One of the main reasons for attending Lanny & Erika’s workshop of course, as with many, is the photography imagery. Now, I have been a photographer for over twenty three years. I started my career photographing rock bands for the music and recording industry. I have toured with many bands through the late 80’s to early 90’s. At some point in my career a friend at a record company asked if I would shoot her wedding. I said “I’ve never shot a wedding”. She said “That’s ok. I’ve never been married”. And just like that my wedding career started. Fast forward to current day, I find my inspiration from more of the editorial photographers I have followed for years. Annie Liebovitz, Mark Seliger, Danny Clinch, Anton Corbijon, and Peggy Sirota to name a few. I remember a friend of mine mentioning “have you seen or heard of these photographers called Two Man(n)?” Naturally I said, “who”? I went home and looked them up. I was blown away. I looked at the photographs and just sat there speechless. Wishing my photographs were these. Everything about the photos is just incredible. The composition. The lens selection. The emotion. The moment. The feeling. The editing. The lighting. Everything. So I started following their blog and IG.
I, like everyone, wanted that opportunity to learn from them. But of course the problem was the workshops sell out in an instant. Luckily for me, through Huy and Fearless Photographers, along with Lanny & Erika, they were ‘gifting’ a scholarship to a workshop. The question presented by Huy, Lanny & Erika was “How are you helping in protecting and caring for the environment?” The funny story to this is that I wasn’t going to enter. On my way to a wedding, my assistant and I were talking. She asked if I entered the ‘Two Mann Scholarship’ contest. I said no. I figured “I never win anything. Did you?” She said yes. I asked “what are you doing for the planet” She said “I have a compost pit.” I figured if that was her submission, I definitely had to enter. I am a bit of an environmentalist. I wrote my entry and I was selected. I couldn’t believe it. I remember like it was yesterday. I had just arrived at a venue on the day of a wedding and checked my email before heading in and received the email from Huy. I completely freaked. I have wanted to attend and learn from Lanny & Erika for years and now for caring about the environment I was gifted a scholarship. Hell Yeah!! I was going to Canada to learn from Erika & Lanny!!
It’s hard to actually put down in words what I got out of the experience. There was so much information and knowledge being taught. But trying to put it down in words is exactly what the question asks. “What you got out of the experience?” The Experience. Excellent choice of word. Because it was just that. All ego’s are checked at the door. Here, you are all friends. You are all here to learn, laugh and grow. Not only as a photographer but more importantly as a human. Erika & Lanny have you open your mind, your eyes and your heart to almost feel the moments as they happen. Anticipating things before they happen. Reading situations. Almost like Jedi mind tricks. In the worlds of Star Wars, these two are Yoda. LOL!!
Lanny & Erika are both such genuine people who honestly care about you and the group and were open books about their process they take to capture their weddings. I didn’t want the three days to end. But excited for what lay ahead as I tried to see and feel different approaching my next wedding. I do have to admit after shooting for twenty three years, it is very hard to break out of my style and approach to the wedding. It literally ‘kick started’ my vision again. I am still slowly implementing my Two Mann tool box. I am definitely anticipating more moments and aware of things going on. It’s almost like starting over again with a new set of eyes and ears. My clients can hear it in my voice. I truly honestly still enjoy and love what I do. Sure. You can go in to your next wedding with the approach of ‘what ever. It’s another wedding.’ Or you can go in ‘Balls Out.’ Looking to ‘hit that lottery.’ And tell the greatest love story ever through your lenses and the people in front of you. I think that was one of the biggest take aways. Learning to love what I do again and realize the opportunity we all get to do nearly every weekend.