Give away: Do/Open how a simple email newsletter can transform your business


Give away: Do/Open how a simple email newsletter can transform your business

A while back we shared Alice's write up about her experience at The Do Lectures 'How a Simple Newsletter Can Transform your Business'.  Well the awesome folks at Do have given us a copy of  David Hieatt's book on the very same subject, to give away to one lucky winner.

how a simple email newsletter can transform your business

This is the second book from David Hieatt, author of Do Purpose and co-founder of The Do Lectures and Hiut DenimDo Open started life on David's blog followed by a popular run of Do workshops, including the one that Alice attended, and is now a published book.

At his company Hiut Denim, David has based his entire marketing strategy around the humble newsletter. Over time, it has helped build the business into a global jeans brand with a fiercely loyal following. Now David shares his insight and strategies and explains how this vital tool - so often underestimated - can be used to great effect. Full of practical advice on everything from understanding your audience to writing a killer headline, Do Open is a perfect manual for creative entrepreneurs and anyone building up their brand and online community.

We're giving a copy away and all you have to do is swing by our Instagram, find the picture of the book, leave a comment saying why you'd like to win and tag two people who you think would love to hear about this book.   We'll pick a winner at random on the 28th May.  


Terms and Conditions

  • The prize is a 1 x copy of the book 'Do/Open how a simple email newsletter can transform your business'
  • Closing date 28th May 2017
  • Winners agree to be featured on and in any associated publicity
  • No prizes may be exchanged or transferred and no cash alternative will be offered
  • Winner will be selected by Snap Photo Festival at random
  • By entering the draw, you agree that all information submitted by you is true
  • The winner will be contacted via email failure to respond may result in forfeiture of the prize



SNAP 2017

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SNAP 2017

wedding photogaphy workshop

Images by Voytek London Wedding Photographer and words by Laura Babb

Let's start with an apology of sorts: there are more than 200 pictures here.  It's more of a sorry-not-sorry really.  Wojtek, our official SNAP 2017 photographer did an amazing job and I can't tell you how much I love these pictures of what was one of my favourite SNAPs to date.  There are a whole load more that we'll be sharing on the SNAP Facebook page at a later date.  

As always I'll be letting the words of our attendees do the talking, but first a few thank yous!  

Thank you the SNAP team:  Alex, Pete, Shelly, Wojtek, Sam and Dani, Sophie, Alice and Hannah H

Thank you to our brilliant partners Fujifilm and QT Albums

Thank you to our sponsors Peter Wilbourne Design, Catalyst Wed Co, Grizzly Bear Design, Jenn Edwards, I Do, Brolly Bucket, Madeleine Jones, That Event DJ, Department Store for the Mind, Fractal Filters, Flothemes, Doris Loves, Flying Vinyl, Ewe and Nu Bride

Thank you to our speakers and, of course to our brilliant attendees.  I've said it before but the people are what makes SNAP so special and the fact that everyone who attends comes with an attitude of openness and inclusivity really does create a very special atmosphere.  A few of our speakers who've attended and spoken at lots of other events told me that SNAP is the best conference they've ever been to and for that I am very grateful.  

Here's some of what our SNAP community had to say about SNAP 2017! 

 I just didn't know if SNAP was going to be for me or not. But after the complimentary welcome hugs on arrival, my comfort zone was already tested and got me ready for what was to come. After 6 or so years of shooting solo, not reaching out to the photography community and with no photographer friends as such either, SNAP was a big deal for me. My car share buddies we're my anchors through the festival and we're going to be seeing a lot of each other I can tell! So right even before arriving at SNAP I already had some new best friends because of SNAP. That was only the beginning though. I can't remember a time when I've laughed so much, cried so much and felt part of a community that really brought me out of my shell. I've now shot four weddings since SNAP and I already feel like a better photographer. I'm hugging everyone for a start! Maybe that's not for everyone but it's really helping me get closer to the people I'm photographing. All the things I learnt at SNAP are still buzzing through my mind that I think the effect of SNAP will be felt and seen in my work for quite some time to come. I was both challenged and inspired by a fantastic curation of diverse speakers. Combine that with all the warm lovely aspects of being in an amazing setting with lovely people and all the wonder of being at a festival, SNAP was truly a life changing event for me and something I'll be carrying in my heart for some time to come.

