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Photography retreat with a little girlfriend road trip

About a month ago, I escaped with 2 of my friends for the weekend. We had been planning it for nearly 10 months.  10 months!  I don’t plan in advance well…I planned my own wedding in 3 months…I no longer photograph weddings because I DON’T like planning a year in advance…and to have this planned so far in the future felt like light years away.  I’m not sure if it was Tricia or Heather that came up with the idea for us to go, but at some point I realized that spending the weekend with an inspirational Austrailian photographer, and 12 other professional artists would be like water to my creativite drought.  I was feeling in a slump, and only wished the date would come sooner.  I’d never done any type of retreat before.  I’d been to an hour or two class, but this was an entire weekend!

I met up with my girls, and our road trippin’ began. We drove 2 hours to Round Top, Texas and squeeled with excitement amidst random stories and snacking on the treats we picked up on the way.  We arrived at The Belle of Round Top and the kind Debbie ushered us to our shared room.  We were so excited, we had to take some group pics…

We were asked to prepare a collage that told about us to those we would meet in the group.  This is what I made about myself:

Below is Barb, a.k.a. Jinky.  One is her real name, one is her business name, we all kept calling her both back and forth.  We woke up for a 7am shoot, to what she kept referring to as “Brad Pitt’s bike.”  She was very excited about the fact that it was rented from a local shop.  He filmed The Tree of Life in a neighboring town, and I guess he rode this bike in some scenes in the movie…

So a bunch of us took terms testing out the bike, this is Heather…

And I figured I’d take a spin (pic taken by Heather)

Above pic taken by Tricia.

Throughout the weekend, there were 8 different photo shoots we got to take part in. Models were set up, themes were conjured up, and it was pretty funny to watch those of us that are normally in charge of a shoot…sit back and let Barb take the lead.  Some of my favorite shots are of all the photogs shooting!

And laughing…most of us were from somewhere in Texas, but a handful of ladies flew in…one from Indianan, another from Georgia.

Barb travels with her family, and during our discussion times, every once in a while her little 2 year old would want to participate, too. I loved this mommy moment above.  Below are her 3 girls.  It was fun to chat with them, and I even got a little video of them talking about their favorite Pokemon cards to take home to my kids (who also love Pokemon).   Even my hubby said its just wild to hear small children speak in an Austrailian accent.



It was so wonderful to stay in a bed and breakfast with everyone else.  All of our meals and snacks were cooked for us, water bottles and sodas were kept in an ice chest to access at any time, it was just so nice to eat and chat with everyone when we weren’t occupied.  I don’t have pics of our dinners, but that was some of the best chats was with the other gals, talking all about photography…nearly non stop!  I don’t have a whole lot of people who share this same passion and “get it” so it really was wonderful to take part in. I am lucky to have my friends Tricia and Heather, whom we email each other nearly every day with photo biz questions or concerns.

Heather and I wanted to take some pics of the lovely blue cabinets in the kitchen.  Then Shelley joined in with me…

For some reason, it appears I didn’t take any shots of the front of the B&B.  I have one that I took during a session.  We stayed in the upstairs left corner room.

Tricia took a few pics of me to use as a profile shot…one of them is on my personal facebook page now;)  It felt SO weird to stand there all alone and have pics taken of me!

I can’t seem to locate the HOT SHOT of me and my 2 roomies in the matching jammies Heather gave us. Its pretty rockin’.

At the end of the weekend, we were asked to prepare a collage of our best work.  These are some of my favorite images in the past year or so. I had a one on one chat with Barb, and I asked questions I had and got to hear her feedback. One thing that we discussed a lot was to pick a part of photography that we love and stick with it. I love color and I love families and I love photojournalism.  It was nice to hear kind words about what I was sharing, and some thoughts on what I could do differently in branding, etc. It’s tough for me because I LOVE doing this as a business, but I want to be SO part time right now with my little ones so young.  I’m a busy momma, and I don’t want a career with photography right now. I am happy with my part time situation.  Sometimes it takes over more than I want.  Below is our group shot that I suggested we do (I just love a group shot).  It makes me smile;)

Then, with my two girlies in front of the B&B.  We drove home with so much to talk about, trying to digest the information we took in, and discuss the goals we had after.  Someone, we ended up telling the stories of how we met  our husbands…I love those types of stories;)

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  1. Those kitchen cupboards are GORGEOUS!!!!

