Light, Pose & Profit Workshop Reviews

I have had such an awesome time meeting the photographers who come to my Light, Pose, & Profit Workshops!  I've been amazed and humbled by those who choose to travel across many states to come learn from me at the studio and I do not take the responsibility lightly.  For many of these photographers, investing in this type of workshop is an expense that they can only afford to do once in a long while.  For some, this is the only workshop they will ever take.  I structured this workshop to attempt to be so complete that a newborn photographer would never need to take another in order to run a profitable photography business primarily shooting newborns.  We cover newborn posing, safety, client communication and prep, lighting, prop selection, post processing, structuring a business, pricing, marketing/advertising, studio management, and more.  I provide food and drinks and sometimes even a bit of entertainment.  :) Here are a few reviews from some of our last class participants:

Heidi's Review: "I recently had the opportunity to attend Amanda's Light, Pose, and Profit workshop. It was the best investment I could've made for my business! Not only did I learn so much in regards to newborn posing, wrapping, safety, and equipment but I also learned a ton on the business side as well. After I got home, I immediately  restructured all of my pricing and entire business model which has already made a huge difference. Amanda is a phenomenal teacher with a lot of patience and willingness to help with anything and everything that we had asked. Did I mention how funny she is?  I can't count the amount of laughs we had throughout the weekend. It was professional yet very fun, especially during our down time with the delicious lunch and dinners that were provided. Overall, it was an amazing experience filled with a TON of classroom and hands-on learning.  Amanda was right there to help and answer questions. Something that you just can't get in an online workshop. Highly recommend!"

Heidi's Before and After images:


Jenny's Review: "Amanda's workshop inspired me in so many ways! I have been in business for several years, but I was ready for "the next step." I was looking to expand my skills and my business sense and Amanda delivered on all of that! No questions were off limits for the weekend we were there. We had hands on sessions where we were able to assist with posing and setup and get a feel for how to create great images in-camera on our own cameras. She shared a lot of insight on how she runs her business and why. The info she shared on client management software (her database) and how much that can help to automate your business blew my mind! It's like hiring another employee to help with the behind-the-scenes work. I returned home ready to use my newfound skills and I have already had way more newborn clients coming my way, just two months later! Thank you so much for helping me take my business where I have dreamed that it could go!

Jenny's Before and After images:


Bridget's Review:

"Attending Kimberlin Grey Photography's Newborn workshop was the best decision I've made for my business in the almost 3 years I've been in business! I had followed and watched many great newborn photographers and considered many different workshops over the years. I was worried I would spend money on a workshop and walk away with little to no new technique or information to help me grow my business. As a mother of 4, I am always on an extreme budget! After seeing the itinerary for this workshop I knew it was the one!

I already loved Amanda's work and this workshop had EVERYthing any newborn photographer needed to know to run a successful business! Let me just say, it was all I dreamed it would be! You learn so much information in the 3 days of the workshop! Amanda is super easy to follow along with and makes sure you have what you need when you leave the workshop to make great changes in your business! Since leaving the workshop, not only has my work improved, but so has the business side of Photo Phlattery. I love that even after you leave the workshop, Amanda has continued our training in a private group and answers all of our questions... Big or Small! If your looking for a newborn workshop, look no further! This is hands down the most informed workshop you will find and the most bang for your buck!"

Bridget's Before and After images:


5 Year ANNIVERSARY of KGP | Then and Now

5 years ago, I shot my very first newborn session.  The session was for a friend of a friend, held in my front living room, and I think I charged $50 for the session with a CD of edited images.  I had been learning about newborn sessions in online forums and tutorials for a while and felt like I was ready to tackle it.  I think the session lasted 2-3 hours and it took me at least 10 hours to edit the pictures.  I was experimenting with actions, skin smoothing, cloning, etc.  I didn't have a backdrop stand, lights, props, or anything.  I used my couch to lay blankets on to pose the baby.  I was also using a Canon Xti and a 50mm 1.8 lens.  While I have come a LONG way from these images (in both technical skill and style) I still look back at these images with a bit of pride.  Are they perfect?  Not for my standards today. But I am proud that I worked hard and gave these families photos to treasure.

