General Workshops Update + the future of Cowbelly Workshops + consulting

First off- there are only 2 spaces left in the PASSPORT NYC workshop Nichole and I are teaching this August. (The 1-day commercial + editorial workshop is full with a waiting list). More info on the 3-day workshop here.

There is 1 more Seattle Cowbelly Workshop this year and it’s September 17th-19th, also taking place at the fabulous Hotel Max in Seattle. Registration opens next Monday June 21st at 9am. There are 15 spaces for that workshop. For information on how to register go here.


I have been getting a lot of emails asking questions about workshops in 2011. So many emails on workshops and photography in general that I have created an autoreply for that mailbox. Because my work with photographers the past 22 months has started to quickly take over my life and now has official ‘overwhelming’ status, I have decided that after this September I will be drastically cutting down on the amount of time I spend working with folks who aren’t private, commercial or editorial clients. I have created a fantastic balance with my private clients, and I am on a mission the next 12 months to do the same when it comes to working with other photographers as well. Unless something drastic happens, I don’t plan to stop teaching, I’m just going to be cutting back. Way back.

And this may completely shock most photographers reading this (especially those who like to mentally poop on those who teach workshops), but I have learned over time that working with private clients is more profitable than teaching workshops, when you take into account the number of hours of work and costs involved.

I am first and foremost a businesswoman, and have always been, and I know it’s not healthy for my business to spend 70% of my time on an area that has a lower profit level than other areas that require a lower output of energy and expenses. It’s a recipe for burnout and I’m headed there again. But I’m in a great position to cut that burnout off at the pass, and that’s what I’m doing now. It will mean saying no to a lot of people most of the time, which is really hard for me because my natural drive is to help, but I really hope everyone understands.

SO, I am no longer offering any consulting services- either in person, by email or by phone, and starting in 2011, I will be teaching only 1 workshop per year. (2 at the VERY maximum, depending on the scheduling and locations, which also depend on a whole bunch of other factors).

I don’t know yet if that one workshop will be a Seattle workshop, and then the following year I’ll teach a Passport workshop with Nichole (and have no domestic workshop that year), or if I will do one Cowbelly Workshop in Seattle and one international Passport Workshop in the same year. Seattle Workshops will continue to have a maximum of 15 spaces and Passport workshops will have a maximum of 20-22 spaces (depending on location).

I’ll take some time to reflect on my future goals at the end of this year, and make a decision sometime in the beginning of 2011 or next spring. I’m afraid I won’t have any answers about what will happen next year until I’m ready to decide what I want to do next. And at this point I have no idea when that will be. I apologize in advance to those seeking answers!

Along with cutting down on workshops taught,  I am also cutting down on the numbers of advice solicitation emails I reply to from photographers, blog posts for photographers, time spent on the BBN network, and anything else that takes time away from my private, commercial and editorial clients. Because as much as I love my colleagues, those aforementioned folks are the reason why I’m in this business. It’s those shoots that bring me the most joy, and remind me of why I do this in the first place. I’m excited to spend more time in the next year working for those clients. 🙂

BUT, I must qualify this post by saying that I DO love to teach, and have a blast with my attendees at every workshop, and can see, and feel in every cell in my being, just how meaningful these workshops are to those who attend, and there is great satisfaction in that. I am also touched by, and have lifelong memories from, every workshop I teach, and it’s a pretty amazing position to be in to be able to make a real difference in another person’s life. I’m still basking in the glow of this past weekend at Hotel Max, thinking of the many conversations that took place there, the hilarious experiences I shared with everyone who came, and the awesomeness that is getting to know 15 very different people from different backgrounds. I am always extremely grateful to those who place their trust in learning from me. It’s an honor.

If you are hoping to take a workshop with me in the future, please know I WILL still be the same bubbly, happy, fun, intense person you know from my blog, I WILL be excited to be there, and I WILL keep teaching. I’ll just be in a better position from here on out because I’ll have even more to give. 🙂

Thanks for reading my epic workshops update! If you have any questions please check out the newly updated workshops FAQ page. Cheers!

8 thoughts on “General Workshops Update + the future of Cowbelly Workshops + consulting

  1. It is beautiful how you listen to your heart and make decisions that are not easy ones but inspire us all to do the same in our own life!

    Even though I haven’t had the chance to participate in one of your workshops yet (still on my dream list!), I have been greatly inspired by everything you have shared openly and feel truly grateful!

    Taking care of your clients and of yourself will still inspire us 🙂

    Best of luck!

  2. Gosh, are you speaking truth friend. This is the real deal and I am so glad that you shared it. I am not a pet photographer but can, like you, be taken over with work that doesn’t give me as much profit as clients that do. Thanks for reminder and the amazing truth you tell. ROCK IT! 🙂

  3. Well, I’m bummed to read your cutting back but after reading your post on the 6th it appears you’ve had this on your mind and once again your showing us how to make hard/smart decisions and take care of clients and yourself. You’ve shared so much valuable info and I’ve appreciated it!
    Wish you much success…thanks again!

  4. Ah this is very sad to hear especially since I’ve never had the funds to attend one!! But I completely understand and respect your decision. 🙂

  5. Hi Jamie,
    I can completely understand the conundrum with which you are facing. I feel extremely fortunate to have had you as a teacher and mentor while attending the Austin Workshop. While so many of the things you have done to promote and encourage pet photographers with their businesses you are now contemplating cutting back on, your gifts will continue through the networks you have already established. I must admit that although I know the business aspects are necessary, I receive the most pleasure from being behind the camera interacting with clients and their pets. I know you have and will continue to give this much contemplation. Your decision will be the right one for you, albeit not an easy one. Thanks for all you have given me. Good luck 🙂

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