Eeeek! Today’s blog is all of my thoughts on Content Retreats! They are also referred to as content day, styled shoots, shoot outs, and many other things in the industry. Essentially they are workshops for photographers to create new and exciting work for their portfolio.
There are several reasons to attend a content retreat but to keep it brief I’ll just name a few
1. BUILDING A PORTFOLIO
First and foremost – content retreats are amazing for new and growing photographers to build a whole portfolio of work in a short amount of time. The amount of shooting that can be done at a retreat could honestly be enough to build an entire website.
It’s not only a good idea for new photographers though, I personally love content retreats because they allow me to revamp my portfolio. I often look back on my work and see where I’d like to grow and attending a content retreat can very well give me enough content to attract an entirely new and different client.
2. INSPIRATION BABYYYY
There is nothing better than going straight to the source and learning from someone you’re inspired by.
Point blank. Period. But I have found that it’s not just the people hosting the workshop I feel inspired by, being around others creating in general is a very profound and generative experience.
There’s a ton of research that shows how our brains interact with each other on a subconscious level and when we are around someone who is creating, we will naturally pick up on some of that inspiration ourselves. How cool is that?!
3. LEARN AND PRACTICE NEW SKILLS
When you’re around 8-10+ other photographers doing their thanggg it’s very likely you’re going to pick up some new knowledge. You’ll see how they talk to clients, how to pose, how they set their camera settings, and all kinds of things. You can practice those new ideas in a safe learning environment where you’re not with actual clients.
A lot of times I purposefully include challenging shoots in our content retreats simply to help photographers develop the skills to handle it. Some examples might be: using flash, adding motion blur effects, photographing in harsh or different colored lighting, shooting through fractals or prisms. The point is to not play it safe because its your time to really go for it and CREATE.
4. NETWORK – NETWORK – NETWORK!!
Being a self employed photographer makes it easy to forget that you are not alone in the industry. Even though you may spend most days alone – there are so many others doing the exact same thing. We forget to take advantage of opportunities to connect with other photographers and vendors and those connections can honestly make or break our business.
Attending content retreats helps you create authentic and organic connections to other creatives that you can keep up with, cheer on, and work with in the future. Also don’t forget about the amazing referrals you can get from having a strong network.
WHAT ABOUT THE CONS?
There are some cons to attending content retreats that I do want to address – first one being cost. It costs quite a bit of money and a TON of time to plan and execute a good content retreat. So it does cost quite a bit to attend a quality retreat. It’s an expense that not a lot of newer photographers are able to justify early on in their business and I totally get it.
I will say I took a gamble on my first retreat and paid $500 that I most definitely did not have, and the content I got from that retreat has booked me a few weddings so it more than paid for itself. Also attending a retreat can fall under educational expenses and is a business write off if done correctly so ask your accountant if it’s an expense worth writing off.
The other con is that it does take a lot of energy to prepare for, attend, and post process after a retreat. It can be a little overwhelming having 10 photographers all trying to get the same shot. It can certainly open the door to lots of comparison to others. So to my fellow introverts make sure to take lots of time afterwards to decompress. I’ve never been in a situation that felt competitive at a retreat, but I think it can feel that way for some people. Just remember that you’re the only YOU and no one else’s work is going to be exactly like yours.
SO….. IS IT WORTH IT?
Ultimately if you cannot afford to attend a retreat, cannot get away because you’re a parent or have other obligations, or for some other reason just cannot make it happen – don’t worry. The goal is to step outside of your comfort zone regularly. There are so many ways to push yourself creatively that are free and can happen on your own time.
But if you ask me? I would say figure out a way to make attending a retreat happen. Do your research and make sure it’s content you would actually really want in your portfolio – most retreats will have mood boards to show what kind of shoots you can expect to be there. Make sure you trust the hosts of the retreat or that they are at least reputable so you don’t get scammed. Check out reviews from past participants of that person’s retreats if they are available or contact someone who’s gone and ask them about their experience.
And if you’re looking for a retreat to attend this year – the Blooming Anyway Collective will be hosting 2!! Head over to our Instagram and check out all of the details for our upcoming retreats.
We also just released a podcast episode all about this! Check it out here >>>>>https://open.spotify.com/episode/0mzbMsKRWlJ3d7NBgH9vQa
We hope to see you at our next retreat!