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joy prouty

Wildflowers Workshop with Joy Prouty | Indianapolis | June 2016

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Wildflowers Workshop with Joy Prouty | Indianapolis | June 2016

As I sit down to finally write this post, four months post-workshop, I have so many memories drifting around in my head. Memories of the four hour drive to Indy - the furthest I've driven alone, part of it in a crazy downpour on a highway with too many lanes to count. Walking up the driveway into the cabin with a pounding heart... wondering what the three days ahead would hold.  This felt like such a huge step for me - investing a decent amount of money into furthering my education. I had dreamt of attending not just any workshop, but this workshop, for years. I had followed Joy Prouty on social media and read every magazine article she had written or been featured in. Something told me her workshop would be filled with my kind of people. 

As I entered the cabin, I noticed Joy's lovely quilts adorning the couches and chairs, and the ladies chatted like old friends. We came with no expectations other than to learn from Joy, and knew nothing about the other attendees, yet we felt connected from the first moments. There was not a single note of judgment, only love.

Over the course of the days there, something happened to me. My eyes opened to the idea of figuring out who I really was so that I could better serve my clients while also balancing my family life. I realized that I needed to make some changes, and scribbled approximately 50 pages of notes in the little green notebook Joy gave us at the beginning of the workshop. I still look at those pages every week or two, and it brings the rush of realization back. The excitement, the passion, and the desire to work through some things in my life so that I could be the person God created me to be.

We really made the most of our time together thanks to Joy and her wonderful family. They have such servant's hearts. We shared our stories, ate delicious meals, chatted by the campfire, danced in the rain, and photographed the most beautiful families. We learned so much from each other and I feel connected to these women in such a unique way. Their stories are now woven into my own, and we support and lift eachother up on a weekly basis. I'm so thankful for that.

It's rare that a day goes by when I don't think about our workshop. I think about Joy and her strength and vulnerability. I think about each of the women and the authentic way they shared. I think about the long drive home from our time together, and the prayers of gratitude I lifted up. A dream of mine came true, and the gifts I took away from that trip are abundantly pouring out of me into all areas of my life.

If you'd like to read more about the workshop, these beautiful ladies also blogged their experience from our workshop, and I know you'll enjoy reading their words...

Tara Strohl of Tara Strohl Photography
http://www.tarastrohlphotography.com/wildflowers-workshop-2/

Michelle Maddox of Isaac & Isabelle Homestead & Photography
http://www.isaacandisabelle.com/unveiling-my-heart/

If you're reading this and considering a workshop with Joy, I urge you to say yes. Go, learn, and share your heart with the world. 

I'll also be blogging my own images from the two family shoots we took part in, so stay tuned! For now, here's a glimpse behind the scenes at our Wildflowers Workshop.

It was hard to leave, knowing this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that I may not see every person I connected with over our 3 days together. But I left with a notebook scribbled with dreams, a rekindled passion for documenting life, and friendships that will last a lifetime.

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2015 and The Big Fat Win | A Personal Post

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2015 and The Big Fat Win | A Personal Post

Friends, can I be real with you for a moment? 2015 was a pretty significant year in my life, especially in regards to my work-life. There was a shift in my thinking. I experimented more than I ever have in the past. I said no to work that didn't feel right for me. I said yes to families and maternity and babies in a documentary style, and yes to commercial work; and I watched my portfolio branch off in a new direction. I found my 'village' in a beautiful group of local talented women who encourage me on a regular basis. I read and watched what felt like hundreds of tutorials and took an online course focused on creating emotional images. And to round out an already amazing year, I placed a deposit on a 2016 workshop with my all-time favorite photographer, Joy Prouty of Wildflowers Photography. My heart pitter patters just thinking about staying in a cabin on a private lake, learning from one of the greats... *sigh*.

Before you scroll down any further, I feel the need to warn you: this post contains a ridiculous amount of personal photos. As in, you may get bored halfway through, and I get it... I do. Truthfully, I want to share my personal photos with the world because it's my experimental and personal work that shows a more intricate bit of who I am. Perhaps this post is as much for me as it is for you. As an artist, I believe we must see both our strengths as well as our imperfections to grow and evolve. To be completely honest, in these images I see so many technical failures; yet as a whole, this set of images is a big fat win. And I say that for a few reasons. 

Over the course of the year, I found my voice, and I realized my calling in regards to photography....that I must be so much more than just a mom with a camera, and I must do so much more than just arrive at a pretty location.

There's the back and forth with each client where we discuss wardrobe ideas, a location that fits their personality and the emotions we aim to capture. Then there's the hours spent planning and preparing, gathering, dreaming, drawing out ideas. On the way to each shoot while driving, I pray that God would help me to capture the family in a genuine way, and that each person would feel at ease. When I arrive, I'm either hoping to make a new friend, or looking forward to hugging an old one. :) And then... there's that moment where I carefully put on my art director hat. Depending on my subjects, I must be cautious not to give too much direction, because afterall, I'm seeking out authentic moments. But if I don't use the right words, or give no direction at all, the clients feel nervous and unsure what to do. It's a balancing act, and one I've come to love. 

1 Peter 4:10 says God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

This gift he gave me - - this opportunity to see people for who they are, their authentic emotions, to capture life's most beautiful moments, to create artwork, to keep record of childhoods and milestones, to gather memories in permanent form - - it's nothing short of incredible. It's a gift I received from God, and a gift I intend to use for His good. 

I hope you enjoy these images that tugged at my heartstrings as I sifted through my personal images from 2015. Several times throughout the year, I shot throughout an entire day to document a 'day in the life' of sorts. If documentary photos like those you'll see below are what you want to hang on your walls in 2016 and beyond, please don't hesitate to contact me at elyserowlandphoto@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you, and hopefully, make a new friend! 

Blessings to you and yours in 2016. 
XO ~ Elyse


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