As I booked my spot for this workshop my heart was racing. I hadn't even clicked the book button yet and I was scared and excited at the same time. I had booked myself for a workshop before and couldn't go so I was worried the same thing was going to happen, but I went for it anyway. I clicked that book now button for what was going to be my first wedding workshop. It was the BEST decision I have made for my business.
Once I arrived in Mexico, I met up with one of the fellow attendees and it was like we had known each other for years. I was hooked on this feeling, meeting fellow creatives from new places, it was so exciting. We hopped in our pre arranged ride to head to our villas at Jungle Keva, in the heart of downtown Tulum. From the very beginning it was like being in our own private oasis. From the planed pathways to the loft villas covered in straw and the infinity pool that linked to out private yoga studio. WOW what a place. And this was just the beginning.
As we began to relax and get to know each other, we were greeted with cocktails from our wonderful hosts - which we eventually found out were not included and were really expensive, but heck, we only live once. So we all downed our cocktails and gossiped before own personal chef served us dinner. We chatted about our favourite photographers and podcasts we all listed to, where we were from and where we all want to travel to. Many of us were on our first workshop and really just trying to get a grasp on everything that was to come. As we ate dinner at our large banquet table all together we chatted more about our lives and indulged in everything we were served including the BEST banana bread we have ever had - even thought it was extra too, so worth it.
Enough of the food and the resort, let's get onto the next day when the workshop really began. We all woke up for our breakfast, again, amazing, even the coffee was incredible and waited on our models to arrive. (sorry more food talk, but it was soooo good)
First up was Rye and Charlie, a married couple from Texas who were both stunning inside and out. Rye owns her own company called Opal Milk where she designs and makes her own clothing, accessories and even roll on essential oil. You need to go check out her custom leather jackets, the are the most rad accessory any bride could own! Charlie, her biggest fan had never really been a model before, other than his own wedding, he was in for a treat with us all. I found out he is a carpenter and super handy, but when it came to modelling, it was his element.
So I gave him the best tip I know for any male in a shoot, just look at her and make contact with her. But real contact, wrap your arms around her, pull her in tight and face your hips towards her whenever you feel lost. Let's just say as the shoot went on, Charlie knew exactly how to support and guide his stunning wife as she nailed her poses for us all. From their lifestyle and engagement session to a full out wedding session, Rye and Charlie gave us everything we needed to add "Mexico Jungle Wedding" to our portfolios and I was loving it!! I think Charlie was even wearing his suit from his own wedding and it was the perfect touch for his to feel confident and comfortable in front of all of us photographers. Oh, there was 12 or 14 of us to be exact. We did split into groups to make the sessions more manageable so we weren't shooting on top of each other, but we still ended up literally shooting over each other. Gotta do what you gotta do to get the shot, at least that's what this workshop taught me. Anyways, here is more of Rye and Charlie because I neeeeed to share it with you.
Before we go any further, I have to tell you my biggest lesson right away was editing these images. They feel like they were meant to be on the more dark and moody side and I tried for the LIFE of me to try and them bright and colourful as my images usually are, but they didn't give you the mood and expression that was this romantic and heated day of shooting with Rye and Charlie. Don't get me wrong, I am okay with them being a little more moody than my usual, the photographs from this session turned our BETTER THAN I COULD HAVE IMAGINED. From the couple being truly and madly in love to just capturing the movement and moments they created together. It was my favourite from all the sessions hands down. So thank you Rye and Charlie!
Next up, we have Ana and Phillipe - natives to Tulum and wow were they stunning. They spoke very little english and were not a couple in real life, but Ana absolutely nailledddd it in every frame. From her smile to little shoulder moves, she knows what she is doing and I hope, I really hope I get to work with her again some day. Phillipe on the other hand was an odd ball. To say the least. We found out after the shoot that he was saying inappropriate things to Ana while we had them nuzzle and she hated it, but in every photo, you don't see an ounce of that emotion. She is a true professional and I cannot thank her enough for that during our session, but this did teach me something. You must always have communication with your couples.
From knowing what they are saying to understanding their love language and how they communicate with each other. You will have a far better experience together if you know these things and have fun with them. Don't assume everything you are doing or asking them to do is good. Make sure you chat with them, either before you ever bring your camera up to shoot or even taking a break during the shoot. It is so so so important.
Anyways, here are the STUNNING photographs we captured of Ana and Phillipe in their stunning Mexican outfits and bridal gown. Ugh, it was such a vibe. Seriously.
Oh my. How the heck does she do it? I have seen Ana in photos from other workshops in Mexico and she makes me melt from how amazing she is in front of the camera. But then I know how sweet and kind she is behind it too. So sweet, she didn't even tell Philipe off until we were done our shoot with them. That's a professional.
