We LOVE You Chicago!

Brian and I had the most AMAZING weekend with our Chicago Workshop!

Twenty-one beautiful, talented, creative women came together in Chicago this weekend. Some drove over seven hours, others flew out from the West Coast. The group was as dynamic as ever. Some of the women were total beginners with their cameras, some advanced, but Brian and I were proud of how they all went for it–jumping in with both feet! We even had two different sets of moms come with their daughters. One mom and daughter flew in from CA and her other daughter flew in from DC. What a bonding experience. We had Nicky join us as the Running on Empty winner. (Nicky, your life and story is and will continue to change lives. This weekend was just the beginning.) We had two pregnant moms, one expecting twins! We had single women, married women, grandmas and every other combination. And we had one freaking, amazing, awesome hostess names Gretchen!

And most of all, we had a WONDERFUL TIME!

This is the group showing you our famous Fake Laugh Photo Coaching technique. :)

Aren’t these women beautiful!

And let’s not forget our fearless MAN of the group, Mr. Brian himself! Can’t you just hear him teaching the workshop? As eloquent as ever. Wait, is eloquent a masculine word?

To all the Chicago Workshop ladies,

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for not only letting us teach you about photography, but also opening your hearts to us. That Saturday night dinner and conversation with all of you will always be cherished by us. All the moments in between when we got to learn more about each of you, Brian and I will never forget. I read all the beautiful comments in the book you made for us when I got on the plane. Your gift was so thoughtful and unexpected. I couldn’t help but get emotional. It’s always amazing to me that in only 48 hrs, we have become a part of each other’s lives and unfolding stories. For this, we are forever grateful. We will always cherish our time with you.

Much love, Me Ra and Brian

p.s. For all our blog readers. We did a super challenging photo shoot with these women during the workshop. In a couple days I’ll post photos of the scenario and challenge we gave them. Wait till you see the photos they captured!! They all did AMAZING!

33 Comments: “We LOVE You Chicago!”

  1. Nicki says:

    Thank you so much Me Ra and Brian. What an amazing weekend this turned out to be. Someone told me in the comments of the Running on Empty post that this would be so much more than a workshop about photography and she was right. I learned so much about myself this weekend. It makes me so excited for the journey ahead. You both are amazing and I am forever grateful for getting the opportunity to spend this past weekend with you and all of the wonderful women in the group.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I’m so happy for the ladies that were able to attend. These post are like a tease. One day I’ll make it to your workshop.

  3. I can’t wait for the day that I will be able to make it to one of your workshops. They look awesome!

  4. Pam says:

    Okay, love the Michael Jordan tongues in the middle pic! Me Ra (& Brian!) thank you for drawing us out, the treasures that lie beneath, while teaching us technique in a new way. I’ve purchased two lenses and practiced on my son today! I was blown away by the hidden talent of these women. Ladies, give it a try… you are undiscovered!!!

  5. Kate says:

    Looks like a blast! I’m so envious! One of my best friends will be attending the Seattle/Tacoma workshop in a few weeks and I want to crawl in her camera bag and come too. (sigh…) Maybe next time.

  6. Allison says:

    MeRa and Brian you are so amazing. Thank you both for sharing with us your journey it has made me realize and appreciate so much more. My mom and I could go on and on talking about the workshop. I am so thankful for our wait list opportunity..It’s NEVER too late and that applies to so many journeys in life. Love you both!

  7. jeramy says:

    sounds like another fantastic weekend! you guys have a gift for sure. enjoy your time back home….take care.

  8. Lauren says:

    I keep wanting to burst into tears because I can’t believe the weekend is over already! I am so, so thankful that I had the opportunity to come to Chicago to meet you guys (EVERYONE!) and learn so much about myself, photography, and about life. I am so geeked about Manual Mode and metering and lenses and LIGHTROOM, but I’m also just FLOORED by so many emotions: I feel like I can start a business, I feel like it’s okay to go for it, and I feel like it’s okay to take all the stuff that’s happened to me in the past (good and bad) and use it to propel me forward. Thank you, Me Ra, for sharing yourself with us! I think staying in on Saturday night and hearing your stories was FAR better than going out to dinner anywhere!