I was borderline selling my ticket 2 weeks before SNAP, I had been going through a really hard month or two and quite frankly the thought of meeting 100 new people and socialising on a scale that was far beyond anything I had ever done before, completely petrified me. I can hands down say it was one of the best weeks of my life, from a business and a personal point of view. I adored how open and caring everyone was, I was made to feel so welcome. I don't remember a bad reaction from a single person during the whole 5 days and that really is something special. The speakers were all fantastic, the live shoots were super fun and all the activities, the campfires and the hang outs and everything in between made it such an incredible few days. I would hands down recommend SNAP to any photographer looking to expand their business, get a whole heap of inspiration or who just generally needs a kick up the bum (like me!!). I absolutely cannot wait to go back next year! Thanks so much Laura and the rest of the SNAP team! -

I've been to Snap three times now and while I feel like I know what to expect, each year has been different. I've learned different things which have improved my business but most of all I've learned how to build my confidence, built a really supportive network of friends and improved my photography.  Snap isn't a week away glamping and learning about photography, it's more of a long term membership to the community that keeps me coming back. -

It's hard for me to put into words how I feel about SNAP. When Laura asked Jaden and I to come to the UK to teach, I said yes faster than I could even think. The logistics didn't matter, we we're going. On day one when we arrived, jet-lagged, and anxious, we were met with the biggest smiles, and the tightest hugs from complete strangers, who would quickly become our new best friends. The whole SNAP community are some of the kindest, coolest, weirdest, most welcoming humans, with Queen Babb leading the way, as easily one of the most loving, caring people I've ever met. Thank you for the opportunity to speak. Thank you for welcoming us into your family. Thank you for everything.

This was my second year at SNAP. Last year I was a little worried that it would be "cliquey" and that I'd feel left out, which has happened to me before at photography workshops/conferences. Of course, it didn't happen, and everyone was bloody lovely, so my only worry this year was that it wouldn't live up to the awesomeness of my first one! But again, I needn't have worried. Literally the only thing that wasn't as awesome as 2016 was the weather, and I'm not holding that against anyone.  There's something special about SNAP. I think it's the fact that it feels like a holiday: part summer camp and part workshop. So when you leave you feel rejuvenated all over: your mind has relaxed because of all the fun times and happy people, and your body has relaxed because of the holiday vibe. Add to that the talks and classes, some inspiring for your mind and some full of practicalities for running your business, and it's no wonder that we all left feeling overwhelmed (in the best possible way) and full of excitement about our futures. Remember that book "Chicken Soup for the Soul"? We should all write a book called "SNAP for the Soul"!  Kat Forsyth

Scroll down for more amazing feedback from our attendees! 

I was pretty adamant that I did not want to go. Even while packing I was saying it myself. I went & I'm so glad I did. SNAP is a beautiful place, not just the fact that it's been held in the wonderful land of Wales & Fforest, although that was a huge bonus having a short journey & sleeping in the most awesome dome.  SNAP helped me find myself as a photographer & person again. I'd got into a proper funk with my ability since having our second baby & felt totally out of it as far as passion for our business & even wanting to do it at all.  I'd considered going back to teaching. I'm now back on it, looking forward to the work we have booked, the people we will meet & the moments we will capture. I'm determined to address issues in our business & upgrade our level of functionality & to make our business even better!  Each speaker I heard gave me something to take away, each person I spoke to made my heart glad I was there. I learnt I love deep conversation but sometimes can't cope in big groups, but all of that is ok, in fact, it's great! 
I learnt I love listening to others & others like talking to me. I learnt being a photographer is only a small part of the SNAP experience.  It's fair to say I was exhausted & ready to get home to our kids, but I loved having time to develop skills, listen & learn & I would recommend SNAP to everyone! SNAP is a good & special community.

