I'm Liz and God designed me to be an encourager, a dreamer, a story teller and most importantly, a Kingdom builder.
If you know me you know I love workshops. I am someone who thrives on learning new information and I like to seek knowledge in lots of different places. Luckily for me, the MJ-2-Day from International Wedding Photographer Melissa Jill was right in my own backyard in Phoenix. Okay, it was actually in Melissa’s home and backyard, not mine, but that’s one of the elements that made her workshop different from any of the others I have attended. She opened her home to 13 photographers from around the country who wanted to learn from Melissa and share their experiences. Of the 13 attendees, none were at the exact same place in their photography journey. There were attendees who hadn’t started a business yet and some that had been in business for years. Everyone had something to give and something to learn.
The MJ-2-Day really focuses on the business side of running a successful photography business. Whatever your specialty is, this workshop is designed to help you focus your business and take it to the next level. One of the things that Melissa shared that really struck me was the idea that if you choose to own your own photography business you’ll spend 80% of your time on business and only 20% of your time on photography. TRUE THAT! I spend significantly more time on the business aspect of my photography business than I do on actually shooting. Luckily for me I love both. I love just about every part of the business of being in business… except the accounting. I really don’t like the accounting.
A few of the highlights (for me) of the MJ-2-Day experience were the mock engagement shoot, the workbook, the headshot round-robin… and the awesome package of goodies I won from Pictage and ShootQ.
The Shoot: Melissa set up a mock engagement shoot on day one of the workshop. She invited an already married couple who happen to be pregnant with their first child… so it sort of turned into a maternity shoot. What was unique about the shoot was that instead of it being a “shoot out” like you see at most workshops, it was really a chance to observe. Melissa invited us to bring our cameras but instead of focusing on shooting the models, she suggested that we focus on watching how she worked with the models. For me, that completely changed the focus of the shoot out. I snapped a few pictures, but they were of Melissa teaching. Mostly I just observed how she interacted with her clients… and I think it was a fabulous learning opportunity.
The Workbook: Some workshops provide a workbook… Melissa provides a WORKBOOK. It’s full of so much wonderful information. She claims you don’t have to write down anything she says during the workshop… and she’s right. You don’t have to write down anything she says… except that each subject she touches upon makes you want to write down 3 ideas and an action step. I came home with a notebook full of ideas and action steps! I’ll be able to use my MJ-2-Day as a guide for a long time… and to me that’s beyond awesome.
The Headshots: If I could get married all over again I would completely rearrange my budget so that I could have Melissa Jill photograph my wedding. But, since I’m happily married and I don’t see a renewal ceremony in my future… I’m going to settle for the fact that Melissa Jill snapped my headshot at the workshop! I could be wrong, but I’m going to guess that Melissa’s love language is gifts… giving gifts, not receiving them. She gifts her brides and grooms lots of good goodies and she provides a small gift bag to each attendee with all the little things you need for a workshop (chap stick, notepad, chocolate, etc.). One of the best gifts for MJ-2-Day attendees… getting to be on the other side of Melissa’s camera. She shoots a headshot of each attendee on day two of the workshop. At the same time the other attendees participate in a headshot round robin of sorts, photographing each other. In the end each attendee ends up with a variety of images and no more excuses for not having photos on themselves on their website and social media pages!
The Giveaways: The MJ-2-Day has some amazing sponsors. I was blessed to win a one year Pro Membership from Pictage (including ShootQ). How awesome is that?!! I can’t wait to get it set up!!! I was also blessed to receive a free seat to Jared Platt’s Lightroom workshop because I was the first person to register for the Phoenix MJ-2-Day. I’ll be blogging about that workshop next week. If you’re looking to make your workflow and your time in Lightroom more efficient, you’re going to want to read that review when I post it!
I always love when attending a workshop results in learning oodles of great information but also making oodles of new friends. The other 12 attendees at the MJ-2-Day are wonderful ladies (guys are always welcome at the MJ-2-Day) and great photographers. I can’t wait to keep in touch with them via Facebook and stalk their websites and blogs.
If you’re interested in investing in a wonderful workshop focused on taking your business to the next level I encourage you to research the MJ-2-Day and find a way to make it happen! Of course, if you aren’t already, you should be following Melissa’s blog. In addition to her own photography work, Melissa shares tips and information for photographers. Her 13 part summer series on flash/off-camera lighting is a wonderful resource for anyone struggling with flash or wanting to take their skills up a notch. If you have any specific questions about the MJ-2-Day I’d be happy to chat with you via email or Skype.
I give the MJ-2-Day 5 stars! Check out the workshop from Melissa Jill’s perspective on her blog.
Melissa hosts the Phoenix workshop in her home. It’s warm, inviting and fabulously decorated. It also comes with Dixie… Melissa’s dog and the MJ-2-Day mascot.
Melissa was rockin’ the Kelly Moore Classic bag and took advantage of the setting sun to grab a super cool shadow image on a neighbors wall.
Melissa shot a portion of the mock engagement shoot in a neighbor’s backyard. Their patio had an eclectic mix of furniture and in the yard the chickens ruled the roost.
A big thank you to Suzanne of Suzanne Melissa Photography for the great headshots and detail pictures below! I’ll be posting my headshot from Melissa Jill next week, so stay tuned.