“The retreat was soooo delightful…a truly amazing experience. I would highly recommend to anyone who needs to refresh and revamp their business but also someone starting out.
This truly will be your best investment ever!”
Paula Jayne Photography
Two weeks ago I ran my second Delight Retreat for professional family and child photographers. You can see more from the first one I ran in April in this blog post.
We had such a wonderful time! This is going to be a rather mammoth blog post but I wanted to share the whole 3 days with you.
It was so lovely to be back at Florence House in East Sussex. It really is such a relaxing place to be and just perfect for the retreat as it’s walking distance to the beach and cliffs. Plus everyone gets their own bedroom and all 3 meals are cooked for us by an amazing chef which is a real treat!
There were 10 lovely family photographers booked onto the retreat, and also my lovely right-hand woman, Tamsin. The 12 of us had already been chatting in a private Facebook group so when they arrived we felt like I already knew them! Everyone had travelled from all over the UK, so after a well-earned cuppa it was time to get started.
They were welcomed by a personalised package of my 170 page workbook and a branding book as a little gift from me.
As the forecast for the following day was looking decidedly dodgy, I moved our child shoot from then to the first afternoon. So after introductions and a bit about finding your style, we were straight out to our first shoot. And what a treat it was!
We were photographing this beautiful little 3 year old who was an absolute pleasure. If you recognise her it’s because she’s a child model and features in the latest Next catalogue!
We had planned her outfits around autumn colour, but when I first drove into Florence House I panicked as everything was looking very green! Luckily we managed to find some little hidden spots with some autumn colour still around. And we were so lucky with the weather as the sun was shining throughout our shoot so it gave me an opportunity to demonstrate backlighting and using reflectors too.
How gorgeous is Essie Beau?!
I managed to persuade Essie’s lovely mum to get in some of the photos too…it’s so important to get these lovely connections captured too!
Then it was time for a quick change of top which worked perfectly with the flint walls around the house.
We could have photographed her all day!
Here are some of the behind the scenes photos of the shoot by my fantastic right-hand woman Tamsin. You can see how brave little Essie was with us paparazzi all stood in front of her!
Then after an afternoon talking about how to find your style and branding, it was time for some bubbly, gorgeous dinner and wine and lots of photography chat. Everyone had a 15 min 1-2-1 with me during the retreat. I held most of these in the evenings after dinner so that it didn’t impact the daytime training.
The food at Florence House is just delicious, here are some photos that Tamsin took over the 3 days.
The next day we were treated to a lovely sunrise but also gale-force winds. So again I had to reschedule one of the shoots to the next day, I was pleased I did as it was soooo windy!
This is the stunning view (as captured by Tamsin) that many were treated too when they opened their curtains, and this is what you could see from our training room.
The next morning we went through branding & marketing where I shared my experiences from my 8 years of running my business. There was some group work so everyone could share their thoughts and ideas with each other.
During the morning I also took everyones headshots. As part of the retreat I include a shiny new headshot for everyone. Not only is it invaluable to have a lovely headshot of yourself for your website and social media, it also gives them a chance to see how it feels to be on the other side of the camera. It’s much more scary having the camera pointed at you than hiding behind it!
Here are the results of the headshots, what a lovely warm bunch of ladies they are.
And of course my lovely right-hand woman Tamsin. She was an absolute star throughout the retreat, taking all of the behind-the-scenes photos and making sure everyone was happy (and that their glasses were topped up!) She’s as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out!
And here is all of us together…we thought it was best to get a shot while everyone was still photo-ready from their headshot sessions!
After a morning of working hard and posing for the camera, we decided to treat ourselves to a cliff walk after lunch. I don’t think we quite anticipated just how windy it would be. When we got to the top we were literally being blown around by the wind…it’s lucky we made it back down to tell the tale! It was the funniest walk I think I’ve ever taken, we just couldn’t stop laughing when we got up there as you can see by the photos….check out the crazy hair!
