Speakers

 

blissandbokehfifteen.jenhuang

We are finally dusting off the blog and excited to share some big news with all of you! It’s been an amazing year, and we are so grateful to all of you who have come on board and made Bliss & Bokeh what it is today! We hosted our second retreat in September, and we met the most talented, gracious, inspiring group of women we can now call dear friends. Over the last year, we have watched the attendees of our first Bliss & Bokeh retreat do incredible things and continue to create gorgeous work! We are so proud to know all of them, and I’m excited that a few of them will be sharing with all of you here on the blog soon!

Today, we are excited to share the details of our third Bliss & Bokeh, which we’ll host here in Charleston this May! We are over the moon to have two very talented fine art film photographers joining us this year: Jen Huang and Elisa Bricker! Along with Jen and Elisa, we will be bringing along the wonderfully talented Ginny Au to teach and style for us and someone whose vision and heart we so admire, Katie Selvidge, founder of Cottage Hill, to lead an important discussion on nurturing ourselves as artists and the process of creating honest, meaningful work. We’ll also be adding a few more speakers and special guests, so stay tuned as we reveal more!

Registration is now open, and we would love to have you join us! Go here to reserve your spot! Use coupon code “mybliss” to receive a $100 discount today only!

We hope to see you in May!

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{image by Jen Huang}

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leighwebber.charlestonharbor

We have so many updates to share with all of you, and we don’t want you to miss a thing, so listen up! Today, we’re going to share some of our surprises and let you in on more exciting additions to Bliss & Bokeh, which by the way, is happening in just a little over a month! We’ve been eagerly anticipating this event and the chance to meet all of you since January, so for us, it simply can’t get here soon enough!

While some of our speakers are still fine-tuning their presentations, and some decisions are still being made, below is a pretty complete picture of your time spent at Bliss & Bokeh!

Sunday, October 6

4pm Meet and Greet Social, Charleston Place Terrace
5pm Meet your Roommate & Settle In
6pm Dinner at Charleston Grill
8pm Speaker: Whitney English {Authenticate: Goals, Dreams & Envision Extraordinary}

Monday, October 7
8:30am Breakfast at Charleston Place
9am Speaker Presentations
Tara Guerard {Working with Elite Planners}
Angela Marcaccio {Top Mistakes Most Photographers Make}
12:00pm Small Group Lunches*
1:30-4pm One-on-One Critiques & Free Time
4:30pm Cocktail Hour at Zero George
Speaker: Lynn Easton Andrews {Making Connections through Social Media}
6-8:00pm Private Dinner at RiverOaks Charleston
{This dinner will be held at the gorgeous Charleston wedding venue along the banks of the Wando River, hosted by their very gracious owner, Marianne}
Speaker: Melissa Bigner {Editor, Charleston Weddings Magazine}
Headshots by KT Merry {optional}

Tuesday, October 8
8:30am Breakfast at Charleston Place
9am Speaker Presentations
KT Merry {Getting Published, Marketing to Destination Brides & Film}
Leigh Webber {Staying Inspired & Side Projects}
12pm Lunch {to be revealed}
1-2:30pm Free Time
2:30pm Leave for Middleton Place
3pm Speaker: Joy Thigpen {Working with a Stylist & Process of Creative Direction}
4pm-7pm Styled Shoots**
8pm Dinner {to be revealed}

Wednesday, October 9

9am Special Farewell Breakfast
Speaker Presentations:
Emily Newman {Once Wed, Editor’s Perspective}
Becky Hoppman {Gracious Brands & Smitten Magazine}
12pm Say our Goodbye’s

*Small Group Lunches*

On Monday, attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for a small group lunch with one or two of our speakers and 4-6 other attendees. This will be the perfect opportunity to get to know one of our speakers and one another in an intimate setting and to enjoy one of Charleston’s best restaurants!

