McG with Golightly Images | McGowan Images Blog


McG with Golightly Images

Once or twice a year, we spend the day with another photographer here in the McG headquarters. There are snacks and cocktails and laughing and usually a killer meal… but there’s also a LOT of talking shop, of nitty gritty, of business strategy and workflow and client communication and portfolio critique and and and. Basically, it’s a long day.

But the photographers who’ve asked to come do this with us have so far all been extremely happy with what they learned during the day. I’m not shy about saying that we don’t know everything. Not even close! But we know OUR business inside and out, and we’re always willing to help someone work through places they might be mired down in their own businesses.

Amber of Golightly Images spent Valentine’s Day in the office with us, talking over every aspect of her business, and allowing her to fully dig into every aspect of ours. We looked through her portfolio, we talked through her client experience, we gave her some homework, and we dispelled some completely untrue things the Mean Person in her brain was saying.

You know how that goes, right? The Mean Person in your brain? We all have one. Sometimes it takes an outside source to look at a situation completely objectively and say, “Hey, that’s stupid. The Mean Person needs to shut up, because what She’s saying is a lie.” Or he… I guess it could be a he.

Anyway, long story short, we had a really great day with Amber. We particularly had fun shooting a bride & groom session with her! Amber had done workshops before where she watched the teaching photographer shoot, but that’s not really how I roll. Mack held back as tech support so I could instruct posing as a solo shooter, and I explained every step of what I was doing to Amber as we moved. I let her jump in and pose as well, and was able to give pointers on how to make direction clearer, or bring more life to the client experience. And man, she created some BEAUTIFUL images.

Amber showed up at our office as a talented photographer. We didn’t teach her anything dramatic. But we DID encourage and push her, and give her ways to break out of a place that’s comfortable and take her business to the next level. And we’re both SO excited to see where 2016 takes our sweet friend.

Check out some images I shot during the training session, as well as some fun Behind the Scenes stuff…



A few days later, she sent over a little review of her day with us, which made me kind of weepy (I know, I know, huge shock to everyone):

“I’ve followed McGowan Images work for a few years, and really love what they do. I knew I liked them. But to spend a day having my work critiqued, my style was observed, and my business was laid bare… that was a very intimidating feeling. And then adding in that it was people I really admire? Super scary.

Immediately, they put me at ease. They’re laid back and outgoing, exactly like they are online, and made me feel so welcome & comfortable. It was really easy to open up and share my story, and my work, and even to accept constructive criticism on my work. There was nothing off the table… we talked about my goals, my workflow, my gear, and anything I wanted to improve on. 

Then we had a session where I basically got to see exactly what it’s like to shoot with McGowan Images. They walked me through exactly how they work, and also watched me shoot and made suggestions in real time. I’m not part of a team, so Mack was there as tech support and Chelsea demonstrated all posing as a solo shooter. The way she interacts with clients really inspired me to get outside my shell, and I’m so excited to use this new energy as wedding season starts up.

After the session, we went through my images together and they pointed out to me everything that they thought was really beautiful. I saw things in my work that I wouldn’t have seen before, and learned post-processing tricks that helped really highlight those things. I saw my own work in a new way, and was really really proud of what I had done. At the end of the day, I left armed with confidence, encouragement, new tips and techniques, and a brain full of knowledge.  

I’m honestly still trying to find the words to sum up what the day was like, but all I can really say is that it was perfect. I needed that boost more than I even knew I did. I truly believe that no matter where you are in your career, you can always improve, and I absolutely recommend that everyone invest in an experience like this with someone they admire!”


Amber, you’re a gem. A really really special one-of-a-kind woman with an amazing heart and a calming presence that any bride would be lucky to have on her wedding day. We’re proud to know you, and we can’t WAIT to see how Golightly Images grows in the upcoming season!!

  1. Ashlie says:

    It was SUCH an absolute pleasure for me and Grant to get to be with you guys on a special day like this! Amber was so sweet to work with and it was fun to see how she slowly opened up throughout the afternoon and used the great things you two were teaching her.

    I still honestly can’t believe Grant and I were so lucky to get to be the subjects for a shoot like this with you guys. Thank you, all three of you, for letting us be a part of your day and getting to experience this alongside you.

    I generally don’t like taking photos because I don’t like myself in them, but after having three very different and all equally fantastic experiences with you, I can say I want to do it all the time now! Though only with you, haha! The photos from the three shoots have made me feel more confident and beautiful than anything else ever. You’re just ridiculously talented and I can’t say that enough.

    I’m so lucky to not just have these amazing images to cherish, but to be able to call you my friends as well. Love you!

  2. Ann says:

    So first – I love how McG “shares the wealth” with other photographers. Open, freely, joyfully.

    Second – Amber, you need to permanently evict the mean person in your brain. Seriously.

    Third – What an absolutely stunning couple and session. That mirror reflection one? I die!

  3. […] on!  Chelsea is much, much, MUCH better with words than I am, so you can read more about our day here on her […]

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