A little over a month ago I bit the bullet on some self investment and went along to a Photography Retreat. I won’t lie, it took a lot in me not to cancel. It wasn’t a priority for me… I felt like it would be an indulgence in myself I cannot afford to do and, lets be honest, I barely spend a tenner on myself these days let alone a 3 night, 4 day all inclusive getaway to talk about my passion non-stop, with like minded people and without a child in sight! Sounded too good to be true!
I pushed aside the mum guilt, bit the bullet and went along and I whole heartedly admit it was one of the best things I have done for myself in a very, very long time. Photography is a lonely business…. With no colleagues and a constant drive to build a business without anyone to bounce ideas off and brainstorm with, self doubt is a recurring feeling for me and I needed the retreat more than I thought I would.
There is a little bit of stigma, it seems, around going on a Photography Retreat where the location is picture perfect (we stayed here so you’ll see what I mean), the lighting excels in every way, what could you possibly learn where all the conditions you will be shooting in are luxurious and perfect? I might have agreed with some of those views but with the He(art) Of Home Retreat, Clare and Yas have created something more than the opportunity to shoot in ‘perfect shooting conditions’. I think, the part that sold it for me initially was the ‘Portfolio review’. The opportunity to have my work reviewed and critiqued by Professionals in a similar field was worth its weight in gold. To see what I couldn’t see for myself, to have confirmed to me that I understand light, composition, camera techniques and more importantly the ‘art’ of photography helped the obsessive self-critic in me relax a little (but only a little - I am my own worst self critic!).
We spent long days and evenings, talking all things photography, the art, business, passion, inspiration, strengths and weaknesses, we spent time shooting, pushing our boundaries, supporting each other, picking brains and sharing ideas. The weekend was incredible. As much as there were long days and ingesting hoards of information everyday, I returned home feeling like I had been on a long spa weekend - relaxed and rejuvenated.
Clare Barker Wells and Yasmina Cowan are two incredible professionals I have been honoured to meet and spend time with in this field. Not only are they beautiful human beings and amazing photographers, they lay themselves bare and leave nothing unsaid. They have helped me build my confidence and pushed me to be creative beyond my comfort zone which I am so thankful for. They are also passionate about creating a community of like-minded photographers and I have to say, from my perspective, they have succeeded. Thank you Clare and Yas for being there when I needed it. To the lovely Agi, Kirsty and Bex, thank you for your wonderful hospitality and insight - and your beautiful, inspirational work.
The retreat would never have been the same with a different group of attendees. I met some incredible photographers with strengths in so many areas, seeing their work was inspirational and opened me up to possibilities I never saw before. We shared laughter and tears, prosecco and cake, stories and ideas and hopefully a lot more to come! I didn’t know how much I needed a community behind me, to have my back, to drive me forward and keep me motivated. I have a fire in my belly that I haven’t had for a while and I can’t wait to put into practice some of the ideas I have and I hope you will stay with me on my journey... @shabanaphotography
And finally, ladies, you know who you are, thank you for being there… I got your backs too x