“Without doubt the best investment ever. Thrilled to have spent the past 3 days with this wonderful lady who went over and above to make this retreat an absolute delight.”
Christine Burns Photography
Two weeks ago I held my first every Delight Photography and Business Retreat for professional photographers. Wow! It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I think this is the longest blog post I’ve ever put together but I wanted to share the whole 3 days with you, so here we go!
It’s been a long term goal of mine to run a retreat for professional photographers. I’ve been asked many times in the past if I would consider running workshops for photographers, but I knew I wanted to do something a bit different. I’ve been planning this retreat for around 3 years but just couldn’t find exactly the right venue for what I wanted. So when I saw one of my clients posting about a venue where she runs yoga retreats, and it happened to be down the road from where my parents & sister live in East Sussex, I couldn’t wait to go and take a look.
It was absolutely perfect! I was asking a lot from a venue….I knew that I wanted everyone to stay in the same location rather than dotted around in different hotels, I wanted everyone to have their own rooms, I wanted it to have amazing catering and also to be surrounded by gorgeous places to shoot. No wonder it took me years to find it!
I announced all of the details of The Delight Retreat last September not fully knowing if there would be a demand for it. There is nothing quite like it in the UK for family & child photographers so its always slightly nerve-racking launching something new. I needn’t have worried! It sold out in under a week and I had 10 lovely family photographers booked on, one even flying over from Ireland to attend!
We all arrived at the venue on the Wednesday afternoon and were lucky to have gorgeous blue skies which I was so pleased about…things look even better in the sunshine don’t they!
I had spent months beforehand putting together a very comprehensive 170 page workbook for them to work through and to become their business bible. So when they arrived the workbook was there with their names on along with a gift from me…a signed book from branding expert Fiona Humberstone. A nice way to welcome them to the retreat!
The first afternoon was spent on finding your style and branding. There was lots of group work where they could talk together and share ideas. We were so lucky that we could sit out in the beautiful garden in the sunshine for the break-outs.
Then as the sun was going down the bubbly came out and it was time for drinks on the terrace. All of these behind the scenes photos are by Vicky Holmes who was my lovely co-ordinator for the 3 days…more about Vicky in a minute.
While they were all getting to know each other, I was
having fun sorry I mean hard at work, taking their headshots. I included a brand new shiny headshot for each of the attendees. You probably know by now how passionate I am about having a great headshot to represent you and your business…you’d be amazed how many photographers use an iPhone selfie or don’t have one at all!
Here are some behind the scene shots of me taking their headshots. I was so lucky to get that beautiful evening sunlight!
And here are the results. This is the lovely Vicky Holmes who was my wonderful co-ordinator and hostess with the mostess for the 3 days. She was just fantastic, she made sure everyone was happy, took all of these great behind-the-scenes photos and kept everyone’s glasses very full in the evening.
You can read Vicky’s blog post about the retreat here in her own words.
And here are the 10 lovely photographers who attended the retreat.
And Vicky then took some shots of us all together.
What a lovely bunch they are! So enthusiastic, warm and friendly. I really couldn’t have asked for a nicer group of women for my first retreat.
Then it was time for dinner, and some 1-2-1 sessions. Everyone received a 15 minute 1-2-1 session with me, most of these took place in the evenings so they didn’t impact on the daytime training. Then we all headed to our rooms as a reasonable time knowing that the next day was going to be long and intensive!
Thursday morning was spent on marketing which was packed full of tips and advice that I’ve learnt over my 8 years in business. Then time for lunch. I’ve just realised I haven’t mentioned the food yet! Oh my goodness, the food was just lovely. What a treat to have 3 meals a day cooked and cleaned up for us!
Then after lunch we decided to take a little break by walking up to the cliffs (which are just 5 minutes from the house). We all took coats that we didn’t need as it felt like a summer’s day. I can’t guarantee blue skies like this for any future retreats I’m afraid! 😉
We spent the afternoon talking all about pricing, products and shooting before doing a family shoot in the early evening. This was actually the bit that I was most nervous about. I’m very used to teaching after 5 years of running my parents photography workshops, and I’m obviously used to photographing families. But what I’m not used to is photographing families with 11 photographers watching my every step!
It went really well though, we had a beautiful family with 2 children who just loved the camera. Here are some of Vicky’s behind the scenes photos from the shoot.
It’s reassuring to see that I’m not the only photographer that gets themselves into weird positions when shooting!
And here are some of my favourites from the shoot.
We were so lucky to have the beach just a few minutes down the road which resulted in bluebells, lovely walls and a beach in just one session!