I dove into newborn photography head first - and worked HARD at posing, lighting, and composition in the years after.  Things have changed quite a bit since those first few sessions.  Here's a before/after of my second newborn session and one of my most recent newborns:

I learned some hard lessons that first year.  I had a client who was upset with me after family minisessions, demanded additional edits (and refused to pay extra for them), and who told me I was the "most expensive photographer in the area". He berated me on the phone and I was literally in tears.  Then, I had a hard drive failure - lost ALL of my photos - including a maternity session that I shot but had not yet delivered images to the client.  She had already delivered her baby, so there was no way to have a 'do-over'.  Not only was my reputation with that client ruined, but I learned a HARD lesson about having backups of my data.  And I had to buy a brand new computer, which I wasn't really charging enough to afford at the time.  I also learned that there was no way I could please everyone - my prices were going to be too high for some no matter how low I made them.  Unless it was free.  And how many free sessions could I really shoot?  My babies were 3 years old and 4 months old when I took my first paying client.  I was spending hours away from them - either at a session or sitting in front of my computer editing pictures and learning photoshop.  Was it really best for my family to charge next to nothing for something that took me away from my children?

It only took me about 3 newborn sessions and one round of family minisessions to realize that pricing for custom photography was a challenge.  I wanted to be 'affordable' for all families, but I struggled with the amount of time I was spending on each session.  As I raised my prices, I also started investing in props, equipment, and business stuff.  Getting a business license, insurance, as well as paying taxes started taking nearly HALF of my session fees.  Buying cute props for newborn and baby sessions took up more of my session fees.  And then when I started offering actual printed products, I realized just why all those 'snooty' pro photographers were always preaching about 'charging what you are worth' and 'pricing for profit'.

People said I would never keep clients if I raised my prices.  But that was not true.  I have quite a few families who have stuck with me through the years. They saw my work improve and knew it was worth the investment.  Did I keep them all?  Of course not!  But I have gained new families along the way and even the families who did not hire me back still respect me and my business.  And that is worth it to me!

My advice for new photographers:

1.  Treat it like a Business or Only do it as a Hobby

Get some type of tracking software for your income and expenses.  Log every purchase you make - know what your bottom line is!  It's easy to think "$150 for a 1 hour session doing what I love?  Easy money!"  But when you really look at what you are spending and the time it takes you per session, you realize it's not really $150/hour - it's more like $10/hour!  But the only way to truly know that is to have some type of money management system going. If you do this from the very beginning, you will learn so much!

Pay your taxes - you must charge state sales tax and claim the money as income on your family income taxes at the end of the year. Get basic insurance in case something goes wrong (especially if you are shooting newborns/babies, births or weddings - even just for a 'friend'!)

Have a contract, take money from each client as a deposit/retainer, and be 'legit' from the very beginning.  This helps with your credibility and it helps you to keep your things organized and flowing like a business.

If all that is too much, it's OKAY TO HAVE A HOBBY!  There is nothing wrong with being a hobbiest photographer - taking pictures for your family, friends, neighbors...even charging a little bit for friends of friends!  You don't have to have a license or pay taxes or anything like that.  But please don't have a website or FB page and put yourself out there as a professional photographer.  Say you are a hobbiest so that potential clients know why you are not charging much and the pros are.

2.  Respect Yourself and Your Family

Log now much time you are spending.  Seriously!  Get a sticky note and start writing down every time you open your computer to do something related to your business.  You will be shocked, I promise, at how much time you are actually spending per client.  Is it 10 hours each?  Divide what you are charging by that (after taking out taxes and expenses!) and decide if it's worth it.  Is $6/hour worth leaving your children?  Do you have to pay childcare? Is it putting a stress on your marriage or making it hard for you to do things with your kids?  Are you constantly having to cancel plans with friends or arrange things around your schedule of sessions?  If so, be sure you are being compensated for your time.

3.  Respect the Industry

Doing it right from the very beginning not only helps you to grow faster, but it also gives you credibility with other professional photographers and other vendors in the industry.  When you are online, be respectful of other photographers. There is nothing worse than seeing someone posting personal rants on their business facebook page.  There is nothing more damaging than posting about other photographers - especially if you are discussing their pricing or offerings to make yours look better.

