One of my goals going into the New Year is to continue to learn and grow with photography! I want to educated myself on the business side of things and really focus on ways to enhance the overall experiences that my clients have! To do this I jumped at the incredible opportunity to attend The Reunited Retreat with the Little WV Workshop hosted by Ashton Kelley Photography.
I had been looking forward to this retreat for so long, but I was starting to think it was not going to happen with storm Jonas scheduled to arrive at the same time. I truly feel blessed by Ashton and the mentors who worked so hard to make this event happen and to have such a supportive family that insured that I could attend.
We live on a homestead so making arrangements to go out of town was proving to be a little more difficult with the storm approaching. We had just lost power and with the cold temps this caused our pipes to freeze. I went out and braved all the milk and bread sandwich eating crazies in search of water and luckily got my hands on some of the last jugs at the Piggly Wiggly. We stalk piled up supplies and continually melted snow on the woodstove to be prepared for the animals. It’s also kidding season and I had estimated that all of the kids would arrive at least two weeks before the retreat. I was wrong. Luckily my sweet mom came to the rescue and volunteered to watch the farm and animals while we were gone. She seriously showed up with a full sterile suit and was ready to become a goat midwife. I am pretty sure she was terrified at the possibility of delivering goat babies, but she played it off like she delivered goat babies all the time and assured me that all would be well and that I had to go to the retreat. She’s the best!
We hit the road early and got infront of the storm. As we arrived at the hotel I was immediately greeted by Ashton with open arms, then I explained to her how I hadn’t showered in a while so she might want to reconsider the hug haaa. Bless her heart for running around like a crazy mamma bear making sure everyone arrived safely.
The retreat kicked off in the evening with a fun Pj party and introductions! The conference room sparkled as we walked in. The room was lined with delicious sweets and beautiful treats! Not to mention beautiful flowers! I love me some Peonies and stuffing my face on sweets! There were even adorable tepees full of pillow nests to set the scene for the party.
It just got better heading into the weekend. Two days with speakers and presentations from ladies who are leading the industry. We got to hear from Andrea Martin, Britni Edwards, Amy Miller, Kelly Broyles, Autumn Branscome, Callie Lindsey, Angie Tracey, Sarah Dunlap, Alicia Wiley, and Ashton Kelley! What an incredible opportunity to attend! I learned so much that I can’t wait to incorporate into my business and life, it was truly inspirational! Thank you so much to all the mentors who took the time to volunteer to help us grow and learn! What is so special about this group is that these ladies are constantly there to lift others up and to answer questions and give support even outside of these events! I am still blown away by this!
The inspiration continued with a Surprise Snowy Bridal shoot! I had so much fun playing in the snow with my Shutter Sister homies and getting to shoot these beautiful ladies and beautiful dresses. This gorgeous shoot was styled by Laura Jill Reynolds with Simply Gorgeous Events and the makeup was done by Natalie Contrera. The beautiful models were Hannah Hicks, Megan O’Dell, and Natalie Contrera.
Did I mention that we were showered in swag! We each received all of these lovely items and a custom camera print unique to the camera we shoot! We even received shutter sister pins! Ashton gave away 4 House of Flynn Bags! Crazy! Shout out to Maureen Flynn for being awesome and donating the bags!
I cannot say enough about how thankful I am to be able to attend an event like this and be a part of this group. I cannot say enough to praise this group and Ashton and all she does for us! This workshop is unlike any other because it is a community! Ashton truly cares about helping people in the industry and it doesn’t end after these events and that is amazing! I am so thankful for all of her hardwork and everything that she does for us! I don’t think there is another workshop with a leader with a bigger heart! She really encourages us to chase our dreams and ” Make it Happen”! It was an awesome weekend spent with awesome company! It is so uplifting to be surrounded by such a wonderful group of creative ladies! I am lucky to be able to call so many in this industry friends and to have such a wonderful community of support! I feel inspired and ready to take on 2016! I am excited for what I have in the works, but it also feels great to be excited about what awesomeness each one of the ladies in this community is going to achieve in 2016!