Workshops/Mentoring :: Will I Or Won’t I… My Thoughts….

This following post is meant to encourage and not to discourage. I believe in everyone who wants to better their art and themselves – always have- always will.

First off, I’d just like to thank you all for the outpouring of interest in my work, especially lately!

I love to hear that my work inspires you, and keeps you coming back time and again! Thank you.

I receive quite a bit of interest and questions daily about how I do what I do. People wanting mentoring, workshops, wanting to achieve the “look”.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of adding the whole workshop or online sessions into the mix…. so many different thoughts arise.

My mind and heart get torn in different directions.

For one, my number one concern in this business, is with my clients…and when I’m doing all I can to just keep up with fulfilling their needs & wants, there isn’t much time for anything else.


Here I am talking about time. I never thought I’d be one of those people who couldn’t find the “time” for something – as a kid I always thought that was a lame excuse.

As a wife, as well as a mother to 3 precious little girls, plus the demands of running a full time business….I know it’s not an excuse, but reality!

Time. such a concept.

Also, and this isn’t to raise a huge debate about who should and who shouldn’t teach… but I feel like once someone reaches a certain level of ‘expertise’, if you will, it is almost expected that they mentor.

I look around and everyone mentors. Sometimes I feel like some people just want a quick fix.

However, I do think it is great to try and learn and better yourself, and I understand that people want to achieve certain looks and want to be better overnight. It’s a fast paced world we live in – you got it… well I want it.

If YOU have something I want, then I don’t see why I can’t have it too…and NOW.

Who is qualified?

If everyone offers some sort of mentoring and there are thousands of resources online – so many helpful youtube videos or the list goes on and on…. How do we know who is qualified to teach?

If a person has never attended a workshop, class or been mentored elsewhere… are they even qualified themselves to teach…(me) ahem..

There are MANY different ways of coming up with the same results.

Are mine the best or most efficient? – most likely not….it’s just the way I do it.

The secret editing formula.

 There is no secret.

” I only know what I know.”

I’m not technical.


I know my few things and I stick to them.

 If I don’t like something, I will find out why I don’t like it and change it. I use Lightroom & Photoshop. I use my own “actions” I’ve created in both.

I spent hours just “messing” with different tools in photoshop – adjusting settings, watching youtube videos about what specific tools do…just so I could navigate around the program.

It. took. time.

Time. There’s that silly word again.

I am constantly  learning & pushing myself…. and I will never arrive.

What to know.

Know your instrument in this case your camera (which there are many basic beginner DSLR courses out there as well awesome books of knowledge)….

Know your light. Look for the light in your subjects eyes. Turn them around and around, bounce it back with a reflector- but find the light in their eyes….

if you know your camera and what settings you should use, what lens etc. and you can see the beautiful light in your subject’s eyes… the rest is how you view the world!

The rest is a reflection of  YOU!

I don’t think you can learn that from anyone else but yourself. Deep down your style is basically your personality (at least thats how I see it – am I right…maybe not…again, just my view).

I think that my work directly reflects me & who I am. How I see the world, how I view love, how I connect to people. How people respond to my quirky personality.

How do I get my clients to feel comfortable?

Probably my most asked question….

I’m a people person. I talk to anyone and everyone. I don’t worry if someone thinks I’m cray-cray- cause they are probably right!

I don’t have all of the answers, but I talk to anyone like they were my long lost friend! I’m happy – I smile and laugh with peeps.

 I don’t let there be room for silent awkwardness.

If I have an idea for a stylized session, I ASK them if they’d be interested…guess what? They always are interested in new exciting ideas!

If you have a certain idea that you’ve been dying to try out in a session – don’t be afraid to simply express to them that you’ve been wanting to do it!

They want your creative mind at work, that is why you are the artist!


What if you are in a creative rut, a slump, or just feeling like you are spinning your wheels and would like to move forward?

Good news… It happens to everyone in the creative arts. You are not alone.

Don’t dwell on it, do something about it.

Start somewhere.

Look at things that are inspiring – outside of your line of work- for instance, if you are a photographer, don’t go looking at other photogs work, instead flip Pandora on and tune into

 a station that you typically wouldn’t listen to…. or grab a poetry book, take a nature hike and be inspired… least these are things that I do :).

When I was young, my parents made me practice my piano. Made me do my lessons and I would whine and just want to give up at times.

Now, I’m glad they  pushed me forward.

You don’t get anywhere without practice. and it may come easier for some than it does for others- but with (ahem) TIME

you can get better – you can branch out of your “C scale” – just try it. you might fall flat but I bet if you keep on keeping on,  you will make a lovely melody. (Cheesy -I know) haha.

As a Career?

Do I think Photography can be a career for everyone? No. Will everyone succeed in this industry if they follow a certain”magic formula” ? Probably not.

I DO believe everyone can take pretty photos and have fun doing so – maybe not as a career for every person who loves photography, but certainly a creative hobby!

