The Kindle Workshop
April 19 + 20, 2018
Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC hosted by Nicole Ashley + Ang McCabe (Myrtle & Moss Photography)
Written by Ang McCabe
Nicole and I met a couple years ago at a conference and have always kept in touch online. We were always drawn to each other’s work — we had the same visual language, and our work always speaks to each other. I love Nicole’s intimacy in her images, the way she is able to capture passion in such a delicate way is incredible. You can tell that her clients put 100% trust in her. On top of it all, I am always living vicariously through her travels and her daily instagram stories featuring the infamous, “Blanche” (her cat!).
Where it all started.
One day we casually chatted, “hey, we should do a workshop together”. This seems like a dating comment, but we really just hit it off from the first time we met lol! We have the same type of humour (which if you know us, is a huge part of who we are), and just seem to ‘get’ each other. We talked for months about it then just decided to jump head first. I have done a few of my own workshops/retreats and spoken at conferences. Nicole has lots of conferences, mentoring and teaching under her belt as well. Nicole, being a former teacher, and myself being a former nurse, we both have a passion for helping others and teaching. It was only natural for the two of us to take on this role in the industry and we are so grateful for those who have put their trust in us as mentors and educators in the industry.
What it’s all about.
We took what we learned from our past experiences and wanted to put together a workshop that included all of our favourite components and experiences of previous workshops we have been a part of, to create an ideal learning experience for the Kindle Workshop. We wanted it it intimate, so we limited the attendees to 24 students (broken into 3 groups of 8 while shooting). We provided a hands-on learning experience where the attendees got to watch us shoot, as well as have the chance to get in there and direct the models as well (with the help of our guidance, too). We aimed to provide lots of beautiful details and subjects to be photographed so there was always something or someone to photograph while rotating through the groups. It’s always tough when teaching, as everyone is trying to get “the shot”, but overall I feel that our system was well executed and the images we are starting to see from the attendees are incredible! We really encouraged people to look out for one another, make sure everyone is getting their chance and to buddy up to ensure everyone is having a fair and equal opportunity. We seriously had the best group of people attend. Proud momma-bears over here.
It took us forever coming up with a name. We decided on “Kindle” as first and foremost, we wanted our workshop to inspire and set hearts on fire. Secondly, we wanted it be centered around friendship and connecting with other artists. Our logo (a campfire/logs about to be lit), was symbolic for leaning on each other to create something bigger and brighter. We are all important components and have something to offer one another. Cheesy, but there’s that!
kin·dle, verb, to light or set on fire. Ignite. Arouse or inspire (an emotion or feeling). Become impassioned or excited.
kin, noun, one’s family and relations.
kin·dling, noun, easily combustible small sticks or twigs used for starting a fire.
We wanted the learning space to be bright, inspiring, and be in a location that gave the attendees a taste of downtown Victoria. The studio was located right in the heart of Fan Tan Alley, which is Canada’s oldest China town (second oldest in North America) and is also the narrowest storefront alley in Canada. How cool is that? The only downside was the copious amount of trips up and down the narrow alley and the two flights of stairs made it a lot of fun getting the tables and catering up to the studio — fun, right. lol but so worth it! We were so lucky to have many helping hands leading up to and prepping for this workshop.
This is not an easy task. We were so lucky to have Karen Bezaire (Bezaire Event Design) help bring our vision to life as well as run wild with her own style and design ideas! Weeks of chatting, planning and meeting up payed off when we saw everything come together! Karen is always coming up with unique ideas and is very trend-setting with her approach. Collaborating with Karen was such a blessing and we were so grateful for all of her hard work and beautiful execution. Thank you, Karen.
I first met Natalia (Ingrid Rose Floral Artistry) at a bridal fair. We were both drawn to each other’s work and knew we wanted to create some magic together. She has a wonderful and unique approach to her work, always pushing the limits with her beautiful installations. What she produced for us at the workshop was some of the most beautiful florals I’ve ever had the chance of photographing. Thank you Natalia, for dedicating so much time and talent to this workshop. Your work really made it what it was.
