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Sydney
Australia

LIFE:CAPTURED began in August 2013 when we held our first full-day workshop at RAW Space in Sydney, Australia. Our mission is to help people document their stories and create tangible keepsakes to be treasured for generations to come. We offer intensive design, photography, and memory keeping workshops, as well as interactive online classes. We are advocates of honest photography, minimalist design, and memory keeping that's simple, beautiful, and tangible. We are the pioneers of the story book, and we offer flexible templates that enable everybody to tell their story. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. LIFE:CAPTURED was founded by Rhonda Mason (of the Pink Ronnie blog) and Trish Chong (of Tealily Photography).

The blog

The official blog of LIFE:CAPTURED Inc, the modern school of memory keeping. We believe that life is worth remembering and that it is never too early or too late to start documenting yours. We blog about design, photography, and how you can preserve your story with timeless, tangible keepsakes.

Our signature workshop, April 2016

Ronnie

Our signature workshop, April 2016 - A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED Inc (The modern school of memory keeping)

| Written by Ronnie |

On reflection, we were probably a little crazy holding a workshop just four weeks before my due date. But on the other hand, it was such an amazing day, and I'm so happy that we did it. I loved meeting all our wonderful attendees, and as much as I'm looking forward to five months of maternity leave (yay!), I feel utterly refreshed by our full day of teaching, learning, and sharing. And more than ever, I'm inspired, encouraged, and determined to keep doing what we're doing here at LIFE:CAPTURED. Because preserving our story matters, and it's never too early or too late to start documenting yours...

For this signature workshop, we decided to hold it at Trish's newly renovated home, and it proved to be such a wonderful venue for our event. With her new white walls, concrete flooring, custom-built shelving, and scandinavian-inspired furniture, Trish's space was inviting, relaxing, and the perfect backdrop for our various sessions and modules throughout the day. A huge thanks to Charlotte for helping us with the styling and to Trish for opening up her home to us.

Our signature workshop, April 2016 - A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED Inc (The modern school of memory keeping)

Personally, I have always enjoyed the process of 'bumping in' and setting up whenever we hold workshop events. Even though there is always an element of stress due to the time pressure of getting it all done (and getting it all done as perfectly as we can), the process itself always gets my adrenalin pumping which in turn sets me in good stead for the intensive day ahead. It was extra fun this time round because my husband Rick got up with me early in the morning to give me a lift, which meant I didn't feel so lonely leaving the house in the dark and it was nice to have someone to chat to in the car. Once we reached Trish's place, he promptly helped me to unload all my gear and then left quickly to return home to help his mum with the morning's school routine, but nonetheless, the hour spent with him was just lovely and left me feeling more calm and reassured about the day ahead...

The lovely Alison from The Little Grocery Service had dropped off the beautiful florals the previous afternoon, so all we had to do on Friday morning was work out where we wanted to place her beautiful arrangements. While I laid out all the workshop booklets, pencils, name tags, and thank you cards on the table and made sure our computer and screen worked properly, Trish got to work with shooting and packing our amazing goodie bags...

Our signature workshop, April 2016 - A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED Inc (The modern school of memory keeping)

I have to say, I'm always taken back by the generosity of our goodie bag sponsors. For this workshop, we were truly blessed to have the support of beautiful brands like Prodjuice, Endeavour Tea, Black Pantry, Supply Paper Co, MILK Books, and Lamy. If you have a moment, please click on over and show our sponsors some love; both Trish and I have the greatest respect and admiration for the aesthetic, ethic, and craftsmanship of each of these brands.

Our first session of the day was all about Visual Storytelling. Naturally, it was taught by Trish. Even though Trish and I have taught this workshop together quite a number of times now, I am always impressed with her ability to teach others how she sees and perceives light, which is surely a unique gift that she possesses. I also love the way she teaches about shooting a story, and how the images that document our everyday are truly the most beautiful ones that we can capture. All this whilst also explaining the basic mechanics of manual photography...

Our signature workshop, April 2016 - A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED Inc (The modern school of memory keeping)

The practice shoot which flows on from Trish's session is secretly one of my favourite parts of the day. I love it because for some of our students, it's actually their very first time switching their cameras from automatic to fully manual. From my personal experience, I know what a big, courageous step this is. Plus, it's always amazing to witness the very first moment someone understands how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO all work together to influence exposure. 

Our signature workshop, April 2016 - A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED Inc (The modern school of memory keeping)

Due to the easy access that we had to Trish's beautiful backyard, everyone also had the opportunity to practise shooting outdoors - something that is not always easy to do. (And, please, can I just say - how stunning do those tulips look with that magnolia branch? Alison, you're a genius!)

