A Retreat for Wedding Photographers
To just borrow from their website, SNAP is a 4 day summit, retreat, workshop and wedding photography conference. Although it was less like a conference and more like a big party! A party where you learn things, because I did learn tons of new things! I arrived full of apprehension about making new friends, meeting people and just generally fitting in but things did get off to a good start!
SNAP Photography Festival
I’ve been shooting weddings for many years now but the first 6 years or so of doing wedding photography I was sort of in my own little bubble. I didn’t take part in any wedding industry events and didn’t really have any photographer friends either. I taught myself through the power of the internet! Well mostly on Flickr actually. I was lucky enough in the beginning to have some friends of friends trust me and give me chance to shoot their weddings. But recently I’ve had my eyes opened to the communities and events that are out there for us wedding photographers. SNAP being the pinnacle of that so far, by a very long (welsh) country mile.
Fforest Camp, Wales
On arrival at Fforest Camp in Pembrokeshire, Wales where SNAP was held this year. The welcome was warm and full of hugs, I was handed a beer in my first few minutes (thanks Jamie!) and the atmosphere and energy was charged with love and positive energy, as everyone seemed to arrive at the same time. That wasn’t too difficult as there are only around 100 people attending! Just the right amount of people to make the festival intimate and give you chance to get to know more people properly.
I arrived with Hannah and Emma, my car share buddies from Manchester. It was helpful arriving with people as I wouldn’t have known anyone otherwise and it’s always daunting meeting new people. But they were my rock throughout the week and I think I’ve made some friends for life! Fforest Camp is set in a very beautiful location and the site is spread around fields and woods. Bluebells were out in force all week, It was cold being April in Wales but we did see the sunshine at times and you were never too far from a campfire or a pint of soul warming Welsh Ale.
Camp Shack Accommodation
There were several choices for accommodation and I had opted to stay in a camp shack. That comprised of a wooden hut with a table, log burner, hob and storage space. Perfect if you were actually camping but with your SNAP photography festival ticket all your food was included this year! The food was fantastic too! Then at either end of the wooden hut was a tent that slept up to four people. I shared the camp shack with 5 other guys and I had a lot of fun with those guys and hope to see them all again soon!
There was a fantastic line up of talks and workshops from a broad spectrum of speakers, mostly wedding photographers but some great curve balls in there too, like Networking for the Networking Averse with Tazeen Ahmad. Some of my highlights include Candice C. Cusic, Franck Boutonnet, Jennifer Moher, Hugh Whitaker, Jide Alakija and Andrew Billington. There were mini 1-2-1’s on things like business and SEO which were great. I’ve been shooting a while now, so I didn’t always agree with all the speakers, one would often contradict the other, which is to be expected to be honest. There’s certainly not just one way to approach wedding photography or to run a buisness. There was still something important for me to take away from each talk and workshop though, making it more than worthwhile from an educational and professional development point of view.
A special place
If it’s just education you’re after then there are plenty of other workshops and conferences you can attend. I found SNAP to be so much more than that. It’s a fantastic inclusive and supportive community. I learnt so much before arriving just from reading the active group they have on Facebook. I’ve also made some friends, well lots of new friends actually. Some I know are going to be in my life for some time to come.
The many conversations I had across the week often centered around photography, running a wedding photography business or just swapping anecdotes and stories from weddings everyone has been to. These conversations had as much value as any other part of the festival. To say I had fun at SNAP is a little bit of an understatement too. I didn’t get to bed before 1am any night and party night was a 5am finish for me! SNAP Photo Fest is going to have a special place in my heart for quite some time to come.
Laura Babb is the founder of SNAP photography festival. After attending Yeah Field Trip in the US, she thought wouldn’t it be great if we had something similar in the UK. Yeah Field Trip weren’t interested in a collaboration at that time so Laura just got started on making it happen herself! You can listen to Laura talking about the festival on Andrew Hellmich’s Photobiz podcast. SNAP has been a labour of love for Laura and I take my hat off to her for not just making it happen but also for making it so amazing. A huge achievement considering she is also very busy being a very well respected and renowned wedding photographer herself, with her business Babb Photo. I love Laura’s work and approach to her business. She’s a pillar of success and of how to run your business well.