This was a component that we did not want to drop the ball on. Everyone always talks about workshop food. With a huge thanks to Truffles Catering and SmartSlides for sponsoring the lunches, we were able to keep our attendees hydrated and bellies full. The first day we had an incredible taco bar (because who doesn’t love tacos?) and the second day was customized Buddha Bowls! Truffles catering is always coming up with incredible flavour combinations and a unique approach to their plates — definitely a highly recommended company for weddings and any event you want to impress your guests!
We were so thrilled and honoured that Dapo (Lord Ski Photography) was willing to come all the way from Edmonton to take part and capture the workshop highlights and behind the scenes for us. We are so excited to see what he captured. He is truly so talented and a ray of sunshine to be around! Thank you so much Dapo!
Hair and Makeup.
I was so excited when I heard Janna (Behind the Blush) was willing to come from Edmonton to practice her hair and makeup wizardry on our models! I finally got to see what Janna was all about. Aside from her evidently amazing skills, she is the absolute life of the party. I’m so sad I don’t have Janna or a Janna doppelganger to have of my own. Miss you already, girl! ha.
We kicked the workshop off with in-depth intros of ourselves and all of the attendees. We wanted everyone to feel welcomed, wanted to know their past, what brought them here, and what they hoped to learn. This created such a wonderful environment for the attendees to get to know each other. One of my favourite things about workshops is the relationships formed — some friendships lasting far beyond the workshop. We will always be united one way or another.
After our intros, Nicole and I had an in-depth presentation on understanding your why, connection, business, pricing, branding, social media, destination work, and much more! We were so thrilled with the amount of interaction, questions and group discussions on our topics. I think we could have chatted and taught non-stop for 3 days and still had more to say, but I think we crammed as much information in there as we could and our information was well received. We were happy that our “open book” approach was greatly appreciated, as we strongly believe in helping others, have them learn from our mistakes, and give them our tips that can help get them to where they want to be sooner.
“A candle doesn’t lose any of its light by lighting another. – Rumi”
Field trip to the ocean.
Our first day, we loaded up everybody into a school bus and brought them to a beautiful lagoon to shoot our first session. We went with a bohemian/surfer theme, complete with surf boards and the cutest orange Volkswagen bus you’ve ever seen (Aloha Friday Photo Bus), that actually came all the way from Hawaii to Vancouver Island. Karen (Bezaire Event Design) worked her styling magic while Natalia (Ingrid Rose Floral Artistry) added the final touches with her incredible florals.
Our real couple, Leah and Jason were so much fun to photograph — they brought us a touch of cute, playful and super sexy!
Vendor Love for our Boho Surf Session:
@theKindleWorkshop hosted by @nicoleashley + @myrtleandmossphotography
Design + Decor @bezaire_event_design
VW Bus @alohafridayphotobus
We started the day by a continuation of our classroom content/presentation. We had so much more info we were dying to share, that we even got the attendees to come an hour earlier in the morning, just so we could fill their brains with even more content. I’m a morning person, so I was okay with it.. just had to keep Nicole well coffee-d(?) lol. We should have called this a bootcamp, not a workshop!
After the wrap-up of our presentation, we dove into our first couple’s session! Karen had set up a beautiful “bedroom” in the studio, complete with boho macrame wall hangings (provided by Art and Soul Creative )
We had multiple stations set up to capture details like food, stationary, florals, head table etc. and they got to rotate through the stations. We had the beautiful and talented Aisling along with Dereik for our wedding couple, and the sweet and gorgeous Blue, for our bridal model. Aisling wore the most beautiful Rue De Seine gown provided by Union Bridal, and Deric was well dressed by the lovely gentlemen over at Outlooks for Men. Blue wore the most beautiful Willow by Watters gown provided by Shades of White. Janna (Behind the Blush) of course, worked her magic with hair and makeup for the entire workshop!