After the shoot, we all treated ourselves with a cuppa and a piece of raspberry cake for morning tea before diving straight into our next session, Photo Organisation with Lightroom. As always, this was perhaps the most intensive part of the day. We talked through the six basic principles of photo organisation (namely importing, file naming, storing, keywording, rating, and archiving and backing up) before breaking out the laptops and booting up Lightroom. Together, we created a custom file naming preset, set up the correct import settings to (automatically) create a yearly/monthly/daily chronological folder structure, created a basic keywords list as a starting point, learnt how to apply keywords, learnt how to search and view photo files based on keywords and metadata, and set up keywording shortcuts. Towards the end, just as Trish was starting to serve up lunch, I demonstrated how to use Lightroom's collections and smart collections for memory keeping projects and beyond. All in all, I had eleven pages of notes prepared, and I was truly impressed with how well everyone managed to keep up!

As these photos suggest, lunch was an absolutely delicious affair. Anna from The Floury Baker whipped up these amazing noodle boxes with seared salmon and pickled cucumber and sesame, along with the yummiest green salad I have ever tasted, complete with alfalfa, zucchini, asparagus, brocollini, avocado, and miso dressing. It was nice to be able to sit outside in the warmth, under Trish's cabana, and be able to chat in a more relaxed environment about family life, Instagramming (as you do), and being creative. We particularly enjoyed hearing about Rebecca and Dearna's idea of holding creative gatherings and slow living retreats down in Tasmania...

After lunch, we gathered in the beautiful lounge area and for an hour or more, I spoke about memory keeping - why it's important to me, and all the different ways in which I seek to document my story and my family's story. We looked through my life albums, my story books, my photo books, my scrapbooks, and the boys' first year journals. We chatted at length about journaling, and I even thought to pass around my iPad to show how I organise all my journaling notes in Simplenote

The memory keeping session is my other favourite part of the signature workshop, because there are always some amazing questions, and I truly appreciated the conversation that we had as a group that day. One of our students, Peter, sent this to us in the week that followed and it brought such a huge smile to my face to know that what I'd hoped to communicate was actually conveyed and received: 

"...Then you actually opened my eyes to a whole new world of memory keeping and your message about leaving something behind that is special for the kids - that really got me. I also fear my kids are growing up too fast even though they are only 2 and 4. We just had a 2nd birthday for my daughter. The little moments that will soon be forgotten if we don't have a record of it. (How she says 'Happy' every time we say we love her - she can't say so much yet) On the other hand, I do not want to constantly be sticking a camera in their face and live more in the moment with them. However, I do want to document some of these moments so they will not be forgotten. I think your approach of taking time to do it well and reflecting on moments, as opposed to taking millions of photos and videos and not reflecting much on it, really is what I got from you and Trish. So thank you for that..."

Our final part of the day was afternoon tea (and no, I couldn't stop eating that cheese...), a Lightroom  image editing session with Trish, and an introduction to Adobe InDesign with me. It's always fun and satisfying to see our students edit the images that they'd taken earlier in the day and learn how to place them into a story book template (we used this one) using InDesign. And seriously, these guys were amazing! 

Our signature workshop, April 2016 - A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED Inc (The modern school of memory keeping)

Like I said, I'm so glad that we did this workshop. I was shattered afterwards, yes, but I also walked away feeling completely refreshed and inspired to keep doing what we're doing. And perhaps even more importantly, I left with a renewed sense of commitment (and joy) towards my own memory keeping projects and endeavours...

Thank you again to our amazing sponsors: to Prodjuice for their fabulous range of healthy, cold-pressed juices designed to detox and cleanse; to Jessie from Supply Paper Co for her beautiful workbooks; to Black Pantry for their mouth-watering smores kits (Rick and I devoured mine within two minutes of leaving Trish's place); to Endeavour Tea for their unique Tropical Slice tea; to Lamy for their AL-star fountain pens; to MILK Books for giving each of our students a complimentary twenty-page medium landscape photo book as well as a forty percent discount off any Moleskine book or album; and to Alison from The Little Grocery Service for providing and styling our florals for the day, and for loaning us her vases!

And lastly, thank you to Peter, Hazel, Rebecca, Joanna, Nora, Erandi, Ashleigh, and Dearna for coming along and making the day so perfectly wonderful...

If you have any questions about our signature workshop, please feel free to email us at anytime. As I'm now embarking on maternity leave for five months, it's unlikely that we'll be holding another one this year. However, you can always sign up to our newsletter via our homepage (just scroll to the bottom) if you wish to stay informed regarding new classes and workshop dates.

You can see the rest of the photos from this workshop on our Gallery page.

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