I’m a wedding & elopement photographer for laid back couples that value the idea of being married more than just having a party. They want photos that show their true selves and represent their love of nature, and prefer to be more natural than overly posed.
On a snowy Monday in early March, I headed north along Hwy. 97 out of Bend, towards Leavenworth, WA to attend a wedding workshop, the Cascade Workshop, hosted by Benj Haisch. I really had no idea what to expect, as this was my first real workshop where I would live, eat, sleep and breathe photography over the course of three days and two nights. But, I had a car full of camera gear (note to self, pack light when going to workshops), a ton of CD’s, a big box of kleenex, Sudafed and cough drops. Oh yeah, did I mention I woke that morning with the worst stinking head cold I’ve had in a long time? Just in time to spread the love! But I digress….
I arrived to the Na-mu Lodge in Leavenworth, which was blanketed with snow later that afternoon. The view of the mountains was out of this world stunning. It was such a gorgeous location and totally inspirational. As the other attendees started arriving, and we all got a chance to introduce ourselves, I knew what a special experience this was going to be. Besides Benj, his associate photographer and sister-in-law, Anje Haisch and Stephanie Waletzko, of She Does, were there to make sure our stay was over the top awesome! Class was held in the great room of the lodge, with 25 attendees and was such an intimate learning environment. Benj was an open book, sharing his experience, knowledge and love for his craft. His presentations were so moving, I found myself tearing up throughout the wedding workshop, but especially over his “Finding the Why”. For sure, the sentimental in me was showing, which is part of my why. As we were sitting in the living room, with large windows and an expansive view, Mother Nature was doing her best to make it a gorgeous PNW Cascade mountain experience for all of us. It was absolutely dumping snow all day long! Besides “classroom” time, we had shoots scheduled for the two days of instruction.
We had a fun shoot scheduled for that first day, and I was beyond excited to try my hand at film photography. It’s been years since I’ve shot film, and when I did, I certainly didn’t have the camera knowledge I have now. Recently, my dad gave me his Mamiya/Sekor 1000 35mm film camera from the early 70s. It was pretty special that I got a chance to shoot film with my dad’s camera! I was pretty intimated, to be honest, and I really still didn’t know what I was doing, but a few of my images turned out despite many mistakes! I, of course, also shot with my Canon 5D Mark III. I wasn’t quite ready to shoot only film my first go around, ha!
One of the attendees, Carolynn, of Carolynn Seibert Photography, brought along her sweet little boy and hubby. Needless to say, they were so adorable and most of us couldn’t help but take images of their cute little family! That sweet pea was pretty much the wedding workshop mascot for the week.
After about an hour or so of shooting in the snow, we all went back inside to warm up before dinner. My cold was kicking in big time, so my energy level was pretty low. I wish I would have taken more detail photos, but I’m not sure snotty tissues and cough drop wrappers would have been very appealing! I did, however, get a chance to capture this sweet little guy on film, playing on the floor with Anje. Honestly, I was quite impressed these images turned out. I really think I might be falling in love with film!
The second day of the workshop consisted of morning instruction followed by a styled shoot in the afternoon. The snow had subsided overnight, leaving us with a beautiful blanket of fresh snow. All of our models were real couples, which is so important when styling a shoot. Benj started the shoot off with some tips, and then we broke off into smaller groups, having about 40 minutes or so with each couple. It was freezing cold, but one of the attendees, Emma Rose, grew up close to Leavenworth and graciously allowed the models to use her dad’s Pendleton blanket collection! Seriously, all of these couples were stunners! I had a hard time narrowing down my images to share.
The Cascade Workshop was truly an incredible wedding workshop experience! I met so many wonderful people, who are not only talented photographers, but great humans as well. It was inspiring and helped fill my cup and energize me for this year’s wedding season. I can’t wait to put all of this knowledge I learned into action! It was also pretty exciting to meet Benj, a photographer I’ve admired for quite some time. Thanks to Jynese Trumble for grabbing this photo of Benj and I!
And, a hug thank you to all of these amazing vendors who made the workshop possible:
Wedding workshop: Cascade Workshop
Workshop coordination extraordinaire: She Does
Styled shoot coordination: Ellie Haisch Events
Dresses: The Dress Theory Seattle
Florals: Chelan Floral
Lodging: Na-Mu Lodge
Hey, I’m Erica, a sentimental wedding photographer for free-spirited and natural couples that love celebrating outdoors. Bend, OR is where I call home, but I’m always willing to travel for love. I still have some 2017 dates available, and I’m booking for 2018, so if you’re getting married soon drop me a message and let’s talk!