The Rad Photographers Retreat

 

3 Days of Community, Connection, and Creativity

Where can I even begin to describe such a wonderful and inspiring experience? Well, first, just the facts, ma'am... 

What is the Rad photographers Retreat? 

The Rad Photographers Retreat is a ladies only retreat for super kickass photographers, organized by the lovely Christine Dopp from Natural Intuition Photography. Christine, along with some rad co-conspirators, put together a retreat that included opportunities to connect and relax with other creatives, guest speakers and mentors from the photography (and related) industries, morning yoga, chair massages, professional hair & makeup (to get ready for some amazing headshot shenanigans), a personal chef cooking us amazing meals every day, and to top it all off, the most gorgeous styled shoot anyone ever did see! Plus some giveaways, some bubbly (or a Montana Mule or two), and the best company a girl could ask for! 

What did I really get out of it? 

You know, to be honest, it can be really easy to get stuck in the day to day. Stuck in the feeling of 'not good enough' and the over-glorification of busy-ness and hustle. I think as women in particular (and especially Moms), it can be really easy to put literally everyone else's needs ahead of ours, to minimize our own need for quiet, reflection, sanity, understanding, community, empathy, etc., and to work harder on building everyone else around us up than we work on building ourselves up. It can be easy to see nothing but our own flaws, to see only where we're falling down, only where we've failed or only what we have not yet achieved. And so to go from that all too common mindset, to a setting where women are there, creating and building community and connection, building each other up, finding common ground and inspiring one another, and actively encouraging things like rest, reflection, balance, self-care, is a breath of fresh air. 

If we're getting real here (and why not, right?) I'm in a tough place currently, stress-wise. Working too much, not appropriately balancing time with my family, and basically not scheduling in any personal reflection/self-care time. Let me just set the record straight for anyone who isn't already aware... It is not possible to do all the things perfectly. Maybe 70% if you're really really lucky and really really good. If you're like most of us then you've got 50% max of the shit you do that you're going to be really good at, and the rest of it you'll fumble through like everyone else. So, when I feel down on myself for not being the World's Best Mom, Best Wife, Best Small Business Owner, Best Photographer, Best Operations Supervisor of a Benefits Administration Company, Best at Exercise, Best at Eating Healthy, Best at Work-Life Balance, I try to remind myself that humans seriously weren't meant to do this much stuff. And I'm doing amazingly well by the standards to which we're evolved to cope with. 

Why do I bring this up? To reiterate a few things...

  1. How hard it was for me to take time off and make my own growth and learning and unplugging a priority 
  2. How easy it is to get down on myself for not basically being a perfect human (an oxymoron if one ever existed)
  3. How much I realize I'm not alone in those #1 and #2

So when I arrive at the retreat, nervous, stressed, feeling guilty, and like I shouldn't be there because I'm not good enough, and the first thing that happens is that I run into other, nervous retreat-goer arriving at the same time (love you, Kellie!) , and we're both handed glasses of sparkling wine and presents as we walk in the door, and told that no, we can't help with anything, and no, we don't need to offer our assistance, and go sit down for goodness sake and open your presents and drink this wine, it's like something clicked, and clicked hard. I spend my entire life taking care of other people (admittedly, sometimes not well) and putting others needs before my own. To be forced, even for 3 days, to put my own needs first, and indeed, to be encouraged to do so, was a novel experience. A very much needed experience that I wish more women had. 

I needed someone to pamper me for a bit, because lord knows it's the one thing I don't make time for. I needed a group of women to lift me up, and allow me to lift them up, and to smile and encourage and cheer each other on. I needed that because no one lifts women up like other women. No one makes women feel sane and supported and heard like other women. We're really freaking good at that (with everyone but ourselves). I desperately needed this, in a way I didn't even know, as is evidenced by what a hard time I'm having adjusting to 'real life' again, now that I'm home. 

I am so thankful for the experience I had, and for Christine and her team of talented friends, who put together this magical retreat, that gave me permission to slow down, breathe, reflect, grow, and connect. If you're on the fence about something like this next year, get off the fence and RUN to the nearest sign-up sheet because it is life-changing. I cannot wait to dive in next year, and I hope to see some of the friends I made this year come back again as well! 

What amazing people were involved in the rad retreat magic? 

OMG, so many! 

First, hats off to Christine Dopp, of Natural Intuition Photography, for birthing this idea and bringing it into being! She is a golden goddess, and I appreciate her so much! 

Second, here is a list of the vendors involved that all pitched in to rock this retreat like no one's business! 

Guest Speakers: 

Documenters: 

Breakfast & Lunch: 

Dinners: 

  • Personal Chef Services by Eric Vestegaard (we're trying to talk him into setting up an Instagram account, so hopefully more details to come!) 
  • Farewell Dinner Styling by Elevate Events
  • Adult Beverages Sponsored by Essential Edit

Styled Shoot: 

Goodie Boxes: 

And it wouldn't be a blog post without sharing some pics... 

So here you are, and here I am, daydreaming about next year's retreat! Hope to see you there! 

--Sam