Such gorgeous children!
After an energetic shoot it was time for more bubbly, then dinner followed by more 1-2-1 sessions. A few of us ended up staying up late having some deep chats over more wine which was lovely but probably didn’t help my exhaustion at the end of the retreat!
Then after breakfast on Friday it was time for our baby shoot. I wanted to show them how I would shoot a normal baby session at a client’s home, so there were no backdrops and no studio lights. Here are some of the behind the scenes shots from the session.
And here are some of my favourite images from the baby shoot.
What a beautiful family. Everyone kept saying they looked like they’d walked straight out of a magazine!
Then after the baby shoot it was time to finish off the training followed by a lovely lunch before our big goodbyes!
I felt utterly exhausted at the end of the 3 days (and had very nearly lost my voice!) but I also felt very inspired, proud and delighted with how it had all gone. I really couldn’t have asked for more.
I wasn’t sure whether this would be my only retreat, but now I’ve got the bug I will definitely be running more! Although I’ll be limiting it to 1 or maximum of 2 retreats a year as my main focus is still my family photography and workshops for parents. I’m already planning another Delight retreat for this November, more details at the bottom of this post.
I want to say thank you to Vicky for all of her help, I really couldn’t have done it without her.
And also thank you, thank you, thank you to the 10 photographers who attended. I really appreciate you trusting me to delight you on my first ever retreat! I absolutely loved spending the 3 days with you all. I’m already getting so much pleasure from seeing the changes you are making and can’t wait to see your businesses grow and evolve.
Anyway, enough of what I thought!
Here are a few of the blog posts that the ladies have written about the retreat:
And here are some of their comments from the feedback forms. I’m delighted that 100% of them said they would recommend the retreat to a friend as well!
“Thank you so much for the most amazing retreat. I feel really inspired and thankful that you have shared so much with us, as well as encouraging us to find our own brands and stories. Also all of the little touches made the retreat feel so special.
The best thing about the retreat has been your personality and approach. The handbook is amazing and you have been so approachable and easy to talk to that I am coming away feeling totally clear in my mind on what I need to do.”
Emily Rogers of Emily Kathleen Photography
“Above and beyond my expectations. You’ve been so informative about running a successful photography business. Your style and delivery has been so positive and encouraging.
I really enjoyed every aspect of the course and meeting you was the highlight!”
Mona Naem Photography
“The Delight Retreat has been amazing. Full of information and useful resources. Having Vicki on tap for 3 days is a unique experience.
Great location, great house, great food and wine. Not only have I learnt so much but I’ve also made some wonderful new friends. I also love the workbook which will now be my business bible. I can’t wait to get going on improving my business.”
Sarah Bertram of Sweet Pea Photography
“Such a wonderful 3 days. Everything – the venue, the food, the company of a lovely group. It worked so much better than a 1 or 2 day workshop. I learnt so much!
Your business and marketing knowledge is wonderful, your openness, your willing to share and help.
Worth every penny and more. I am thrilled to have gotten the chance to take part. You should be very very proud, thank you so much.”
Christine Burns Photography
“Brilliant!! An amazing few days with lots of positive ideas to kick my business into shape. I’m leaving the retreat re-energised, with a clear focus on what I want and need to get done to improve my business.
So often I’ve walked away from a course feeling a bit let down. You have over-delivered on the promises you made. Thank you.”
Alex Bray Photography
“Thank you so much, I’m so glad I signed up for your Delight Retreat. It’s one of the best things I’ve done in terms of my photography and career.
I’m feeling really inspired and positive now and more confident to start forming my business the way that suits me.”
Sophie Boutar Photography
“I’ve really enjoyed the retreat and Florence House has been the perfect location. Vicki has put a huge amount of work into preparing a fantastic workbook. I loved the structure and look forward to putting everything into practice from beginning to end. I’m excited about giving my business a big kick into action!
Thank you so much for sharing so much information with us and for being such a fabulous host!”
Alex Rickard Photography
“An amazing experience and just what I needed! You and everyone have been so friendly and open.
I was feeling rather daunted about coming here but the knowledge and advice has been invaluable.”
Inga Keyes Photography
“It was such a great retreat. I needed an action plan to set my business up again and I’m definitely leaving with that.
Your input and support will drive my business to succeed!
It was so special to be a part of your first retreat with such a lovely group of ladies.”
Annie Renwick Photography
I can’t tell you how happy it made me to get this amazing feedback. It made all of the hard work so very worth it and I’m so delighted to have made a difference to these ladies and their businesses.
Thanks for reading to the bottom of my longest ever blog post!