“Out on the wiley, windy moors.. we’d roll and fall in green”

As soon as you hear those words, the haunting voice of Kate Bush fills your ears, your minds eye transports you right to the heart of the moors, a place of wind and solitude, of Cathy and Heathcliff, stark, moody and dangerous.  Nestled on the edge, our destination … Ponden Hall, the place that inspired Emily Bronte as she dreamed of and created her dark and magical masterpiece, Wuthering Heights.

Inside the welcoming walls of Ponden Hall it is like the moors in which it has sat for centuries are another world away, and this is where we will find ourselves, gathered around its ancient long table in a room that envelopes you with the warmth of the giant roaring fire,  oozing history and legend.  It’s an amazing place, an inspiring place … no wonder Emily Bronte fell for it’s charms.  We can think of nowhere more inspiring to welcome The Secret Retreat home to than by it’s fireside.

Dates and cost

Wednesday 22nd November 2017 – sold out

Thursday 23rd November 2017 – places available.

Due to extremely high demand and selling out in under 24 hours, we are thrilled to announce that we have opened a second ‘Fireside’ day at Ponden Hall.  If you are interested please contact us immediately to secure your place.

We will be bringing the magic of our Italian retreat back home to England and places are extremely limited and interest is already high.

There will be only 15 precious seats around our table.

Cost: £300 inclusive of the very best Bronte food & hospitality from our award winning hosts Julie and Steve.  (Total cost is payable in full to reserve your place)

The cost of the course will include the table sessions, coffee breaks, lunch and the afternoon styled shoot.



During our intimate gathering we will be fireside, examining all aspects of creating an authentic unique wedding photography business.  Three table sessions designed to inspire, from building your brand and nurturing meaningful client relationships to helping you to create a dynamic business with a difference.

In the afternoon as the shadows begin to fall we will venture up out onto the moors with our real life couple for a modern day wedding shoot inspired by the magnificence that is Bronte Country.  Bring your camera, warm clothes and an open ready mind.


How to book

To join us fireside we ask you to complete the contact form at the foot of this page and we will be in touch with directions and full details of how to reserve your chair.  Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis… be quick… interest is already high.

You are also invited to join us if you so wish after the course has finished for evening dinner at the wonderful Old Silent Inn in nearby Howarth.  Accommodation is also available for an overnight stay by booking directly via Ponden Hall if you choose to travel to join us from further afield.


About us

The Secret Retreat was born out of our desire to design workshops that would be precisely the type that we ourselves, as 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 you and your dream clients. 


andreafAndrea Ellison

Andrea found herself as a fledgling photographer the day her Dad died and she inherited his precious cameras and album upon album of carefully chronicled family photographs. With a burning desire to carry on where he left off capturing future memories for her family she picked up his camera and started shooting.  Self taught, she is now an International Wedding photographer with 5 years experience and 100+ 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 work in high demand. A passionate people-person and The Ultimate Queen of the work life balance she now selects only 25 weddings a year to shoot and is fully booked up to two years in advance… When she isn’t shooting weddings she can be found, normally camera still in hand, happily married with 3 awesome kids. Did her Dad know what he was doing when he left her his legacy?…  she likes to think so

       You can view Andrea’s portfolio HERE


Claire Penn

In 2008, Claire returned home from her honeymoon in Italy with an obsession for photography – she promptly sold her wedding dress and used the money to fund her first DSLR camera.  After many photographs of daily life and a successful few years of child/family photography she got talked into second shooting a number of weddings (by our very own Andrea Ellison) and decided to make the leap. Claire shot her first wedding in late 2011. Since then she has been a regional finalist twice for the coveted Best Photographer award at the Wedding Industry Awards; she can be found on Junebug Weddings’ invitation only ‘hot list’ of the World’s Best Wedding Photographers; and in November (2014) she was named by the influential US magazine Rangefinder as one of the ‘Top 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography’ in the world. Claire loves her job… not just a bit, we are taking borderline inappropriate public displays of affection level, head over heels in love with the job. That shows through in the images. Her aim is to capture the heart and soul of every wedding she shoots, to tell the unique story of each of her couples and to ensure that everyone is relaxed and has fun in the process.

       You can view Claire’s Portfolio HERE


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.  Lucy’s path in the photography world lead her towards portrait photography, and more specifically children’s natural light photography.  Lucy’s images have won awards and have 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.

       You can view Lucy’s portfolio HERE

Have a look at our Facebook page to discover more about our workshops.

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