Anna Duncan and Angie Johnston have known each other since high school, but it wasn’t until 2014 that they discovered their mutual interest in photography, design, and creating community, and it wasn’t until this past fall that they shaped these passions into The Crafted Space.
The Crafted Space is a monthly content-building workshop where photographers and designers can collaborate, learn, and, most importantly, create a community.
Each workshop takes place on the first weekend of the month and entails an approximately three-hour photo shoot that Duncan and Johnston have designed to allow photographers to take photos of their models and carefully curated backdrops. Workshops also include a 30-minute educational discussion on a particular topic.
While Johnston is the design expert of the two and Duncan is the photographer, everything they create is a collaborative effort.
“I tell everyone that the best way to come up with ideas is bouncing off each other,” Johnston says. “Anna’s brain works different than mine and mine works different than hers.”
Both women have been passionate about their field for years, and this was a way to share those passions with others who are learning their way through the business or even with seasoned professionals.
“I’ve always loved teaching and education, and I feel like my career wouldn’t be where it is if it weren’t for the people that were a few steps ahead of me and helped to pull me up to where they are,” Duncan says. “I feel like there’s a big temptation in this industry to be very selfish with your knowledge even when most of us didn’t get it on our own.”
Duncan, in particular, had been a part of workshops, but she wanted more — more often, more educational, more accessible.
Duncan and Johnston both have found themselves especially, but not exclusively, in the wedding industry, which they both stress is very competitive in Greenville. “I think the photographers appreciate it so much because it’s so hard in a competitive industry to stand out,” Johnston says. “The fun thing about photography is every single photographer has a different style and shoots it how they want to shoot it.”
Each shoot is inspired by a variety of things, often from Pinterest and Instagram. It could be a texture, a color, or even a dress that sparks the initial idea, which builds and evolves until it’s time to prep the shoot.
“We never want to have the same or similar pictures than what’s already out there, which is really hard because there is so much out there,” Johnston says. “For us, we look to those sources for inspiration, but we never want to copy things.”
The Crafted Space technically started in November, with a shoot for November and December to test the waters, and officially kicked off with the January workshop. The workshops gained popularity quickly, which neither of the women expected.
While their original plan was to market toward photographers and designers, they had to adjust when they realized the design process could take weeks. “The design aspect will end up being more of a mentor session with Angie scheduled before the workshop. We are able to serve people better if everything is set up and ready, so that is one of our biggest changes for 2019,” Duncan says.
Their biggest goal for each workshop is to make everyone feel welcome and excited. Drinks, snacks, and smiling faces await as each photographer walks through the door. “We don’t like a lot of structure,” Johnston explains, saying it can impede creativity and create more pressure for the photographers.
As for the future, both women are self-proclaimed dreamers. They hope to start quarterly destination workshops in cities around the Southeast, especially since most of their clientele come from outside Greenville. They plan to start an all-encompassing podcast where they’ll discuss their businesses, motherhood, The Crafted Space, and more. They also hope to begin hosting more educational workshops where they can delve deeper into topics that they cover only briefly at The Crafted Space, as they want it to be a hands-on experience.
“My goal in all of this was to make it a very welcoming place for everyone,” Duncan says. “If you have a camera or any desire to grow your business, even if you’re just feeling it out, there’s a place for you at The Crafted Space.”
If you go…
Next workshop: Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019
Use code “GVL10” for a discount when you sign up for The Crafted Space.