My biggest reservation about going to SNAP is that I would have come away having not really gained anything and that it would feel like a total waste of time and money. I was even worried mid-week that that might still be the case as I was totally overwhelmed with everything. The amount of information in my head and being around so many people all of the time was like being at a wedding 24/7. Luckily Fforest is in the most beautiful countryside so I managed a few good long walks to bring back the calm, something clicked into place and it all turned into something amazing. I made such good friends at SNAP and felt part of a wonderfully warm, loving and accepting community. I was inspired by some amazing photographers and business people and learned a whole lot that I can pass on to my life & work.  It's difficult to choose my favourite part of SNAP. It really is. I loved the venue and location, Pembrokeshire is one of my favourite places to be and it feeds my soul. We listened to some spectacular photographers and people stand up in front of over 100 of us and bare their souls in their work and life stories and their ways of working. Those same people sat round camp fires, shared dinner and danced with us and then also shared in the big teary hugging mess of people in the biggest group hug I have ever been involved in as we said goodbye to the friends we had made that week. For me THAT is what made SNAP.  I still have to go through all my notes from the week and fill my to do lists with all of the things I know I now need to do to improve my life & business and I am sure if you come back in 6-12 months I will have a whole load to add about how SNAP has impacted my life. I really hope so! Much love xx

Having been to Snap reunion last year it made me feel like it wasn't my first time which was lovely. Just after I signed in, i looked out to the wonderful countryside and I felt slightly emotional but it was as a feeling of calm and knowing that I was going to have a wonderful experience. I don't know how I knew that but it all came true.  From the first talk by Frank to the last talk by Jennifer my emotions were stirred up more and more in such a positive way. The journey through the week was one of discovery and realisation that I am good enough and to not fear but celebrate who I am and what I can offer. There was so much learning and knowledge to soak up together with real inspiration and the belief that I can do what I'm learning. The conclusion was an emotional response I was not expecting. I met so many wonderful, friendly and encouraging people that it has been the best thing I have done in a long time. Having been part of a totally different group of photography learning for the past year, this experience of really caring simply does compare to my previous experience.  I have told so many people about Snap and I would recommend it to any photographer. I just tell everyone how liberating it is and how it made be believe in myself. As Jennifer said, just make it happen.

SNAP has been hugely influential on my career as a photographer so far. I have not only learned a whole variety of things from some of the best but I have found a community of people with whom I can share my worries and achievements without the fear of being judged. I feel wholly accepted and like people have got my back and that gives me so much courage to go out there and do what I want to do. I am especially impressed by the level of inclusion and the focus on diversity in the group. I always feel safe but know that if I didn't I would be listened to and that's so important. I feel like SNAP puts values before everything else and it makes me so happy to be a part of it.


Snap is such a breathe of fresh air. The industry is saturated with workshops that are based on ego. Snap is so different. There is an almost tangible effervescence about the whole five days and it's totally inclusive. Nobody (should) feel out of place and there is a smile around every corner.  I'm a firm believer in learning at workshops. Nobody wants to be 'sold to' and nobody wants to feel small. At Snap, this isn't the case and even though I'm a professional grumpy bastard it's a place I enjoy being, with people I enjoy being with.

Yes I admit, I was debating on whether to come to Snap up until a few days before it all kicked off. I had just come out of a 5 year relationship, with someone who I thought was the love of my life. I *knew* that coming to Snap would do me a world of good and take my mind off of things. But a huge part of me just wanted to crawl into a ball and disappear down a deep black hole and stay in bed and wallow all week. Motivation was at an all time low, I felt like life was over (as dramatic as it sounds) and at the time it felt like my business and finally getting on top of shit was such a far away dream again. I had only really recently got organised (business wise) in the last year and felt like I was finally getting somewhere in terms of my routine, health etc, as we had finally settled in our house and it felt like things were finally getting on track. After the break up, I left our house that night (which we'd only purchased together 8 months before) and felt like I had just taken a billion steps backwards. Where was I going to live? What was going to happen with work now? I had finally started to get to a happy place where I felt like work wasn't ruling my life day in day out. Now there was going to be a huge upheaval and everything felt like a mess.  I can safely say that picking up the courage and coming to Snap was simply the BEST thing I could ever have done. And it could not have come at a better time. I spent time with a bunch of good friends who I had known for a long time, but I also met so many amazing and wonderful new people. My eyes were opened up to what a huge place this world is, how much there is to see and how much there is to do! It was so good to chat to other people, make new friends and swap stories. It was incredibly therapeutic and just made me realise how small my problem was - and that there is so much to live for and be grateful for.  And the talks! I came out of the talks feeling like I could take on the world. Not just professionally but personally. I feel super excited about the future of my business, even if there will be a few hiccups along the way in terms of getting settled into a happy place again. It was exactly what I needed.  Everyone was so kind and welcoming. It can be easy to dwell on the negatives and take our job for granted, I can safely say I left each talk thinking "I am so incredibly lucky, and this is the best fucking job in the world" and I couldn't wait to get back to work.  The organisation of it all was brilliant. Laura, you are an absolute legend and I can't even begin to imagine how much work you and the rest of the team have had to put in to make sure Snap happens. Thank you!  -

