Time often gets the best of me but I wanted to do a blog post about my experience at Jessica Kobeissi’s workshop in Los Angeles this past March.
Jessica is my favorite photographer at the moment – She’s adorable and I watch all her YouTube videos so it was so crazy to meet her in person! I know her all the way back from our Neopets days – She ran one of the most successful graphic resource sites at the time and I used it every time I was creating a layout for a guild or a pet’s page. It is so crazy how years later I stumbled upon her videos and recognized her! I used to read her personal blog as well so when I met her in person, I was like “Hey, I read your diary since I was 12 and I know way too much about you”. (Or I said that in my head anyway – I was so shy to even hardly speak, haha).
Anyway, Joe and I drove to Los Angeles and made a trip out of it – It wasn’t too far and we go to LA about every two to three months now so it was perfect. The workshop was one day for eight hours and breakfast and lunch was provided. She brought along her amazing stylist, Sarah and had local makeup artist Jenny Bowker there as well. We had two models to shoot and they were none other than Nicole Zimmerman and Azizi Donnelly! I have seen them all over Instagram and in her videos and I was ecstatic when I saw them there.
We did an introduction in a circle, allowing everyone to say their name, the type of photography they shoot and what they’re hoping to gain from the workshop. I was hoping to learn how to edit and to make some new friends. A notebook was provided to take notes, which was such a nice touch – I still reserve that notebook for only photography learning things because I’m a nerd like that ;). After introductions, Jessica showed us her equipment and went over what we were to do. She showed us the settings she was using and how the photos looked straight out of the camera. It was awesome to see that behind the scenes because she is a boss at editing and the images are always completely transformed.
Next, we split up into groups of four or five and each group took a model and went into separate sides of the studio. Each person took turns shooting with the model until they got all the shots they wanted or until someone said they were taking too long. (Just kidding! everyone was actually really respecting of each other’s time with the models which was nice). Then when everyone had shot, the groups switched so they could shoot with the other model. The models then switched outfits and we did the whole thing again.
After breaking for lunch, the second half of the day was reserved for editing. Jessica showed us how she retouches and edits her photos and then using our photos we retouched and edited one by her instructions. She went around helping anyone that was having trouble and answering questions. It was SO awesome getting one on one time with her! After we were all pretty much done, she tells us that she’s going to pass around a USB and we need to put our photo on there so she can critique it in front of the class!! OMG! This was nerve-wracking but it actually wasn’t bad. My favorite thing I took away from the editing portion of the workshop was I finally learned how to edit and professionally retouch. Obviously I need to practice every day but before I never knew where to start and how to do things and now I can’t stop. My favorite thing I learned in Photoshop specifically was Selective Coloring. I had no idea you could have a layer and choose the exact colors to add or adjust. We then edited another photo completely on our own – I was working so hard on mine and I called Jessica over to show her because I was excited and she said it was awesome! (A few weeks later, Jenny Bowker e-mailed me asking if I could send her that photo to add to her portfolio because she loved the way it showed off the makeup so that was really cool)! I was proud because I did it all on my own with everything I had just learned.
We all got gift bags Jessica so kindly put together and took some pictures before we left and I was bummed it was over. I made some friends and got a bunch of people’s contact info/Instagram so we could stay in touch. A few of them even want to plan a meetup to go on an adventure sometime this year at Valley of Fire or something along those lines.
A few hours later we all met Jessica at a cool Taco place downtown and ate/drank together – We all were just talking and laughing and it was just great. My overall experience with the workshop was AWESOME. If I ever hosted a workshop, I would want it organized like this one. I appreciated that I didn’t feel rushed and that it felt very organized. I liked the choice of models and her team that she brought with her – everyone knew what they were doing and everyone was so nice, too. I loved that the workshop was capped off at 12 people because that gave us enough time with Jessica if we needed it. I remember during one session with one of the models, I was shooting backlit as part of the “challenge/lesson” and I HATE backlit. (Only because I could never figure how to do it). Well, this time, my photo didn’t come out and Jessica asked me how it turned out, I showed her and she showed me what to change and now I can shoot Backlit photos! I was so excited. This was truly a life changing event for me and my career in photography. I am forever grateful I got this opportunity and am grateful for Jessica Kobeissi as well.
If you have made it this far….CONGRATULATIONS!! Send me an e-mail and I will send you a handwritten thank you letter, haha. I do apologize for the lengthy post but I wanted to make sure I was concise and didn’t leave anything out –If you want to attend a workshop I HIGHLY recommend doing it!
Thank you so much for reading this post and please take a look at all my photos from the workshop below!