Hi friends! Long time no chat!

The past few weeks have been busy and packed with traveling all over and I've finally gotten the opportunity to catch up. Now that I've been able to respond to my pending inquiries and emails, I knew I had to come on here and spill the tea to you guys. I attended my first styled shoots and content days in the past month or so, I have some thoughts and experiences I wanted to share! I want to chat all about how I decided I wanted to attend one, how I chose what to attend, what I did during these days, and, finally, what I learned when I walked away from it all.

One of the biggest reasons I decided to attend a content day was to get out of my comfort zone. Even though I've been digitally connected to some photographers in my area or around the country online, I've always felt like a little bit of a loner in the photography community. I'm constantly learning stuff online through, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, but none of these made me closer to a person. I have two personal friends who are photographers but even they have their own communities. So when Baylee (@bayreedphoto) posted that she was hosting a set of content days, I picked one and just ran with it. I definitely took the book first, ask questions later approach with it. As the days grew closer, I started to get a little nervous. I didn't know what I needed to pack, how to dress, and I was all over the place. But then an opportunity to attend a styled shoot local to me popped up, and I immediately signed up for it.

When Glamhaus Collective (@glamhauscollective) and Cin Photos (@cinphotos) posted that they were collaborating for a styled shoot, I was ecstatic. I had originally wanted to attend Cin's boudoir styled shoot but it fell on the day I was coming back from the content day I had already signed up for in Malibu. So I took the opportunity I could get and ran with it. I set up my gear when I got there and they had the models spread out and all glammed up, we were given instructions and just kind of had to run with it. If I'm being honest, I froze. I was so unsure about directing them to pose, I was a little more timid about it, and I let Cin step in to direct and do her thing. I let it happen through out the time we were there because I was really just trying to watch and learn while also shooting what I can. This was probably my first time shooting models with prior experience so it was such a fascinating time and a great opportunity to get my feet wet. I was able to assess myself and know what I wanted to do differently for the next time.

After shooting the smaller content day in Dallas I made the official decision to try to bring my entire kit with me to Malibu - so I brought a digital and film camera body (Canon R5 and Canon EOS 1-V), my 35mm, 85mm, and 24-70mm lenses, as well as my flash. I also packed around 10 rolls of film and was determined to try to shoot as much of it if not all of it. I had my pieces all separated in my bag and had it set up in its individual pieces, packed some additional batteries and made sure to bring my little vlog camera with me too. I brought my harness because I always find it super convenient to be able to switch between digital and film when I'm at home so I figured it could come handy as well.

Let's just say that was one of the first mistakes I made - but you can't learn without them so I'm glad I made them and now I know what to do differently for next time. To no one's surprise I most definitely overpacked. I could have definitely done with just two spare batteries for my digital camera, and I definitely could have left the harness and 85mm lens at home. As much as it did come in handy in the first shoot of the content day in Malibu, it didn't come in handy for the remainder of the day. I also made the mistake of having all my pieces separated and I found towards the end of the day that it was easier to keep the lenses on the bodies and stored them in their ready-to-go positions in my backpack. I don't regret using the backpack I did (Langly Sierra) because I find it to be more study than my Brevite Runner backpack and much better padded. The last thing I could have been better prepared for was actually my footwear - as much as I love my Adidas Sambas for the style and the comfort, I could have done with some shoes that had some extra support and grooves to grip for all the walking and semi-hiking we did. Now that I've identified the things I've learned, I want to get to the story!!! I'm going to walk you guys through my day and hopefully it gives you a nice insight into what a full content day really looks like.

The day started with a nice breakfast and more than enough coffee and I headed over to the host Airbnb for the first shoot of the day! The concept was a very relaxed, homestyled morning shoot with lots of florals. The color palette was light with pops of color and the lighting and views in the Airbnb were breathtaking!!! I showed up a nervous bundle with my backpack and a coffee in hand. I met all the other girls who were participating and everyone was truly so nice and sweet. It was so nice to converse with other photographers just about the business and everything. I truly feel I made such great and genuine connections! The main places we shot in the Airbnb were in the kitchen and the large windows in the living room so in order to give everyone enough space we split into two groups and took turns shooting the model every maybe 10-15 minutes? I was a little bit nervous but everyone was truly so nice it didn't feel like I was getting in someone's way of them getting their shot, it was also so refreshing to see other more experienced photographers offer the model more direction and poses. I definitely took mental notes when it came to these poses because they came out stunning. At one point the model moved to sit on the floor but I felt like it looked too empty and bare so I asked the model if she could grab some of the flowers and just sprinkle them on the floor around her. She did it and one of the other photographers pointed out that that was a great idea and I was like, "Oh wow, I did a thing!!!" Sometimes, the little things mean everything. I shot back and forth using film and digital and everything came out so stunning. We shot around an hour and a half and then we rested up and all split off into cars to go to the next shoot. I joined two other girls in a car and we drove to the second location.