Then an afternoon of me going through marketing, pricing and products, was followed by another lovely dinner then more 121’s. I’m normally a complete night owl (and like my wine too!) but I was just exhausted by 11pm each night after working since 8am so couldn’t keep up with some of the other ladies who stayed up until the early hours (no names mentioned! ;-))
First thing on the Friday morning, we had a shoot with a gorgeous family that I also photographed at the first retreat in April. It was great to see how their little girl has grown up in the past 6 months and walking now too!
We started in the grounds of Florence House…
Then we walked down to the beach for the next part of the shoot. I love the fact that the soft muted colours of this shoot are so different from the autumn colour in the previous shoot with Essie.
This family were absolute superstars as it was really windy and chilly down on the beach. Also they couldn’t hear a word I was saying over the crashing waves so I kept having to run up to talk to them! Gracie did amazingly and lasted at least half an hour on the beach before the cold got a little too much for her!
Here are Tamsin’s behind the scenes photos from this shoot…and yes I can confirm that lying on freezing cold pebbles is not very pleasant!
Then a nice man walked past at the end of the shoot and offered to take a photo of all of us including Tamsin, many thanks to that mystery man! Again lots of crazy hair in this shot to prove to you just how windy it was!
After more training in the morning where I talked through everything to do with shooting and how to ensure every shoot is a success, it was time for lunch and to say our goodbyes!
I really throw everything into the 3 days so I left it again feeling absolutely exhausted but also inspired and proud of how it had all gone. Thank you SO much to the 10 photographers who attended, for your warmth, infectious enthusiasm and laughter!
And thank you to Tamsin for all of your help, you’re an absolute star!
And now let me hand over to the lovely ladies who attended, here are some of the comments from their feedback forms…..
“The Retreat was sooo Delightful….a truly amazing experience. Vicki is so giving with her content, there really is nothing held back. You are provided with such beautifully presented workbook to follow so you come away with all the information covered. This will take pride of place on my desk.
The support and advice really does make you feel really special and gives you the encouragement that you can go forward with your business. I have also met so many lovely friends who I know I will keep in contact with.”
Paula Jayne Photography
“What an absolutely corking few days. I feel like I’ve made some great friends and attended one of the best training retreats ever. What an inspirational and lovely lady you are. I would happily book onto your retreat every year!
Feeling uplifted, rested and positive about my business again…which is exciting. Onwards and upwards!”
Kirsty Pratt of Lavender Blue Photography
“What an amazing time! Vicki’s larger than life personality, in-depth knowledge and warmth made this the BEST investment and business course I’ve been to. I walk out today, not just with more knowledge and excitement to put into practise what I’ve learned, but with lots of new-found friends. Thank you Vicki, I’m definitely DELIGHTED with my time spent here!”
Yolanda Goncalves Photography
“Thank you so much Vicki for a truly inspirational and motivating three days. I have learnt so much from you and really enjoyed watching you run two shoots. You have been incredibly generous and open-hearted with your knowledge and personal experiences. Loved meeting everyone, fabulous venue & food. A beautiful experience!”
Sarah Clarke Photography
The Delight Retreat absolutely exceeded by expectations and cover much more than I imagined. My mojo is back! Vicki, you are very open and giving with your knowledge, I don’t feel like you held anything back.
You are truly inspiring and a friend for life. I look forward to putting everything into action now!
Nicola Thomas of Nic T Photography
“Had a wonderful time and so lovely to meet so many fabulous photographers. Going home with a motivated attitude to make this work! Vicki, I cannot thank you enough for making my first photography course so enjoyable and with such incredible people. Don’t think it can be bettered…..please can we have a RE-retreat!!”
Belinda Grant Photography
“Absolutely fantastic! I got loads of ideas and have even woken up at night thinking of things I want to change in my business!
Love the attention to detail, like the course manual. I loved it!”
Ellie Cotton of Dandelion Photography
Thank you ladies for your wonderful comments, it really does mean so much to me and makes all the hard work so very worthwhile!
Thank you for reading to the bottom of my mammoth blog post, I hope you enjoyed it.