There are times in the life of the self-employed that you get exhausted. Sometimes it’s hard living in a place that’s not inundated with creatives to bounce your ideas off of or even to just sit next to while you’re editing. I do have some of that in Tampa, but they’re fewer and further between than if I lived in a city where people move because it’s photogenic, or a city that holds a lot of potential for creative advancement! I doubt there’s USUALLY this amount of people in Joshua Tree to do that with, but for a few days this week it was magic. I feel so creatively refreshed.

I got to go out to Heck Yeah Photo Camp in my dear home state of California for 3 days in the desert with some of the best photographers in the country (world, counting Ed Peers and some lovely Australians! :D)

From the delicious food to building relationships to stargazing to laughing by the pool to gleaning powerful grains of wisdom from those who’ve been at this far longer than I, I came away encouraged, excited, and confirmed in the fact that I am doing a beautiful thing, and that I don’t have to be anyone else or do business the same way as anyone else to be doing it right.

Simple love for others that longs to support them in telling their boldest and most intimate stories can be what I do for a living and it will be absolutely rewarding.

Thanks to Katch & Ben for organizing and teaching.
Thanks to Sam, Ryan, Sean, Jose, Stephanie, Ryan, Phil & Sara for bringing a multitude of perspectives, setting up yoga, goofing around,  being honest about their hearts, and making it such a perfect getaway!

Here are my photos from the week with a bit of narration!

Also, this song is one that I think would go rather well with the pictures. You can be the judge.


The first night Ryan Longnecker helped us with some technique for astro-photography which I NEVER GET TO DO, so I was suuuuper excited about how these ones came out!


I (along with the rest of the internet) love Stranger Things, and these pictures of Katch & Ben, 100% lit by the moon, gave me good alien-abduction movie feels.


The morning after we arrived, we left the camp at 5 am (My mom insightfully asked “You didn’t sleep much this week, did you?”), and went to Joshua Tree National Park to watch the sunrise from Cyclops rock. Since Florida is flatter than a really flat thing, I never get to climb anything here, and was very excited to make it to the top.


This is Aubree, you should know her, because she rocks. Also, here she is sitting on some rocks.


This is Anis Mojgani. He’s hilarious, insightful, and performed his poetry for us the night before. He will change your heart. Sometimes when I listen to his poems, I have to remind myself how to breathe.


This is Beth and I really want her shirt.


This is me thinking about how much I like sunrise and bouldering. Thanks to Beth for taking these.


Krista was not only my roomie and a gorgeous model with a face Horst P. Horst would have been excited to photograph, but she’s a crazy talented photographer as well, check her out! 


This is surprisingly not on the moon.


This is Valerie from Vancouver, which is how I remembered her name before I took these pictures of her. She’s beautiful.


I really love portraits of people, but in the desert I loved portraits of plants almost as much.


Aaron Weiss from the band mewithoutyou came out to the desert to sing us songs under the stars. There was also a pudding truck which is a truck that serves fancy pudding and is a brilliant idea. This was quite a lovely night.


This is Nicki, she’s from North Carolina and she reached out to me the week before, but I didn’t find her until this morning! Have you ever seen a more stunning mother??


After much ado and many learning-sessions, we went out in the desert to photograph a bunch of models and each other, both parties were so full of beauty that I could barely contain myself.

Maura’s makeup (This lovely redhead below) was done by Rachel Burney.


This sweet couple made the trek to the desert just to model for us!


This is Tricia and she’s one of the most encouraging people I’ve ever met. She told me that a picture I took of a pigeon in Paris revolutionized the way she sees pigeons, and I’m pretty sure that will be the shining pinnacle of achievement of my career.


If you didn’t catch that Katch & Ben are the cutest people in the world yet, something is wrong with your eyes.


This is Beth. She’s so beautiful and strong.


So, Sam is my favorite photographer, Ryan is another favorite. Sam has a technique he developed called the Ring of Fire, and this picture is Ryan taking a ring of fire shot OF Sam. Super meta.


This is Amber. She’s a stunner and was another of my roommates. Can’t wait to meet up with her in Canada one of these days!


This is Cristina. I think she’s stunning. I think everybody is stunning, but LOOK AT HER IN THIS LIGHT!


This is Andy & Yesi and they’re so freakin’ adorable together. They’re from Miami, so I’m really looking forward to getting in some more time with them soon!!


This is Ella. I was super excited about photographing her, because she looked like some kind of magical prairie-desert woman, and then she turned on Beyonce and wouldn’t hold still and it got even better!


And to end this with the end of the sunset, Angie stopped me dead in my tracks.

Thank you for reading, thank you for being there, or wherever you are. You are beautiful.

Savannah Lauren | Photography
Bold intimate photography that tells your story