**Styled Shoots**
On Tuesday afternoon, attendees will have the chance to venture to Middleton Place for an afternoon of shooting models and gorgeous tablescapes alongside a couple of incredibly talented and experienced photographers as well as a group of new friends. The exciting news is that instead of two styled shoots, attendees will actually have the chance to shoot THREE unique and beautifully styled shoots while on property; designed by Joy Thigpen and Emily Newman of Once Wed, Lynn Easton Andrews of Easton Events, and a fun surprise addition styled by Melissa Bigner and the team from Charleston Weddings Magazine! Attendees will be divided into groups of 6-8 and will rotate through each shoot, spending 45 minutes at each shoot. This time will be well organized and structured to allow for both instruction and time to shoot the various elements, without simply fighting everyone for a shot. As we announced Friday, you will also each have the chance to shoot film with a Contax 645, (film and processing provided by Richard Photo Lab and equipment rental by Contax Rental). The cameras will be available at the shoot with KT, as well as during some free time to explore downtown Charleston!

If you are still considering joining us, we have five spots remaining, and registration closes tomorrow! Please feel free to email us, hello@blissandbokeh.com, if you have any lingering questions! To our attendees, thank you for believing in this experience and making the commitment to join us! We are so grateful to each of you for contributing to Bliss & Bokeh your talent and creativity and most of all, your desire to learn and be a part of this community!

35 days and counting…

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{image by Leigh Webber}

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whitneyenglish.greatness

Betsy, here. I had the chance today to spend some time talking with Whitney English about her presentation for our upcoming retreat. We chatted about all of the things she feels she can share with this community of creative women. I’ve been fortunate enough to learn so much from Whitney over the last year after meeting her last fall at Savvy Workshop {a wonderful workshop for portrait photographers}. Her encouragement and wisdom is a big reason I had the courage to pursue creating this community of wedding photographers. We talked about purpose and authenticity and the importance of taking the time to identify your goals, values, talents and passions. I shared with her how grateful I am that she spoke confidence into me and gave me permission to believe that I could do something great to encourage women and through this and my own business, do something great to meet the needs of my family. I know it sounds like all talk and fluff. Stay with me. When you’ve had the privilege of learning from Whitney and then you take that leap and pursue something great, something you believe in, and you pursue it with all of your heart, this happens. You receive an email from someone who gets it, who appreciates what you’ve done, and who literally speaks affirmation into your heart and sends you on your way. Maybe it’s a letter of gratitude from a client who received the best of your creativity and talent and loves you for it or maybe it’s an email saying that the editorial shoot you dreamed of and finally saw to fruition is going to be featured in print in one of the top bridal publications. It’s the fulfillment that comes from doing what you love and loving what you do!

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Dear Betsy & Katie,

I’ve been a photographer for a few years and I’ve just made the leap to fine art wedding photography. While I was deep into my research I found your retreat.

I had to tell you both how inspiring and wonderful I think this project is. By fostering a community of women who share a passion for beautiful story-telling, you are making the world feel smaller. I love that you’ve brought together women who I can look up to who are willing to share their excitement and insight with those newer to the industry like myself.

I deeply appreciate what you two have manifested. Although I can’t afford it this year, you can bet that one of these days you’ll see my name in registration. Bliss and Bokeh is something that I will really be looking forward to!

All the best,

XO

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I’m so grateful to this sweet new friend for taking the time to reach out to us! We are blessed by your kind words, and I hope we’ll have the chance to meet you soon!

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{source: Whitney English}

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kt.cherryblossoms
The countdown is on around here! All of us, the planners and the speakers, are buzzing with anticipation of an amazing four days of learning and connecting! We are working closely with each of our contributors to fine tune our itinerary, speaker presentations, and of course, the gorgeous styled shoots!

Today, we’re giving you all the opportunity to pose a question for KT Merry as she prepares to share her wisdom with all of you! KT will be presenting on three main topics: getting your work published, marketing to destination brides, and shooting film!

We’d like to know – for those who shoot film, are transitioning back to film, or who would simply like to know more – if you could ask the fabulous destination film photographer, KT Merry, one question on the topic of film, what would it be? Just leave a comment or share your question with us on Instagram! We look forward to hearing your questions and sharing them with KT!

