On being an introvert at a workshop

In Community, Travel
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Guys, I’m an introvert. Being in big crowds completely drains me, and having to get myself to the front of the crowd to ask questions, to get a shot, to make my voice heard can be petrifying. So, flying out to southern California by myself, getting into a car with a bunch of ladies I’d met in our Heck Yeah Photo Camp facebook group and driving into the desert was a huge challenge in the first place. I was also going to be rooming with a bunch of people I didn’t know, spending my days in a big group of people, and trying to make sure I put myself out there enough to get something out of the camp. It tires me out just thinking about it!

Going in I had a rough game plan for how I was going to approach things.

  1. I allowed myself to be me. This camp was attended and led by some of the most gorgeous and talented photographers I’ve ever met. No matter how good I am, there was going to be self-doubt about all sorts of things. I tried to keep in mind that as long as I’m pushing myself I’m doing just fine.
  2. I tried to make at least one friend. If I had one person that I could connect with, I could get out of my own head a little.
  3. I took some time by myself each morning. The camp took place at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. The landscape around there is so completely unlike what I’m used to in Minnesota (especially in January!). Exploring it at least a little bit was a priority for me.
  4. When it came to the big group shoots, if I wasn’t feeling like muscling my way to the front of the crowd, I wasn’t going to pressure myself to do it.


Not taking myself, the camp, or the whole experience too seriously, and trying to stick to my little guidelines really helped me with my time at camp. All that said, I do wish I’d rented a car so that I could have escaped a little more at my leisure. We were so close to Joshua Tree National Park, and I did get over there briefly one evening, but I would have loved to have wiled away more of my free time there. National Parks are my jam.


Heck Yeah was amazing. I took away from it exactly what I had needed to hear, made a couple of friends, and even got a few not so bad photos to boot! So, don’t think that just because you’re an introvert that you can’t do a workshop. You totally can, and you totally should.

All the best,

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  1. This sounds like much of what Shutter Sisters first retreat was for me years ago! I still wished I’d done better connecting in person, but ironically some of the faces I met there I’ve become closer with via online relationships after the camp. I’m excited to reconnect with some of them this fall in Sonoma at FireFly, and hopefully make a few new connections as well. Glad you opened your brave heart Alison!

  2. Not so bad, pshaw! I have loved these since they started popping up in your posts. And seeing so many together here – they are wonderful, Alison! It sounds to me like the whole thing was a complete success. This introvert salutes you.

    • Thanks, lovely 🙂 It was such a trip being shoved in such an unfamiliar space and company. Rejuvenating, for sure!

  3. I’m proud of you. You were brave. Being an in introvert myself I totally understand those kinds of feelings. Heck the night before I met you I could barely sleep. I had dreams about it and butterflies too. Once I met you I was settled. You are warm and honestly I would have never guessed an introvert. The image you took while at heck yeah are really awesome. I want to learn to do the desert star shot.

  4. I am total introvert and totally relate to your experience. But oh my, sooo worth it for your gorgeous images!

    • I feel like so many people I so admire in the photography world are introverts (yourself included!) – something insightful about that personality type, I think. <3 <3

  5. from one introvert to another, I completely get this. hooray to you for pushing through those edges.
    and I think your photos are beyond ‘not too bad’. well done, you. xo

  6. Beautiful post, Alison! And right there with you as an introvert, great advice!

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