Photography Retreat for all: the iPhone, Auto User, and Manual (take a look!)

 Friends, it's no secret I LOVE, love my Nikon D7000.  I saved up for this camera and use it every single day.  It is just quite simply, my fave.   I even taught myself how to use manual mode and there's no turning back there either.  But, the fancy camera or ISO/white balance/shutter speed actually AREN'T what made me fall in love with photography.  Not one bit.  
 In fact, I've tried dozens of times to pinpoint the exact date when I fell so hard for this passion of mine and I can never quite do it because it's hard to remember life without this extra pair of eyes and hands.  And feet.  My photos take me and my memories places we'd otherwise never visit.  
 When I advertise my photography retreat or talk to people about their photos I always make it real clear and obvious that I think photography is for all.  I've sat in on some pretty uncomfortable conversations with "real" photographers saying that there is so much access to photography that it shouldn't be ok for so many people to consider themselves photographers.  As you may guess, I strongly disagree.  Yes, there are certain opportunities and jobs that call for a certain level of expertise.  But wanting to capture your family and world? Go ahead, claim photographer status. 
Because the truth is your eyes, mind, and soul are God-given and exclusively yours.  We've heard that since kindergarten haven't we?  The "you're unique" speech.
 I believe it's worth repeating again. 
Each of these photos you're seeing are some of my faves.  They spark a memory or make tears jump into my eyes.  

And they were all taken with my camera phone. No fancy Nikon in sight.
 We can probably all agree that there are professional photographers who make a living from their cameras.  They own fancier equipment than we do and have more knowledge than we do.  And you bet if I ever enter the working world with my camera somehow, I will most definitely proudly say which equipment I use and that I shoot in manual mode.
But let's get back to real life.  Real life is with our families, it's meals at the table, hands being held.  Children playing, teenagers growing, generations gathering.  A tear that barely slipped out, water shimmering on the lake, the light reflected in your favorite coffee cup…

this is real life.  It's yours and mine too.  We are all invited to show up to that.
(the photo above and ones below were taken with my old Nikon, in auto mode.  They are some of my top favorites, ever)

 My upcoming photography retreat is a hand extended to you…
we'll be learning practical lessons for our cameras and phones about lighting, temperature, depth and perception, and styling a photo.  But the bigger invitation is to retreat for a day to listen…to figure out what makes your heart thump or your soul dance in your photos.  And if the answer is nothing…we'll figure out why.  I'll help you uncover your confidence for capturing what is specific to you and treasuring your own unique rosy in the routine. 

Because it really does have so much to do with confidence.  The picture above is one of my all-time favorites.  It's even under the "Holley Gerth Downloads" section above on my blog, with a lovely quote of Holley's.  I remember (with a laugh now!) the day I posted this picture somewhere and I got a response that it looked like a meat patty.  The viewer couldn't figure out what it was a picture of! I had myself a good laugh over that one…but I kept the picture.  Because it reminds me of spring from the past with two babies and Brett traveling overnights and there I was, continuing to seek out the beauty.

 So think photography isn't for you?
Think again. 
To me, you can have the fanciest camera in the world and take the most emotion-less photo ever, complete with bad lighting. 

You can also use a camera phone and capture an entire story of emotions and memories all in one shot.

Personally, I'll always choose to shoot with a fancy Nikon because it's just what I love. 
But the greater story I wish to be apart of is that of telling stories and capturing the rosy in the routine, no matter what camera I have in hand.  

THAT is what I want to share with you and teach you about on the farm.

(an oldie, but such a goodie)

Retreat details: 
We'll learn about depth and perception in our photos, how shooting from different angles can tell a different story, and give ourselves time to simply be inspired and photograph what our hearts focus on.  We'll have instruction time in the cozy farm cabin, letting our conversation get to the heart of what we want our photography to be about.  We'll also have time to roam on the farm, stopping to practice and be inspired along the way. While my focus is mainly capturing your everyday just like it is, I'll also share some of my favorite photo props and styling tips. Last, we'll end by dining on appetizers on the porch, cameras in hand and equipped to capture a photo at the table that tells a story.  
This will be a one-day retreat, taking place Saturday, May 16th from 9:30-2:30.  Lunch, snacks, and retreat workbook are provided.  Cost $100. 

Email to reserve your spot! I'll invoice you via Paypal.  Because of the time spent on this unique retreat, no refunds will be given.


  1. Oh I wish I lived closer! You're too fun!

  2. Hi Sara,
    Oh I wish I lived closer too! This sounds like such fun. I agree that we can sometimes squash our talents because we think we are "not qualified". Your post reminded me of a story my "very excellent photographer" friend told me that I ALWAYS remember. He was involved in a camera club with "serious" art photographer types. And one woman kept winning all of the contests. So one day during all the "what speed did you shoot this at...what camera did you use...what focal length...blah blah blah" somoeone asked her about her camera settings. My friend said she simply said,"I don't worry about any of that. I just point at what I like and shoot in AUTO mode." As you said, we all have a truly unique God-given view. And that is great to share with the world. Great post!

    1. Oh Susan, I just loved your response. I've read it several times. There is truly no lens quite like the heart. :)

  3. The urge to drive to Arkansas is great, but it would be just too far. Maybe sometime in the future a road trip would work. The day sounds like loads of fun!

    1. I would loooooove to have you someday! :)

  4. I, too, wish I were closer! Baltimore to Arkansas would be quite a long trip! I wish you the best with your retreats. Those who attend will be blessed beyond measure, I'm sure!

    1. Thank-you so much for your encouraging words! :)


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