Nicholas Gillespie Photography » Blog

FIND with Jon Canlas

If you are a wedding photographer (or any other kind of photographer for that matter) you probably know who Jon Canlas is. I started following Jon’s work years ago and finally broke down and spent the money to learn from him in person (I had already bought all his books). Harder than parting with the money was the blow to my ego, admitting to myself that this guy was so much better than me that I literally couldn’t learn what I needed to learn by reading his books. I needed to go and watch him work and listen to him speak. It was a really hard thing to do, but I’m so glad that I did. I’m 10x the photographer now than even a week before the workshop.

I can’t describe how excited I was to go to the workshop. I had been following Jon’s work on his blog, his Facebook and Twitter for so long that I felt like I KNEW him. I’m saying all of this to explain what unreal expectations I had going into the workshop. Part of me wanted Jon to become my best friend, another part of me wanted to become as good a photographer as he in 3 short days, and another part was scared to learn just how bad a photographer I truly was. None of those things happened (of course), but many, many other things came from the workshop.

I shoot differently, I blog differently, and I see photography differently (most importantly, I look for light differently).

I’ve loved photography since I was 8 years old. My dad took me to a Detroit Tigers game and I had his old Minolta STR 101. He knew very little about photography, but he taught me how to use the camera well enough that all my photos came out from that day. By the time I was 16, I had a Mamiya 645, a handheld meter, and a full darkroom in my basement. I shot my first wedding on film when I was 21 and I’ve shot about 400 since. I didn’t think that there was going to be much, technically, that I could take away from the workshop. I thought I was going to learn how he gets such amazing emotion out of people every single time and I was going to learn how he found amazing light in every shoot. I was wrong about all of it. What I mainly learned was this: I didn’t know as much as I thought I did in any aspect of wedding photography, the business or even photography as an art. Jon tells you to leave your ego at the door. That was important. I might have cried myself to sleep each night otherwise 🙂 I did end up learning how he gets the emotion. I learned a ton about light, but more importantly I learned why I’m doing all this. That, in itself, is worth the cost of 10 workshops.

This is starting to get really long. I will finish by saying this. Unless you are as good as Jon Canlas (and you aren’t) and you’ve even considered going to a workshop… do it. No one will ask more questions than I did and no one will be more patient than Jon was.