So many wedding and portraits photographers are scared of their flash and panic when faced with tricky lighting situations. Often these same photographers can get stuck in a rut making safe images, which has them dreading making work, and serving clients who don’t resonate with them. Creative anxiety can also often be a huge problem and can debilitate new ideas and motivation.
If you are one of these photographers well then the next few lines are for you!
I know what it is like to feel totally burnt out and uninspired but with my Fine Art background, introspection and lots of reading I manage to push through the dark patches! 3 years ago I went on a trip to Bali to figure out what do with my life and my career. When I left South Africa I was battling with adrenal burnout and a broken heart. I had the 2 most wonderful life changing months in this magical land. By giving myself the space and time to think and dream I came home inspired and filled with a new lease on life. I realized whilst I was there that I wanted to help other people reach their potential and I dreamed up a workshop where I would teach other photographers to move from a place of “stuckness” and in to a place of creativity and self expression. My first “Unstuck Yourself Workshop” happened on a beautiful farm on the outskirts of Johannesburg last week. Not everyone can go to Bali for a shake up but you can take a day out of life to inspire yourself!
My aim for this workshop is to help you move past any fear you have surrounding your work and give you confidence to turn tricky situations into creative possibilities! I want to help you speak with your own visual language and create images that you are proud of! I have one spot open for the next workshop in Cape Town on the 1st of November.
But back to the Jozi workshop. I wanted to create a workshop that was different from anything that is out there. It was held on a farm rather than a fancy hotel, there were no models or styled tables but there was plenty of “Unstucking” inspiration and learning to be had!
It was such a fantastic day with a really great group of beautiful people. We started the morning in a creative environment with a coffee and then moved into lectures with lots of time for Q&A and feedback.
I told my story and shared some of the ways in which I stay motivated and inspired.
We also looked at practical ways of improving your work, finding your own visual language, thinking out of the box and finding clients who you love. I gave attendees a bunch of other tips that I have learnt along the way.
At noon we went out in to the mid day, unflattering light to take some portraits and it was here that I first began to teach how easy it can be to use flash! I so loved seeing all the pennies drop!
We then had a delicious vegetarian lunch and went back for more lectures.
From 3pm until dark we went to all the ugly parts of the venue that no one would ever consider shooting in and I made portraits of everyone who attended. The idea behind this is to give people practical solutions to use when faced with tricky situations so that people don’t panic and freak out when things don’t go to plan or aren’t so pretty. I also spent quite a bit of time talking about light, light adaptors and using external lights in simple easy to understand ways.
Here is the lovely Judith Belle shot in the middle of the day in ugly, harsh lighting! And below her pic is what she had to say about the experience.
“Jacki, I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your workshop.
With a title like Unstuck Yourself I’m sure that it resonates with so many creatives – and that is what your workshop did. Tuesday’s conversations and practical’s made my head spin and my brain buzz… in the good way that we don’t allow ourselves to feel often enough.
I feel like I want to be better, I want to see the light, I want to work a scene and I want to be mindful of what I create and put out to the world. And in no way do I want to copy or be like anyone else, I want to do all these things but with my own voice.
I love people who see the light, and you Jacki, you’re a master at seeing light and it was a privilege to learn from you.”
Here’s the gorgeous Thabang who I photographed in a dark corner of a untidy bedroom. And what follows is what she had to say about her day.
“The workshop was fun and very informative. I got to meet some other awesome photographers. Jacki tackled the business side in detail. How to price your packages to suit you. She also showed us some interesting tricks with lights and flash. Flash freaks me put but she made it seem super easy. I learnt that in order to be great photographer you’ve got to always seek inspiration, take time out for yourself, put in the work and try out new things. At the end of the session we had cheese and wine and got to bond.
The workshop and all it entailed helped me find the reset button. It opens up your mind.”
Here’s special Laura who I photographed at sunset and used her pretty face to demonstrate how to use fill in flash with various lighting adaptors.
“Phenomenal and beyond inspiring, I left with so many new and creative ideas, my brain is actually struggling to process it all. She is also one of the nicest and kindest people you’ll ever meet.”
This is our token hot guy Shezaad who I photographed him in a extremely messy dark garage! His words follow …..
“I think the most beneficial part of the Unstuck Yourself workshop was learning to shoot more than just pretty pictures and to make work with more meaning. The workshop covered everything that Jax promised to cover in the write up and I am no longer scared of my flash in fact I’ve realised I could get more creative with it.
I loved that we didn’t shoot models at a fancy hotel. Quiet honestly I’ve avoided workshops like that for that very reason. I don’t want to attend a workshop and come out with the exact same images as the next guy or girl.
The workshop was 100% worth it. I learnt so much, met such amazing photographer’s and was totally inspired by the end of the day!
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Jax.”
Huge thanks to everyone who came along. Thanks for trusting me, thanks for your open hearts, enthusiasm and for making a dream come true!
I need to thank my good friends Germaine and Ivan for having us take over your home for the day and for having us to stay. Your place really is a piece of paradise!!!! Love you so much! Thanks to Tashy my assistant passed for helping, for taking these pics and for being so awesome. Thanks to my assistant now Lizzy Loo for working like a trojan to make this day happen. You really are something special!!! I can’t tell you how much I love you all. I am truly so grateful!