I came to Snap during my first year of business and it has given me the push to keep going, the knowledge that I am able to approach my first busy season with confidence and the feeling that I'm actually doing ok. The atmosphere, the food, the speakers were all wonderful and since being back I've realised I took in so much more information than I originally thought. And the endless cups of tea on offer is my idea of heaven.

Would my third SNAP be as good as the first two? I'll admit I was apprehensive but you smashed it yet again! Thank you Laura and team xXx  I loved the split of newbies and olds and that everyone got on. I loved the way everyone, including the speakers, mixed all week. I loved the Wednesday party night! And finally, I absolutely LOVE the community emotional outpourings & honesty post SNAP too and the community page.

From the moment SNAP 2016 finished I knew that I would have no reservations about coming back to do it again in 2017! And it was even better! Its quite hard to define what it is about SNAP that sets it apart from other photography gatherings but I've never known a community that is as encouraging and supportive and inclusive as this one. Laura Babb and her small team worked tirelessly to create an experience that meant I came home feeling refreshed, enthused, inspired, challenged (in a good and necessary way), befriended, and more focussed than I have felt in a long time. I know this will reflect on my business in the coming months. -

As a photographer from the US I was really worried about going to a workshop abroad because of the cost and unfamiliarity with the speakers on the list but I decided to attend anyway, hoping that putting myself outside of my comfort zone would bring me something different to my life and business. I have attended many workshops over the years because I've always been searching for "my people", which I would consider those who are creative, welcoming, supportive and incredibly fun. SNAP completely exceeded my expectations. From the moment cars started arriving I instantly felt welcomed, included and most importantly seen. At workshops I have attended in the past I felt invisible and unimportant, especially when I knew only a few people to begin with. The SNAP community was incredibly welcoming, genuine and no one acted like they were more important than anyone else. I had conversations with many that went deeper than small talk and left feeling like I had a wealth of new friends from all over the world and many invitations to visit the UK again as soon as possible to spend more time together. I have sung praises about SNAP to many friends already, telling them that it was planned with heart and intention to create a true community that supports each other and welcomes people in with open arms. Ultimately, community is what we crave as human beings and as creatives that thrive on emotion and connection- most of us tend to work alone on most of our days. Having an opportunity for something like SNAP is invaluable to creating new connections. I had the time of my life at SNAP and I was legitimately so sad to leave the U.K. after this experience. Laura you have truly created an incredible space and place for people to grow and thrive and I feel so lucky to have attended. Thank you for all your hard work and know that it has a profound impact on those who attend. <3 I will be making it a priority to stay in touch with the people I met and use the knowledge I learned at SNAP to better myself and my business. I can't wait to attend again!

I was really lucky to get a last minute ticket to SNAP 2017. I really was. I have followed SNAP adventures but I had not guts to come to previous year ones. I am one of the introverts who does not look like an introverted person so I find large groups of people I do not know quite overwhelming and shy away from networking events. As a result I have been a bit of a lonely wolf until last year. I pushed myself to come to SNAP and I am so happy I did it! On a first night I chatted to a couple of people that I did not realise where the speakers and realised later that there is not we are here/you are there mentality going on. Everyone was super approachable and eager to talk and offer advice beyond the speaking slots. It is quite extra ordinary that there was such a variety of speakers and topics that each of us could find something for themselves. I have taken away so much from each of the speakers, lectures, business classes that my head is still buzzing and my list of things to do with regards to my business is super long. But SNAP is not just another workshop - it is also filled with fun activities and super party (wait to see the pics and my blue hair disaster that left my hands looking dead blue for a couple of days later). And most importantly - a whole big bunch of new friends. Inspiration+Learning+Fun+Friendship=SNAP Community. Thanks Laura - you have created something extraordinary.