That was the end of day 2 and our first day of shooting. Phew, what a day. Three different shoots in the first day with hardly any breaks because everyone was so on fire. We just wanted to continue to create and capture the jungle madness that was our Wild Ones workshop. By the way, the workshop is heading back to Tulum in November with Nicola and her incredible team, that I will be tagging at the bottom of this post. If you want to sign up, and I recommend you do, go hop on her waitlist as I am sure many photographers will be joining her for the next one.
Now onto day 3 and our second day of shooting. This is our final day and we are heading to the sister resort of the one we are staying at and it's down on the beach in Tulum. I was soooo excited. I had never been to Tulum and had heard so much about the waterfront and how incredible the water was. As we all take our taxis and arrive to our next location we are greeted by street art in the form of traffic signs with sayings like "stay present." They were the perfect reminder as we entered our last day of shooting.
As we arrive to our next shoot, we pull up to this giant straw house, at least that is what the outside looks like at the front. It is so cool and blends so well with the tree lined street that runs parallel to the ocean. As we walk in, we notice this small straw like hut is just the entry way, the hotel is so grand and extends far beyond this small hut and out towards the ocean. It is STUNNNING. From the mini waterfall just inside the entrance to the bamboo walls and hand laid stone work. The entire hotel had been designed to make you feel like you are in your own oasis and it's new! We were the first "wedding" to take place there. I forgot to take photos of the rest of the resort on my camera, so you'll just have to imagine it or head there for yourself. It will be tagged at the bottom as well.
But let's get into the shoot.
We began out front of the hotel with Cally and Michael for a fun and romantic bicycle ride. And again, these two are a real couple who recently married and actually modelled for a previous Wild Ones workshop. So fair to say, they know what they are doing. They also happen to both be creative creators as well, from weddings to brands, these two are a serious power couple. We ventured down the main strip of Tulum with all the hustling motorcycles and crazy vehicles whizzing past us, just trying to get at least one great shot of these two as they rode darlingly down the middle of the street. It was such a blast and the exact thing I love to do with my couples on our shoots. So I was loving this!!
Then we headed into their private suite of the hotel. Yes, their own private suite because as content creators they were also working for the hotel to capture some stunning imagery and videos for their social and I am sure website. So we trekked across the bamboo and stone walkways to the private room with it's own infinity pool over looking the ocean. YUP. Over looking the ocean on the second story of their own private suite. It was perfect. The group broke up into groups of three so we could have enough room to move around each other on the balcony of the private suite and for the photographers like me, hop into the pool to get "the"shot we want.
After all the groups cycled through and captured these stunners, we took a break on the beach while Michael and Cally got ready for their wedding shoot on the beach.
Of course it was't just a beach wedding shoot, we got to use the hotel room for getting ready photos as well and wowwwww did the earthy, romantic and swoon worth moments of a true wedding come out. Cally had us all dying in her lace robe while Michael styled his rings perfectly to match his boho edgy side with a bow tie to boot.
Then we met up with our stylist and florist, Maria who is FAMOUS in Mexico for her STUNNNNNING work and true attention to every single detail. From the beach ceremony to the reception for two inside the hotel, Maria made sure we had every last touch we needed to truly capture the essence of a beach side wedding to perfect. So without anymore hesitation, here are the photos from the beach ceremony at Maxanab Hotel Tulum.
I know, I know. HOW? How do they all do it. From Nicola the Founder of Wild Ones who hosted this incredible retreat to both of the venues for having such STUNNING (yes I love using that word, but can you blame me) locations. The feelings of gratitude for being able to attend this workshop, be among such talented photographers and even more talented models who made this entire process feel like a dream come true. I cannot recommend Nicola and her community enough, from her Facebook group to her podcasts, she runs with some amazing creatives who I cannot wait to meet again on another retreat or virtually for now. Thank you thank you thank you!!
To end this very long but incredible post, I am going to tag all of the vendor below for you to creep and fall in love with. Sorry, not sorry.
Thank you thank you thank you to all of you for your incredible work!! You are all absolute rockstars!
Workshop host: @wildonescommunity
Stylist and florist: @marialimon_
Jewellery: @opalmilk @thevamoose
Dresses: @ruedeseine via @aandbe_dallas @aandbe_bridalshop @graceloveslace
Getting ready robe: @bibiluxe
Grooms outfit @inthemiddletulum @teriustulum @mossbros
Hair & Make up: @preptulum @zoeelizabethmakeup
Venue: @junglekevatulum @maxanab_tulum
Models: @opalmilk @ankuanku_ @filippo_difranco @baby_cally @michealschapter
- Can be found on instagram with these handles.
Thank you so much for following along and I hope you enjoyed the photos!! I cannot wait to be back in Mexico soon enough!
Now for some fun behind the scenes/bloopers for you all to see what it's actually like at a workshop. Not a bad thing, it's actually a lot of fun!! And I want to share these action shots!