Take the advice of those who have been in business longer with grace.  Don't argue with them! Pros who are giving their time to reply to your questions on online forums are taking time away from THEIR business (their profitable business!) to try to help you.  They get nothing for it - so take a step back when you get your feelings hurt and try to see the situation more objectively. They have a similar story of starting out, most likely, and are just trying to help.  Don't hide behind the phrase, "We all have to start somewhere".  Yes, we do.  And we all start too cheap - the difference is that some of us learned faster than others that we were not profitable at those early stages.  :)  I know it seems like sometimes the pros are 'snotty', but many times they are trying to help you learn the lessons they learned the hard way!

4.  Learn, Learn, Learn

I am STILL learning!  I will ALWAYS be learning!  The wonderful, exciting (and sometimes frustrating!) part of photography is that you can never know it all.  There is always a new photoshop technique or business opportunity or session type or lighting pattern to learn.  I spend countless hours online and countless dollars at workshops to improve my craft.  I have gone to quite a few workshops and conferences to learn more about photography and the industry.  I HIGHLY recommend going to WPPI or ImagingUSA (photography conferences) or find a workshop specific to what you want to learn (newborns, posing, weddings, business coaching).  Many of them will be out of your area, so some travel is involved. And many of them are expensive.  I've spent anywhere between $300-$2000 on workshops.  Every one of them has taught me something and it is not only worth it for the knowledge, but also for the comraderie of hanging out with other people who love to do what you love!!  If you can't imagine affording to go to something like that, you need to raise your prices! Investing in yourself is key to growing yourself and your business.  Charge an extra $50 or $100 per session and put that money right in an account to save for workshops/conferences.  It is worth every penny!

Why your Photographer Probably Hates your Pinterest Board

Let’s be honest.  Photographers LOVE Pinterest - it’s a ginormous pool of inspiration filled with amazing images. And our clients LOVE Pinterest  - it’s a ginormous pool of gorgeous images that they might potentially be able to have of themselves or their families. But your photographer probably hates it when you show up to a session with your Pinterest board....and here’s why. 

The images on Pinterest were pinned because they are often the best of the best.  The most popular pins, the photos that have been pinned over and over again and draw the most attention, are those once-in-a-lifetime shots that take your breath away.  And when you run across that ONE image that speaks to your heart, you say ‘Oh, I loooove that!  I would love to have a picture like that of my baby/wedding/family.’  But here’s where the danger lies: When a client hires a photographer and then has a a bunch of images in their head of  someone else’s family/wedding/baby/photography from Pinterest, they may end up with disappointment when their session doesn’t result in those same poses or images.  It isn’t that that pinning ideas for your photographer is necessarily a bad thing and we shouldn’t use this amazing resource.  But using Pinterest to put together a list of pictures you want to recreate can lead to disappointment and frustration for you and your photographer.



It is very important to choose a photographer whose style fits the vision you have for your session.  Every photographer has their own style - and depending on what type of photography they specialize in, it can be more than just whether they take pictures in their studio or at your home or outside.  If you love the images you saw on Pinterest of families cuddled up together on a couch with the light streaming in the windows behind them, a photographer who has a studio with plain backdrops and shows everyone-looking-at-the-camera-smiling is probably not the right photographer for you.  If you love the simple images you see on Pinterest of a baby on white blankets laying naturally, a photographer who displays pictures of newborns posed into cutesy positions may not be the photographer for you.  If you prefer organic, natural colors, choosing a photographer who has images of babies in buckets with bright colored layers of fabric may not be the right photographer for you.  If you love images with props like chalkboards, crates, and colorful backgrounds, be sure the photographer you choose has those things on hand.  There are as many different photographers out there as there are car dealerships.  But you can’t expect the interior of a Maserati if you head to the Kia dealership.  And you can’t expect to get all the features of a minivan if you go to the Porche dealership.  There is no one ‘right’ photographer for everyone - but there is a right photographer for YOU!