We parked at the second location and all gathered around waiting for the model to arrive. The second shoot was a mommy and me themed shoot on the beach. We crossed the road to get to the beach and when I climbed down to the beach I realized the rest of the day might be a little bit of a physical challenge for me (for reference I'm lacking in the exercise department). My feet kept sinking into the sand so we all ended up taking our shoes and socks off. I pulled my harness out and set everything up and hooked my cameras on. Again, we split into two groups and took turns shooting with the mom and her toddler. They were both so precious and I don't know if people realize how challenging it can be to shoot with a toddler because 9 times out of 10 if you're near a body of water - all they want to do is run away and get in. So it definitely got hard to run around shooting this mommy and me when you've got your feet sinking ankle-deep into the sand with every step you take. You could say I was grateful for the breaks when we switched groups. This was around when I decided that the harness was probably not a good idea. After the first outfit, our precious models changed into their second outfits and then doom came before me. The shoot was moved down the beach where some rocks were. Even though I could see the rocks in the distance, I definitely worried about being able to even make it there, I was afraid to look weak or for not being able to keep up with the crowd, but I assured myself not getting an asthma attack was the goal and that I needed to keep it pushing. About 5 minutes into walking, the gap between the group and I got wider and my ankles felt like they were going to snap off because they sunk into the sand with every step yet again. No matter if the sand was wet or dry, I was sinking in regardless. I took breaks every point I could and eventually made it there, despite being the last person to do so. I shot everything I could with as much energy as I had before I finally decided to call it and rest before starting to walk back before everyone. The shoot was still amazing and precious but all I could hear was my heartbeat in my ears. I packed up and started walking back when we decided to break for lunch but everyone did pass me up eventually, and I was grateful for the two people who stayed behind with me, because I might have actually broken down crying after all of that. We got up to the road when there was an opening instead of going all the way back and ended up waking the remainder of the distance on the road which was so much easier. We packed up the cars and headed for lunch where we got to talk and mingle and most of all, rest.

Our lunch break was so nice to talk and connect with everyone on a personal level. I also have to give a big virtual hug to Nicole (@nicolelllewisphotography) and Amanda (@amandawaller_studio) for being such great companions in the car throughout the day. I love hearing what other people's niches are - seniors, families, couples, weddings, etc. I love hearing their experiences and learning what everyone's boundaries are when it comes to their clientele. It was such a good opportunity to share perspectives as business owners, photographers, and artists.

The third and fourth shoots were at the same location just in different spots. We arrived at the location and started to make our way down...and then I realized it was a steep way down all the way down to the beach. So I braced myself and took my time because at this point my legs were sore but I was going to do me regardless. We went down some steep and rocky terrain, and then one giant steep set of stairs and saw the most gorgeous views, then slowly made our way through some more rocky terrain down to the next steep set of stairs. When we got down to the beach the sand didn't make my ankles sink all the way in so that was a huge relief. The last two shoots were so differently styled - one being a coastal cowgirl type shoot and the other being a sweet indie couple with a camper van. I needed a break after the hike down so I actually physically just sat down and watched everyone work. When the van arrived, the group split into two and one group went back up and I definitely did not do that because that would have triggered my asthma attack for sure. I sat down and eventually mustered up some strength to shoot the coastal cowgirl shoot on the beach. It was stunning working with the view, the rock formations, and playing with the sun. It was so stunning I almost forgot my legs were wanting to snap off. Eventually I took a break to give myself a rest a little before we reached the halfway point and time to switch groups. I decided to head up the stairs early because I knew it would take me twice as long considering all the breaks I would need to take.

Now while I don't take pride in my physical abilities, I do take pride in knowing myself so well because I was panting and needed to catch my breath so badly after going up the first third of the way. I stopped and took deep breaths and took in the view. One of the photographers, Jen (@jenjetzerphoto) saw me when she started making her way back up and even said, "I knew you were already on your way up." And I told her I needed the head start so bad. Eventually everyone passed me by while I caught my breath, and then I made my way all the way back up. The last third and hiking up the actual dirt and rocks was probably the hardest part but I made it there eventually and then I thought I was going to black out. After some time sitting down and watching everyone shoot and work, I eventually joined everyone else in shooting the couple.

I just have to say they were a dream to shoot. They were so well paired, so sweet with one another, and the entire setup with the van looked like it was straight out of a music video. I have nothing but good things to say about the styling of this session. We shot all around the the van and tried a bunch of different poses, we even moved to the little flower field nearby and did some photos there too. Everything was just so well-lit and cinematic with the sun going down and it was a stunning way to end the day. After the couple left, the rest of us just sat around on the ground waiting for the group who was on the beach to come back up. We got to sharing more about our individual experiences being business owners, and it really felt so nice to be able to talk about this stuff with people who just get it.

The rest of the day after the sun went down was just spent mingling and some girls got flash tattoos at the host Airbnb. But overall after this experience, I would definitely attend another content day or styled shoot and it's definitely something I would recommend other people to do! Especially if you're looking to build your portfolio with content or experience that you don't have yet, if you're looking to build friendships and connections with others, and especially if you want a change of scenery! I would attend a content day hosted by any of the girls who attended and definitely another one of Baylees.

I hope one day I can put together a nice content day or retreat, and my ultimate dream would be to host a content retreat in Singapore to show off the culture, the colors, and everything I love about my home. I hope this was a nice read and look into my most recent experience. If you want to hear all about my entire trip to LA, you can always watch me on my YouTube Channel! Until next time!