San Fransisco City Hall Elopement Styled Shoot

Back in early February of this year, I attended a photography workshop in San Fransisco. I have done a few other local workshops/retreats, so I was going into this one with no expectations. Being present and going in open-minded, absorbing all I could and seeing which direction I am suppose to go next. I attended this workshop with another fellow photographer, Samantha Josette, from the San Luis Obispo area. Over the course of these five days, I gained much insight and knowledge that will carry me over this next chapter in life.

The Three Styled Shoots all Over San Fransisco

On the first day of this workshop was filled with styled shoots all over the city. We started at 8 am and ended at 9 pm. It was a long and beautiful day of creating! The first shoot was an elopement at the stunning San Fransisco City Hall hosted by Eden Strader. After seeing countless stunning images of City Hall, I knew it had to be on my bucket list. The architecture, the light, the details are truly picturesque! Since we got there right when the doors opened, we had the lobby to ourselves for almost two hours.

I learned a few things from Eden.

  1. Keep Moving – Every third shutter click, move your body. Change the distance or change angle. That will help you get a large variety of images in a short period of time.
  2. Play with Light – Understand light and then play with it. Go into direct light and shadows with confidence. Underexpose for their faces.
  3. Give yourself time – Not only create great images but also give yourself time to push yourself and try something new. Create great portraits, but then also try something new.
  4. Double Exposures – You can do this in-camera. Click first on florals (for example) and then on their faces. Try to keep their faces clean of florals.

The creatives behind the shoot: Model: Madison Lauren,⁠ Stylist: Eden Strader⁠, Florist: La Olivia,⁠ Clothing: Rime Arodaky⁠

Then we headed to Crissy Field for a mid-day playful engagement session. The goal of this session was two-fold. One, how to work with harsh light in the middle of the day where shadows are hard to find. And two, how to give clients and playful and natural experience. We played with various prompts, creating foreground with what we have around us, and just trying new things.

Lastly, I ended the day in an industrial studio for an elegant editorial styled shoot. The details are seriously jaw-dropping! Light, delicate, and elegant! D’arcy Benicosa is a phenomenal photographer, business coach, marketer, and inspirational speaker! She tells it to you straight and helps you push yourself beyond your comfort zone. She walked us through her approach to posing couples, using light, how to shoot a tablescape to elevate the overall feel, and much more. I’m really excited about these images and meeting this lady who is making waves!

The creatives behind the styled session:

STYLED SHOOT HOST: D’Arcy Benincosa @darcybenincosa
STYLIST: Natalie Holland with Jade Magnolia
MUAH: Emily Artistry
FLORALS: Ava Flora
GOWN: Claire La Faye
TUX: Black Tie Fresno
LINENS: La Tavola Linen
RENTALS: Bright Event Rentals
RING: Trumpet & Horn
PAPER: Art & Alexander
MALE MODEL: Chase for JE Model
EVENT HOST:  Evolve Workshops

Tools I Gained from the Workshop

Now I want to dive into the meat of the workshop. We had two and a half days of educational content from many of the best speakers in the industry. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to attend Evolve. Natalie Franke & James and Jess are two people that I’ve been following online, so I was excited to hear them in person! I will drop some of my biggest takeaways below.

  • We have to be the one to make the change
  • Today is all I know I have – nothing is guaranteed
  • Love the people we serve more than the craft we do
  • Keep communicating after the gallery is delivered
    • Once a quarter client newsletter
    • Coffee on You
    • Sales on Prints
    • In-Person Events
      • Wine Tastings / Bring your own lunch
    • Take care of people 1 on 1
  • Play it Brave Podcast by D’arcy Benincosa
  • Who you are with money is who you are in life
    • Our triggers are our teachers
  • If you have an idea, ACT on it
  • Basing your business on your gift is your secret sauce
    • Your gift comes naturally and from an abundance
  • You cannot pour from an empty cup
  • Book: 5 am Club, Brain Fluence, Profit First, The Compound Effect, Building a Stroy Brand
  • The first two hours of the day are the most productive
  • Podcasts: The Road Back to You, The Bokeh Podcast
  • Your existing and past clients are the low-hanging fruit compared to finding new clients
    • Contact all past clients one time a month
  • Passionate people change the world
  • Don’t live in my Plan B –> This hit home and I quit my day job a couple of weeks after this workshop. It was a big step for me but I needed to believe in myself and that I can and I am successful!
  • Add value around YOU instead of your work
  • Effective Emails with four paragraphs: Personable, Story/Purpose, How I stand out & serve, Process & Starting Price
  • Effective Phone Calls use the 50/20/10/20 rule: 50% about them and their story, 20% about the wedding, 10% about me, 20% about pricing, details about services and questions
  • The actions you take are ‘votes’ of the person you are
  • Value is the art of Loving People
  • People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it
  • Your why lives in the center of your story
  • Posing Variety: LASH – Laugh, Almost Kiss, Smile/Slay, Heads touching
  • In the pursuit of success, don’t lose sight of your priorities!

If you are looking for some solid education and fabulous shoots, dive into Evolve Workshops. Every workshop is hosted at a different location including Santa Barbara next year!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out these great workshops I attended last year.


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