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    Please view my most recent work in my blog below, or browse my portfolio by clicking the link above. For more information about me, faq's, and pricing, please follow the information link.

In this post I discussed 6 reasons why my workshops are different – I described myself as not being one of those “rockstar photographers” and stated that I don’t believe in skipping the hard part, ie: the time, energy, and work it takes to become good at something or to become “successful” (whatever that word means to you).

I have noticed that so many people want to jump into this industry and become successful, good at what they do, and famous overnight. And I just wanted to say – fuck that — it’s not going to happen. It does not happen overnight. If you aren’t extremely in love with wanting to do this thing, if you aren’t extremely passionate about it, it’s not going to happen. If you aren’t willing to put in the 50-80 hours per week, or deal with the frustration of patiently waiting for your business to grow, or the time it takes (years) to become good at your craft, or the hard work and physical strain it can take to shoot a wedding, carry tons of equipment, shoot in 120 degree weather, the countless hours it takes in post-production to get the exact edit you want and the exact look and feel you want your images to convey, never clocking out because there’s always work to be done, the stress of not ever being able to fuck up because it’s a wedding — then you won’t make it through the time, energy, sweat, tears and extremely-hard-work-for-very-little-income-over-a-long-period-of-time that this job requires.

I don’t talk about how awesome it is to get into the wedding industry, I talk about how challenging it is. Because that’s the truth. Not that it’s not fun or rewarding, it really is– IF YOU PUT IN THE WORK. I have gotten emails from so many photographers who are starting out that want a simple answer or trick that will propel them into success overnight. Or people who think this job is easy. It is not.

It’s the hardest job I have ever had, and I have been a receptionist, a secretary, a barista, a cocktail server at a seedy strip joint, a caretaker for an elderly holocaust survivor, a courier, a driver, the chick who answers the phones at a pizza joint, a temp… I’ve worked in escrow, I’ve been a narrator, a web designer, a creative director… I’ve worked in multimedia, instructional training for the military, I was a graphic designer, I was unemployed, I was a full-time student with a full-time job etc… But this photographer job- as much as it has been the hardest job I have ever had- is however, unbelievably rewarding on every level. When you can get to a point where your clients trust you and let you do whatever the hell you want, when you can go through your images from a wedding and feel good about them, when you can become besties with your clients, when you can watch your work slowly improve over time, when you can charge what you think you’re worth, when you can get paid to travel to beautiful places and take photos of amazing people, when you can turn down a wedding because it doesn’t fit your aesthetic as an artist, when you can have the artistic integrity to not bullshit your clients or yourself, when you can make your own hours, wake up when you want to, wake up EXCITED to work each day, when your work can be appreciated by the community of bloggers and publications who feature your photographs, when you get to eat gourmet food on the job, have a glass of wine, dance with the bride & groom and their friends, make new friends, and make an income you can live on from it– you end up really really loving your job. BUT. This takes time and a shit-ton of work. And you have to love it and you have to be strong, or get strong quick. Otherwise you’re wasting your time.

To those who have sent countless emails asking how they can get successful overnight: Is it simply a post-process that will make my work amazing? Is it a specific piece of equipment? How do you get such rad clients? Is there some big mythical creature of a secret that you can share?– No there is not. This needs to be said: You’re going to have to work your ass off, and the rewards are totally worth it. And you will learn so much about yourself. And you will become a better artist. And you will create the career that will be a dream-come-true, but not because it’s magic, because you created it with your own two hands, hard work, love and dedication. But if you can’t handle the heat, the patience, the struggle, the hours, the stress, then get out of the wedding photographer kitchen. This is the best advice I could give to anybody wanting to get into this thing. It is not easy, and although lots of successful photographers make it look that way, it really is not.


