The Don't Give Up Project // The Biz

As a photographer, the Don't Give Up Workshop had been on my bucket list for a while. So when I saw the dates released, I signed up immediately without knowing any details.

Those 2 1/2 days in the mountains of Colorado with a small handful of other photographers from all across the country completely surpassed my expectations. I'm still having conversations about it months later and know that I still will years to come. I truly believe that this was the most important workshop or conference I'll ever go to. Hands down.

It was 2 days of dinner and wine under the stars, learning the art of storytelling through one of my favorite books, listening-truly listening-to each others' stories and reiterating the value in what we do as photographers.

The gift that Ashley and Jeremy Parsons have to teach, tell stories and love people…I'll be eternally grateful to have learned from them. I'm constantly intimidated by others in this industry but for reasons that are intertwined with my own battles of comparison, reputation and success. After hearing the Parsons' story, I was intimidated by them too. But for how genuine they are. How vulnerable they were with us strangers; intimidated in a way that made me want to do the same in my own life.

I feel like I'm still processing everything that I took in, heard and learned. The biggest thing I keep dwelling on is the weight and honor in what I get to do as a wedding photographer. As wedding photographers, it's not that we have to do this but it's that we get to do this. We're a part of the building and documenting someone's legacy. And that process is so much more in-depth than most will ever understand. This job isn't about efficiency, formulas and workflows; it's about relationships. It isn't about shooting according to industry trends and getting published, it's about the people. It's about walking through struggle and joy with the people we do life with and work with. People who have stories and people who matter.

As a photographer, we get the honor of hearing (and being a part of) somebody's story. And in order to capture people well, you have to be willing to do that first. You have to know somebody's story before trying to make photos of them.

So photographers, give that honor to those that you photograph. Get to know them, hear their story, truly care about them…and then be their photographer.

(Bethany Michaela did a great job at capturing the days we were together so the photographs below are a mix of mine and hers)

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(BM)Ashley and Jeremy showed us the entire process of what it looked like for them to interview, hire and photograph a couple. Check out the (incredible) photos they captured of Lucy and Steven here.

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After seeing the Parsons photograph, we were immediately partnered off and were given one hour to make three photos that matter of our partner. The requirement: you have to hear their story first.

Hugh may be one of my new favorite people (and photographers, hot damn, he's good at what he does!). And the photos he captured of me below…I've never seen more true images of myself.

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The final morning, we woke up at surmise to photograph Jessi and Alex, who came out to Colorado to cook (gourmet meals, ya'll) and help

Eternally grateful.

Charleston-based International Wedding Photographer
I would love to document your wedding near or far.

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