Back in April, I had the opportunity to join 14 insanely talented photographers in Sonoma for a Blair + Thurston Retreat. I went into the weekend hoping to learn as much as possible about how to run a successful photography business, and perhaps meet some friends along the way. What I didn't realize is how much I would learn about myself during the retreat. Raising three beautiful children and running a business on the side doesn't leave much time for me to focus on me, and I didn't realize just how much I needed this retreat until I was actually there. There, spending three days focusing on me, on honing my craft, on soaking in as much information as possible, but also spending three days bonding with 14 amazing ladies who have the same passion as I do. I thought I might enjoy a handful of the women, but I assumed there was no chance I'd love spending time with all of them...well I was wrong. Each and every one of them brought something different to the table and were an absolutely joy to be around. What are the chances?
It turns out, the chances are incredibly high when people like Bre Thurston and Elena Blair are in charge of a retreat! They are the queens of knowing their target audience and attracting "their people." We laughed too hard, drank too much great wine, ate too much amazing food, talked so much shop, and even squeezed in a breath of yoga. Oh, and there were baby goats! Baby goats! I died and went to heaven y'all! Sonoma Broadway Farms was the absolute perfect place for the retreat, and I am already scheming ways to get back there ASAP.
I learned how to up my professional game, how to value my own work (harder than you think!), and how to utilize simple tools to make running my business just a little easier so I can focus more on the photography aspect of my job. I gained the confidence to consider myself a peer in a larger group of amazingly talented women. And I realized that if I bust my tail just a little harder, put in a little extra work and focus on my goals, I can make this business grow the way I've always dreamed it would. Elena and Bre were just the fire I needed to get things moving.
As a bonus, the gorgeous family we had the opportunity to photograph was the insanely talented Katie Rain! A local Bay Area photographer herself, who just happens to just be the most beautiful mama you've ever seen to boot. We had so much fun shooting her family, and they were such rockstars to be surrounded by 14 cameras and women directing them all at the same time. I gave myself permission to try some new ideas, play around with the shadows a bit more, and let loose a little during our session together. What I realized is that I've been spending all my time focused on the light, when there's actually beauty in the shadows as well!
We set out at the golden hour with these beauties, and it was pure magic. Her kids are just as gorgeous as she and her sweet husband, and an absolute joy to work with! Y'all, this was a dream family to work with. I'd be lucky if my own family was half this easy to manage!
There really aren't enough words to describe what this little getaway meant to me, both personally and professionally. It was a refresh for my body and soul, and a complete reset for me and my photography journey. While I've come a long way, I realize now that this is just the beginning. And I couldn't be more excited for what's to come.
Thank you for joining me on the journey!!!