Inspiration & Creation // Sweetlight Collective Workshop

Tears spring to my eyes, my vision blurring as I stare at my computer screen. Hands quickly dashing the tears away so I can see what's in front of me. Only to have the tears come again. This is a good thing.

I did this. Wow... I did this? Yes.

I did this.

Childrens Portrait on Carousel Horse by The Suitcase Studio

My heart is so full it feels it might burst through my chest. My mind is exhausted but still racing... planning, thinking, creating.

Stylized Childrens Portrait in Teepee by The Suitcase Studio

It was a process. I'd forced myself to slow down, to take the time to envision. Create it, direct it, mold and shape the scene. Then add touches in post-edit to complete my original vision.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like a true artist.

And I'm excited to see what other creations await.

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Stylized Childrens Portrait in field wearing animal mask by The Suitcase Studio

I am still reeling from my photo adventure last week. I'd attended a 2-day Sweetlight Collective workshop held by Skye Hardwick of Work of Heart Photography, where the focus was completely on learning to stylize children's portrait sessions, as well as incorporating posing techniques for the full effect. (Which will definitely be utilized in upcoming offerings of mine... hint, hint.)

On Tuesday morning, 12 photographers arrived at the Condor's Nest Ranch in Pala (just past Temecula)... bright eyed and eager to learn. By Wednesday evening, we left with smiles on our faces, but were bone-tired, knowing we had given it our all. It was fantastic.

Not only had Skye set up beautiful scenes for us to photograph, but had provided fantastic models, to boot. It's still strange to think of them as "professionals," but they were very much so. The kids ranged in age from 3 to 15, and most of them had been doing this for years.   You might even recognize a few from Gap  or Ralph Lauren ads.

Childrens Portrait in grass by The Suitcase Studio

That's not to say they weren't still kids. I fell in love with one girl in particular, who held herself in such a soulful way... until the cameras went down. THEN she'd launch into a crazy song and dance about a cheeseburger, or runaway lips, and I couldn't help but laugh right along with her. (I'm happy I pulled my camera back up to capture a few of those moments, as well.)

These two days with Skye and the others have been instrumental in helping me find just what I need to make my latest ideas come to life. Inspiration, execution, and all the in-betweens.

Stylized Childrens Portrait in Pink Chair in Field by The Suitcase Studio

There are soooo many amazing photos that I want to share from this experience that I will be adding them to several different blog posts instead of simply adding them all here.

Enjoy the journey.

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psssst: if you haven't heard yet, I will SOON be offering stylized sessions of my own. Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter (click the red tab on the left) to be among the first to find out when this new service is launched.