Meg Bitton + Souls.Imagined.South Workshop

I should probably subtitle this post as “Long Winded”. Consider yourself warned.

About a year ago I found Meg Bitton.

I immediately fell in love.

Something about her work just spoke to me. The soft and carefree feeling I get from seeing her images. The way she captures children and their sweet innocence. From her compositions to her processing and right down to the text in her watermark, by golly.

I.Was.Hooked.

I started following her work through her Facebook page and several months back I signed up for one of her online courses entitled Undone. Even in just two weeks time, Meg changed the way I look and view my photography. She figured out what I needed to work on and went with it. I felt like a new person after that workshop ended and it was then that I decided to stop trying to fit some kind of mold. She convinced me to shoot for myself and to stop worrying about others. I walked away feeling like I could do just that.

But, it was hard.

I am a people pleaser.

I am a worrier.

I WANT people to like me.

If people liked my IMAGES then people would like ME.

Right?

Well…maybe, but the problem was? *I* didn’t like my images. I was tired of trying to keep up with what EVERYONE ELSE liked. Although I told myself I would shoot for me….I was still trying to fall back into that “but do you like it” deal when I showed other people my images.

Then, something happened to me that got me really down in the dumps.

I mean. REALLY down.

And the cycle started again. For me to feel better I would snap photos that OTHER PEOPLE LIKED so they would like ME and I would, in turn, FEEL BETTER.

Whatever.

Didn’t work.

Again.

When I was feeling all lousy-like, my sweet husband took us on a mini getaway to the coast. It was nice. As I was sitting there at dinner I checked Facebook and saw that Meg had announced that an in-person workshop would be taking place just two hours from my home.

TWO HOURS AWAY and I could meet my most favorite photographer.

I immediately emailed her and said that I would be there during my birthday weekend. (happy birthday to me!!) I was over-the-moon thrilled and knew, that for some reason, I needed to be there with Meg in April.

Months passed and the workshop was right around the corner.

Meanwhile, I was still struggling to please other people.

Still trying to feel better and be a tad bit happier.

I drove up to the workshop on a Friday night and met nearly all of the attendees then. We had dinner and got to know each other. I knew right away that I’d just found life long friends in these girls. Also, although I know Meg had so much to do to prepare for the workshop the next day, she cheerfully met us at the hotel. She hugged us all and it felt like she was an old friend. She treated us like old friends. She was concerned about our travels and how we all felt and explained about the next day.

On Saturday, Meg and Sarah, our hostess, picked us up from the hotel and we went to Sarah’s house. We had portfolio reviews from Meg…which was extremely helpful and amazing. Not only the review of my own work, but hearing the comments and discussion that revolved around my friends’ work was fantastic. Meg spent so much time talking to us about so many aspects of our work. Not only composition? But feelings as well. The portfolio review was like a therapy session for me…. and yes, I cried. I labeled myself as The Crybaby of the group thankyouverymuch.

Later that afternoon, Sarah and Meg took us to three different amazing locations with 5 models. We were able to watch Meg work with the children and were, of course, able to shoot as well. She even offered some lenses for us to borrow. (helllloooo 135) After each session, we were encouraged to share our thoughts with her. She was very concerned with how we felt about each group. How we thought we did. How we could apply it on our own once we left the workshop. You see? You don’t go to Meg’s workshops and see that everyone walks away with the exact same thing. Your experience is individualized. It’s extremely personal. It’s honestly life changing for YOU. “Sally” may be there for “whatever” and Meg picks up on that. She sees and feels what Sally wants to work on and she gently guides her there.

At the end of the first day, Meg took us all to dinner. We talked about how the day was and it felt like I was sitting at a big table with 12 of my sweetest friends. Again, she wanted to hear about us. How we felt and how we were doing at the workshop. She was a completely open book and I knew I could ask her ANYTHING and she’d give me an honest answer. Meg is so very talented and even more humble.

On Sunday, Meg discussed editing with us and explained her favorite techniques, file back up, and organizational tips. She also fed us (again) and the food was wonderful.

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much good food in one weekend.

I have to admit…publicly…online…that I had WAY TOO MUCH CAKE.

I don’t regret it at all.

Once the afternoon rolled around, I didn’t want to leave. I had made new friends and met online friends in person. I walked down Sarah’s steps to the van thinking of how absolutely life changing the weekend was for me. Meg met me where I was in my photography journey and she pushed me even further. She encouraged me to BE MYSELF. Meg opened up my own heart to my OWN work…she boosted my self confidence. She saw what I wanted and needed and encouraged me to go get it. Not only did she meet me where I was? She also met “Sally”. It was simply amazing to realize that we were all there…doing the same things…yet, our workshop was different. Individualized yet united in the same photography journey.

Being there with my new friends, meeting someone that I have admired SO MUCH (and having her treat me like she’s always known me), and growing in my photography was simply amazing. It was an honor to be there with her. To learn how to grow. Meg Bitton taught me that I need to love my own work and not be ashamed of it…to simply reach out and get it. I appreciate that more than I can even begin to explain.

I highly encourage you to make it to one of Meg’s weekend workshops. You will NOT be disappointed. I pinky promise.

And now? I shoot for me….FOR SURE.

Screw all those other people.

On this blog you’ll see what *I* like.

Take it or leave it.

THIS is what makes me happy. This art of MINE makes me happy.

Lovely people like my sweet husband and Meg Bitton have made me realize just that.

I wanna smooch their faces. (I do smooch one of those faces and it ain’t Meg’s…LOL!)

Thanks, Meg…Now, let’s eat cake!

My favorite images from the workshop…

Megan - Love, love, love your images, Melissa! The workshop sounds sooooo amazing. I am hoping to take one in the not-so-distant future since I adore Meg’s work as well!

Erica - Sounds amazing! Love your images. This post sounds so familiar and similar to my own journey. I love Meg’s work as well. Wonderful post Melissa!

Anne - I am dreaming that one day i will be able to write too about meeting Meg in person. So happy for you, friend <3

Adele Humphries - These images just blow me away every time i see them. Love all you had to say about the workshop too.

Melissa Rogers - Melissa, you are so talented. I learned more from you in one small picnic at Piedmont then I would have ever known! Keep being that beautiful light for so many people…….

Michelle - Melissa –

I’m not totally sure how I found you, but I’m thinking it was from IG — maybe through Karli??? But that doesn’t really matter, because I have a feeling, God knew I’d see your pics (um, can I say ADORABLE!!!) and stick around long enough scrolling to find this post.

You said this: “THIS is what makes me happy. This art of MINE makes me happy.”

There are some days I still struggle with that. Why do I insist on comparing myself to others/other similar images when I know that’s futile? Why do I still feel that I’m lacking? Why can’t I just either love what I do, or use my “ugh” feelings to push me farther? I’ve been feeling lack-luster about my camera/photography lately, and I’m not sure why…. but something’s gotta give. And who knows… maybe it’s a wake up call from God. :)

Anyways…. thanks for the reminder that I am to be doing this for God and for me… no one else. And everyone else can just… be there.

(sorry for the rambles…)

Michelle - eek! Oh — and btw, love these shots!!! They seem like they belong in a storybook or something. :)

justine - I’ve also recently discovered meg bitton and immediately fell in love. I can’t stop looking at all her photos over and over. They are so inspiring and ‘real’. I made a promise to myself after I discovered her that I would one day take her workshop. I loved reading about your experience. It sounds so fantastic. And I love your images.

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