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(All photography in this post: Michelle Boyd Photography)

Ohhhhhhh yeah. Ohhhh yeahhhh! I've been wanting to sit down and write this post for what feels like forever, but when I would start to type all you would get was:

BEST DAY EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Just gibberish.

Seriously. THAT'S how much excitement would come through these fingertips of mine when I think about The Glow Workshop...Also known as the first (and def. not last) photography workshop I've ever hosted with my beautiful partner in crime, Amanda

Back in January, it was probably around midnight, and I was in what I call my half sleep. It's that place where my dreams overstep reality, and well, this small little muffin of a seed was planted in my crazy head that said, "You need to reach out, help other inspiring photographers, and host a photography workshop." I mean, I LOVED the idea of it all, but I would let doubt creep in from time to time and battle these thoughts in punching matches, but over the next few weeks, I couldn't help but keep thinking about it. I kept letting that thought of, "Girl, you've only been doing this two years and you aren't even well known. You don't even have a LEGIT website. You don't know everything. You're still learning! NOBODY will come. People will LAUGH at you."

But I knew in my heart that I did have something to offer, and something to share.

And, yeah, even though those thoughts were right, and I almost let them win, I still felt like my heart was leading me to this and that the Lord kept whispering in my ear, "Do it." BUT Why? WHY do it and risk the embarrassment if people didn't come? Was this idea silly? Was it out of reach? I continued to pray and pray about it and the answer kept coming back to me, "YES. DO IT!" BUT WHYYY!? 

Because over the course of this blog, starting my photography business and going full-time, I've received a ton of e-mails, text messages, letters, etc. from other like-minded photographer ladies (I call them my friends) asking advice, guidance, questions, you name it.  I LOVE helping people, I LOVE loving on people, and I LOVE meeting new people. I've made countless mistakes no doubt, but I also worked super hard and I wanted to share my experience, my mishaps, my victories, and my heart with ladies who would be willing to listen.

After another e-mail I received during my time of 'uncertainty' came in from an inspiring photographer was when I decided…"You're going to do this. Yup. No turning back. Make it happen. NO REGRETS." So I did. I turned off the doubt switch, got positive, got excited and made the first step. 

I knew I wanted to host it with an awesome girl who I'd have a blast with, trust, had a somewhat similar personality, someone who had a heart for the Lord, and who could also bring something valuable to the table that I couldn't. That's when I e-mailed this random girl in Fort Worth: Amanda. She was a girl I didn't even know (we were JUST Facebook friends) because I was weird and added her to Facebook one day. My engagement photographer always would take photos of her and for some reason I felt like I knew her just from her photos, and after years of seeing her pop up in my feed, I just decided to friend her. I'm super weird, I know. I'm totally that girl. BUT I just had a feeling that once we met, sparks would fly and we would be bff/photog business partners (I'm always so full of good ideas you guys!).  I sent her a LONG winded, hyper e-mail full of smiley's and exclamation points in true "Shay" fashion with this "silly" idea and really thought the girl would think I was nuts and not reply. But little did I know, she did reply and said she also received tons of e-mails with the same type of questions. We picks a day to have coffee in Waco (halfway meeting point for both of us) and met.

That morning on our way to Waco, we found out that we both were "running late", so we stopped in a parking lot before we got to the coffee shop to apply make-up lol and texted each other that we were running 'a few minutes behind' (the same person = #photogproblems lol) AND we also discovered that we LOVED to talk and LOVED to tell long winded and detailed stories. Match. Made. In. Photographer. Heaven. We both felt like we had known each other for YEARS, and shared our stories right there in the middle of a coffee shop. We could NOT stop talking y'all. LOL. People around us were probably getting annoyed at us, but we didn't care. I ended up going to THE PRAIRIE with her that same day to second shoot with her at an elopement she had that day (last minute, "Hey, you want to come? We can talk more about this workshop kind of thing!") And well, I couldn't say no. No way Jose! I guess you can say that GLOW was formed right then and there at the Prairie that night. 

This was happening.

