The Southern Experience on Pharsalia Plantation

In late August I made a last-minute decision to attend a workshop hosted by Kellan Studios and Jodi Miller Photography at the breathtaking Pharsalia Plantation.  I knew I would regret missing out on the chance to work with and meet so many accomplished photographers, so I snagged one of the last remaining spaces available. Score!

The day of the workshop went by in a whirlwind.  It started on Friday evening with a chatter-filled car ride to Lynchburg (thanks so much to Lauryn Galloway for carpooling with me!), and before I knew it we were back on the road to Richmond.  I left with at least a dozen new friends - all incredibly talented - and a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to apply to my business and my photography.

I mean it when I say Pharsalia is breathtaking. Pharsalia is nestled in the mountains of Tyro, Virginia. I spent five years living among the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround Virginia Tech.   I adore the beach, but the mountains have their own allure.There are only a few places I have been that can compare with the effortless character this place has.  I was charmed with every turned corner.  I can only hope I am lucky enough to work with a couple that decides to make Pharsalia the backdrop for their wedding day.  How could this view do anything but inspire? And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The workshop setup two mock shoots - one engagement session and one bride and groom portrait session. All of the models throughout the day were awesome. Laid back, funny, and willing to try whatever crazy pose we exuberant photographers threw their way.  Most importantly, they weren't stressed about having a dozen cameras in their faces.  There is something to be said for letting go of your inhibitions and breaking down any walls between you and the camera - a challenge for many, but a challenge worth overcoming.  No amount of editing and photoshopping can turn a photo of unnatural expressions and uncomfortable behavior into something natural. It is my job to help my brides and grooms to forget about the camera in my hand, and remember the people they are standing beside in the photo - those people are usually the ones who know you best, so there's no need to be anyone or anything but you.

Hello there, Sara & Todd!  Thanks for playing with Pharsalia's gorgeous fresh-cut flowers all afternoon to make for the cutest darned mock-engagement session I've ever been lucky enough to shoot.

Our bride and groom models, Kristyn and John, were just as amazing to work with as Sara and Todd. I could tell that they were practically melting in the heat of midday, but they both kept insisting that we all keep posing and shooting as long as we had time available.  It isn't often that I, or any photographer for that matter, have the chance to work with a bride and groom sans the time constraints of a wedding day, so Kristyn and John deserve endless thanks for being so accommodating.  Thanks, you two. :)

We ended the day under the shade of an impressive Sperry Tent -- complete with their signature flag flying at the tent's peak, and unwound from the rush of the day over a delectable southern style meal, prepared by Maria of Pharsalia, and easy conversation.

Look! On the left...FIGS!  I was so excited that there were figs, especially since I recently discovered my love for the fruit.

I don't have nearly the sweet tooth I did when I was a kid (once I got caught eating Halloween candy behind my bed as fast as I could because I knew I was only supposed to have one piece, but I just couldn't help myself!), but I love photos of desserts. No matter how hard you try, barbecue will never look as appetizing in a picture as these salted caramel apple tarts (but barbecue wins at smelling better :).

Blackberry and peach cobbler. In a tiny mason jar. This was the winner for me. Yum.

The workshop was an experience to remember, filled to the brim with beautiful details, inspiring people, and mouth-watering food. Best wishes to all of the amazing photographers I met and got to know that day, and many thanks to Venn Workshops for making the day possible.

If you're a bride getting married at Pharsalia, you're a lucky girl. :)