My FIND experience | Alabama family photographer

So I think some of y’all know that I have been shooting some film. Mostly just for personal things. I have a lot of people ask me why. And there are few reasons.

1. I love the look of film. The dynamic range from highlights to shadows just cannot be matched in full sun with digital. And sometimes my family and I do things in the middle of the day. You know when the soft light of sunset is still far away. And I want to still be able to capture those moments – beautifully.

2. I love a challenge. Plain and simple. I love to do something new. Side note: I am also learning to sew in my off season this year…..see, I just like to do something new.

3. This is the most important reason. I was in a rut. And I had lost some of my joy in photography. I hesitate to even say this because y’all hire me to photograph your families. And I LOVE my job. I truly cannot imagine doing anything else. But some of y’all may know this from personal experience, once you start taking money for something that you TRULY enjoy doing – it becomes work. No matter what. At least for me, it did. And I think all photographers get to a point in their journey where they hit a wall. And most want to push that wall down and come out on the other side. That’s what I wanted.

So for probably a year, I have been really, really wanting to attend an in person workshop. I have taken many online classes, but I was really craving that small group, live, in person workshop experience. And those are hard to find if you don’t shoot weddings. I have been following Jon Canlas for a long while and even bought his Film is Not Dead book when I got back into film. I read more reviews than I can count of his FIND workshops and started to think it would be the perfect fit for me. In June, I took the plunge and signed up. I cannot count how many times I almost sold my seat. Or just decided not to go. And not for any reason other than I thought there was no way that I would have as profound an experience as I had read about. Let me just tell y’all……well, I don’t know if I can even tell y’all, what a life changing experience it was for me. When you show up, Jon gives you a hug. Because that’s the kind of sweet, kind hearted guy he is. And when he says he is an open book, he’s not kidding. He is no holds barred honest. He truly wants his workshop attendees to get the most from the experience that they can stand. You can ask the girls (yes, it was all women this time for some reason), I was such an emotional mess. And I have only now just started to figure out why.

I have spent the better part of my time in business doing what other people told me I should. Buy this camera. Use this editing program. Shoot in this light. Edit your images to look like this. Brand yourself this way. Offer these products. I lost my own voice. But I am trying like hell to find it again. I didn’t shoot much at FIND. And I am kicking myself for that – we had awesome models. But here are some of the images that I am hoping will help me find my way again. I didn’t go to FIND for f stops or film stocks – you get a lot of that, trust me. I went to FIND for my heart. And I can tell you, I would go again in a hot second.


  • Traci - Hello Mandy. I have been following you for a while and love your work. This post has really hit home for me. I feel the same way. I am heading to Florida at the end of the month and I am taking a couple film cameras. I just want to explore and shoot and fall in love with it again. Merry christmas.ReplyCancel

  • Aimee - Amazing! Absolutely adore your work and esp your film work!!!! <3ReplyCancel

  • Edward - I will be heading to FIND in Sydney next year, I really can’t wait!ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *