For the past four winters, I've attended Inspire Photo Retreat, a 3-day retreat/seminar/convention for professional photographers. It's about 250ish photographers, mostly from New England, with workshops, mentoring, and networking. It's a fantastic event to attend for new and veteran photographers alike.
On the surface, it may seem like any other professional conference - classes for business growth, hands-on techniques, and networking with others in the industry. Attend Inspire and you'll soon learn that it's much more than that. Community and vulnerability are recurring themes at Inspire. Most, if not all, of the attendees, speakers, and planners are small business owners. Whether a brand new part-time photographer or a veteran studio owner with 20+ years experience and a dozen employees, life isn't always easy running a small business. Juggling personal life and business priorities in a rapid and ever-changing industry can be taxing and difficult. Inspire gives us the opportunity to come together to share ideas, make new friends, and remind each other that we're not alone in our business.
So when the organizers of Inspire approached me and asked if I would be interested in being the official photographer, I was humbled, honored, excited, and scared. I mean, being the photographer for an event FOR photographers? Talk about pressure! I weighed the pros and cons in my head, debating whether it would be worth it, whether I was good enough, if others would like my work, and if I could even handle it. I ultimately decided that I would regret not shooting Inspire if I turned down the opportunity. After all, in the words of The Great One, my pal Wayne Gretzky, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" (an apt quote for photographers!).
It was three days of hard work - waking up early and going to bed late, but definitely worth it in the end. All the attendees, speakers, and staff were incredibly appreciative of my work, I made connections with other photographers I wouldn't have otherwise made, and I was once again reminded that I'm not alone in my photography business, despite being a "sole" proprietor. These are some of my favorite photos from the retreat. I encourage anyone in the photography business to check out Inspire, and if you want more information, head over to their website to learn a little more, or ask me about my experience.
Special thanks to the Inspire planning team, Enna, Mark, and Eric, the Hyatt Regency in Newport, RI for their hospitality, Stephanie Frazier Grimm from Couture Parties for making sure everything ran smoothly, David Long and Jon Martinez of Epic Filmmakers, for filming the event and being awesome to work alongside, Rob Alberti, the AV guru and master DJ, for his technical expertise, and all the sponsors that helped make Inspire possible. And of course, the speakers and attendees, for being a bomb-diggity community!
And of course, no project would be complete without one of these...