Why you should hire a photographer for your Retreat or Workshop!

Hey hey hey, Happy Friday! Today I wanted to chat about why you should hire a photographer for your retreat or workshop! 

Sooooo, if you are planning to host a retreat or wanting to host a retreat, but the thought of marketing, promoting and planning it all is a little daunting; or maybe you’ve already hosted one in the past and still feel too overwhelmed of also sharing content during the retreat! I totally get that. I am right there with you! It is A LOT to do and think about. It’s hard to capture the moment while you’re trying to be in and live in the moment. Also, I’m sure you see your retreat attendees going through the same thing! Maybe after the retreat had ended, you found yourself wishing you had a way to show others what you and everyone else got to experience! Or even your attendees might wish they had more photos to relive the memories and experiences! It’s hard to find that balance, especially all on your own. 

My thoughts for you if you’re thinking of planning a another retreat, is that photos are an incredible way to market ANYTHING. You can put it on your website, Instagram, facebook, etc. to show others what they can expect! Show them what they are signing up for! Photos and/or videos really help future clients understand the transformation and experience they’ll have! You won’t regret capturing something, especially since it can and will help you in the future! 

I just finished photographing my first wellness weekend retreat in Bozeman Montana, working closely with Hanna Finissi with Soul Trust Ignite, to make this retreat super intentional for every single guest that came! Hanna put together and planned the whole weekend with multiple local health and wellness vendors. Hanna and I thought that it would be best for people to fully unplug from their life outside the retreat, so it would be best for them to not have their phones on them. But, of course, people want photos to show off to their friends and family when they come back from the retreat! 

health and wellness retreat weekend

With that said, Hanna hired me to be a ‘fly on the wall’ all weekend long! Not only did it give her guests freedom to be without their phones, but it also let the vendors come into the space and be fully present to focus on their craft. Even as a vendor you want to be fully present, but in the back of their heads they are also thinking “I really need to get some behind the scenes for Instagram.” So, if you hire a photographer to be there, the vendor actually gets true photos of them working and interacting with people as well! 

When you think about the content and photos you want to capture, there are so many aspects that can be ‘share-worthy.’ Feel free to include the location, all your guests (with their consent), all the details, the vibes, and everything else that may stick out to you! Even though this is a professional setting and professional images being taken, stay creative with it! I am in the background of the entire event, yet I am included in the whole experience with everyone else just by capturing it all. 

Things you want to talk over with your photographer before the retreat about what you’d like to capture:

  • Details, location, space, things that speak to the sensory experience like food, scenery, textures, etc. Definitely include the fun, exciting, emotional, real interactions between everyone, along with your connection with attendees. Also, all the activities/elements of itinerary, you as the guide, leader, coach, etc.

But also, talk about the intentions with your photographer. Do you want them to be a fly on the wall or fully a part of the experience? Do you want them to be there during meals at the table? Or having dinner in the kitchen with the other vendors? No wrong decisions here- this is your retreat and you can have it any way you’d like! But these things are important to talk about BEFORE hand, so your photographer is in the loop and knows exactly what to do. Especially if you are talking about personal things during the wellness workshop, you’re going to want to have someone trust worthy and comforting. 

health and wellness retreat weekend

How is hiring a retreat photographer helpful?  

  • Captures all the beautiful details you carefully curated and planned
  • Captures all the emotion and connection between you, your guests and vendors
  • Documents the transformation that the attendees experience
  • Provides you with professional marketing visuals for your future retreats
  • Can provide feedback from an observer’s perspective if you are open to it
  • Allows you to fully immerse yourself in the experience as a host and guide knowing that everything is being captured – including all the boomerangs and social media highlights, instead of worrying about grabbing some off your phone every once in a while
  • Helps you build and maintain excitement and interest in your retreat for your audience that’s watching from afar (Holla at the hype! AKA social media highlights!)
  • It’s a major value-add for participants: they have photos of their experience and transformation, and are transported back to this experience whenever they see these images. For entrepreneurs especially, knowing they’ll have fresh photos to use is a huge bonus for their own content strategies! 
  • Mini sessions with each retreat participant, so they have fresh photos to go along with their magical, transformative experience

For payment of the photography during the workshop or retreat you have a few different options! 

  1. The person hosting the event can pay for it; they can give it almost as a thank you or a gift to the guests. 
  2. You can split it up with all the vendors that are coming in for that week. 
  3. You can offer a fun little headshot day or mini photoshoot for the guests to individually have their moment to shine, and then charge them for the 30 minute shoot. 
  4. Talk about what the vibe and overall intention of the week is and go from there!
health and wellness retreat weekend

Post-Retreat: What to do with your new content?!

This past retreat I did with Hanna, I got their gallery back to them in 24 hours. It was so cool to see how quickly the vendors were posting about the amazing time and experience they had. We had seven vendors there at this retreat, and I got each vendor at least 35 images of them working and interacting with guests. That is at least a whole entire month of content for that person’s business! (Or even more if you don’t post as much!) 

Immediately after the retreat, you’ll likely have some highlights provided by the photographer. For example, in addition to same-day highlights during the retreat, I will provide additional highlights within 48 hours after the retreat. This means you can keep up the excitement you built during the retreat – after you give yourself a chance to relax a bit, of course!

With these highlights, you can share a recap of the retreat with your followers, and a ‘sneak peak’ into the retreat experience! The highlights I share with you will always include a variety of moments and experiences, so you have plenty to choose from. 

I know how important it is to use this time wisely, especially since your audience is already tuned in from what they’ve already seen!

health and wellness retreat weekend

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of what you could post:

  • Photos of you in your element, creating transformative experiences for attendees
  • Photos of attendees connecting and creating lasting relationships
  • Emotion (laughter, tears, moments of reflection, etc.)
  • Fun and excitement, laughter, hugging, cheers moments

You really can’t go wrong with what you post! Anything you feel strongly about, or anything you really enjoyed- go for it!

…and where to post them:

  • Highlight reel (IGTV, IG stories, IG feed, Facebook group)
  • You could even share with your email list
  • Let attendees know they can share photos too, and make sure they use any special hashtags you might have had for the retreat and definitely tell them to tag you (and the photographer!)
  • Share testimonial videos via IGTV, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
  • Share photos with excerpts from testimonial videos
  • Use any of this content in Facebook/IG ads when advertising your next retreat!!! 
health and wellness retreat weekend

I hope this helps you fully understand why a photographer can help you out during your retreat! As always, feel free to leave comments with any other helpful tips, or reach out to me with questions!! Happy retreating!! 

Here is a list of the vendors at our retreat!

ExpertSpecialty E-Mail Instagram 
Molly Casto Yoga + SoundBath mollycastoyoga@gmail.com@mollycastoyoga 
Tiffany SwanChef hello@tiffanysageswan.com@tiffanysageswan
Lindsay KockaMindful Fly Casting lindsay.kocka@gmail.com@lindsaykocka
Leanna KrenikPhotography leannajoyphoto@hotmail.com@leannajoyphotography
Megan UlricksFacial Workshop
Emily PotterJuice & Functional Nutritionemily@nourishmintwellness.com@nourishmintwellness 
Western Roots Line Dancing mtcountrydance@gmail.com@westernrootscountrydancing

And of course, the host- Hanna Finissi: Leader of mediation and mindfulness coaching https://www.soultrustignite.com/

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