With over 160 MJ2Day alumni now taking over the globe, I thought it would be fun to do a series on my blog to check in on past attendees and see what they're up to now and how their businesses, lives and photography have been impacted by their experience at the workshop. I've heard so many fun stories from past attendees that leave me beaming with pride at their coolness and I can't wait to share!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Bernadette Pollard -- an attendee of the February 2013 workshop in Phoenix. Bernadette is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and specializes in weddings -- both national and international. This is cute Bernadette (left photo by yours truly and right photo by Jen Harvey):
We get photographers at all stages of their businesses at the MJ2Day and Bernadette was in her first official year of focusing solely on weddings. She had been in business for a while, and was generally happy with the amount of weddings she was booking and the type of clients she was attracting. But she was seeking advice for more growth, with an interest in expanding her business far beyond what it was at the time. She was in need of systems that would help her maximize her time more efficiently and help her serve her clients better.

I interviewed Bernadette for this post and I appreciate what she shared in answer to my first question:

Q: What is the biggest difference in your photography since attending the MJ2Day?

A: I implemented two main photography techniques following the workshop:

1. I started using MJ’s off-camera flash set-up: I had played around with this a little before, but now I had specifics on gear, lighting diagrams, and camera/flash setting recommendations. These guides gave me the confidence to more deeply experiment with crafting better reception and dancing photos. My imagery created with flash quickly became more dynamic and interesting. It allowed me to worry less about where to “bounce” the light and it gave me much more control in many difficult lighting & venue situations.

2. I began shooting wide open. I already knew that this was something I wanted to do more often, in order to produce the type of romantic imagery I was aiming for. But, again I was a bit hesitant to trust my creative intuition. Following the workshop, I shot almost an entire wedding at f1.4 and found that it gave me much more of a creative “voice” – in being able to better see + utilize the natural light and to the draw attention within my images towards specific details and a more genuine mood that I was attempting to a capture.

Here are some examples of Bernadette's work before the workshop:
And here is a sample of her work since the workshop:
Amazing improvement in one short year!!

Q: What is the biggest difference in your business since attending the MJ2DAY?

A: The most significant difference is the QUALITY of couples that I am booking. Quality meaning that, because the photography within my portfolio has improved to a place that I am very proud of, I am consistently attracting brides and grooms that appreciate my ascetic and resonate with my ideal imagery.

Q: What are some of your goals that you set after attending the workshop that you have since completed?

A: One of the most important business/marketing tips that I implemented was the consistency of my blogging. MJ drove home the fact that if I was not sharing blog posts regularly, my blog was, in fact, out-of-date to potential clients. I began pushing myself to blog full wedding previews {my favorite 30 images} within 3 days of the event, riding that wave excitement surrounding the recent festivities and encouraging interaction. My blog went from containing one post every 2-3 months, to a new post every single week. And I also went from ZERO comments to 20+ comments per post. This provided me with lots of positive encouragement for my work and was also really fun feedback for my newly married couples.

Q: Have you changed or raised your prices since the workshop? And have you seen a change in your booking rate or the type of clients you book since the workshop?

A: Yes! I streamlined my package options and raised my prices by about 30%. It was very scary at first, but I found that not only was I able to book more weddings, but those couples valued the photography a great deal more and trusted my process. Despite raising my price points, my booking rate has remained consistent AND the type of client that I began attracting fit my personality much more succinctly. I attribute a lot of this to the fact that my previous couples were gracious enough to provide helpful/honest reviews of my work and client services {due mainly to MJ’s client workflow tips!}.

Q: Are there any cool connections or events that happened as a result of you attending the MJ2DAY?

A: Absolutely. I’ve been able to recommend fellow participants to some of my clients in other markets. One of my Minnesota wedding couples had a need for a photographer in the Washington, DC market and I was more than happy to recommend an MJ2Day Attendee. I’ve also hired a second shooter from the workshop for an upcoming wedding in the Chicago area!

Also, there were so MANY fun giveaways from the workshop sponsors! I was lucky enough to win an advertising spot in Destination I Do Magazine -- and this particular bride who was featured in my ad was especially thrilled. I received some great leads from the placement and booked a wedding in Florida for Fall 2014!

(Bernadette's full page ad that she won at the workshop is on the right side of the spread below):
Q: Are there any other changes or exciting developments you'd like to share?

A: Since I’m blogging much more regularly, I’ve been able to focus on getting that work published! It’s very easy now to point publications to my own blog posts to see more imagery. Some of my recent press includes:

Minneapolis StarTribune
The Wedding Wire Blog
The San Francisco Gate
A Northwoods Wedding

Incredible Bernadette! Thank you so much for sharing! I'm so proud of you and everything you've accomplished since the workshop -- you are putting in some serious work and it shows!

If you're a photographer and would love to take your photography and business to the next level like Bernadette has, join us at an upcoming MJ2Day! We still have spots open for June in California! It promises to be beautiful and life-changing!
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