We threw around a couple of names, but I always had my heart on naming it something that represented bringing out the absolute best in someone. We both wanted the attendees to feel empowered, positive, BRIGHT, and leave "SHINING BRIGHT LIKE DIAMONDS" (thanks Rhianna haha) and ready to tackle life, photography, and not be fearful and let doubt win. That's when the word GLOW popped in my mind. I said it outloud and Amanda and I both nodded, "UM…YES. That's it."

Boom. THE GLOW WORKSHOP was born. 

I could seriously write for days about the details, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the lack of sleep, and the heart that went into this, but I don't think I really need to do that do I? Anything worth doing isn't easy and the reward wouldn't be as sweet now would it? :)

 Over the course of the Spring and Summer, Amanda and I would travel back and forth and would work our rear-ends off until the wee hours of the morning. We made the best of the little time we had together and got things done. When we opened the registration, we both called each other and pinky promised: "OKAY, soooo if nobody comes (doubt - you really stink sometimes you know that?), we will just have to invite all of our friends and family to come lol! OKAY!? OKAY!?" But thankfully, THANKFULLY, the Lord provided, and he sent us ten of the most amazing ladies. Amanda and I will forever be grateful for them for coming and making our first workshop mean so much. They MADE it what it was, and y'all...every single girl had a heart of GOLD. We really hit the attendee jackpot. I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY with them and wish I could keep them all in my pocket to hang out with every single day. The love and appreciation I have for these girls will never leave this heart of mine. 

This workshop changed my life y'all. I know, I know, that sounds sorrrt of dramatic. But I'm being honest. I've never felt so fired up and so grateful from an experience. We owe it all to the attendees, and the OUT OF THIS WORLD sponsors who MADE this day even possible. There is so much happy aching in my heart because of all of the precious time and generosity everyone showed us, and I just don't think I'll ever be able to truly THANK them the way they deserved to be thanked. 

All I know is we had the most beautiful, loving, talented, generous, and STINKING AMAZING people make this workshop so special. I just can't find the words to really describe it you guys. The smile on my face and the fullness of my heart simply just won't go away! :) I don't hate it. :) 

Amanda and I gifted each of the girls with a GLOW coffee mug, a bag, and a journal for them to write in for the day.

Before I get started, let's talk about the amazing sponsors who made this day possible. Lauren, with Blue Eye Brown Eye, wrote the attendees names on the journals and on the place cards. Isn't her calligraphy STUNNING? She also provided each attendee with a beginner/starter calligraphy kit and the "Hello Beautiful" notecards SHE made. I have taken a few classes from this lady, and I highly recommend you do too. She is too rad for words you guys.  Check her out here! :) 

Emily, with Cakewalk Bake Shop also provided the precious little brown boxes that had lots of goodies inside! My favorite was the deer and the macaroons. How perfect am I right? The macaroons were HEAVENLY. If you don't know of this sweet lady, you do now. You can check her out right here. :) 

The pencils on the table were provided by the beautiful Stephanie Sterjovski who owns SS Print Shop. I love this girl y'all. She's become such a dear friend of mine and I thank the Lord for her friendship every single day. She also gifted each attendee with an assortment of prints from her shop! :) LOVE HER so much and her heart of GOLD. Check her out here y'all! :) 

We also had the incredible and inspiring Lara Casey and Emily Ley provide their gorgeous prints from their shops! :) The girls LOVED these and the meaning behind them! :) I had the opportunity to attend Making Things Happen in October of 2012 (game changer) and meet these fabulous women. You can check out their websites here and here! :) You can thank me later! :) 

Lara also sent us the newest edition of our most favorite wedding magazine EVER: Southern Weddings Magazine to give the girls. These will be sent out with their thank you cards! :) LOVE LOVE LOVE. 