The first year of SNAP blew my mind a bit. I fell in love with the wonderful Fforest site and the inspiring group of people who had gathered there, sharing their collective wisdom and enthusiasm. I left feeling so fired up and excited to take on the 2015 wedding season. The second year I was in a bad place emotionally. I was burnt out and I felt like I'd lost my love for what I was doing - full on imposter syndrome with lashings of fatigue. I really needed SNAP to lift my spirits but I also felt a bit intimidated by the awesome photographers who were going to be there and worried that it would have the opposite effect. In reality, I found SNAP 2016 soothing and re-energising in equal measures. I left feeling relaxed and like I had found my way again. This year I was so bloody excited for SNAP and I knew I kinda risked being disappointed as a result. How could it come close to the previous two years? The bar was set so high now. Surely it couldn't be reached? But as soon as I arrived on site I knew it was going to be exactly what I needed it to be. I came away happier than ever. I found inspiration where I needed it and allowed myself plenty of downtime. I didn't try to do everything or experience any thing in particular. I just went with the flow and let the experience wash over me. And it was all good! For me, SNAP is totally about the community and about having some time away from home and the day to day running a business shit that breaks my soul. It's about stoking the creative fire within and then toasting lovely little marshmallow ideas over the flame. It's about trying new things and stepping well and truly out of my comfort zone. And above all else it's about friendships. The kind that make the wedding/photography industry feel a whole lot less lonely and intimidating. The kind that mean I know I have people to turn to all year round when I need them. The kind that will keep me coming back year on year on year. SNAP people are my tribe. The SNAP festival is my happy place. The SNAP community is my home.

Having attended in 2016 I did wonder, albeit for a brief moment, how Snap could be as good or even better second time around, but I needn't have wondered at all. Again, Snap, you blew my mind and have filled my soul with so much, for so many reasons.  For the varied mix of speakers - from editorial to wedding photojournalism to business to SEO to live shoots and more - this is not a traditional, run-of-the-mill wedding photography workshop. There was something for everyone and learning to take from every single session. The addition of 1-2-1s to tailor learning to your professional needs is great, too.   For the inspiration. From Franck's documentary work, to Jide creating the beautiful and simple out of the chaotic, to Andrew practically bursting out of the Learning Barn with energy and enthusiasm, to Hannah inspiring a room full of people to go and create something new in video, there was so much varied and brilliant work and approaches to ponder and tailor to your own journey, style, and business.  For the food - best food I've eaten anywhere. The Fforest team need to publish a recipe a book!   For the best Wednesday night parties in the world.   For the communal dining and evenings - this isn't just a week of back-to-back lectures in some bland conference space (yuck). This is also a chance to rest, get some fresh air in beautiful surroundings, and recoup and reenergise. Being off-grid for a few days is so restorative, and being able to sit around over a coffee at breakfast or with a pint of ale by the camp fire in the evening and get to know people from different countries and walks of life.  But above all, for the community. My husband calls this my cult and he's probably not far off! ;) You can't put a price on being a part of such a supportive, genuine, friendly network - where community over competition is at the heart of everything. Everyone has everyone's back. Everyone is on their own journey and is cheerlead-ed on by everyone else. Triumphs and diversity are celebrated. Business and technical challenges are overcome together. Everyone has something to offer, no matter if you're a world-renowned speaker or someone who's just starting out.   I've left Snap again this year full of ideas and plans, and I am so thankful for having the Snap family in my life. I can't wait to see what everyone does with their lives and work this year.

Snap for me was a whole bunch of emotions and thoughts and that was before even arriving. I knew I wanted to be pushed outside of my comfort zone in order to create some new friendships, better my business knowledge and generally, improve my work but I didn't necessarily want to do that with over 100 new faces, all of whom kick arse in the photography world! That said, I went for it and bloody hell, I'm glad I did.  Snap and all the amazing people there allowed me to be me! As cheesy as it sounds, I had gotten into a rut of taking the same pictures over and over. Being with a huge bunch of creative genius' allowed me to see things differently, experiment and most importantly, get my passion back for what I do. I have never known a community like this. One where there is so much support and love and pure talent! I have been privileged to have been part of it and literally can not wait to see what next years Snap brings! Laura, you are one hell of a lady organising such a kick arse event - thank you.

