Three years ago, I started a workshop called ELEVATE. It was a dream of mine and I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished at each and every workshop with our attendees. Now, I say 'we', because this workshop is all about the team of people that help me, either logistically to put this together and our guest speakers that take the time out of their incredibly busy lives to be a part of this event. ELEVATE is far bigger than just me and it takes our awesome crew to make it so special every single year. At the beginning of this month, 10 of us traveled out to New York City for the workshop. Every year, I love to host ELEVATE in a new location and inspiring space. We've been in the deserts of Palm Springs, the northern woods of Minnesota and the city streets of New York was the perfect location for this year. Why a new space every year? Because I want us all, the speakers included, to be in a place that fosters inspiration and new ideas. I also want it to feel like a complete retreat from our 'real world', so we can think outside of the box on our goals, ideas and stretch the limits of what-we-think-is-possible at home. Being in New York, this also offered us the freedom to do some cool things we have never done before at ELEVATE. We had an entire city at our fingertips and we totally took advantage of it! On day 1, we rented a studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York and had a full day of intense class time. On the second day, we were out and about in the city for a 'field trip' day. We had exclusive tours and talks at Ceci New York and Martha Stewart Weddings, which were incredibly inspirational. In between these events, we also had one-on-one mentor sessions with each attendee and some of the best conversations about life and the world of being both an artist and business person. My goal with ELEVATE is to keep the groups intimate, so each attendee can have individual attention, yet also have a diverse group to bounce ideas off of.

Our overall theme of ELEVATE NYC was about bringing Purpose and Intention in everything we do. Whether that is taking a photograph, how we structure our workflow, how we post to social media or how we approach a shoot, everything must have these two elements. Daniel Chin and Collin Hughes were my guest speakers for this workshop and it was SO great for our attendees to get different perspectives on all of our content. We are three very different photographers who all do things differently and yet, there is value in every single approach. During our field trip days, we talked to Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York about photographing details and how to be stronger shooters, as well as branding our businesses to send the perfect message to our clients. At Martha Stewart Weddings, we connected with Shira Savada, who is their Real Weddings Editor and talked about the submission process and being published in both print and blogs. All of our talks this week carried on the theme of Purpose and Intention and even though I was helping create the content, I myself, took away a world of inspiration from everyone's input, conversation and presentations.

I also have to take a moment to say a GIANT thank-you to our sponsors, who were so generous in their giveaways to our group! Thanks to: HoldFast Gear, Shawn Bielefeldt, Motibodo, Kelly Moore Bag, Black Rapid Strap, Photo Mechanic, Richard Photo Lab, Kelly Purkey and Fatty Sundays.

Last, but not least, I have to thank Chris Wegner, who was one of our attendees for making this SWEET video below! He totally went out of his way to document our time there and watching this is the perfect reminder of our week together! To all of our attendees that came to ELEVATE NYC - you are all such talented, amazing artists and people. There is no doubt in my mind that each and every one of your businesses is going to grow leaps and bounds in the next couple of years. Thank you for giving me the honor of teaching you and guiding you on your journey, but also for giving back to me and teaching me more than you know!

The ELEVATE Workshop takes place once a year, generally around the fall months. If you are interested in learning more about the next ELEVATE, keep in touch via Twitter and Facebook and our Website! To see more photos from ELEVATE NYC, check out the following links:

Sara Montour's Photos

Daniel Chin's Photos



Elevate Photography Workshop - NYC from Photogen Inc on Vimeo.