There is no way to skip the hard part and get amazing overnight. There is however, a way to become a better artist and build a business out of it with love, care, patience and dedication. If you are interested in finding ways to do this, learning different perspectives and tools that will assist you in reaching your goals, and want to know what to do and what not to do, then I invite you to attend one of my workshops (next one is in San Diego at my house) because that’s the kind of stuff I discuss. I love meeting people who are passionate about their work because I am one of those people and at my workshops we all share that. I am not one of those photographers who pretends to be better than others or pretends they have their shit together, or feels disconnected from the people who have come to spend time with me. Quite the contrary, I make the time to hang out and that’s why I put on an after party to get to know people, I have facebook groups that are exclusive to the members of that specific workshop so that we can continue to discuss, share and advise each other, I run webinars after the workshop for those interested in continuing to get feedback, ask questions and I hand out projects for us to continue to challenge ourselves, improve our craft, and break our minds open. My workshops are also my job, and just like with weddings, my clients become my friends because I truly enjoy the people I attract in both of my jobs. Which is also why I don’t believe in pretending to be someone I am not. I feel honored that people come from all over the US (and the world!) to spend time at one of my workshops and I give everything I have to these events because artists and passionate people are fascinating and incredible to me. People who have attended my workshops have tons of great feedback. I receive emails from previous attendees who share their new work, new projects, new ideas, who now have the balls to face their fears and challenge themselves, and who have reached a new level of communication with their art which is blowing their minds (and mine as well).

And to be perfectly honest, I am terrified every time I do a workshop because of how insecure I have always been as a person, and how scary it can be to talk to a bunch of people, especially about something that is of the utmost importance to me– a fear I am always trying to overcome, sometimes it’s crippling even… but then I see the results from the attendees and I think to myself: fuck my stupid fears, these workshops are helping people, so I”ma keep going with it.

  • May 31, 2012 - 10:00 am

    Lee Anne - Amazing post Noa – I seriously cannot wait to do another workshop. xo

  • May 31, 2012 - 11:35 am

    Briana Morrison - LOVE the statement you made here.
    I’ve been working in the wedding industry for 4 years now and am finally working on building my own photography business. It really does take a lot of hard work and dedication…and time. If my savings weren’t so minimal right now I’d be at your workshop in an instant. Best of luck to you! I’ll be following along on the inter-webs. 🙂

  • May 31, 2012 - 11:57 am

    James - Noa,

    I wish the photography magazines would write the truth about the wedding industry and starting your own business. It’s super hard work and I couldn’t have writen it any better myself.

    It’s giving up weekends, wondering if the phone will ring with a booking, having all the wedding enquiries for one date, it’s working at 2:00am.

    It’s sharing beautiful moments with clients. I don’t want to be famous I just want to keep doing what I enjoy.

  • May 31, 2012 - 12:39 pm

    Becky Joiner - This is just so true and brilliantly put but yet even better to hear it from an artist, someone I respect and someone who still is realistic and honest as to how much work you have to do. I t make me feel a whole lot better Thanks so much for sharing this knowledge because at the end of a tricky, hard working, long hours week, i know i just want to get up and do it all again. And now I see all the other jobs that you have to do to survive don’t make you who you are, but the creative artist does. Thanks

  • May 31, 2012 - 4:56 pm

    Veronica Varos - Amen!

  • June 1, 2012 - 3:12 am

    Friday Distractions | Wolf Whistle: Wedding Stationery and Invitation Design UK - […] Do you want overnight success?  A heartening post from Noa of feather love photography.  If I was a photographer I suspect I would be all over her workshops. […]

  • June 1, 2012 - 7:58 pm

    ashlie - this is exactly what i need to hear right now. i like the honesty. sometimes i forget that working hard and committing is the part that i have complete control over. it’s nice to be reminded.

  • June 2, 2012 - 10:41 am

    Fiona Fletcher - Well said Noa, so true it does take hard work, dedication and passion to get anywhere in this business that is photography!
    Beautiful work by the way, found you by way of Ann Sage, The City Sage!!
    You guys work well together!

