The AWP Workshop | Planning the Inaugural #AWPWorkshop

AWP Workshop 2018 Abigail Wellinghurst Photography Workshop Mobile Alabama The Pillars

About a year ago, I realized a common pain point in my industry.  All around me, the photographers I knew who were successful and had been in business for years were suddenly struggling to make ends meet and being forced to try and explain the value of their careers to justify their prices to their clients (myself included). I started to try and dig deep to understand why this was happening. Outside of the economic state of our country, people had lost interest in paying a professional photographer the amount they deserved because they knew they could find someone else at a more "reasonable" price. 

The reason they believe that they can find someone cheaper is BECAUSE THEY CAN. Clients CAN find someone at a lesser cost because this is a saturated industry filled with people trying to operate a business with little to no business education what-so-ever. They have no idea that by devaluing themselves and their time, they are also devaluing the entire industry and causing a loss of income for most photographers across the board. 

It was then that I remembered that I too started off this way. Inexperienced and uneducated on all things business, pricing for profitability, as well as lacking the technical skill to charge an amount that I would need to survive off of. 

Because I have spent 10 years having to learn the hard way, I decided to make it a mission to take photographers who may be new to the game and HELP them. Help them learn from the mistakes I made. Help them learn how to price for profitability across the board and lift the entire industry. Help them learn what goes into running a business behind the scenes. Help them shoot & edit. 

I took this mission and began dreaming big. I reached out to sponsors like Pixieset, Two Bright Lights, GoLiveHq, HoneyBook, Love Is A Big Deal, and others who were thrilled to be a part of this opportunity to give education & resources to those who were up and coming. They belived in helping them get started on the right foot without going through 10 years of mistakes before *BARELY* "making it". 

I would be lying if I said this was an easy process. I learned so much in trying to host this workshop. I made many more mistakes to add to my list. I also learned that I have an immense appreciation for teachers and content writers because MAN. Lesson planning and writing content IS FREAKING HARD. 

I also have become more passionate about education and have learned that despite my mistakes, taking ownership and stepping up and putting yourself last only works in your favor in the end. This workshop was just as much a learning curve for me as it was for the 8 people who registered for it. 

Let's talk about that number. EIGHT PEOPLE registered for my first ever workshop. HOW AMAZING! I was convinced for months that I would set this whole thing up and no one would even register. In a world full of social media perfectionists and especially working in an industry and leading beside creatives who seem to always take the industry by storm, I was convinced I was less than, unqualified, and unworthy. I had to take a step back, make realistic goals, and then put plans in place to reach those goals. It seemed hopeless for a while... 


I cried. I cried real tears and I called my mom. "Someone else believes I have something to offer", I told her, as I continued to cry like a baby. The next thing I did was text Martha- my contact with HoneyBook. Let me just tell you about Martha. I don't know a person in this world who gets stuff done with as much determination, grace, and speed as Martha. She decides she's going to do something and it's done. Like in that second. (Okay, maybe not that fast but you get the point.) 
I texted Martha and told her that I finally booked my first seat and her response was
" OMG!!!! This is huge!! Good work. You're meant to be doing this." - to which I cried some more. 

       PS- I promise this post is not about how great I am. It's quite the opposite. This post is about how great my support system is. How great the vendors are that made this thing happen in the first place. This post is about the photographers that registered because they believed in themselves and me and were ready to take the first, scary, step towards investing in themselves and their business. Because they're ready to lift the industry, together. 

Christmas came and went and it was getting down to crunch time to finish the preparation for the workshop. The two weeks leading up to the workshop were the most stressful of all throughout the entire process. Things just kept falling through, the money was being spent more than it was coming in, communication was lacking, and I had at least three major panic attacks. 

But by the time the week of the workshop rolled around, everything seemed to fall into place. I gave up control and just had to say, "Well, here we are. I am going to do the best I can do and trust that it's all going to work out". And it did! It did work out! 

I'll be sharing more about the actual workshop itself as well as the images from the styled shoot soon, but, for now, I just wanted to share about the planning process I faced and I wanted to thank each and every vendor, sponsor, and emotional and financial supporter of myself and those who attended this workshop. Together we have impacted the lives of 8 people and have lifted our industry that much higher. 

What an incredible mission to have been called to. I can't wait to see what more is to come. 

If you're interested in attending or participating as a vendor/sponsor in any future workshops or retreats, please email me and let me know!