speak now photography retreat - four women dancing and singing in the kitchen

The Speak Now photography retreat was one of those unexpected magical happenings. You know the ones – they happen almost without warning, and your life is suddenly better for it.

Last year it was wizard school, this year it was a retreat with 17 other female photographers (and two dogs), in a country house in Sussex, organised by Marianne Chua who also champions female visibility in the photography industry.

I didn’t really know any of the others, but I decided to go because I thought it would be fun. It was so much more than fun! I’ve come away with new knowledge, new confidence and most importantly new friends.

speak now photography retreat - whole group outside the house
Group shot by Holly Rose Photography

The joy, creativity and spirit of sharing was amazing, and it was the most inspiring thing to be surrounded by people who understood… who were just as happy to collaborate as they were to press the shutter for you on a self portrait. Who didn’t get offended if you wanted to work alone, and who welcomed you in when you wanted to collaborate. And who were so open about their businesses & their creative processes & willing to share, that real magic happened.

There were talks and workshops (I gave one of them, on multipoddery) and lots of chat, and there was also a hot tub… and too many cameras to count!

five women in a hot tub in winter
Pic courtesy of Marianne who was brave enough to bring her phone near the hot tub!

Holly & I both turned up with a car full of props each, so we made a prop room which was joyful – and seeing what people made with different things, or things I’d not found a use for, was incredible!

Here are a small selection of my shots from the trip, I’m still editing! My self portraits will be over on my fairytale & fine art photography site.

It was the best few days, and has done wonderful things for my confidence, my creativity and my energy. I’ve written before about how to DIY your own business retreat – I can also now highly recommend doing it with other people!

speak now photography retreat - female creative portrait photographers in action
lady of the lake portrait
behind the scenes of lady of the lake portrait
Portrait taken at the speak now photography retreat
greenhouse portrait of Nicole
portrait of Amy with her camera
female photographers in action at the speak now photography retreat
Portrait of Corina
portrait of Sam holding her camera
backlit portrait of Anja
golden hour portrait of Anna holding her camera
hot tub and prosecco

Speak Now is a group empowering women towards increased visibility in the photography industry. The Speak Now photography retreat was a way for a group of female photographers to get together, share techniques and best practice and advice and experience, and have some guilt-free creative & social time around running our businesses. Highly recommended!