  • June 3, 2012 - 11:23 am

    erin - you are awesome. thank you for being real. it’s the most important work of all. xo

  • June 4, 2012 - 11:33 am

    Patricia - Yay Noa! Tell like it is! As always super inspiring! You got to work for it!

  • June 4, 2012 - 4:04 pm

    Dana Grant - I really can’t put into words how much I love this. I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately and I’m glad you put it out there. It’s inspires me to want to share part of my passion for people and art.

  • June 14, 2012 - 8:40 am

    Bethany Michaela Jones - Thank you so much for posting this. It is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I hope I get the chance to attend one of your workshops in the future. I will start saving up now!

  • June 14, 2012 - 8:56 am

    Tina dela Rosa - I’m inspired to keep busting my tail! Thank you!

  • June 18, 2012 - 2:19 am

    twiggs - you are so right about everything! and it’s amazing how we can feel that slight taste of success after so much hard work, though i know so much more has to come yet. i’m just scratching it! and by success i mean clients appreciating my work and booking me and feeling happy for my work. that is a reason for me to smile!!!

  • July 6, 2012 - 3:43 am

    chocolate cake « cut.the.cookie - […] this philosophy […]

  • October 12, 2012 - 2:57 am

    White Petal Wedding Photography - Thanks for posting an interesting and inspiring article. Wedding Photography is very competitive and being self employed requires a lot of hard work to suceed.

  • February 25, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    Michelle Stone - thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking the truth and keeping it real. your honesty and words are really inspiring. xo

I’m so proud to have my work in ASTRA’s 2nd album, The Black Chord. Below are photos of the “Die Hard” edition vinyl (sold out!) which includes a huge poster and a crazy-cool medallion. The beautiful design was done by artist Arik Roper, who also designed their first album The Weirding. The photos I took that are in the album are from European tours, live shows, travels etc… and there’s even a photo of Stuart (bass player/my husband) and I in there from some super 8 film footage that Son Of Shark Pig took of us walking the streets of Italy. The Black Chord is my favorite album (obv) and the last pic (by my friend Meredith) is of me wearing my ASTRA pendant at their show last week… groupie
I also made a short experimental art film featuring the members of ASTRA and their music here.




I love shooting for Rue Magazine (remember this shoot at the Elvis Honeymoon home?) – and I also have another shoot for them coming up in their next issue that we did for my Bay Area workshop in April.
But this time I was paired up with the wonderful husband & wife event planning and design duo Aleah + Nick Valley | Valley & Co who styled the shoot and created the tastiest appetizer & cocktail recipes featuring Rhuby, a delicious Rhubarb spirit from Art In The Age – you can buy it here.
We did the shoot at my house & I tried out all the recipes & can’t wait to make them again this summer to enjoy by the pool!
You can see the feature in Rue Magazine here on pgs 53-54.
I wanted to share these scrumptious drinks & snacks here & I couldn’t help putting together a little design of my images to go along with it… now I’m fully starving… and thirsty.

{Recipes at the end of this post.}

ALL RECIPES COURTESY OF ALEAH + NICK VALLEY | VALLEY & CO

Rhuby Garden Sparkler
1.5 oz. Rhuby | ginger ale | 2 tsp. basil simple syrup {sugar, water + a bundle of basil leaves} | lemon | orange | green apple | strawberries {Triple the recipe to make in a carafe in advance} | ice
Make the simple syrup by bringing 2 parts water to a gentle boil. Add the basil bundle and reduce to medium heat. Slowly add 1 part sugar, stirring and keeping at a simmer. Stir until the mixture becomes thicker. Remove from heat and strain out the basil. Cut the lemons and oranges into thin slices and cube the green apple and strawberries. Add ice and 2 tsp. simple syrup to a tall bistro glass. Add several slices of lemon and orange and strawberry cubes. Add a handful of apple cubes and 1.5 oz. Rhuby. Top with ginger ale and stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge or strawberry.