I have always been amazed at the community wedding photographers seem to exist in and within 10 minutes of arriving at Snap I felt like my community had grown again, and that's something really special and not something I'd really felt at photography workshops before. I was a smidge apprehensive about being a new face in a sea of second and third timers, but I needn't have been.  I learned a lot of stuff at Snap that I can apply to how I work and shoot and I came away empowered by the stuff I DIDN'T agree with... But I also learned a lot about myself. Being away from home, my children, my desk... with limited opportunities to touch base gave me time to think about myself - that doesn't happen often - and that's just as important to me. Having to be social all, I learned a lot about myself... I missed a few sessions but I used that time to drink hot coffee and think or just switch off... I don't think I'm the only photographer out there who's guilty of not making or taking those opportunities.  Snap is so much more that a conference. It's a journey, a family, a release and a community and I'm so glad I committed to that ticket even with funds were a little tight last year. Family is everything, and Snap is just that.

Wow, Snap really blew my mind! During my studies I learned a lot of technical stuff but felt really boxed with regards to creativity. Snap really helped me to discover a free and creative side to my photography which I'm so very grateful for. I also learned a bunch of business stuff that I never even thought of.  I felt such a sense of freedom at Snap. Maybe it was the community. Maybe it was seeing how people struggle (just like me). Maybe it was experiencing a bunch of strangers just cheering me on for no reason at all. I felt encouraged and empowered.  I'm so grateful for the experience and wouldn't trade it for anything.

After my first year of Snap last year I thought things couldn't get any better than 2016. Well! 2017 was EPIC! It wasn't any better in any particular aspect. It was different. I think I got a bit more this year from last year in regards business approach and where I'll be focusing my efforts. Last year was very much about me finding my style of photography. I'm not sure if that's just because of the emotion and passion the photographers from last year brought to the table but more that Snap in 2016 molded me visually through my photos. This year has been all about what to do with that and it didn't disappoint. Cannot wait to see what the next Snap brings and what else I can get from it.

Snap really is something very special. Having enjoyed Snap 2016 as an attendee I was so excited to be invited back as a speaker. During the process of proposing and planning out my talk it really struck me how much care was put into providing attendees with quality content. There were steps along the way to set learning outcomes to make sure that the sessions were the best they could be. I felt that it helped me to raise my game as an educator and it made me so excited to see what the line-up had to offer. It was full of rich, diverse and thoughtfully-planned educational content. There was so much to be learned, regardless of what level you were at.  And then there's the community. Snap is more than just a workshop... a conference... a retreat... it's a family. Yes, that's ludicrously cheesy but: if you're part of it, you know exactly what I mean and if you're not part of it yet, all I can say is that I've never known a kinder, more inclusive and just plain awesome group of photographers. At times that meant deep talk, setting the world to rights around the campfire, laughing til my stomach hurt or sharing support when my emotions got the better of me.  It's that combination of inspirational educational content and even more inspirational company to enjoy it with that makes Snap truly unique. I feel so lucky and grateful to have been part of it.




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This shit needs to stop


This shit needs to stop

Today there's a click bait post floating around the photography world by a photographer who is purporting to be educating their client but is actually just having a moan about other photographers who are doing things differently to them.  

The photography world is overwhelmingly positive, for the most part, but there are pockets of resentment, negativity and bitterness that I try to avoid where ever possible.  

In groups I've been a member of in the past I've seen photographers post examples of other photographer's work without them knowing and tear it to shreds.  

In other groups I've seen people reply to genuine questions from people who are reaching out for help with acerbic replies that are clearly designed to show how clever or better than them they are.  

At an event I attended they showed a slideshow of wedding photography that they deemed to be so bad that it was funny, that they'd taken from the internet.  

At a workshop I went to once the person running the workshop slagged off a huge list of other photographers by name, as well as saying a whole load of negative things about their clients. 

Imagine a few hundred photographers sitting in a room laughing at an image that you were proud enough of to post on the internet.   

Imagine a photographer with a platform critizing you behind your back for no reason, to make themselves look good.  

Imagine a group of photographers laughing at a picture of YOU.  

Imagine a photographer publishing a blog post that specifically criticizes your editing style and approach as an image maker.

Making an example of other people and trying to cast them in a negative light to make yourself look better is a pretty shitty marketing tactic.  For every potential client who finds themselves nodding along with you sagely, there'll be several who are wondering why you're being so mean and bitter.  