I am a newborn photographer with a studio.  I love all the props and hats and setups I see on Pinterest.  And I fully admit to having gotten lots of ideas from Pinterest - for myself and for clients who have requested a particular setup.   But when I have clients who come to me with a Pinterest board full of ideas, I always secretly cringe and hope that they do not have the unrealistic expectation that we are going to be able to get all of ‘those poses’.  Because here’s what happens:  Their baby doesn’t like that ‘taco pose’.  Their baby doesn’t want to hang their arm off the bucket in just that way.  Or that baby doesn’t want to be in that bucket at all!  The baby doesn’t sleep.  The mom’s hair doesn’t fall the same way that the one in the picture does.  This first-time dad who isn’t really comfortable yet with his baby girl feels awkward with her posed on his arm (and the baby can sense that and cries).  Mom is 5’4’’ and Dad is 6’2’’ and that pose they absolutely love just doesn’t look right with them.  Big sister doesn’t want to have anything to do with putting her arm around baby brother and simply refuses to lay down with him.  And so on and so forth.  Part of being a GOOD photographer means coming up with the perfect poses for each individual baby and each individual family.  I take into consideration the height and weight of the family members, the ages of siblings, the coloring of their skin, hair, and the clothing they are wearing.  I use all of these details when posing babies, siblings, and families.  That big sister that doesn’t want to lay down with her arm around her baby brother?  No problem. We put baby brother in a cute little wagon and she can sit right next to him.  Or he is snuggled up on the blankets and she just leans in to give him a kiss.  We will still get a gorgeous photo of their children together - but it may not be that exact pose from Pinterest!  Also, I pose newborns based on their comfort and their body.  I will not (no, never ever ever!) put a baby in a pose that I feel is uncomfortable to them or unsafe.  If I have something in mind, or the parents have something in mind, I will try it.  But if baby doesn’t like it, I will not continue to try that pose over and over for a half hour or force a baby into a pose that they don’t like.  A newborn baby is a person, not a prop.  And no matter how cute something is, I will not compromise a baby’s safety or comfort by forcing it.  Period.  So, if a client comes to me with a Pinterest board full of the head-in-hands pose, but their baby doesn’t sleep deeply enough or cries or is awake, I will not do the head-in-hands pose with that baby.  So it is actually better for a client not to have their heart set on any one particular thing they’ve seen on Pinterest so that they are able to allow the photographer to work with their baby as an individual.


Artistic, Creative Vision

Good photographers are artists - they harness the light, the create poses that flatter, they match colors, they develop an entire look for each image they create.  But every baby is different.  Every expectant mama is different.  Every couple is different.  Every family is different.  We all have different body types, hair, skin tones, posture, personalities, relationships...and all of those things have to come together to make the perfect portrait.  A good photographer can take people and instantly know the best angle, lighting, pose, and features to capture them in the best way possible FOR THEM.

That image you pinned from someone else’s wedding?  You can’t recreate that. Because those people are not you.  Their story is not yours.  That MOMENT was captured - you cannot recreate moments.   Heck, you could have the same photographer shooting with the exact same camera and lens and still not get that same image!  Not because the photographer isn’t skilled enough, but because YOU are not THOSE PEOPLE.   That perfect image that you see on Pinterest?  The photographer who took that image maybe didn’t even plan it out before it happened - it may have been a combination of things:  the photographer having the right equipment and seeing the shot right before it happened - the wind, the sun, the light, the smile, whatever it was that all came together in that moment to create that timeless image.  It maybe can’t be replicated exactly....and maybe it shouldn’t.  Maybe your moment is something different - something more ‘you’.


You, the important part

Allowing your photographer to be creative gives them the ability to open their mind and see YOU.  They don’t need to see your Pinterest board or copy poses to create amazing images.  My absolute favorite clients are those who say, “We trust you to do whatever!” And that’s not just because it boosts my ego to hear someone say that.  I appreciate the trust they place in me.  I appreciate that they did their homework and chose a photographer whose style they love.  They have seen my work, they have seen all the different things I have done and instead of asking for 10 different exact poses just like the ones they saw on Pinterest, they know that I will create beautiful images of them.  I love when they say things like, “I saw the backdrop on your website with the stars and moon.  Could we use that?” or “I would love to capture us both kissing him on the cheeks.”  Those types of things help me get an idea of the style they love most while also allowing for me to use the environment, relationships, and people they are to create something special.  I often ask clients specific questions about the style of their homes or what the baby’s nursery looks like to get an idea of what types of things to use during their session. And yes, if I’m having a difficult time pinpointing their style, I do ask them to send me their Pinterest board so that I can get an idea of the types of images they like.  Pinterest is wonderful for that!  But sometimes I feel it leads to unrealistic expectations of what a photographer can recreate for any single client.  And that is why I said that your photographer probably hates your Pinterest board. *wink*