    I keep thinking about our model photoshoot and how I probably wouldn’t feel so fantastic and confident today if we’d been in a sunny park with lots of great light and backgrounds. Sharing a room with Kristin was great, and I got to spend a lot of extra time with Gretchen and talk about our lives and photography. I probably never would have met any of these great women if it wasn’t for Me Ra and Brian!

    Me Ra – I’m so glad you got to see the snow on Saturday night! I loved meeting you and I can’t wait to do it again. Thank you for speaking into my life with such beautiful and encouraging words. I receive.

    Brian – I hope you got to take all that Winter White home with you. Thanks for all of your encouragement and laughter. I caught you taking my picture while we were all in the courtyard on Sunday and it was a brand new sense of encouragement I hadn’t been expecting. It doesn’t matter to me if the shots turned out well or not; I just feel grateful knowing that you must have seen something that was worth photographing.

    When is the reunion??

    Love you guys!! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  9. annie says:

    oh wow! I want to do a workshop soo bad! so jealous, but so happy for everyone who is fortunate to attend. wish I could come to seattle!!!

  10. Chris says:

    My wife, Debbie, attended your workshop in Chicago this last weekend and I can’t express how much she loved it. Not only did she have a great time meeting everyone, but you also instilled so much confidence in her to take that next step. Like Jeramy said, you two do have a gift and I thank you!

  11. Kate says:

    So jealous I missed it. Sounds like it was another awesome weekend. Mera/Brian – Did you guys ever post the San Diego Workshop pics? I don’t remember seeing them.

  12. Michelle says:

    I love reading about the workshop and the experiences everyone had. I know what an amazing experience it was for me and it is neat to see other women experience the same thing. The hardest thing about the workshops, is that they end. I have been doubting myself lately and on my way to some shoots this weekend I thought about you ladies in Chicago. I closed my eyes and tried to bring myself back to how I felt in Sonoma 7 months ago and imagined my Sonoma rockstars with me on my shoots. These workshops are so much more than ISO & Aperture, they make it possible for women to see something in themselves that maybe they could not see before and in turn become something they never though they could. I am so excited to see what comes out of all you Chicago ladies.

  13. Kelli says:

    Mera and Brian,

    Thank You again for sharing all of your insight and expertise with us! I just loved all of it! It was such a comfort to be in a setting learing what I love with so many wonderful women who shared the same outlook. I think we all really knew why we were there. It most definitely was not long enough. Although I soaked up every minute of it I felt like, as I was leaving, I really wanted more time to get to know everyone. Hmmmm. I think you should start some sort of photography retreat..Something like a long weekend where it is an extension of your already awesome workshop! Well, I thank you again for giving enabling me to take away a much greater level of confidence to pursue my passion. That to me is priceless. You both are awesome!!

  14. becky says:

    Wow…. I’m still processing everything I learned this weekend. Lynette and I talked excitedly all the way home about what we figured out, what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go with our businesses. I can’t thank you guys enough for doing your thing and doing it your way. You’ve blessed a slew of us along the way. :)

  15. Molly says:

    I really enjoyed myself this weekend. The approach was exactly what I had been missing and my only regret was having to leave early on Sunday to catch the flight home. A new lens is already on order, but in another sense, the workshop gave me a new lens as well. Hope you get to Atlanta, and I can take you up on letting me listen in to the end of that workshop! I’m making recommendations to friends here in Atlanta that they should take advantage of the opportunity. If you need any help while you’re here, let me know – or maybe I can take you two to dinner one night.

  16. Gretchen says:

    Me Ra, Brian and all the Chicago attendees:
    What a wonderful gift it was to meet all of you. I feel energized with my photography skills and raring to go. Saturday night was such a gift for those that were there. We shared our lives and I think that made the evening even more special. The knowledge and friendship will be remembered always. The training room door is always open to all of you if you are ever back in Chicago. Lauren-it was great taking the train up north with you and learning so much more about you. You are amazing! Tara-you were a great roommate and I feel honored to have shared a room with you for two days. Thank you for the Sound Machine! Kelli – remember- I will be there to hold your reflector- just call! Kristin-Have faith in yourself and your talent. You have an amazing eye. Nicki-wow! I am so glad you were able to attend the workshop. I think you will do amazing things. By the way- Me Ra, you have the BEST laugh. It makes anyone want to laugh right along with you. Thank you again for choosing Chicago for a workshop location. You and Brian have changed the lives of 23 women! I know Brian is puffing out his chest with that comment.

  17. Amanda Mays says:

    FUN Stuff! I’m so excited for all you chicago girls, I know the high you are currently on! The workshops are beyond amazing! I look forward to watching the Chicago girls grow =)

  18. Traci S. says:

    I just love what Molly said about a new lens. Truly she nailed the experience with that statement. You all helped me see myself and my life through a new lens and I’m processing what all of that will mean for me.

    I loved meeting Me Ra and Brian – what a hoot they are – but what I loved the most was that they helped us see that photography, or any passion really, can be a catalyst to new beginnings.

    In loving my children and husband with every ounce of my being, I’ve lost a lot of myself over the years. Photography, Me Ra, Brian and every single one of the amazing women in Chicago helped bring me back into the picture and I thank each and everyone of you for that gift!

    Gretchen, You ROCK!!!! I loved the building, the food, the hotel, the schedule, the M & Ms ;-), the computer, your generous offers of help, I loved YOU! Thank you so much for the endless efforts that you put forth this weekend. I noticed and I’m grateful!!!

    OH!!! Did I mention that I just happened to GET IT this weekend?! Undoubtedly, I will never forget the moment on Sunday when the metering light bulb came on! I about came out of my seat with excitement! And let me tell you about the lenses that we had the opportunity to use!! Youza ~ Me Ra and Brian were generous with their equipment. FYI ~ lenses matter!

    Sitting grateful for the experience,
    Traci (The Ohio version)

  19. Kristin says:

    I don’t think words can express how amazing this weekend was. Me Ra and Brian you are both so passionate and inspirational. Brian you made me laugh so much and I needed that. This weekend brought out so many emotions that I am still sorting through. Let’s not forget about how much I learned. The lightbulbs just continued to pop over our heads. I can’t wait to apply all I have learned, now to do a little shopping! I’m ready for the next workshop and love the retreat idea that was mentioned. A reuniion definitely will have to be planned.

    Lauren was so encouraging and a just amazingly sweet roomate. Nikki you inspire me with your attitude and never giving up….you are going to be so successful. Follow your heart. The talent of these women was just mind blowing and their willingness to help and encourage one another was just more than one could have asked for.

    Gretchen, you are such a giving and awesome woman. I was honored to have gotten to spend time with you. You went above and beyond to take care of all of us and to share your knowledge. You are such a beautiful person both inside and out. Thank you so much for all of your hardwork.

    To each and every one of you, thank you for touching my life so deeply. I hope to keep in touch with you as I feel we all have formed some sort of unexplainable bond. Thank you all for blessing me.

  20. tracie says:

    reading all these comments lets me live it all over again. i just can’t help but feel so incredibly blessed to have spent this time with these amazing women and most importantly you, me ra and brian.

    ahhhh, i’m getting emotional all over again. when i tell someone how amazing this experience was … they will never truly ‘get’ what i’m trying to tell them. you guys taught us more than photography. we learned about ourselves as well. my goodness, how many workshops let you see inside your own soul?

    the experiences were amazing. i wrote on my feedback sheet that the shoot we did was a two {low} for me, but the experience of it was a five. lauren is so right in that we never would’ve learned a thing {well, that’s not entirely true, but you get what i mean} if we had been in a nicely lit park somewhere. shooting in that room gave me confidence and knowledge i definitely didn’t have before.

    and then you were so sweet me ra, when i was having the metering difficulty … “i promise you’ll get it,” you said ever-so-patiently to me. and yes!!! got it i did! i absolutely can not wait to put it into practice!

    thank you both from the very depths of my heart. and thank you ladies … i’ve had the experience of a lifetime, of that i’m sure!

    tracie {wisconsin version} :)

  21. Lauren says:

    Ahhh! The comments are making me cry!! Work today was so hard! I just wanted to sleep (haha) and stay at home with my camera and Lightroom. Can I add a resounding THANK YOU to Adam from Adobe who came to visit on Saturday! I absolutely love Lightroom and my new “How To” book and I am coveting the 50mm lens he let me borrow during the shoot.

    I was trying to show my husband pictures from this weekend and he said, “AH, this computer monitor sucks!”

    I said, “Buy me a Mac laptop!” and he said okay. LOL!! I’m sure it’ll be a while before I can get lots and lots of equipment but this is the first time when he started making comments about “when you start doing this professionally.” When, not if! I love him! ♥

    I miss you all so much!

  22. [...] what a weekend! For the past few months I have been working and planning for the Photography Workshop for Women by Me Ra Koh. The workshop is geared towards women who want to learn the ins and outs of their [...]

  23. Adam Pratt says:

    Hey ladies, thanks for letting me join you for part of Saturday. I appreciate you putting up with a guy (other than Brian) in your midst and hope a few of my Lightroom tips were helpful.

    Me Ra and Brian, you guys put on a really great workshop and I’m glad you brought it to Chicago. I learned a ton from all of you about shooting, coaching, and warm hospitality.

    And speaking of hospitality, thanks to Gretchen for being such a great hostess.

    Blessings, Adam (the Adobe Guy)

  24. [...] I flew home from Chicago Monday night, I thought of this picture. I thought of all the women who attended the workshop and the sharks that some of them face each day. I also thought of [...]

  25. Candice says:

    As usual, I’m late to the party. It was a great weekend and I for once I BEAT Molly to the punch in ordering the new lens. I even started a place on my blog to post an “intentional” photo every week to make myself practice. Who would’ve guessed.

    Gretchen, you absolutely rock. Adam, thanks a lot – I hardly knew what Lightroom was and I now I feel as though I can’t live without it.

    I loved meeting all you ladies. Wish we had had more time.

    Me Ra and Brian, thanks for everything – count me in for dinner when you’re in Atlanta.

  26. Genie says:

    Awesome, all of you!! I’m dyin’ to know who’s who in those photos – you all are just shining and happy, who WOULDN’T want to be there?!? Gretchen truly wins Hostess of the Century Award, doesn’t she? I know from my conversations with her to set things up – she doesn’t skip a beat and I bet she’s adorable too. Congratulations everyone!

  27. wendyz says:

    Yeah for Chicago! I am so excited for you all that attended. THere is something very magical about MeRa and Brian. They are infectious!

  28. Kathleen says:

    I’m so late to post, but it’s been a crazy week since the workshop!

    I just wanted to say thank you to Me Ra and Brian and EVERYONE who attended the Chicago workshop (you too Adam!). I came as a total beginner and so many lightbulbs went on above my head during the workshop I could have lit up all of Michigan Avenue!

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories and your knowledge. I’ll never forget the amazing experience I had with you all! I can’t wait for more opportunities to practice.

    Best to everyone in their photo-related endeavors!

  29. [...] first day of the Me Ra Workshop, a friend of mine sent me a text that his son had arrived bright and early that Saturday morning. [...]

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