i can’t believe it’s over. i spent more than a month in anticipation of the davis love story workshop, and it whirled through my life this week, left my brain spinning with all the things i tried to learn, and spit me back out again at home with so many new ideas to put into action.
bob & dawn davis design their “love story” workshop around a real wedding. participants spend a day in class and practice, a day shooting the wedding in all its glory, and the last day in more class and practice. this particular workshop was held in nashville at the wedding event of tiffany + miles, who are ALSO wedding photographers and come from a family of photographers. the bar was set high. very very high.
i met bob in las vegas in august at skip’s summer school when i took his lighting class. in 2 hours of that class, he managed to completely capture my interest in the techniques he was using to light his images. i was fascinated by what he showed us then and i wanted more. so when the email arrived announcing the love story workshop, i had to get in on it.
dawn immediately caught me by surprise by her friendliness and welcoming spirit. she is one of those people that you wish was your best friend; and by the end of the three days together, she pretty much is. she is open, generous, caring and sharing. she answered every question we had, and then some. she made sure everyone was ok at all times.
together, bob and dawn are creative geniuses. they are very successful businesspersons, but they are also normal down-to-earth people. after spending three days with them, you walk away knowing that they are just a regular couple with all the normal ups and downs of life; they love god, they love their kids, and family is number one. i would be remiss if i didn’t mention michele, their operations director, who holds it all together and keeps it running smoothly. she is a real sweetheart.
the first day we had some lighting instruction from bob, then headed over to cedarwood’s antebellum farm estate to check out where the wedding was going to be held the next day. we met tiffany and miles there, and had some fun walking the grounds and photographing them in different locations.
the second day was WEDDING DAY. we headed over to cedarwood again around noon to get shots of the details as they were set up, and oh my, this wedding was LOADED with details. every time you turned a corner, there was another vignette of something special to tiffany and miles. and the flowers…oh, the flowers.
the ceremony itself was short and sweet, held out on the sweeping lawns as the sun settled down to the horizon. cedarwood’s altar is made up of actual windows from an old church, and the seats are real pews. you feel like you are really sitting in god’s house – his beautiful, natural, open-air house.
the dining area was elaborately set and lit by glowing lanterns and hundreds of candles. the guests danced to a live band on a flagstone patio.
the third day, i needed a lot of coffee to get myself going. i was tired! we met for more classroom instruction, this time on the business side of things. dawn talked about how they brought their business to where it’s at now, and shared workflow ideas as well as personal anecdotes about what works for them and why. i was really moved by some of what she shared about their personal history and how god has blessed their faithfulness to him. she gave us books that have been pivotal in their lives, as well as the tools needed to start making changes so we can realize our dreams as well.
one of the things dawn talked about was vision boards. she even made us each a little packet of “visions” to get us started. i put mine up on the bathroom mirror this morning. i’ll change some of the visions out when i settle on what i want mine to be, but for now, this is working for me.
after all that fun, we headed to downtown nashville with tiffany + miles, arline (tiffany’s mom), and 4 other models dressed in bridal gowns to practice more off-camera flash photography. it was so much fun. one group set their model in the middle of broadway to shoot! my group used a couple different brick buildings and the shelby street bridge as backdrops.
i have never been more frustrated as a photographer, or more challenged. every other attendee was fabulously awesome, but it was tough trying to get all the shots i wanted amidst 36 other elbows and 18 other camera lenses. i know i bonked at least four people in the head with my lens when they stood up under me as i was leaning over their shoulder. eventually i decided that whatever i could get was going to be awesome and the rest didn’t matter. i was learning, and that was enough for me.
one of the big challenges i faced was that bob and the other attendees were using a different method of off-camera flash than i was. not completely different, but enough different that i got myself confused on thursday night and had to straighten myself out again after i had some sleep.
i learned so much from bob, dawn, and all the other photographers in the group. it was so nice being able to share and learn from the others. if you ever have a chance to go to a davis workshop, GO. i wholeheartedly recommend it.
stay tuned for parts ii, iii, and iv as i share photos from thursday’s pre-wedding shoot, friday’s wedding, and saturday’s post-wedding shoot in downtown nashville!