 Please know that I completely encourage you in which ever path you are wanting to go, whether it be simply bettering your overall art, or starting to market yourself and your art in a business format.

An photography exercise:

Try to look at the world differently.

But don’t start with the world. Start with an object that doesn’t move.

object ideas: Flower(s) / pencils / fruit / cell phone / nail polish bottle etc.

Take your camera – take your object. 

Take 10 different shots of the object….all different angles. Move around the object, maybe throw the object in the air. Spill the object. Change your lens if you’d like to achieve a different look.

Come up with 10 different shots that you are happy with. 

Take them into your editing program. Start with one photo. Edit it the standard way you are doing today if you are happy with that type of editing. Take the next photo and push yourself – play with the “curves” layer add a gradient map to it… maybe change the saturation of the reds or greens for instance. 

Play in photoshop or lightroom and find the colors your eyes love. Maybe you love muted colors – or maybe you love a pop!  Try GOOGLE if you don’t know something off the top of your head. (really google works people)

Bet you didn’t know that you could get so creative with one little object!!

NEXT, make a collage of the ten pictures together  edited in your favorite style and email them to me at .

I want to see what you come up with!! I want to encourage you! I want you to see that YOU can do this! 

I love to see people succeed in their businesses. I love entrepreneurship.  I sometimes push people harder in their businesses than I think they even care to be pushed…. because I know they can do it!

Look inside yourself. If you want it – Make It Happen. I’d like to give you a little push- a little nudge of faith in yourself – a little spark of encouragement to get out and DO.

Mentoring: So will I or won’t I??

Let’s just say… I’m focusing on my clients as my first priority  and

I won’t be traveling down that road this year my friends.

But that doesn’t mean I love you any less and I hope to keep encouraging and inspiring you in your journey forward!!

I will continue to try and answer questions as they come in, and get to more “Women In Business” posts – but again please know my clients come first

and my responses are sometimes delayed.

Thank you for your understanding!

(Don’t be too mad at me) 🙂

Feel free to “LIKE” and PLEASE share your thoughts!

Much Love ~Heidi

  • Julie O'Kelly - Heidi,
    After reading this, I just gained even more respect for you!! I feel that so many great photographers are on a kick to make quick money by taking it from eager newbies. THANK YOU for staying true to yourself and true to why you do what you do!! Your talent and compassion for what you do shines through your images… everyone wants a piece of what you have. And you stay real. LOVE IT!!

  • Amanda Monday - I would never be mad! Haha! And I totally understand. I really feel people need to learn on their own. I have worked SO hard to do what I do and I have people that email me and say I just really want to come over and have you teach me everything you know. And you’re like “Wait a minute, I worked SO hard to learn all of this on my own, you should too” The thing I am Most interested in with your work is the lenses you use. You achieve an awesome composition and I would just love to know more about your lens choices, I do feel you have achieved a look that is all your own, when I see your pictures I know it’s you and that is Fabulous and people need to find their own way. Thank you for always answering questions and being awesome and Super talented 🙂

  • Michelle - I really appreciate you saying that. I am the type that likes almost every sort of style. Whether it is clothes, decorating or photography. I know what I don’t like, but it is very hard to narrow down my “style” when it comes to anything. So you can imagine with my photography I am swayed this way and that way with what I like. Then I feel pressured that I should be taking workshops but I just can’t afford them. So I have spent countless hours doing my own study. But when I look at all my pictures, say on facebook where you can view the photos on one page, I realize I really do have a style. I didn’t know it, I didn’t even try for it, I guess it is just me and simplicty coming out. Anyway, I thought it was very encouraging, so thanks. 🙂

  • Suzanne Henderson - Heidi,
    Keep doing what you’re doing….You’re amazing, and the dedication you have to your clients is a wonderful testament to your philosophy.

  • Aleksandra Nokes - Perfect post! 🙂

  • Jennifer Hudspeth - I love what you wrote. You wrote *honesty*. You could have went many different ways with this, but while still being encouraging, you spoke the truth. Kudos.

    I love being *inspired* by your work!!

  • Jennifer Jackson - This is very empowering and motivating. Thank you for sharing your heart, and encouraging others to find theirs.

  • Andrea McChseney - As a humble photographer (I still am weird about calling myself that lol)and an admirer of your brilliant work…I find it all a bit strange this “mentoring” stuff. I understand people wanting to learn and grow, and once you know how to operate your equipment properly, I too feel it’s all a matter of how you see things, how you want them to look, pre and post production, it’s an art form…so wanting to have some one mentor you, to get the look they achieve in their photos, seems odd. It wouldn’t be your vision then, would it…if you made your photos look like your “mentors”? Inspiration is one thing, but learning and evolving at you own pace and time, through your own visions is another…Your work inspires me everyday to push to be better, learn more, take risks…but for me, and my way,at my own pace, through my eyes…so well,thank you! LOL!

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