Do’s and Don’t’s

So, what’s a client to do?  You certainly want to be sure that you tell your photographer if there is a particular style/theme/pose you have in mind - they can’t give you what they don’t know you want!  But it is important to have realistic expectations of your photographer - especially if we are working with a baby or toddler.  If you are insistent on particular poses/setups, your photographer may be so invested in giving you what she thinks you want that she misses opportunities to be creative and capture your family (or your baby or your wedding) in the unique and beautiful way that is perfect for you.  Here’s a little Do and Don’t list that I put together to help clear up the Pinterest Problem:


*Pin images of many different styles in preparation for a photo shoot and expect your photographer to be able to do them all

*Bring a ton of different props or items to your session with the expectation of using them all

*Go to a photography session with a ‘shot list’

*Get your heart set on a particular, exact image


*Choose a photographer with images on his/her website that are the same types of images you want of your family/baby

*Communicate with your photographer if there is something particular you are hoping for so that he/she is prepared

*Enjoy Pinterest for the ideas and creativity it brings - perhaps use it for wardrobe inspiration before your session

*Give your photographer the space to create something wonderful and unique for you


Here are a few of my frequently pinned images. I'd like to share with you a little of the back story for each:

Vintage Camera Baby: This shot was not pre-planned, believe it or not!  The mom arrived at the session with a shopping bag, pulled them out and said, “These were my grandfather’s antique cameras.  Not sure if you want to do anything with them.”  (ummm, yes!!!)  I immediately started thinking of ways we could incorporate them into the session and was lucky that this particular baby slept so soundly that we were able to simply prop him up (with mom holding his neck/back for safety, of course!) and take this shot.  At the last minute, I remembered that I had some ‘nerd glasses’ left over from a Valentine mini-session setup.  It just came to me that it could be really cute to put the glasses on him.  And the result is this wonderful image that I love!
Swinging Toddler: I have done variations on the ‘swinging toddler’ pose many many times.  But so many things about this image just happened to work perfectly together to create a standout image.  The colors of the azaleas perfectly match the mom’s dress and the toddler’s sweater.  The little dress just happens to be a floral pattern like the flowers behind her.  She happened to raise her feet both up at the same time and she has a diaper cover on that matches her dress.  Both parents were looking at her and smiling right at the exact moment that she was looking directly at the camera and smiling. Both the mom and the dad ‘s arms are in the perfect position holding her up right by her face so that her little smile is framed just right.  I couldn’t have posed this shot like this even if I wanted to.  And I can do the ‘swinging toddler’ pose 100 more times and still not get a shot just like this one!!  
Smiling Newborn and Mommy: I posed this mama and her baby together and had not even gotten my camera settings perfect when I looked up and spied him start to smile.  I quickly said, “Close your eyes and smile!” and snapped as fast as I could while spinning the dials to get the correct exposure.  Catching smiling newborns is so fun - but definitely not something I can plan for!
Homecoming Day:  Event photography is a whole different type of photography than regular portraiture.  At an event like a homecoming, you have to be on your toes and 'see' a shot before it happens or as it is happening.  I often circle couples as they reunite so that I can get the perfect angle.  In the picture on the left, I positioned myself so that the jets could be seen in the background and the wife's smile was visible.  What I couldn't plan was that her arm with the flowers was in the perfect spot - and that the baby would be holding the little flag over his shoulder.  So, sometimes 'the shot' you see on Pinterest is just that particular moment captured in just the right way.  I've photographed dozens of homecomings and each one is totally different - just like every baby, family, or wedding is totally different.  Choose your photographer wisely and you won't have to rely on Pinterest to give them poses - you will be the one whose photos are pinned instead!!

A Peek into Our Studio | Kimberlin Gray Photography Studio

Welcome to the Kimberlin Gray Photography Studio located in Virginia Beach, Virginia!  We would love for you to come by and see us in person....but until then, here is a look at what makes us unique from other studios in the area.  We have a 1100 sq ft studio at the North End of Virginia Beach in the Church Point Commons shopping center.  Downstairs is where you can see some of the beautiful products we offer from albums to gallery blocks and Organic Bloom frames.  This is also where we have our "Big Reveal" ordering appointments.  Upstairs is the actual shooting space AND my wonderful office and prop storage room!

