Investing In Me | The Abbey Kyhl Evolving Workshop, Virginia

Imagine my favorite photographer/business owning/mother, whom Ive followed for a long time, who inspires me, and writes blogs to encourage, shoots incredible images, teaches other photographers the fine art of balance…are you imagining? Then, imagine her here. In my present home town, after MY husband picked her up at the airport, and finally imagine MY excitement, at getting to spend two overwhelmingly amazing days in her company, and her assistant Jacki, as well as in the company of some equally eager-to-learn photographers, and you have imagined my experience at the AK Crew workshop, Virginia, hosted and run by Abbey Kyhl.
Last month I spent the days counting down until I was sitting in my chair, incredulously looking at how NORMAL she looked! LOL. She was real. She was here. And she brought to me the hands down best experience in workshop form that i have EVER been to, without a doubt the best investment I have made for my business growth, and I will even say that quite honestly I grew personally.

As she talked about how I can take back control of my time, return to a life of planned FREE TIME, of being a better wife and mother and friend, I became emotional. I was hearing someone tell me, and encourage me, to be the woman I am FIRST, to make myLIFE my passion, and not my business, and that I would STILL be able to provide amazing client experience to the business I love so so very much! She made it okay that business should not be your passion, if it was, you would put it before absolutely everything that you already had going on within your life, and forget about some important things, some special family time, or some other memory because you felt somehow that your business would fail if it didn’t get 100% of the best part of you. I was making it 100% priority, and taking on so much, that I was neglecting even more.

Now, I LOVE LOVE what I do. Being there for the most important events in people’s lives is an honor, an honor. I get excited by new shoots, seeing the final images, looking at the canvases and prints chosen by my clients. However, Abbey was right, my life should be, and IS, my passion!

I do NOT have enough space to cover exactly how inspired I was, and all that we covered from business systems to social media, to even un-friending people on Facebook, and the freedom you would have to enjoy life again, and still maintain a successful small business. I am so ready to begin implementing all of the things I learned, and I have already begun. Re-branding is underway, forming stronger client interaction has begun, and deciding what my specialties shall be is next. I am so ready to bring you the next chapter of Debbie Laughlin Photography, so ready to bring my family and best friends a whole new refreshed Debbie.

If you are a photographer, I strongly encourage you to join the AK Crew and look into these workshops! I am not exaggerating when I say it WILL change you!

Abbey – THANK YOU so very very much, for bringing your knowledge to us, for making sense, for supporting us even now after the workshop. I cannot wait for the next one…

Enjoy the following images from the styled shoot portion of the workshop, styled by some amazing vendors!!!

Planning, Design + Styling Michelle Amarillo Event Planning | Florals + Styling Studio Posy | Dress Maya Couture | Stationary The Girl Tyler | Makeup Beauty + Baubles | Hair High Voltage Hair by Crystal Casey

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Superbaby Gender Reveal!

I was absolutely THRILLED when I had the opportunity to shoot this colourful and unique gender reveal for my friend, and fellow photographer, Holly of Shutterly Sweet Photography, as she prepared to reveal the sex of her third little blessing! Alongside Jennifer of Jennifer Krieg Photography, we pushed thoughts of the impending rain and cloudy-but-you-dont-know-it day out of the way, and avoided being chased by mall security as we captured this colourful and inspired session! Mom thought of this incredibly one of a kind idea with a little help from the eclectic personalities in her family, the beautiful and custom made capes she ordered, and of course, a little Pintrest 🙂 The result?? These mobile and excited adorable sisters drinking up their soda pop to announce to the world that mummy is having a BOY!!!!!!!! Congratulations to you all!!!!!

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My name is Debbie, and Im a …..

As my blog says, and as you who know me know, my name is Debbie…and I am 38. Im from Scotland. I have two daughters. I am engaged to a sweet guy. I love red. I sleep to horror movies. I have a weakness for coffee, chocolate, corn flakes, hot wings, cheese and wine – sometimes all at once.  My name is Debbie…and I take pictures. I do. I edit and work from home… in my “office”, where George Michael and Culture Club can play without mockery. Where I can mosh if I want to. Where I smile at “my” bald Chris Daughtry picture from where I met him!  Where I run away if I see spiders. Where I wear footsie pjs without shame, and watch Gilmore Girl season after season. My name is Debbie, and yes, I take pictures…yet why is it SO hard at times for me to say, My name is Debbie and Im a PHOTOGRAPHER. After all, I AM. 

People in this business who are new, “newbies”, or starting out, sometimes keep themselves of the new list for a long time. I know anyway that I do. Photography is an art form, and Im there in some of the most private or special moments in the lives of those I capture. I shoot homecomings, new babies (though thats an art form I refer out! Its a tough specialty! Not my strength) engagements, stolen kisses, first kisses as husband and wife. Im first to know gender of babies after the couple! I see tears in Dads eyes, smiles in moms, winks from wives. Hands being held, bubbles being blown and hair as the sun sets a glow on it. I love it. I love what I do, the moments I bear witness to, and the stories I get to tell from my own viewpoint. 

Im learning, and Im growing, and I am not the wise old girl on the block, but Im not just starting out. Theres the fear of criticism, but there would be that fear no matter how amazing and seasoned you are. Not everyone will love my work, but my clients do. I walk into houses and I see MY pictures in frames, on walls and hung with love. I look at facebook and see 15-20 profile pictures that I shot. I couldnt be more thrilled! I see the “likes” on my business page grow and grow, and its exciting! It makes me try harder and work smarter, and give up my evenings to do what I want to do!

Im inspired by old movies, by 80s movies, by art, and books with stories of love and dreams and imagination! I had a tough childhood which I will save for another day, but it made me who I am, and to know where I want to end up. Im working on a book too, because storytelling wether scripted or pictorial IS what I want to do! Its where my passion lies (outside of my family and aforementioned snacks and wine!).

People ask me to shoot. Its a dream. Gone are the days of me always asking “Can I take some pictures?”, unless Im doing it for something special for my soon to be launched site then I DO still ask!! Im thankful for a community full of “newbies” like me, who lean on and support one another. WHo help you through rough spots and compliment and give credit on your great days! Im inspired by great women who mentored me, Tara Liebeck and Amanda Hedgepeth who both take time from their crazy busy schedules to give back and invest time in us. After all, if I want to be better I need to learn from the best, and those two ladies are AMAZING. I cant say that enough.

 I finally need to take the training wheels off, and put away the life vest and take a big deep breath and say FINALLY: I am Debbie, and I AM a photographer. I am, I am. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage