Propel by Caroline Tran | Review

Propel [photography mentoring by Caroline Tran] is just that times a million.  It is mentoring loaded with technique, style, and extreme amounts of happy, pretty goodness.

I first met Caroline while in France in 2010.  I followed her work for a few years [admitted blog stalker] and when she announced the propel workshop, I think I may have been the first one to fill out the application.  IT WAS WORTH IT.  This is the number one workshop I recommend now when photographers ask about my past workshop experiences.

Caroline inspires me not only by her style (yes, she is a film shooter and I am mainly digital, and she is okay with that), but by her openness and support to the photography community all while caring for her beautiful family.  I hope to be like her one day.  (:

Now, for the review.  If you just want to see the pretty pictures…keep scrolling down.  And before the details, my overall review is as easy as this – if I would have attended Caroline’s workshop when I started photography in 2010, I feel like I would have been SO much further along than I am right now.  Her workshop is tied for first of all time favorite workshops, right next to Jose Villa.  Details listed in no particular order below.

Value – I give value a 10.  I have been to workshops with high priced celebrity photographers and felt I received very little for what was paid.  With Caroline’s workshop it was well worth the price and I have ZERO buyers remorse.

Classroom – When we arrived for classroom time, we had place cards, name tags, snack bags and more.  Everything was completely prepped and ready for us upon arrival.  We did both listening and group activities.  This is a section which would be hugely beneficial for the new to moderately new professional photographer.  Again, if I had done this years ago it would have benefited me so much!  I learned some new things, as well as being refreshed on others.

Location – We stayed at the West Lake Inn, which was both very accommodating and beautiful.  The classroom time was spent at Malibu Wines.  It was a little warm for some, but we only get so much heat in Minnesota so I was totally in love.  Our shoots and final dinner were held at Saddlerock Ranch.  WOW BEAUTIFUL.  I don’t think there could have been a better location.  The light was beyond beautiful and everything was really organized.

Schedule – We had a schedule and it was well followed with some added surprises.  There may have been some slight changes, but I can’t remember anything major.  We covered a very large amount of content for the time we were there.

Content – We covered exposure and shooting techniques, equipment, shooting for stylists/vendors, branding and packaging.  Caroline worked with us as groups as well as some one on one.  Her husband Jonathan also helped us along the way.  During classroom time we had a special presentation about branding from owner of akula kreative, Nikki and also a packaging and wrapping presentation from Cypress Albums founder/president Dena Robertson.  Both were really fantastic and essential for any photographer.

Shooting Time – If there is a perfect way for shooting time during workshops, I don’t think anyone has quite figured it out yet.  Personally, I felt the shooting time was the most organized of any workshop I have ever been to.  I was more selective with my shots than I have been at past workshops because I feel I have enough of a portfolio.  I basically took the pictures I really loved and knew I would be for sure using in the future.

Meals – We ate breakfast at the hotel each morning, lunch onsite, and dinner at a restaurant the first night and a fancy dinner on location the second night.  We were well fed, with snacks, fruit and pastries for the in-between time.  I of course packed my own snacks as well because I don’t function very happily without enough candy.  (:

Styling – BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS, AMAZING.  One of the main reasons I attended the workshop was to watch the stylists and how they work.  I LOVED observing everyone work and really took as much away from that as I did from the mentoring from Caroline (of course I watching them with a close eye).

Publication – Photos from multiple photographers from the styled sessions were published in Utterly Engaged, Ruffled, and 100 Layer Cake.  AWESOME!

Support – Caroline continues to support us all after the workshop.  We have a group where we can openly share, ask for advice,  talk about technique and equipment, and MORE.  Absolutely completely wonderful.

Other – My only [small] complaint is lack of pop options throughout the day.  I am an unhealthy caffeine lover and can get cranky without it.  I only had to suffer partially though, because the hotel had plenty beverage options after I just asked.

Future Requests – I would like Caroline to offer a very in-depth workshop for photographers who want to push themselves further.  Maybe heavily based in film shooting training or deeper into business, bookings and publications.

EndCaroline is a beyond amazing photographer.  She was recently named a rising star in photography, an honor which is deserved and understated.  For the style I love, I would put Caroline as one of the top two wedding photographers out there (and probably number ONE for lifestyle portraits/styled engagement sessions/in home baby and family/the list goes on and on).  I really enjoyed the workshop and hope to one day have Caroline come to Minnesota to photograph a destination session and enjoy some Minnesota nice.  She is talented, gracious and kind.  Now, enjoy the photos!!

Picture of Caroline and me, as well as some behind the scenes.  GORGEOUS location, right?

All images photographed with Canon 5d Mark ii (jpeg) and processed through Adobe lightroom 4.2 with VSCO presets.

Vendors: Venue: Saddlerock Ranch / Editorial Creative Director: Lucia Dinh Pador of Utterly Engaged Magazine / Head Designer and Stylist: So Happi Together / Floral Creative Director: Inviting Occasion Inc. / Floral Assistant: Art With Nature / Wardrobe and Photo Styling: Lovely Jubilee / Caterer: Chef Anahita / Cake: A Wish and A Whisk / Desserts: Cake Monkey / Lighting: Chivari Chairs Rentals / Stationery: DL/sh Designs / Rentals: Found Rentals / Textiles Props: Scalamandré / Linens: Wildflower Linen