Where do I start… Okay, let’s start from FOUR years ago when I first picked up a digital camera. We had just gotten our first ever professional family photos taken by Tanya. Intrigued by all the equipment she had, I started asking her some questions about photography in general. You know, being a typical client. “What kind of camera do you use?” “What settings are you using?” “Can you make the background all blurry?” You know, a typical client. Perhaps a little annoyed by my pestering, she told me to check out this photographer out of Arizona who goes by the name Melissa Jill Photography and her amazing blog. I remember I jumped on her blog as soon as I could. And I swear, I could not stop reading. I soaked up all the information she was sharing so willingly on her blog. And this was all before I even bought my first Canon Rebel XS. I must had read her blog top to bottom, forward and backward, at least 3 times. I was amazed by how much she was willing to share with other photographers. I felt she genuinely cared about new photographers who are just starting out in their journeys.
Fast forward a year later, I finally purchased my first SLR camera and shot my first wedding. This was way back in September of 2009. I remember for the first year or so, before I went out and shot weddings, I would read up on her blog. Let it be back-button focusing, how to expose for the sky, off camera flash, etc.. It gave me that extra boost of confidence that I needed. Ever since then, I’ve been looking out for the opportunity to attend her workshop. Even though I’m at a different phase of my photography career than 4 years ago, there is still so much more I felt I could learn from Melissa. I know that a lot photographers don’t succeed and can’t have a lasting career is because, well, they think like photographers. Instead of thinking like a business person. Melissa has a mind for business like you wouldn’t believe. In addition to her top ranking wedding photography business in Phoenix Arizona, she also offeres a host of other services. Such as wedding album templates, wedding album design services, and other useful resources for photographers. She has the kind of wedding photography career that a lot of us can only dream of.
It was only until recently that she started offering workshops nationally. So when I found out she was finally coming to Orange County, I snagged up a seat as soon as it was released. The hardest part wasn’t deciding whether or not it was worth the cost; it was the fact I had to wait six months before I could finally meet her! So last week, I finally had the honor of meeting Melissa Jill and her awesome office manager Sarah at the Orange County MJ 2 Day workshop. Melissa gave me a big hug when she saw me and instantly put me at ease. We jumped right into the workshop promptly at 9AM, and for the next two days, we covered EVERYTHING from initial client meeting to successfully delivering a complete client experience. The information we received was both practical and useful. Melissa basically shared the entire content of her wedding photography brain with all of the attendees. As much as I thought I knew, there was even more that I didn’t know. I learned so much about how I can serve my clients better and exceeding their expectations. It wasn’t one of those workshops that we all chanted “you go girlfriend!!! you go out there and make it work!” .. that’s for sure. In addition to all the information, Melissa also gave away some of the most amazing prizes I think I’ve ever heard of for photographers. Let’s just say I got the top prize. 🙂 I will reveal it in the near future! I finished the workshop with definite directions on what I needed to do to take my business to the next level.
So where do I go from here? All I can say is that there will be BIG changes coming to Jeremy Chou Photography. And I’m so excited to share all the big news with everybody in the near future. STAY.TUNED.
I also want to give a special shout out to Melissa’s amazing office manager, Sarah. She took care of all of our needs and even cooked us a delicious dinner! THANK YOU.
And last but definitely not the least. Melissa Jill, if you are reading this. You are not only a wonderful photographer and human being, but you are raising the bar for the entire industry. I only hope all the photographers have as much as integrity, determination, and talent as you. Wait, actually I don’t. Because that would make my life VERY difficult. 🙂 Keep doing what you are doing, and by sharing a bit of yourself with every one of us that you touched, we all become better photographers because of you. I’m proud to call you a mentor, and now, a friend.
Here’s a picture of Melissa and I!! This is going up on my mom’s refrigerator!