Our Retreat

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If you’ve been wondering what happens on our Capturing Childhood weekends, this blog post is for you! We are just planning our shoots for our next retreat in October, and we realised we haven’t shared the photos from the last one back in March. So here’s a little about our experience, what we chatted about with our group, and we’re sharing some of the amazing photos they took over the weekend too.

When you first start out with something fresh, like a new course, it feels like a very vulnerable place, wondering if anyone will want to come. Our retreat weekends have been steadily growing, and this is how we wanted it to be. We’ve had a mixture of attendees, from parents wanting to take better photos of their children, to portrait photographers just about to set up their business and feeling they need guidance, and help building their portfolio. There are places left on our next weekend, on the 5th and 6th of October. It will be the fourth of these weekends that we’ve run, and we’re looking forward to welcoming new weekenders to the barn on the hill, a perfect location to learn, shoot, and just be.

We thought we’d take you through some of the things we talk about and share. These weekends are ever evolving, and we like that too, that the course grows, shifts, and changes a little every time.

In March, we were joined by 6 participants, all at different stages in their creative journey. Everyone brought so much to the group, and we’re forever grateful for these conversations about our creativity and practice.

We always start our weekend off with pastries, tea, and introductory chats.

And then everyone finds their spots on the comfy sofas. In the morning, we talk about techniques, breaking a shoot into chapters, and how to see and use light.

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When we’ve chatted for a while in the morning, we like to stretch, and get out there for our first shoot of the weekend. Martha was our first model. We had just talked about how light can give shots a signature feel, so I wanted everyone to experiment with different light, and see which they like best. We also chatted about getting down on to the children’s level so we’re let into their world. What I love the very most about photography, is everyone’s different interpretations, that there are so many different ways of viewing character.

After lunch, we really start getting into personal style, and feeling confident in our voice as photographers, that we always have something new to say in our photos. How bringing our thoughts back to us, back home, can help with the stories we’re trying to tell in our images. What does a shot make you feel when you press the shutter? And how when we’re taking shots in this way, the viewer feels part of that story too. Olive and Suzi stepped into the limelight for our next practical, and when I started getting excited about the light we had in the room, I crept into a few photos too.

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On Day 2 we talk a lot more about personal style through our own experiences with this. What we do when we’re planning a shoot and how personal projects can feed into work. Day 2 leads us into a family shoot in the afternoon, where we put everything together that we’ve learnt over the weekend. The day before, I took everyone out to the location so they had a good idea of where it was going to take place, and maybe spot some areas they’d like to experiment with shooting. I lead the shoot so everyone can see what happens on our sessions. How I lightly direct if there’s need for this, and learning when to step back so those natural interactions happen.

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I’ve never been great at saying goodbyes, as I always want an event, party, workshop to carry on! It felt very special these two days spent together in the barn on the hill. If you’d like to join us for our next Capturing Childhood weekend retreat, the dates are 5th & 6th October. The location is close to Hebden Bridge in Cragg Vale. Both Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge train stations are nearby. Payment plans are now available, just let us know if this is the option you’d like to go for by emailing us at info@sarahmasonphotography.co.uk.

Wherever you are on your portrait photography journey, we’d love to get you a step (or two or more) closer to shooting in the way you want to, the way that makes your heart sing. We hope to see you soon.

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