big sky photo summit . photographers retreat

I’m not really sure where to begin when describing this retreat I attended in Montana last week. When I look over my notes they only seem to scratch the surface of what I’ve learned.

Dane Sanders was the first speaker of the three rockstar presenters (Tamara Lackey and Mike Colón being the other two) and, to be honest, I could listen to Dane talk for days – he is such a compelling speaker! In fact, maybe I should sign up for his workshop (although it’s possible that I may be using attendance at workshops as a way to procrastinate actually putting what I learn into practice… but I digress).

In the first hour of the workshop, I was moved close to tears no less than 3 times. I did not expect that this would be such an emotional experience. I felt like I was given permission to be completely honest with how I’m feeling in trying to manage a photography business.

So here it is… I am just so overwhelmed with all the things that I feel need to get done to be successful in my business. Compounding that is having two kids that are not yet in school full-time and a husband that travels 70% of the time and maybe you can understand my stress level. I know I am not unique in feeling this way or that others may have conquered these same challenges but frankly, that is no comfort to me! Can I please just indulge in a little self-pity? Okay, time’s up!

I finally voiced this concern on the last day of the workshop during the final Q&A in front of everyone. The answers and encouragement that I received (take your timego at your own pacedon’t rush it) took such a load off of my mind and made me release so much self-imposed stress.

Since my time is so precious (and really, whose isn’t?), I am going to commit to doing only one thing at a time. That sounds so simple doesn’t it? But my problem is trying to tackle multiple things at once and then feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing. If I just say Right now I’m going to finish this blog post or I will complete this edit or It’s time to re-write my About page then maybe I can chip away at my list and make some real progress.

Heavy sigh.

Alrighty then! On to some photos…

After lunch on Day 1 we got to spend some shooting time with the “child whisperer” Tamara as she demonstrated her approach to working with children.

Tamara shows her talent for simultaneous shooting and holding the light reflector…

This adorable girl falls under the “Just Needs to Warm Up” category…

We couldn’t resist a quick group pose under this apropos sign…

Up next was a quick engagement shoot led by Dane in the below freezing weather. Since there was not much space and I didn’t have the lens for it, I chose to just listen to Dane (but of course!) and take a few photos of the other photographers working away.

On the right is the awesome Tracy Moore who organized the entire kick-ass retreat. You rock!

Once we moved inside, I managed to get this quick photo of the couple (who are engaged for real!).

Many thanks to Tracy Moore again for organizing everything!

Also, thanks to hair stylist Monica Eck of Monica’s Salon and Day Spa in Big Sky and make-up guru Deirdre of Indulgence in Bozeman.

And lastly, thanks to all the cute Montana kids and the engaged couple, Dave Neal and Jessie Wiese. Best of luck to you!

More Day 2 photo-goodness to come!

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  • Tracy, I love how we all photographed the same subject but everyone’s photos are so different. I just LOVE your photos of that first little girl we photographed! You ROCK!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks Jackie! I love checking out everyone else’s photos too! I keep checking FB to see if anyone’s posted anything on it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Wow – looks like an awesome workshop! I’ve heard great things about Dane, so it’s good to hear that he really is that great in person. :-)ReplyCancel

    • I have to admit I have a bit of a crush on Dane now – in a totally platonic and non-stalker-ish way! :)ReplyCancel

  • Great post Tracy! We have so much in common in the challenges we face… I find myself comparing my progress in my studio (and in life for that matter) and totally forget that everyone’s life situation is different! Good job girl! And great pictures!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks Sam! I think that we don’t tend to realize how many people may be dealing with the same challenges or fears until we admit them out loud. And then it helps to know we’re not alone!ReplyCancel

  • Love love love!!! :) So glad you had a great time!! You are so amazing!ReplyCancel