the

EXPERIENCE

01.

THE SHOOTS

We are incredibly lucky that Mandy from Saddleworth Shindigs is travelling to Italy to join us again.  Our styling secret weapon… we have worked with her on weddings and shoots which have been featured on top blogs such as Rock My Wedding, Rock n Roll Bride, Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and Boho Weddings.

Mandy is tasked with preparing our gorgeous couples ready for your cameras. We can’t wait for you to see what she has in store this year!

02.
THE BUSINESS
Together on the wonderful ocean-side terrace (aka the ‘classroom’), we will guide you through every aspect of your business… branding, marketing, pricing,
destination weddings, identifying and finding your idea couples, editing, workflow and website 101. Enabling you to create a business that fits you perfectly … not a one size fits all … something just as unique as you.

Prepare to be inspired… and prepare to inspire others.  

GENUINELY LOVED-UP COUPLES

THE ‘CLASSROOM’

INFORMAL LUNCHES IN THE SUN

03.

THE TEAM

The Secret Retreat was born out of our desire to design a workshop that would be precisely the one that we, as female wedding photographers, would want to attend.  

From that first idea sprang the inspiration and passion to create something truly different, something that offered more than just technical assistance or model shoots.  

This dream of ours is about making your business a beautiful reflection of yourself, creating something that inspires both you and your dream clients.

ANDREA ELLISON

Andrea found herself as a fledgling photographer when her Dad died and she inherited his precious cameras and album upon album of carefully chronicled family photographs… She had a burning desire to carry on where he left off capturing future memories for her family and others.

Andrea is now an International wedding photographer with 8 years experience and 150+ weddings all over the UK and abroad under her belt. Regularly featured on countless top wedding blogs and magazines, her quirky creative style and calm unflappable nature has found her in high demand.

A passionate people-person and the ultimate queen of the work/life
balance, she is fully booked up to two years in advance. When she isn’t shooting weddings she can be found camera (or crochet hooks) in hand, happily married with three awesome kids and two fairly unbalanced dogs.

Did her Dad know what he was doing when he left her his cameras? She likes to think so.

CLAIRE PENN

In 2008, Claire returned home from her honeymoon in Italy with a Flickr Account, a point and shoot camera full of ’snaps (that she considered masterpieces) and an obsession for photography – she promptly sold her wedding dress and used the money to buy her first DSLR camera.  

After taking many photographs of the cat (and a successful few years of child/family photography) she got talked into second shooting some weddings by our very own Andrea Ellison and was hooked – she decided to make the leap.

Named one of the ‘Top 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography’ in the world by Rangefinder Magazine, Claire bloody loves shootingweddings… not just a bit, we are talking borderline inappropriate public displays of affection level, head over heels in love with it. And it shows in her images.

She captures the heart and soul of every wedding she shoots and has a trail of happy couples all over the world.

LUCY WOODROW

Lucy’s passion for photography began after her children were born.  Her desire to capture honest, natural images of them soon developed into an obsession.  Her path in the photography world lead her towards portrait photography, and more specifically children’s natural light photography and her images have won numerous awards and been featured on the cover of national magazines.  

Since demand for her work as a wedding photographer has increased, so has her path changed to the point where 95% of her work is now wedding photography. Lucy has recently worked as a photography trainer, instructing aspiring photographers at many workshops and styled shoots.

Lucy has photographed weddings both at home in the UK and abroad with new, exciting and exotic locations in the pipeline.  She has a passion for everything wedding related but believes strongly that wedding photography should be heart-felt, honest and truly reflect the couple and their wonderful, special, unique day.

MELISSA LOVE

Melissa is a website designer and brand specialist, who has been working exclusively with photographers for over 10 years.

Although she has worked with many high profile photographers around the world, she founded her company, The Design Space, specifically to help all photographers access great design at affordable prices.

She is passionate about helping small creative businesses really take charge of their online presence and feel confident when it comes to building and maintaining their websites.

Her Build Your Own Website course and range of WordPress templates is currently helping over a thousand photographers. She’ll be sharing the key things you need to do to your own website, whether you are just getting started or simply keen to up your website game.

Melissa lives in Cornwall with her family and is a keen photographer herself.

MANDY BECK

Mandy has been a wedding dresser and stylist since her own wedding in 2009. After sourcing and accumulating so much for her own big day and not wanting to part with a single thing, her and her husband Chris decided to share with other wedding couples, and Saddleworth Shindings was born.

The thrill of the hunt of finding that ‘can’t-live-without’ item for a client, anything unusual that would look fab for a prop, meant they soon had to move their treasure trove from their garage to a beautiful old cotton mill.

Mandy can tell you the story of exactly where she found every valuable (to her) piece or item and how it should be used to pretty up any venue, her attention to details is almost borderline obsessive.

Mandy’s knack of just knowing what her client wants, means they have dressed some of the prettiest, quirkiest weddings, and been lucky enough to do numerous styled shoots with some of the best wedding photographers in the business.

MY SECRET ITALY

Our hosts in Italy are Julie, Emillie and Dario from My Secret Italy. From the moment you arrive they will be making sure you enjoy every single second of your stay.

We know they have some surprises planned… of course we can’t say what. It’s a secret. But we could not be in better hands. 