Paloma from Paloma's Nest sent each girl a PRECIOUS bangle that said "COURAGE" on it. This bangle couldn't have fit the theme for the day any more perfect. I am wearing mine right now actually! :) Love love love it and I know the girls did too! :) 

Kate Foley provided all of the beautiful floral arrangements for our workshop. They were absolutely the perfect touch of pretty to our tables and our styled shoot! Kate was Amanda's florist for her wedding last December and does an incredible job! All of her work is just scrumptious and gorgeous! You can check her out here! :) 

The black tags that say "With Love" and the gold striped place cards for the girls were ordered from Sugar Paper L.A. 

We also had a few giveaways! :) Who doesn't love a giveaway? We put the girls names in a mason jar, and they all had the chance to win a super cute yellow camera bag donated from the lovely ladies at Jo Totes, as well as a glammed out camera strap gifted from the ever so sweet ladies from Bloom Theory. The lucky attendees who won were so excited!! :) Amanda and I also gifted Adobe Photoshop as a prize. :) 


The Glow Workshop was everything and more than I could have hoped for. That's simply all I can say. 

Here is my recap! :) 

The attendees had the option to stay the night before on Sunday at The Prairie, where Amanda and I greeted them with little bags full of our favorite candy. The girls had sleepovers and had a great time (from what we've been told!) and the rest of the evening Amanda, her EVER SO AWESOME intern, Haley and I set up shop. We stayed up late working on last minute details, getting our TV to show our powerpoint (lol Haley and Amanda - all I can say is I will NEVER EVER eat McDonald chicken nuggets again) and danced to Backstreet Boys, naturally. 

Monday morning. THE WORKSHOP DAY! I woke up with butterflies in my stomach, I'm not going to lie. But surprisingly, I was sorrrt of calm…for the most part. I was ready to get the day started, not having any clue what was in store but hoping for the best. 

The girls who stayed at The Prairie the night before met up for breakfast and coffee, while Amanda and  I were prepping in the next room for the day. Other attendees drove in that morning, and we greeted them with hugs! :) 

We said a big prayer right before we got started and then the rest of the day was just a BIG BEAUTIFUL BLUR of happy hearts, emotions, cameras, pretty faces, and smiles. 

We spent the morning sharing our stories, our hearts, our advice, and loads more of other information. We stopped for lunch which was provided by Backporch BBQ in La Grange. It's not pictured here because we all gobbled it up faster than a turkey, but it was SO good. We also took headshots of the attendees! I loved this part of the day! :) Naturally.

Paige was the winner of the Bloom Theory strap. I think she was excited! :)

After head shots, and dancing around like a fool, we went back inside and got back to work. We answered questions, and then concentrated on the more technical side of photography: the settings! While we were focusing on part two of our presentation, Tracey Melton, AKA: THE Make-Up and Hair MASTER of the UNIVERSE :) of Tracey Melton Artistry arrived and got her pretty hands on our models for our styled shoot. Rian and her boyfriend agreed to be our models for the day and naturally, they ROCKED it. They are so precious! :)

Tracey is seriously MAGIC. She's not only drop dead stunning, but she is SO stinkin' GOOD. She graciously provided her skills for hair and make-up and we couldn't be more thankful! I wish she lived with me so I could look and feel beautiful every single day! You can check her website out here! :)

Once the gorgeous models were ready, we wrapped up our inside presentation and headed outside to our styled shoot! Our fingers were ready to SNAP away and capture all the GORGEOUS that Sweet Sunday Events created. 

Katy was our styled shoot coordinator and stylist for the day and SHE BLEW US AWAY. This lady has more talent than my pinky toe could ever possess. I mean that. Give her cardboard, a pen and a booger and she could make that cardboard, pen and booger look like a million dollars. THANKFULLY, she had more to work with than a cardboard, pen, and a booger (where in the world I come up with my analogies, I'll never know) but our styled shoot would NOT have been possible without her. She also brought along her right hand lady, Rachel who helped her put this all together! They worked ALL day long and brought our vision to life. WE COULDN'T BE MORE THANKFUL!

