Retreat Photography

Inviting a photographer on retreat is great for 2 main reasons:

1. Marketing & promotional opportunity

The photographer can capture imagery for your next retreat, as well as provide you instant shots for your social/email while you’re still on retreat!

2. Integration with your retreat teachings

Photography can be integrated into the retreat teachings – how can photography relate to our lives & our practice?

Having a photographer on retreat can support participants in detaching from their phone.

Knowing the photographer will catch special moments, participants can leave their phone behind & focus on their practice.

Moment captured by Brendan Jaffer, during my 2014 YTT in Costa Rica.

If you’re considering a retreat photographer, here are 3 things to think about:

1. Get participant’s consent

It is vital to be very clear with your participants that a photographer is attending the retreat. It is necessary to also explain how the resulting photos may be used.

On your retreat sales/info page, state you will have a retreat photographer. Include this in the general description, as well as in the FAQs.

In your participant agreement, clearly state how you intend to use the pictures &/or video.

Provide your participants a way to opt-out of photography prior to the retreat – this can be as simple as writing you an email.

In your opening circle, introduce the photographer & restate the details of your participant agreement. Explain why you have a photographer on retreat & what the participant can expect.

Allow participants to opt-out of photography at any point during the retreat.

Provide your participants the opportunity to either tell you, the photographer, &/or your retreat coordinator in private that they wish to not be used in the photos &/or videos. Also create the option to drop a lil’ written note about their opt-out desire.

2. Create a special photo session

Rather than having the photographer present at every retreat practice session, create a special mini-session where everyone can be “in the mood.”

Maybe this photo session happens at the beach or in the nearby woods?

Remove all random personal items (water bottles, journals, towels, etc) from the shot & make sure props are nice & tidy.

Collaborate with your photographer about the best time of day – take into consideration natural lighting & other elements of the space.

Integrating portrait photography sessions into your teachings can be a very powerful practice.

How can the practice of “showing up” in front of the camera & documenting our “true self” integrate into your retreat teachings?

3. Get onto the same page with your photographer

Make sure you have a very clear agreement with your photographer.

At the minimum, answer the below questions:

  • When will you receive final photo files?
  • How will the photographer use the images?
  • Who owns the final files?
  • Will you have access to “instant images” during retreat?

Clarify the financial agreement regarding who is responsible for:

  • Room & Board
  • Travel expenses
  • Special retreat excursion costs

Need help filling your retreat? Consider a bonus to the photographer for each referred registered participant.

So thankful Brendan was there for this magical circle.

Special shout-out to Heather Craig & Alix Northup for inspiring this post.