To say Julie is in love with the Cilento coast and all things Italian is a bit of an understatement. Her love affair began way back in 2003 when
exploring off the beaten track she stumbled across Santa Maria.

With well over 70 Italian weddings in her portfolio she has formed firm friendships with some of the best wedding suppliers in Italy. Over the last decade Julie has truly embraced all things Italian and you only have to walk through the streets to shouts of “Julie…Ciao Bella” from her italian friends to know that she has truly found her secret home from home.

Every detail of a My Secret Italy wedding is personally arranged by Julie – looking after all her couples, as well as their friends and families she shows them all the delights of Santa Maria that only the locals know…the best hidden restaurants and cafe’s and the best place to sip a cocktail as the sun goes down.

04.

YOUR QUESTIONS

If you don’t find the answers you need here please email us or ask in the Facebook group.

HOW MUCH IS IT?

The total cost of the workshop is £1,750 per person.  A booking fee of £500 is required in order to secure your place.

The remaining balance of £1,250 is then due in full two months prior to you travelling to Italy – however this also can be paid in two instalments of £625 in May and July.

Payments can be made by bank transfer or by credit card via PayPal.

WHAT DOES THAT INCLUDE?
  • Transfers are included from Naples airport to the hotel and return – they will leave at approximately 2pm on Tuesday 11th September and return to Naples airport on Saturday 15th September for arrival at approximately 8am. You will be responsible for covering your own transfer/travel costs if travel is outside of these dates/times (but we are happy to help you arrange that).
  • Your own room with ensuite bathroom and sun terrace
  • All workshop classes/shoots
  • All meals from welcome drinks and dinner on 11th Sept to breakfast on 15th Sept.
  • Transfers throughout the workshop as required.
  • A few surprises along the way!
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE ATTENDING THE WORKSHOP?

There will be a maximum of 25 – 30 attendees.

WILL EVERYONE BE SHOOTING AT THE SAME TIME?
No… this aspect of the workshop it crucially important to us as there is nothing worse than a bun-fight! You will be divided into small groups… this allows for plenty of time for everyone in the group to work with our couples on an individual basis.  

We will be on hand throughout to chat and offer assistance.

HOW WILL THE DAYS BE ORGANISED?
Each day is different! There will be one full day of shoots with two real couples and we’ll have two days of classrooms on the shaded hotel terrace overlooking the ocean (certainly the best classroom we’ve ever been in).

You’ll even get some relaxation time for you to enjoy the hotel pool or explore the beautiful local town of San Marco.

WHO IS THE SECRET RETREAT AIMED AT?
Female wedding photographers who are looking for a relaxed retreat style workshop which covers all aspects of running a successful wedding photography business and those who are keen to book destination weddings (or more of them).
WHAT STAGE OF MY BUSINESS SHOULD I BE AT?
Any stage! We’ve had women just starting out alongside those whose businesses have been established for 10+ years… and everything in between.
WHAT WILL I TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORKSHOP?
Friends for life, an ongoing business support network and a great tan. But seriously… Lucy will be covering branding and getting you to dig a bit deeper and do some soul searching along the way; Claire will be talking pricing, marketing and destination weddings; Andrea will be telling you how to find your ideal couples and put yourself exactly where you need to be – right in front of them and Melissa will be covering all things website and social media.

Add to this some downtime for poolside relaxation after a busy summer of weddings (hopefully – if not, we can help!), evenings enjoying local cuisine with the whole gang and of course, beautifully styled shoots where we will share our secrets and you can practice your skills with our real couples.

WHAT CAMERA GEAR DO I NEED TO BRING?
One camera and a couple of lenses should be fine.
Can I use the photos taken on the workshop on my website/blog?
Yes of course.
I CAN'T SPEAK ITALIAN!
That’s ok… but obviously if you have a phrase book bring it along as the locals are very friendly!
WHERE DO I FLY TO?
The nearest airport to Santa Maria is Naples.  Easyjet, Jet2, Thomas Cook, Ryanair and BA all fly there from various UK airports.  

You are responsible for booking your own flights but Julie will be able to offer assistance with flight information should you need it.

How do I get to the Hotel Mareluna in San Marco?
A transfer from Naples airport will be organised to accommodate all flights arriving before 2pm and is included in the cost. The coach will leave the airport once the last flight has arrived and everyone is accounted for. Those arriving earlier in the morning will all meet up in the Blue Bar and you can start to get to know one another! If your flight is outside of the main dates/times you will be responsible for your own travel arrangements – Julie will be able to help organise but the cost would need to be covered by you.
OK, you had me at ‘Ciao’! How do I book?

You can secure your place on this year’s Secret Retreat by completing the booking form HERE. Alternatively you can contact us by email at Bookings@the-secret-retreat.co.uk and we will let you know the next steps to take.  Places are limited so please do get in touch as soon as possible.

 

What happens after I book?
That is where the fun begins…  you will be invited to a secret Facebook group for all the attendees and the team.  A place for ongoing support and friendship leading up to our Italian adventure and beyond. All practical and logistical information will be provided through the Facebook group.
 
We really hope you can join us for what promises to be an incredible week in Italy.  x
05.

BOOK YOUR PLACE

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