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My Yan Fam Way Bellingham Experience

Last month I attended a Yan Fam Way workshop in Bellingham, WA.  If you’re not familiar with Yan Palmer’s work, stop right here and go check out her out!  She is one of my favorite photographers of all time.  She is the queen of creating intimate, dreamy photographs of families in their homes, relaxing comfortably with each other.  I can literally get lost in her website.

So when I learned she scheduled a workshop in Bellingham, an hour away from me, I had to go.  The workshop didn’t disappoint.  We had an intimate group of attendees, and spent the morning discussing life, work, dreams, fears, goals, and much more.

After lunch we photographed the model family who happened to be the hostess for the day.  It was so fun watching Yan work.  She shoots with film as well, so it was enlightening to watch her look for the best light, meter (or not – she’s not too precise!), pose, and also just live in the moment that is happening and go with it.  She is such a creative.  You could see her having fun interacting with the kids, while I knew she had a lot going on in her mind, thinking how she could make the photo even more interesting with the light, pose, or angle.

Yan was present and vulnerable.  And so perceptive.  I felt like she could really hone in on what people were thinking and feeling, and draw out thoughts or fears that we didn’t even know we had.  She shared her story.  Her ups and downs, triumphs and failures.    The workshop was very informative and pretty emotional.  I left with my head spinning.  I learned a few things about myself, and definitely left with a more clear direction of where I need to head with my work.  I may have shed a tear or two. 🙂

The group had dinner at a local restaurant later that night, and we discussed all sorts of things, from Snapchat, work/life balance, to volunteering and traveling with your kids, Taylor Swift, and getting old.  It was a fantastic group of women, whom I now call my friends.

Below are some of my favorite photos from the day, taken on Fuji 400h, Portra 400 and Tri-x pushed 1.


If you are looking for a fabulous workshop to attend, this is the one (even if you don’t shoot film).  She still has open dates in her 2016 calendar.


Kim Hildebrand