Thursday, November 18, 2010

Swell retreat

We want to welcome back Marla Carter to the Savvy blog! I've ask Marla to tell the Savvy readers about the new Swell retreat coming up February 24-27, 2011 on the gorgeous Gulf Coast! Let's hear from Marla...

Thanks so much Marsha for spreading the word about our upcoming retreat! We realize that the concept of Swell is a little different and so after we answer these questions, we welcome people to ask more in the comments!

Is Swell a workshop?

Swell is definitely not your standard workshop, that's for sure. The typical workshop has "speakers" who stand up and do a presentation about how they run their business, or about how they process, etc. You sit for hours and listen versus being in an engaging and informative conversation.  We feel that as a diverse group of working professionals, the best learning comes from multiple sources and varying viewpoints. Each topic of discussion at Swell will be led by Marla and Catherine, plus an "expert" in that area. The format will be round robin with everyone having an opportunity to contribute and ask questions.

How did you guys come up with the idea?

Marla- For the last six years I have been hosting a similar get together for the Pro Members of ILP and the learning that has occurred there has been immeasurable. A group of us met in person years ago at a workshop and became quick friends in a time when there were just a few of us running portrait businesses. We agreed that we learned more from each-other that weekend then we did from the actual workshop, and we also agreed that meeting each-other was the best thing that ever happened to us personally and in business. Over the years, we have had to keep the group to a limited number of people to insure privacy and intimacy. There has been much interest from other photographers to come together in a similar way where they could share, learn, and make personal connection with other photographers who understand them. And so Swell was born in my mind!

Catherine- For me, going to workshops was a way to learn different approaches to business, think outside my box, and learn technical tricks.  For years, I have attended many amazing workshops.  I have always been of the mindset that workshops are what you make of them; and, I have gotten something valuable from every single one I have attended.   But most of all, I always enjoyed the opportunity to get away and connect with other photographers. In recent years, as my business has reached a point of contentment and my confidence in my photography has grown, I still long for those times away with other photographers, and the exchange of ideas that happens after hours at a workshop. In fact, I have grown most from my weekends away with my photography friends, those that are unscripted and unforced. Swell is the perfect place for someone in business to come and get the continuing education and connections they crave, without having to sit and listen to tips and tricks that are not suited for their level of business.

So who should come to Swell?

Swell is for the professional photographer who has been in business for a few years. Perhaps, you are needing to infuse your business with new ideas, or maybe you feel stuck in a rut and want to be inspired. Maybe you are happy with your work and run a successful business.  In fact, it may be too successful. You may have hit a place that you feel burnt out and need to find a way to balance your life. Swell is for photographers who want a safe and authentic environment, where egos are left at the door. This is NOT a workshop for new photographers needing to learn technical skills and start up business concepts.

If people have been following Savvy for a while, then they know you and Catherine both have fabulous studios, but what else should they know about you?

We tried to avoid the bulleted list of accomplishments on the blog because we are both pretty humble, but we certainly feel qualified to host this retreat for many reasons. Catherine and I both run very successful businesses. My husband and I support our family, and our employees solely on the income from our business. We shoot hundreds of clients a year and have a high sales average. I was chosen as one of the initial consultants for the development of MPIX PRO and continue to work closely with the Millers team. We regularly shoot local commercial projects and recently shot for Extreme Home Makeover.

Catherine runs a highly profitable business with multiple employees and a designated senior shooter.  She has experience running her business both from her home and in a retail studio space. Her studio has been incredibly successful with the implementation of a very personalized in-home ordering session that sets her studio apart in her market. Catherine was also one of the speakers at last years fabulous Savvy Workshop at the Inn at Perry Cabin and is well respected amongst her peers. Her clean shooting style, flawless processing, and her ability to connect with her clientele has driven the demand for her work in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

What is included in the price?

The fun thing about Swell is that not only will you gain an insane amount of knowledge, but you will also be pampered in one of the country's top resorts! The price includes all accommodations including three nights at the resort, all your meals, and the opening night party at a world class restaurant. It also includes all kinds of fun recreation like biking, kayaking, tennis, and more. Did we mention that you will be staying ON the beach in a room with a priceless view of the most beautiful white sand beach you have ever seen?!

What else do you want people to know?

We have so many fun ideas planned for Swell. Different topics than you are used to discussing and different approaches to some of the topics that you always want to learn more about. Our team of experts is being assembled and each one has special personalized consulting they will be offering. We just added an EXPERT section to the website so keep checking back for special offerings and fun giveaways!

For more details and to register for the retreat, check out the Swell Website.

Thank you Marla for sharing. I'm totally jealous of anyone attending this! I would love to be there...maybe next time.


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