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eastonevents
We are so excited to finally announce a new addition to the Bliss & Bokeh team, Lynn Easton Andrews of Easton Events. Recently named one of the top 10 most influential wedding designers by The Knot magazine and owner of two gorgeous venues, Pippin Hill Farm and Zero George St {here in Charleston}, Lynn is the perfect addition to our community of incredibly talented creatives! Lynn and the Easton Events team will also be designing the second styled shoot for us at Middleton Place in October. As with all of our speakers, we’ve loved getting to know what makes Lynn tick…

What’s a typical day like for you?
6:30am |Wake and read NYTimes/answering emails
7:30am | Gym/answering emails
9am | Morning meeting to determine daily itinerary for planning w/ Charleston + Cville Offices/trying not to answer email
12pm | Marketing meeting with Pippin Hill or Zero George St.
3pm | Actual event planning {wink}
6pm | Dinner with parents or kiddos
9pm | Nightcap with Dean
11pm | Bedtime/answering emails

What are some ways you’ve found to balance your work and personal life?
This question always makes me laugh, because historically, life and work have coexisted as one and the same. The reality is.. leisure is a very modern concept. I find, as a person who is self-employed, managing several businesses and collaborating with my husband, that my personal life and work life are intrinsically tied and one gives life to the other, and vice versa. I assume that this works for us because our children are grown and have lives of their own. As a young family, boundaries and “balance” are definitely more important to make sure you’re allocating proper time to all important things; but for me, I love my work – I love working with my husband and so that’s what we do in our common life. It is what makes life so fun.

What has been a pivotal decision you’ve made that has contributed to your success?
Opening Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards with my husband Dean, was probably the most pivotal and riskiest decision I’ve made. We had everything on the line. With my husband’s years of luxury hotel experience and my wedding industry expertise we formulated a design for a truly sublime location to wed. The happiest moment of my career was when PH was named “Top 50 Most Romantic Venues” in the US by Brides Magazine. I literally did the chicken dance… a lot.

Visit our speaker page to read more about Lynn’s expertise in the wedding industry!

Also, an update on REGISTRATION: We currently have only ten spots remaining, and we will be closing registration on September 1! We know there are so many of you out there who’ve reached out to let us know you’re hoping to attend and working to make it happen, and we have a truly incredible community of talented and wonderful women registered already! That said, we don’t expect these spots to last much longer, so secure your spot soon! You won’t regret it!

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joybigsur

What’s a typical day like for you?

6am | I am feeding my 3 month old, Irving, while snuggling with my one year old, Linus, so that hopefully he will sleep another hour.

9am | I’ve been at my computer for a while answering emails, starting calls if they are also on the east coast, and or putting together some upcoming project.

12pm | I am trying to pull myself away from emails to go to the kitchen to make some lunch, I might also be feeding the baby if he slept late that day.

3pm | I am back in my office, probably back on the computer, probably still trying to finish some emails, or on a call or video chat with someone on the west coast, or working on an upcoming project.

6pm | I am feeding the baby, talking to the rest of the family about their day, and strategizing about dinner plans….checking Pinterest for some recipe ideas, cross-checking that with what’s in the fridge, and if there’s not a good match, getting everyone’s vote on where they want to go out to eat or pick up dinner.

9pm | Hopefully Linus is asleep, and I’m probably telling the two big kids to be “still and quiet” in their “own rooms” as they continue to sneak into each others rooms and giggle upstairs. I am probably holding Irving and unwinding a bit with my husband before he “hits the wall”–he is a morning person and wakes up super early and therefor is tired super early…I’ll stay up several more hours so I can have some quiet me-time.

How do you balance work and family?
The best hope I have for balancing my work and personal life is to try to be 100% present at what I’m doing. When I’m working, I am most efficient and giving my best work if I can be totally focused on that. When work hours are over, I try to turn work off completely and be totally present with my family. There is always going to be that tension and paying attention to that tension is good. You need to know if work is suffering or if your family is suffering and what needs to be done to fix it. Usually you can keep both in a pretty good place but every once in a while there is a conflict where one has to suffer and I always want my family to win. I hate to let my work suffer but I would hate more to let my family suffer. When it comes to that place, I just let my client know about the circumstance and they almost always are very understanding, willing to reschedule (or whatever), and ultimately respect the decision.

