far beyond what I could have dreamed! Average sales are $1600 per client and that is a figure I NEVER imagined I could fetch. Check out my post from the workshop: Who Said Learning Wasn't Fun?
Thank you Dyan!!
The next Alys Beach workshop is about to be announced! The dates are April 30- May 3, 2014...click here to learn more. Email email@example.com to add your name to the pre-registration list.
It's Friday...and I'm ready for the weekend! I'm so behind on posting my photographer interviews...and it's my favorite feature on the blog. I love getting to know more about people and how they were lead to a career in photography. Today we are welcoming Lisa Furey to the Savvy blog! I'm so excited Lisa will be joining me in Atlanta soon as a guest speaker at the Savvy studio workshop! *(we have a few seats left for the workshop...grab them while you can...it will be a wonderful two days of learning and some great styled shoots!)
Will you share with us how you started your career in photography?
It was the pending adoption of my daughter that brought me into the photography community in 2008. It was at this time that I began blogging. Once I started to visit other blogs, I was completely consumed by the amazing photos. I wanted to have photos like that of my own children so I retired the Kodak point and shoot and picked up my first dslr. Like so many, it started as a hobby and just for fun, but then it became a true passion. In 2009 I took a few classes and found out what a camera could really do once you turned the dial past the little green box. Within the next year, close friends and family members began to ask if I would take photos for them. At the same time, online friends and other bloggers were asking me to share what I was doing to my photos and how I was achieving certain looks. After a few months of wavering back and forth, I began teaching and sharing my approach to photography. It has been an incredible experience on so many levels. I get to do what I love, give other people photos they love, and teach photo enthusiasts how to go out there and take pictures they will love and treasure forever.
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
My favorite subjects are my children…. or any children for that matter. I love to capture their beauty, their innocence, and their spur of the moment actions. I also find food photography therapeutic and fun. I really enjoy being in the kitchen and love to cook, so before I go in for the first bite, I will often photograph what I am about to eat.
What do you think makes your business stand out from the other photographers in your area? I have a very outgoing yet approachable personality, yet I am always up for a challenge. I like to explore and look for new locations and places to shoot so that everyone has a unique experience. I never sit still and continually try to learn new things so I don’t become stagnant in an ever changing and fast paced industry. I also try to stay true to my style and to myself instead of trying to be everything to everyone.
Who or what inspires you as a photographer?
Children inspire me most, but so do soft colors, pretty light, and clothes. I know it sounds funny, but when I am shopping and see certain outfits, I can visualize the photo shoot in my mind. So it starts with an outfit and progresses from there. I also like to frequent antique malls. Here in PA we have more than a few and sometimes I will get lucky and find a gem.
What are you favorite products that you offer your clients?
There are so many great products available, but very large canvases are my absolute favorite. They have such a WOW factor and there is nothing quite like delivering them and seeing the expression on a client’s face when they are staring at their loved ones in large print.
I adore your blog, The Long Road to China... when do you find time to blog? I try to blog late at night after my kids are tucked in or first thing in the morning while the house is quiet and I can drink my coffee and collect my thoughts.
Do you shoot with Canon or Nikon?
I am a Canon girl. The very first camera my husband purchased for me was a Canon EOS 40D. Since then I have upgraded twice and currently, I shoot with a 5D Mark iii.
Favorite thing in your camera bag?
This is a tough question to answer. It changes from week to week, but for now I have to say that my 135mm f2.0 lens. It is just DREAMY.
What's your Savvy indulgence?
A good red wine, an Italian pastry, or shopping of any kind!
Will you share with us the proudest or most memorable moment as a photographer?
There are so many wonderful things that have occurred over the years because of photography, but I think the most memorable moments come from the emails or phone calls from prior students who want to express and share that they have also found passion in photography. One morning I woke up to a beautiful note written by one of my former students who now has a booming business. She went on to thank me for getting her started all those years ago and for giving her a good foundation and the confidence to go out there and start a successful business of her own. There once was a time that I doubted myself and my abilities and whenever I am having a bad day or get down, I pull out that little note as a reminder. I love that I can help others find themselves in photography. It has brought so much joy to my own life and it is so rewarding to watch others find their joy too. It keeps me going and striving to be a better person and photographer.
Lisa uses the beautiful actions from Florabella and will teach the attendees at the Savvy workshop her editing techniques and will show the Florabella actions in use. Thank you Lisa! You can see more of Lisa's work on her blog, The Long Road to China and 2HipChics.