    I love the idea of a retreat – sounds like you had a great time. Also I get what you mean, I coach/ speak part-time on time management and I’m not unhappy with how PT it is, even if I’m not more successful :)

  2. Sherron Kendrick says:

    Could anything more appropriate than a photographer that loves to SMILE herself! What a happy girl you are!

  3. I am a big fan of Barb’s also. Her work is beautiful. Must have been an amazing weekend. I am a big fan of yours also!

  4. That looks SO fun! What a fabulous getaway! Gorgeous pictures, as always!

  5. What a fun trip! It looks amazingly laid back and fun and beautiful!

  6. That looks AMAZING. SO amazing.
    Kristen, I feel the same, in that I LOVE photography – I THINK in light & composition, that I don’t have a whole lot of people who share this same passion and “get it.”
    I think that’s why I’m always excited to see a new post of yours in my feed, and comment so much here on your blog.
    I don’t follow other photog blogs, I’ve tried a few here & there – but yours has stuck, I adore & respect you! You’re kind of my little outlet – someone who gets that passion. Nearly exactly. The priority of maintaining family balance, while loving photography.
    Thank you for what you do & for sharing about this amazing retreat! SO fun. You are lucky to have those girls!

  7. Kristen,
    It is always such a joy to read your posts when I get a chance to read them start to finish. Looks like a fantastic trip full of gal time who share your passion. Hopefully one day down the road we’ll get to work together again. I love how you see the world in full blown color and tell the story through pictures.

  8. tricia dunlap says:

    Kristen!!! You brought back some AMAZING memories!! That weekend was definitely one of the highlights of my LIFE! – Fun with good friends and completely submerged in my favorite topic: PHOTOGRAPHY – learning from JINKY! Oh my – it was quite a weekend that I will never forget! I feel like I have known you and Heather forever and funny that we just met not even 2 years ago! I am so thankful for your friendship – you are a blessing to my life! Love, T

  9. Looooove that you blogged this!!! What a blast I had with you girls! Tricia is right, I’ll never forget this fun weekend! Oh, and I can get you those silly pj photos if you’d like ;)
    hugs & kisses my friend!!!

  10. Jenny Polson says:

    SO FUN! Next time let me know that would be so fun to do! :)

  11. The retreat looks so awesome!!! Such a cool house too. I just got back from Audrey Woulards workshop in Chicago…we should get together and exchange notes!

  12. I follow your posts and I just got caught up! I was the lucky mommy who supplied precious models for the Jinky shoot in Round Top! I love JinkyArt and by golly they were going to do the shoot and love it by golly!! We were there September 10- the Saturday and my kids did a balloon shoot on the bed. My dear friend’s daughters were the last shoot that day and they did the clothesline shoot. Precious. I am sure yall were overloaded with great information. It was amazing to see Barb in action.
    Looks like yall had lots of fun!

  13. It seems a long time since you posted this but i just wanted to say that it is still read and giving inspiration to some of us. I would loooove to be a part of something like this one day! Lucky you!

  14. Wow, I LOVE your pictures and it looks like y’all had the best of time! I’d LOVE to do something like this, I think I’ll look into some, you’ve convinced me with your pictures. :) I am just starting to take up photography, I am only 44 well make that 45 in 3 days. My youngest in now in college and I’ve always spent my money on big and expensive things for them. My daughter is in art school she is a very talented film maker and photographer. I finally got a good camera for Christmas and I am so excited learning all about it. It’s not the top It cost less then $500 while my daughters was twice that much I still think the pictures look great! I Love your work, I like nature pictures of people and you seem to be very good at it. I’ll keep visiting you and trying to learn all I can for you. Thank you for sharing your talent, family and friends with us.
    God Bless,


  1. [...] them to each other, and it just clicked with us right away. Two years ago, we attended a photography retreat, and have photographed each others families several times (I love swapping this service). I even [...]