Light, Pose, and Profit: The Art of the Newborn Photography Business

Light, Pose, and Profit:  The Art of the Newborn Photography Business

with Amanda of Kimberlin Gray Photography

Everything you ever hoped for in a workshop....and more!

I run a successful portrait photography studio specializing in maternity, birth, newborn and babies through their 1st year. My business has been profitable since I started with a home studio in 2009.  By January of 2013, my business had outgrown the home studio so I transitioned into a retail studio space in Virginia Beach.  I have won the top honor on the Best Newborn Photographer website twice, received an Honorable Mention in the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers Photo of the Year contest (2012), and my work has been published in Posh Tots, Midwifery Today, & Golf Digest.

As a former teacher, I know how to guide and instruct - I won’t expect you to pick it up by watching from the sidelines.  I will TEACH you how to prepare for sessions, pose newborns, use both natural and studio light, and process images cleanly and beautifully.  You will have hands on (guided) practice with posing and you will shoot images for your portfolio under my watchful eye.  We will talk through everything we do and I will answer ANY questions you might have.  This is a SMALL GROUP workshop.  A maximum of 7 attendees will be in the group so that I can be sure that each of you receives individual attention. After the practice sessions, I will share my step-by-step workflow and you will leave with a booklet full of sample images outlining the poses and tips for sessions and processing to help guide you at home when working on your own.

In addition to multiple sessions with models, we will also have a Business Workshop where we will cover everything from operating legally and paying taxes to the dreaded PRICING question!  In addition to covering business, marketing, and advertising, I will give Individual Portfolio Reviews to any participant who elects to bring samples of their work and share their website portfolio with me.  AND (if that weren’t enough) the learning won’t stop when you leave my studio. You will be added to a private Facebook group where I will give constructive criticism, help you with business and marketing questions, and be there to guide you every step of the way. I have designed this to be the only workshop you need to take your business to the next level! You will need basic knowledge of your camera and how to adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings in Manual Mode. You should also have a good attitude and friendly nature - we will laugh and joke and have fun with each other!  You may bring a laptop if you want to follow along - we will use both Lightroom AND Photoshop so no matter which program you use, I will share techniques that you can take away and use immediately to get beautiful and natural results with your newborn portraits.  (Workshop Schedule Below)

Workshop Schedule:

Day 1:  Friday evening 6pm - Meet & Greet

7pm - Dinner and Basic Prep for workshop

Day 2:  Saturday

8am -  Preparing for your sessions **Session styling, prop selection, helpful hints to prepare parents

9:30am - Newborn Model #1 (natural lighting) **We will cover white balance, proper exposure and the 4 basic poses (side, tushie up, chin, taco), and then progress to adding wraps or hats/headbands, transition from pose to pose, and soothing techniques.

12:30pm - LUNCH

2pm - Post Processing *Our focus will be on how to reduce your culling and editing time using Lightroom & Photoshop, and how to achieve clean edits and beautiful newborn skin without overprocessing.

4pm - Newborn Model #2 (studio lighting) **We will cover setting up studio lighting to look like natural lighting, proper exposure/settings for the studio, review of the 4 basic poses, and then we will add more complex and composite images. You will also learn parent poses that flatter new moms and make new dads comfortable.

7pm - Dinner & Drinks

Day 3:  Sunday

8am - Business Workshop - The Psychology of Pricing and Marketing

12pm - LUNCH

1pm - Newborn Model #3 **We will review all previous material and you will have guided, hands-on practice with our newborn model(s).  We will also review camera angles and composition in depth to be sure you are getting it right in camera!

4pm - Post Processing

6pm - Q&A ~ Portfolio Review


Other Details: *Lunches, dinners and snacks both days are included in the workshop fee!!  Lodging and transportation is not included. Please let me know if you have dietary restrictions or allergies so that I can best plan for them. *Pay in full or $350 non-refundable deposit to reserve your space.  Final payment due 30 days before the workshop. *If you're flying in, Norfolk International Airport is less than 10 miles from my studio - the airport code is ORF. *Lodging Options are fairly inexpensive:  Stay near the studio and airport:  Wingate by WyndhamSleep Inn @Lake Wright, OR extend your vacation and stay at an oceanfront hotel in Virginia Beach, which is about 11 miles (20 min. drive) away! *I will add you to the private FB group BEFORE the workshop so that you can make friends and possibly join up as roommates to split the cost of lodging!