Being horrible only makes you look horrible.  

And being horrible takes so much energy.  For every 300 word blog post that you write with example images edited in someone else's style to show everyone how rubbish you think it looks, you could have written a positive, well thought out blog post that casts you and your business in an awesome light and actually does something useful to educate your clients.

Every time you shit talk another photographer, you could have been saying something positive or inspiring.  

What do you think people remember more?  Someone saying something bitchy or someone saying something that is helpful to them, that they can use in their business?

In the words of Maya Angelou, "people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel" and that includes feelings of negativity too.  

We don't need to bring each other down to be successful. 

As a consumer of products and content think about who you give your time money to.  If there are people that do nothing but throw out negativity about others in the industry then don't support them.  If there are people who moan, bitch and whinge constantly unfollow them.  If there are Facebook groups that are full of negativity then just leave! 

This job is tiring and draining enough as it is, without inviting unnecessary negativity into your life.



Claridges Wedding by Toast of Leeds


Claridges Wedding by Toast of Leeds

Words and Pictures by Toast of Leeds

First of all, I have this reputation that I love dark places. I have no idea why this came about. But my work does lend itself to darkness. I'm a massive fan of Stanley Kubrick's work and the films of Tim Burton. Kubrick was a master of the light and I realised pretty early on that you can make even the worst hotel look amazing if you just take away some of the light. Shooting a bridal portrait in a terrible room can be transformed if you know how to work the light in the right way. I love the composition and shadows in old master paintings and they certainly have an influence on the way I shoot - they are very evocative and leave a lot to the imagination.. sometimes with photography, I think we show too much. 

father daughter dance toast of leeds claridges 

Shooting at Claridges is, like any of the big iconic London hotels, tricky. It may be beautiful, but there is very little natural light - man alive it's dark in there, unless you count the million candles and downlighters. If you do find a window, it's usually covered in heavy nets so out goes your use of natural light. Then you're only allowed to shoot in certain bits of the hotel and you're not allowed to set up lights anywhere, so finding pockets of artificial light is important. 

For me, bridal prep isn't about shooting everything that goes on. It's about last minute touches and again, finding the right light. I don't just want an image of the bride getting her make up done, I want an image that has a certain artistic bent to it. If I have to move the bride to get the right light, I will. I begged and pleaded with the make up artist at this wedding to move into the window - sometimes you'll piss people off, but sometimes you have to be stern in order to get the right light. 

bride getting reading documentary claridges wedding photography

Claridges has one of those huge imposing staircases and of course, what bride in their right mind wouldn't want a picture of herself sweeping down it on the way to the wedding right? Except the light is shocking. And yeah, we could bang up the iso... but instead as we reached the top of the stairs, I pointed out a pocket of light and told the bride to walk right through it on her way down. I'd love to tell you it happened naturally, but it enhances the drama of the moment even if it was directed. 

claridges wedding photography

The back of the church (Grosvenor Chapel) was pretty dark too so again, I hunted out the odd spot where there was a pocket of light. I love images that have a little bit of movement and aren't perfect - learning where not to focus was one of my eureka moments early on and I use it in a measured degree during a wedding but those imperfect images tend to be my favourites. It's also terribly invigorating if you're using a great second shooter. The confetti shot in this wedding isn't the obvious one but allowing yourself the freedom to not capture the 'important' moments, is very freeing and can lead you to shoot things you wouldn't normally shoot as you're too busy capturing the 'key' shot. 

Grosvenor Chapel wedding photography claridges

A lot of the portraits at Charlotte and Joe's wedding were shot using a video light - this meant that my assistant wasn't getting in the way of the guests, we didn't have to set up lights on stands and we could be fast and get out of the way as quickly as possible. Generally, I always light the speeches with a couple of gelled flashes on stands to give it a bit more drama and the same with the dance floor. I generally use Neewar flashes on manual with some Phottix Strata triggers. If I can't find a video light somewhere, I've been known to borrow a lamp and get a guest to hold it in the right place - knowing how to work the light to your advantage even in the darkest of places, can save your bacon.

Flowers by Flowers McQueens and gown by Marchesa


In one month....


In one month....

In one month we'll be ready to retreat from real life for a while, in exchange for simple living and the freshest of air.  