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Honey-Brushed Prosciutto
Ingredients: baby potatoes | goat cheese {herbed or plain} | honey | prosciutto | olive oil | micro greens
Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. Slightly scoop out the top of each potato with a melon baller and cut the base of the potato so that it will sit flat and upright on a baking sheet. Coat the potatoes in olive oil and place on a baking sheet upright and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the baking sheet and let cool a bit so you can handle them. When cooled slightly take the prosciutto and wrap tightly around the potato. Secure with a skewer through the side of the potato. Brush with honey and cook the prosciutto-wrapped potato on medium-low heat on the stove top, just until the prosciutto is crisped. Fill a plastic bag with goat cheese and trim the end {to make a piping bag}. Fill the hole on the top of the potato with goat cheese and top with micro greens. Serve while warm.

Minted Crush
Ingredients: 1.5 oz. Rhuby | | 2 oz. strawberry nectar | 3 oz. Limonata or sparkling lemonade | mint | ice | pinch of sugar
Place 3 mint leaves and sugar in the bottom of a highball glass. Muddle and add ice and 1.5 oz. Rhuby. Add 2 oz. strawberry nectar. Top with sparkling lemonade and stir. Garnish with a strawberry and mint leaves. *Strawberry nectar can be purchased at the grocery store or at home by blending a dozen strawberries with 1/4 cup of water.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Crisps
Ingredients: baby purple and fingerling potatoes | strawberries | goat cheese | basil | 1 tsp. olive oil | sea salt | pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Using a mandoline, shave the potatoes into paper-thin slices and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes, or until crisp {turning over only if necessary}. Remove and place on a paper towel to drain oil. Pat dry. Once cooled, lay a thin slice of strawberry atop the crisp. Pipe goat cheese onto the top of each strawberry berry using a plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Finish with a sprig of basil. {Optional: you can add a drizzle of balsamic glaze if they will be served immediately}

Balsamic-Dipped Watermelon Bites
Ingredients: watermelon | 1 container of small mozzarella pearls | basil | good balsamic vinegar | sea salt
Cut the watermelon into bite-sized cubes. Cut the basil into threads by rolling into a cigar-shape and slicing thinly. Skewer the mozzarella pearls on top of the watermelon cubes. Take the cube and dip it into 1/4″ of balsamic vinegar, leaving for 30 seconds, or until it’s soaked in. Top with basil and a crack of sea salt. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a few hours.

  • May 25, 2012 - 5:53 pm

    Aleah and Nick - LOVING all of these images, Noa! You are incredible. Such fun working with you – hope to again soon! Aleah + Nick

  • May 30, 2012 - 3:34 am

    Chris - Looks all soo yummie. Especially the rhuby garden sparkler. Love that close up shot.

  • September 11, 2014 - 2:47 pm

    Super Bowl Entertaining Essentials | Rue - […] forget. It’s easy! Grab your favorite cocktail recipe and serve a signature drink (we love these!), show off your delicious cheese spread on a gorgeous slate plate, impress the boys with a super […]

This post on the Bust Magazine blog of Life Magazine’s 1944 sartorialist-esque spread ““Beautiful Girls in New York” (shot by Alfred Aisenstaedt), reminded me of my maternal grandmother Olga – fashion designer, Milliner, and fabulous fashionista!

This photograph below, taken somewhere in Russia/Romania, is my favorite of her & my stylish grandfather- the handsome Ramish (who was a caricature artist)- prancing around the streets with their little dog. (** the feather in her hat! **)
I posted and entire blog with images of them back in early 2009 HERE.

6 reasons why my workshops are different – my post on East Side Bride.

