The Visual Collective | Day One featuring lisa kathan photography


When it comes to photography, I’m a novice in every way. I only seriously began investing myself in learning photography in 2014, started my business in 2015, and I’ve certainly never attended a weekend photography workshop.

So needless to say, I felt less than “qualified” to be at the 2016 Visual Collective with such beautiful, talented women.

Did I say talented?

I’m so new to this photography world, I didn’t even know who Jasmin Pickens, Megan Loeks and Karen Oesdick were!* Not to mention the many other attendees who’ve received countless awards and publications for their stunning work. I definitely felt intimidated.

But I shouldn’t have felt so! When we arrived at the opening luncheon in the West Loop of Chicago (my hometown!), we met the instructors for the weekend and mingled with one another in a cool loft space. So many of us “knew” one another from Facebook and Instagram, and it was fun meeting all the other photographers whose work I had admired.

* The instructors at the 2016 Visual Collective included Jasmin Pickens, Megan Loeks and Karen Osdieck, as well as my dear friend, Lisa Simon.

IMG_5699IMG_5762IMG_5736True confessions: I had a little bit of camera bag envy!

Workshop I: Jasmin Pickens + Photographing Women

Jasmin’s workshop was a styled session with a professional model, including a hair and makeup artist on hand. I love shooting portraits and especially urban looks, so I was super excited for this session! We broke up into smaller groups, and Jasmin gave some direction to the model as our small groups took turns photographing her. It completely lived up to my expectations…I was able to get some practice with a professional model, as well as capture a few images to use in my portfolio.

IMG_6083IMG_5827 IMG_6246IMG_6487-2

What I learned…

The cool thing about workshops like the Visual Collective is that you get a chance to get up and close and personal with people who are very successful at their craft. One of my most memorable moments of the day was being able to talk shop with Jasmin Pickens during some down time. She is very passionate about shooting all kinds of women and making them look beautiful, and I learned a great deal from her.


Workshop II: Megan Loeks + Family Sunset Session

I arrived at the Visual Collective weekend with a badly injured foot, complete with a walking boot! (which prevented me from staying the full two days). By the time we started our workshop with Megan – a family sunset session in hip East Ukrainian Village – my foot was unfortunately shot. It was too painful to stand very long, so I sort of gave up shooting in our small groups and decided to sit down on a nearby bench with my longer lens. A great decision, because I got some very cool shots of the sweet little family that ended up being some of my favorites of the weekend!

IMG_7028A little bit of Megan working her magic…which includes bubbles!


What I learned…

If you know Megan Loeks’ work, you know she simply finds some yummy slice of light and shoots! In my first year of business as a photographer, I was often talked out of photographing at deep sunset by families with young children. I figured the slightly earlier light I shot in was just as good, but I was so wrong! Ever since her workshop, I’ve insisted on shooting at sunset whenever possible.


about lisa kathan photography

I’m Lisa, a natural light and studio photographer living in the far northern suburbs of Chicago. I’m drawn to beauty in imperfection, delicious light, and those quiet and often unexpected moments that sometimes happen in photography. My husband, Erich, is my most faithful assistant, and he generally accepts a visit to Dairy Queen as form of payment. I’d love for you to come follow my work on Facebook and Instagram!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.