What has been one critical decision you’ve made regarding your business?
A pivotal decision in my career was to choose to bravely and trustingly pursue what I felt I was made to do; to commit to working in my strengths rather than any preset job description and trust that doing so would work out well.

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We are incredibly grateful to each of the women who have agreed to contribute their talent and wisdom to make this retreat a wonderful experience for our attendees! While most of you were first introduced to this event through our beautiful brand and amazing lineup of speakers, it was little more than a big idea when I first approached Joy. I am so thankful that she, along with a few others, took the time to see my vision, to believe in this community, and to agree to lend her expertise! If you’re not already following Joy on Instagram, you must! We love keeping up with Joy’s adventures with her four little ones, and seeing where her work takes her, including this one Joy took recently while working in Big Sur.

Joy is truly gifted, and her decision to pursue her passion and trust in her strengths is one that has blessed this industry and undoubtedly everyone who has worked with her. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for our shoot at Middleton Place!

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Joy Thigpen | Website | Twitter

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We love getting to know each of our speakers. Today, we  hear from a few of the Bliss & Bokeh speakers on their idea of a perfect moment, perfect day, or  simply how they soak up this beautiful life we’re living…

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“My bliss is waking up early in a town I’ve never been to and exploring it on foot all day with my camera.” Leigh

“Chopping onions. Sounds funny, but when I’m in a funk, I love nothing more than chopping and cooking, making a great red sauce, or a scrumptious tray of enchiladas. I don’t cook with recipes, so the creations are completely original to me. We’ve had a few inedible ones over the years, but my husband is a great sport, and cooking for my family refills my bucket. It’s a passion I’m very protective of, because I know any passion maximized leads to burnout, but I also love cooking for friends that need a great lasagna every now and then.”  Whitney

“My bliss would be traveling to new places and experiencing new foods, sights and people.  Traveling so much does also make you appreciate your time at home and I get equal enjoyment cooking at home with my husband Chad and spending our down time doing something active and outdoors with our dog Axl.  Last but not least, one of my favorite places in the whole world will always be atop a horse…” KT

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I love seeing the enormous heart behind each of these talented women and what makes them tick. These days, my bliss is any moment where I can simultaneously sit still and watch my children each filled to the brim with happiness. Moments few and far between where I’m able to stop and take it all in – soaking up the sounds of their laughter and joy. For us, this usually happens at the beach. They love the wide open spaces and sunshine, and I love any chance to enjoy my family without the chaos that too often accompanies time spent together during this stage of life. Other days, it’s sitting in an adirondack in our backyard sipping my cup of coffee and watching them jump and play on the trampoline. I love seeing them happy. It lets me forget for a brief moment all the worries I carry as a Mother {…which all revolve around a fear of completely ruining this precious childhood! Can anyone relate?}.

What’s your bliss? We’d love to know what gives you joy!

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ktmerry.bride

We’re very excited to share with you the itinerary for Bliss & Bokeh 2013. We’ve worked diligently with a lot of heart and a clear vision to put together a team of talented and successful leaders in this industry to speak on a variety of topics pertaining to the business and art of wedding photography. Our speakers are currently working to fine tune their presentations, but we’ve compiled a list of topics covered here on our blog! You can also learn more about each of our speakers and their areas of expertise here. We’ve had several requests for a timeline for the retreat. We completely understand some of you will be working over the weekend leading up to the retreat or will need to fly in, so we’ve made sure to start the festivities late on Sunday to allow plenty of time for travel {and sleeping in on Sunday!}. If you are able to arrive in Charleston earlier, we have some suggestions for how to spend your day here. Just let us know!