Alt Photography Workshop + POOL PARTY


Technical photography workshops are awesome, necessary, and extremely productive – but this is not one of them. Here are six reasons why my workshops are different:


1) I’M NOT A ROCKSTAR

I am not a “rockstar photographer.” I’m just a person who is sometimes totally full of shit, but I also spend a lot of time working on myself as an artist and I really really care about my work. My focus is on the quality of work we put out there, and most importantly our personal relationship to that work & what it can teach us. I am honest and revealing and have no intention of pretending to be someone I am not. I am not going to tell you how to skip the hard part & become a successful photographer overnight – QUITE THE CONTRARY.

2) FOCUS ON THE ARTIST

One of the main subjects I cover in the workshops, is how critical I believe it is to connect with our work & put ourselves into our art. Often times, photographers will focus on finding more expensive equipment, or spending hours looking at the work of other photographers in their industry for inspiration. As artists, we need to put ourselves & our experience into the work we are producing in order to create something that stands out & resonates with us. A majority of people who attend my workshops are photographers, but because I focus on The Artist, I often have other creative business people in attendance too – like bloggers, calligraphers, magazine editors, writers etc.

3) BREAKING THE RULES

My work is certainly not for everyone. I focus more on what intuitively clicks inside me while I’m shooting than I do on perfection in composition, lighting etc. In fact, I often do what would be considered “technically wrong” in order to get the results I want. I have seen a million pretty photos, but it’s often the blurry, strangely-cropped, under/over-exposed images that stand out for me the most. Why? Because I can personally relate to them. Because they reveal something deeper, more beautiful, more honest, more human. Let’s just say that if I had to choose between Ansel Adams and Diane Arbus, I’m going with Arbus.

4) ROUNDING IT OUT

Besides my more philosophical lectures, I also cover real-world examples from my experience, discuss experimentation, how to get the clients you want, self-branding and many other practical subjects. I leave ample time for Q & A to structure each workshop around the attendees. I invite incredible guest lecturers to focus on subjects that are vital in running your own creative business. For example: Anne Sage on the important role of social media in self-branding (Bay AreaSan Diego Workshops), Chloe Aftel giving a hands-on Polaroid class that will blow your mind (Bay AreaSan Diego Workshops), Emma Case on not compromising (London Workshop) etc. These are artists & creative people whom I admire and respect and have learned so much from.

5) THE AFTER PARTY

Yes, we spend a few good hours discussing all sorts of deep, intense and important topics – I pose vital questions that we need to ask ourselves… blah blah, BUT I also believe in not taking stuff too seriously. If we’re going to work hard, we’re going to relax and/or play hard too. Some of my workshop after parties have included: glamping sleepover in a giant beach house overlooking the ocean with musical guests Tim & Nicki Bluhm (here’s video by Bay Area workshop attendee Sara Wilbur Photography), dirty-hip-hop dance parties (London & Italy video by Son Of Shark Pig), … and sometimes celebrity guests! The beautiful Sarah Carter will be our model for the San Diego workshop. Wine & friends, plus clean & tasty gourmet food is of utmost importance! (Nicole of Gjleina is catering!) … And we will also be taking some hard-core pool breaks.

6) CONNECTION

I love how people keep in touch after my workshops – they become friends, ask for help reviewing an edit, travel across the country to hang out together, do awesome photo projects together, or even start a Facebook group specifically for all the people in the workshop they attended, including me. It’s RAD.

I am so extremely super-excited about my upcoming 2-day workshop on June 28th & 29th at my house and studio in San Diego! You can learn all about it HERE. Find out more about my workshops, content I discuss, videos & interviews with me, attendee testimonials and more HERE.

I was delayed at the airport on my way to SFO for my recent Artist Workshop, and sitting right across from me were these 2 nuns- I loved that their habits where completely navy blue and that ALL their luggage matched their outfits- everything navy blue- cute! (shot on 35mm film)

  • May 25, 2012 - 5:21 pm

    julia wheeler - holy shit. i kid you not… those were nuns from my high school in nor-cal. trippy!!

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