Something big happened on Monday. A shift. Like earthquake magnitude 5 kind of shift. I am still processing it and will blog all about my thoughts on the first Making Things Happen 2010 Intensive shortly. As Ashley Baber said, “What an amazing and inspirational day with such passionate, talented, honest people. We all cried, laughed and got FIRED UP!” There is something big happening here, friends. People aren’t settling anymore. The energy in that room was palpable… and it keeps doubling by the second. OK, I have to stop. More soon. I’m fired up, hopeful, beyond blessed and completely in awe at the strength and power of the people I met this week.. like Emily.
I’m currently sitting in my kitchen writing this while I watch my mother cook up a Christmas storm. The doors are all open and the crisp Florida winter air is breezing through the house. Ari is working in Chapel Hill today unfortunately (Thanks so much for the gift, Ari. See you tomorrow!), but I’m happy to be here with my funny grandmother, mom, dad, brother, and my brother’s friend Alberto from Brazil. If you follow me on Twitter you know I am also donning my special Christmas suit. It was a gift from my dad many years ago that never ceases to get a collective belly laugh. I have a very special Christmas gift for you, but first, I want to introduce someone who has been a gift to me this year… Mr. Jeff Holt aka “Holt”. image below :: nick onken
I met Jeff at WPPI this year and life hasn’t been the same since. I started following Jeff on Twitter after being introduced to him through a shoot he produced with Fred. Jeff, who lives about three hours west of me in Charlotte, sent me a message just before WPPI telling me he’d love to meet me and say hello. Long story short, I had a fab private dinner for the photographers who contributed to our premiere issue the first night in Vegas. I didn’t know Jeff at the time and little did I know he was off having McDonald’s by himself. Yes, I constantly remind him that he will be the VIP guest at my dinner this year to make up for that!
I twittered something about being done with dinner and inviting everyone to join us at Diego. Jeff popped his head in the door and we instantly became friends. Harmony, Jeff and I shared a cab to Sara France‘s party at Luxor and talked our faces off till the wee hours of the morning with all of our new friends in tow. He probably forgot about this, but Jeff, Kyle and I started a “secret society” that day. I’m not exactly sure what this secret society was all about but something to the effect of world domination… in the wedding world. We had a handshake and everything. Since then, a whole slew of people have joined this not-so-secret society called Lara Casey Reps. I owe the birth of LCR to my first client who brought the idea to me not even a week after WPPI, Jory Cordy, and to Jeff and Kyle for fostering and encouraging its growth. WPPI was, for all of us, the tipping point.
I flew to New York to visit Jeff and Nick Onken this summer and to ask Jeff to come on as one of my rep clients. I clearly remember him saying, “Really? Me!? Lara, I’m just not ready… are you serious?” I saw serious potential in him. If he could motivate me to start a brand new business, he could motivate himself to become the best photographer he could possibly be.
Jeff has been my great encourager through so many business hurdles. Best of all, I’ve watched him grow from a fresh-on-the-scene photographer to a budding superstar almost -what feels like- overnight.
From concept to reality, the Winter Shoot images you see here are all his creation. Styling by Shannon Sewell, hair and makeup by… well, me. PS- you have to see Shannon’s images too. Have to. Much more to come from the Winter Shoot. For now, enjoy this exclusive preview.
Moments after Jeff took the images above, he came to show me the previews. Such a proud moment for me to see him beaming with pride. He was pretty nervous that morning. He had put his all into this shoot and his hard work paid off. image below :: jesse ryan
Jeff has not only photographed stunning images for me, but traveled the world with Nick Onken this year helping to produce some of the most mind-blowing shoots I’ve ever seen. I think Nick and I see the same thing in Jeff… he makes things happen. He never says “I would like to” do something. He always says “I will.”
When I review portfolios, the number one thing missing is always details. Brides want to know that you will take great care of the little treasures they’ve worked so hard to create. Photographers always say to me, “Lara, I just need someone to put the details in front of me and I’ll do the rest.” Well, friends, why not create them for yourself or partner with a designer to bring them to life? You can’t wait your whole career for that one bride to come along and change everything. You have to literally make it happen. You get what you give, so give brides a peek at what you are really made of and they will flock to you. Make the shoot reflect who you are and what really fires you up. Remember, if you aren’t excited about your work, no one will be. Do whatever it takes to get fired up again in 2010. When Emily and I started planning the Watercolor shoot, we knew exactly what we wanted for Jeff. The results were magical.
SO lovely and these details really reflect who Jeff is: grounded, fun, earthy, and warm.
Mr. Holt sets his mind to something and stops at nothing to get it. It’s his drive and perseverance that motivated me to ask him to join the MTH2010 Tour as my support and to tell his story. This whole thing was his idea in the first place! I called him one day last month (yes, this all just started a month ago) overwhelmed with a slew of new client inquiries and he said, “Lara, you have so much to share with people. You should just travel to do workshops so people can experience you one on one.” I knew he was right, so I didn’t waste any time. That day, the Making Things Happen Intensive Tour was born. I’m thrilled to introduce Jeff to you today and can’t wait for you to meet him on the road. In two short weeks, we start a marathon of stops including Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago. After that, we’ll hit Raleigh, Vegas, New York, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and Hawaii. I will be announcing the phenomenal list of guest speakers soon, too. Let me tell you, I can’t wait to learn from them as well! This tour is sure to be nothing short of life-changing for the attendees and for me.
In 6 short days –January 1st– the MTH2010 rate will increase, so jump on it folks. I learned a lot from the first workshop and increased the time from 3 to 6 full hours (we talked till 1am at the last one it was so exciting!) and decreased the amount of attendees to 20 per city. The most valuable time for me was my one-on-one sessions after the group intensive. I plan to keep that same level of personal attention throughout this tour. Register now while there are still a few seats left.
Without further ado, my Christmas gift to you… Leave a comment here telling me what you want to make happen in 2010 and I’ll give you a special code for a $20 credit toward MTH2010 registration. The code is only good till the New Year and you have to leave a comment by New Year’s Eve. One lucky commenter, to be chosen at random, will also get a copy of my favorite new book by Gary Vaynerchuck, Crush It!. Merry Christmas, y’all!
PS after the overwhelming response to the MTH2010 scholarships, lots of folks have been asking me if I will be offering another scholarship opportunity. I’m going to say this now so you know… I’ll be offering one more scholarship seat. Just one, not twelve. I won’t tell you when it’s coming, but not anytime soon.
PSS my dad got me a really meaningful gift that lifted me up today. Wishing you all bold, joyful, purposeful steps as we move into an exciting New Year.