Sunday
4:00 Meet & Greet at Charleston Place
5:00-6:00 Settle In
6:00 Dinner & Speaker: Whitney English
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Monday
8:30 Breakfast at Charleston Place
9:-00 Speakers: Tara Guerard & Angela Marcaccio
12:00 Lunch
1:30 Rotations: Small Group Discussion/One-on-One Critiques/Free Time
5:30 Headshots {optional}
7:00 Dinner
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Tuesday
8:30 Breakfast at Charleston Place
9:00 Speakers: KT Merry & Leigh Webber
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Rotations: Small Group Discussion/One-on-One Critiques/Free Time
3:00 Styled Shoots {Middleton Place} & Speaker: Joy Thigpen
8:00 Dinner
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Wednesday 
9:30 Special Brunch & Speakers: Emily Newman & Becky Hoppman
12pm Goodbye’s

For those who choose to join us, we believe you will leave truly grateful for your time spent with everyone here in Charleston. Not only will you learn from some pretty amazing women, but you will also develop meaningful connections with women who share your passions and your struggles. We invite you to come escape from the demands of your (amazing!) clients and your growing workload and indulge in all of the charm and luxury Charleston has to offer. Refine your talent and your brand, learn key business strategies from some of the industry’s top female entrepreneurs, and take time to unwind and refresh your creative spirit.

At Bliss & Bokeh, you will be challenged and inspired to dream bigger, find your purpose, and discover ways to share those talents to bless others. Ultimately, our wish is to create a community of women who will support, encourage and inspire one another long after the retreat; and along the way, you’ll learn how to return home and create community in your own market through collaboration with other creatives.

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{image by KT Merry}

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meetleigh

Leigh Webber is a Charleston-based, award winning, uber-talented photographer, world traveler, and writer with a long standing and evolving presence in the industry. With ten years of experience shooting weddings, we love to follow along as Leigh continually seeks new sources of inspiration, whether through her travels across the globe or in the everyday moments with her son, Seamus. I’m personally inspired by her book, First 52 Weeks, where Leigh captured that precious first year with her son in unique images that tug at my heartstrings as a fellow Mom but also inspire me as a photographer to find a new perspective on the simple but treasured moments in my own life.


Leigh has a beautiful studio in the heart of Charleston’s wedding district. I have loved visiting Leigh over the last few months to chat with her about her role in Bliss & Bokeh and to meet with her studio mate and felllow Bliss & Bokeh speaker, Becky Hoppman, of Smitten Magazine while Becky was working on all of the branding for our retreat. I especially enjoyed seeing the big chalkboard wall covered in drawings by their children.

From the beginning, we envisioned Bliss & Bokeh to be a refreshing escape for established photographers, but we still aim to provide an environment that is abundant in opportunities to learn and grow both your business and your craft. For that reason, we wanted to find contributors who would go beyond simply teaching the basics of wedding photography and provide inspiration and direction for those photographers who are established but are looking to take their work to the next level, who are still eager to learn and looking for solutions to the numerous challenges that we face daily.

Take a minute to visit Leigh’s site and browse through the images in her Side Projects page. From the polaroids in Morocco to her documentation of toddlerhood, we think you’ll be inspired to turn your lens in a new direction, to stretch yourself creatively and dive into a new challenge!

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leighwebber.doglowndes
Bliss & Bokeh offers you an incredible experience to learn from some of the most creative and successful women in the wedding industry. With opportunities to grow as a photographer and as an entrepreneur, attendees will get the best of both worlds – the chance to refine both the business and the art!

Learn to…

Identify and attract your ideal client.
Approach your work with purpose and vision.
Refine your brand. Know your niche.
Perfect your workflow. Focusing on film with KT or digital with Leigh.
Create loyal relationships with elite vendors.
Learn how to work with {and without} a stylist.
Create community through collaboration in your market.
Cultivate your creativity and find inspiration in personal projects.
Travel the world. Market your work to the destination bride.
Find balance in order to spend more time doing what you love most.
Shoot to publish. Developing relationships with editors.
Partner with a designer to polish your image.
Pose clients to achieve more natural images.
Communicate effectively with your clients during a shoot.
Learn composition and lighting on site with KT and Leigh.
Gain valuable insight into your work with one-on-one critiques and consultations.
…and have we mentioned there will be countless beautiful surprises from our speakers & sponsors along the way?

So, we’re curious? What are you most excited to learn? Where do you find yourself struggling most?

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{images by Leigh Webber}

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