Katy will be opening up her very own event venue THIS December in Georgetown called The Union on Eighth. She's put in so much work and I promise I'm not biased, but it's SO rad. You can check it out here! :) 

(Pictured Left: Rachel, and Katy (Sweet Sunday Events/ The Union on 8th) Pictured Right: Rian (Our Beautiful Model), Michelle Boyd (Our TALENTED and AMAZING photographer), and Garrett (Our studly model!) )

I also can't go without mentioning this blessing of a lady who entered my life this year: Michelle Boyd.  The Lord has given me friendships this year that have truly touched my heart in a million in one ways. She is the talented eye behind ALL of these photos in this post and all of the photos for our styled shoot (coming soon!) I have always described her as, "That sweet cup of tea you have in the morning that makes you feel all warm and happy inside." Seriously though. She captured our workshop so beautifully and just PERFECTLY. I am still swooning over her images and can't wait to show you the rest of the images from our styled shoot. We are pending currently with a feature on a wedding blog, but as soon as we get the date, you KNOW it will be here on the blog! :) We can't thank her enough for all her hard work! :) Check out her website here! You won't regret it! :) 

Until we do get the green light though, here is ONE image to make your eyes turn into puffy hearts.

I'm wiping the drool off my mouth too. I know. I KNOW.  MICHELLE! WHY YOU DO THIS TO US!? WHY!? ;) You are TOO talented for words my friend. 

You could hear Amanda and I squealing the whole time and I had to hold back the tears a couple of times. I was that over the moon elated with every single detail these ladies created for us. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and just, thankful. I really wish there was a better word that meant more than THANKFUL. :) Katy also made the AMAZING backdrop in the field. Yeah. That's real. SHE MADE IT. Can you believe that!? There are not enough words you guys. 

Once the styled session was complete, we went back inside and we had the girls write ALL of their fears on a piece of paper. We took them out into the field, and we all went around and said our fears OUT LOUD. At the end, we all set our fears go. We won't mention that Amanda and I BOTH jumped the gun and released our balloons as soon as we said our fears lol. We made the girls wait to do it together though. It ended our day in the most perfect way. Everyone said BUH-BYE to fear, and YES to GLOWING. We also won't mention that one of the balloons got stuck in a tree on the way up. It still makes me laugh thinking about it, lol.

The best day, ever.

Saying our goodbyes, giving our biggest hugs, and saying thank you to the girls at the end of the day just didn't seem like enough to me. Packing up my car that night and sitting in my car, I let out a thankful cry. My heart had never felt so happy, so fulfilled, so gracious, and so forever thankful. My heart wanted to explode, and even today, it still feels the same.

To all the sponsors, the husbands, the friends, and the family who helped…Thank you. Words can never express how much your help and selflessness to help create this day for us meant to Amanda and me.

Clayton Stringer, with Stringer Productions, THANK YOU SO MUCH from the both of us for video documenting this day for us. Having you on board with us at GLOW was so much fun! We can't wait to see the video and will forever cherish it! You are the in so many ways! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! :)

Michelle, Clayton, Rachal, Katy, and Tracey…THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!! YOU LADIES ROCK MY SOCKS OFF! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I can't say it enough.

Haley, the ever so SMART and HELPFUL intern of Amanda… We couldn't have done it without you girl! Thank you for all your input, help, and prayers! You saved the DAY! I have enjoyed getting to know you and have to say…Amanda is the luckiest! You are a rockstar! :)

Hey look! :) It's The GLOW Workshop Team … Hey… just in case I didn't say it enough…


We wouldn't have had a workshop if it wasn't for these talented and gorgeous girls.

Y'all rocked it and made this day more special than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for your willingness to learn, be open, be real, and so so so precious. I loved getting to know all of you and can't wait to see you all GLOW.

 And last but not least…


My little muffin sprinkle.

The girl who didn't delete my e-mail and think my idea of this workshop was silly. THANK YOU…For ALL you did to make this day possible. You know it, and I know it… I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for all your HARD work, your time, your heart, your smile, your hugs, those long nights of delirium we shared, all the laughs, all the frustration, all the prayers, all the love, all the support, and most of all, the blessing your beautiful, once in a lifetime friendship.