Vendor Love for Day 2:
@thekindleworkshop hosted by@nicoleashley & @myrtleandmossphotography
Design + Decor @bezaire_event_design
Model @michaelvance Model @blueengelland Models @aislinggoodman
Wall art @art_and_soul_creative
Bridal Boutique @shadesofwhitebridal
Bridal Boutique @unionbride
We were so thrilled with the turnout, the quality of the session, and the friendships made that we decided we’re going to do it all over again! Keep posted for our announcement of Kindle TWO!
Testimonials, sweet words and images captured by the attendees
Kayla Lovli, Stony Plain, Alberta
Learning with other creatives in a beautiful exposed beam & white brick loft in the heart of downtown Victoria, BC, walking distance to the inner harbor. Being a water sign, least to say I was in my element. Two educators, boss babes, photographer phenomenon’s – Nicole + Ang. These two artists are the most selfless humble human beings I have ever met. Complete open books encouraging other creatives to push their boundries. These gals moved me in every single way. They took the time to invest & listen to who you are as an artist and individual. What story you have to tell. Who wouldn’t feel comfortable in front of their lens? Nicole, your sarcastic humor is everything, my face hurt from laughing. Your love for Blanche is irreplaceable. Ang, your story hit home to me, your strength, love and tenderness for your family doesn’t go unnoticed. And I absolutely love your kick ass dance moves. Time is everything, a gentle yet the most powerful reminder. Nicole & Ang expressed how important it is to invest in you and humbly know your worth, business and personal worlds. There is space for you. Have a genuine interest creating emotion, connection and individuality. Most importantly don’t be afraid to take the shot, it could be a ten second uncomforting feeling that is worth a lifetime memory. Nic & Ang, I am grateful the two of you invested your time, sweat, soul, fire, and love into The Kindle Workshop – not to mention little sleep running off a high. I am thankful I met you two beauties. From all of the amazing sponsors to stunning clients who flew out to create magic. It was the coolest to connect with so many other artists under one roof yet from across the world, to all of you, I’m thankful our passion brought us together. Photography isn’t just photos, it’s a community. Coming home has been a beautiful chaos, I have left my full-time desk job, taking on 5 weddings this summer now & working at my yoga studio. Don’t wait for shit to happen, create it.
Nothing but love,
Kayla Lovli Photography
Deidre Cameron, Calgary, Alberta
Angie and Nicole were like a breath of fresh air, I felt like I was in a rut, stagnant and uninspired. I decided to take their Kindle Workshop and invest in my business and myself. After my two days with these two I felt as if I had life again, A new perspective, a new vision, and inspiration that will last long after the course is complete. “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you” .
Emily Palmer, Fort McCmurray, Alberta
I’ve been trying to find a way to express my gratitude – but the struggle is real..
Its funny because, we didn’t really chat one on one much, we don’t have a relationship, I was walking in a student with absolutely no expectations.. I had no idea what I was setting myself up for.
First of all, Nicole Ashley – The hat, Blanche, your bubbly personality – its so perfect beside Angie McCabe -that hair, your emotion, your deep raw, heart on your sleeve personality… the two of you.. its like the perfect combination. You two made me laugh, made me cry, and made my heart just so full.. I feel like you have changed my life.. and who knew when you set this up that you would be the ones to “change” someones life. You have taught me to value my work and my time.. I was able to unplug the last 4 days and spend time photographing my own kids.
I feel so inspired, so refreshed, and so renewed.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart There just aren’t enough words
Megan Alexia, Edmonton, Alberta
The Kindle Workshop was one of the most insightful and transformative moments of my photography career so far. Nicole and Ang are so refreshingly humble, informative, and talented. Getting to learn from them was such an honour and I can truly see the improvement in my work. This workshop is worth every penny. Also, getting to know other photographers with different experience levels is so valuable #communityovercompetition