We make a great team don't we? :)

I can't wait to see what the future holds for The GLOW Workshop, but all I know is, this first workshop will be hard to beat. I know it will just get better from here. :)

Dates for our next workshop will be released in January. We hope to see you there! :)

Amanda Marie Lackey - Amanda Marie Portraits (Photographer)
Shalyn Nelson - Love, The Nelsons (Photographer)
The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell (aka HEAVEN)
A BIG special thanks to Kim and Marie!!! :) 
Lauren Essl - Blue Eye Brown Eye (Calligraphy)
Kate Foley - Kate Foley Designs (Florals)
Emily - Cakewalk (Cakes, Sweets)
Stephanie Sterjovski - SS PRINT SHOP (Prints)
Lara Casey - Lara Casey Media (Prints) & Southern Weddings (Magazine)
Emily Ley - Emily Ley (Prints)
Paloma - Paloma's Nest (Bangle)
Jo Totes - Jo Totes (Bag)
Bloom Theory - Bloom Theory Straps (Strap)
Michelle Boyd - Michelle Boyd Photography (Photographer)
Katy Bohls & Rachel- Sweet Sunday Events & The Union on Eighth (Design & Coordination)
Tracey Melton - Tracey Melton Artistry (Make-Up)
Clayton Stringer - Stringer Productions (Videographer)
Rian & Garrett - Models (Rian has a style blog - you should check it out! :) 

post circle 16 comments :

  1. Aww it looks and sounds amazing!! Congrats to the two of you - you should both be so proud! Wish I didn't live so far so I could have joined... maybe you should consider doing an international tour and come to Canada (Toronto specifically) - ya just throwing it out there ;)

  2. You the BOMB dot com. Can I come next time? Xoxo

  3. This sounds A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I would've went but I'm probably a few thousand miles away lol. I think you are an awesome photographer, and I've definitely looked up to you over the past two years that I've followed your blog. As an aspiring photographer who is trying to start her business again for the second time, you give me hope.

  4. You mentioned more to come which is fantastic because I will go to one!! It looks like such an amazing experience!!

  5. This looks amazing! I'm sure it is a day no one will ever forget!! Keep up the great work- your passion and humor is inspiring!

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  7. WOW! What a post and what an event! What I wouldnt give to attend the next GLOW workshop! Sometimes I hate that I live in Australia, so I cant just pop across a couple states to attend these sorts of amazing events! Well done Shalyn, it looks perfect!
    :) xx

  8. Wait. Are those TEARS in my eyes as I finish reading this post? PROUD FRIEND ALERT! What a big heart you have--SO truly joyful to hear that it exceeded your expectations (God's good like that) & I know y'all blessed so many hearts in ways too numerous to count.

    I'm not a photographer. Can I come to the next Glow? xxoo

  9. No words can express how perfect this post is...except for the fact that I wish I could have made it! What an amazing experience!

  10. all of this is just WOW. CRAZY. AMAZINGLY GOOD!! please do another workshop so that i can get my little self there :))

  11. January, I cannot wait until then!! im bursting just waiting to know when!

  12. Oh Muffin - this was wonderful to read!!
    I will write more soon...
    Much London Love, Anja x

  13. I'm not even a real photographer, but I want to come just because it looks like such a fun time!!! Everything looked perfect. You girls rock!!!

  14. Hi Shalyn, haven't commented in a loooong time. (Doesn't mean I don't read!) I relate to soo sooooo much of what you write: the fears, the stress, the lack of time/sleep/money, the dreams, the excitement, the doubt...EVERYTHING.) You continue to amaze me. Your talent drips off my screen and I just want to bottle it...and um, drink it? #weird. I love that you didn't let your fears hold you back. Trying to do more of that myself. I'd hop on a plane from the great MIA for your next workshop if I could. I bet The GLOW was incredible...just like you.

  15. I would fly from sunny Florida to come to the next workshop!! This looks AMAZING!!

  16. I was UHB-SESSED with your outfit! You looked like a stunna oh yeah oh yeah!!

    Next year I want to glow with you!