In one month we'll be packing up our cars and heading to West Wales, checking to make sure we have the essentials and that we packed everything we need.  

In one month we'll be meeting our car pooling buddies and taking selfies in motorway service stations as we get closer to our destination.  

SNAP 2016 FB (13 of 1011).jpg

In one month we'll be arriving at Fforest, full of anticipation, feeling a bit shy as we meet new people but quickly relaxing as we realise how friendly and welcoming everyone is.

In one month we'll meet our room mates, check out our glamping accommodation and get settled in for the week.  

In one month we'll explore the beautiful 200 acre Fforest Farm, on the banks of the river Teifi.  The rustic farm house, the learning barn, the tipi, the fire pits, the quarry,  the sauna and the onsite pub. 

In one month we'll be sitting down to our first home cooked, locally produced organic SNAP meal.  Long tables, new friends and maybe a glass (or two) of local ale from the on site pub.

In one month the learning and education will start with our first scheduled session and we'll all head to the Learning Barn, ready to soak up knowledge and inspiration.  

In one month we'll sit around the camp fire, toasting marshmallows.  We'll play boardgames in the lodge.  We'll hang out in the Tipi or we'll sit by the fire in the pub. 

In one month we'll get ready to turn in after a long day of travelling and discovering, ready to immerse ourselves in everything the rest of the week at SNAP has to offer including workshops, hang outs, shoots, business instruction, parties, inspiration, film night, financial advice, positive discourse about real issues, building relationships, games night, woodland walks and beach trips, karaoke, keynotes and a whole load of surprise awesomeness.  

In one month we'll see you in the Fforest.  

If you'd like to join us we have a few remaining tickets left.  Sales close on the 14th April.  

n one month we'll be SNAPsters.  


Rylynn + Tyler's Bohemian Wedding in the California Redwoods


Rylynn + Tyler's Bohemian Wedding in the California Redwoods

Sand Rock Farm Aptos California wedding photographer

Words and images by Catalina Jean

This is absolutely one of my favourite weddings I have ever shot. Rylynn + Tyler obviously adore each other so it was easy to direct them in a way that reflected that feeling. Also, this wedding was almost completely DIY! Rylynn designed almost everything herself. She took a watercolour calligraphy course for the signage, purchased all the vintage furniture that took over a year of shopping, and worked closely with the florist and venue to execute her design. 

Calligraphy wedding signage california wedding photography

The biggest challenge of most summer weddings is shooting in mid-day bright sun. It was very sunny on the day of the wedding and most of the portraits were going to be taken around noon. I had just finished up a workshop taught by Abi Q ( and Blush by B ( that focused on shooting in tough mid-day light so I was looking forward to trying out my newly acquired skills. I was no longer nervous of harsh light; I was actually excited by it! I purposely put my client in dappled or direct light and have done so at all my sunny weddings ever since the workshop.

romantic bridal portrait california redwoods wedding

I think this wedding is one of my favorites because Rylynn + Tyler were always so relaxed and happy during every single moment of the day, even when things didn’t go as planned. For example, the cake fell on the floor and a groomsman attempted to pick it up and put it back together. This would have stressed out some couples but not them. They just laughed and continued to enjoy their party.

Gear used: Canon Mark III, Canon 6D, Canon 70-200 2.8L II, Canon 35mm 1.4L, Sigma Art 50mm 1.4, Sigma 85mm 1.8

Scroll down to the bottom for the credits. 

Wedding film by A Little Long Distance

Planning + design: The couple
venue: Sand Rock Farm - Aptos, California (
florals: Amanda Connors + Jen Hagglof (
videography: A Little Long Distance (
wedding dress: BHLDN (
shoes: Jeffrey Campbell (
hair + makeup: StudioK (
groom’s attire: J.Crew (
officiant: Christa Mercado (
paper goods: Honey Hue Paper Co. (
catering + baked goods: Sand Rock Farm (
dj: Brigido Bautista (


Freelance & Fancy Free: how to manage your finances


Freelance & Fancy Free: how to manage your finances

Words by Miss Lolly and images by Camera Hannah

Turning freelance or setting up as a one man band can often be initiated by dreams of freedom, choice and potentially more money.  However, I often find when talking to clients, that it leads to more work, fluctuating pay and the loss of potentially great work benefits.

Here are a few tips that I give my clients to help with the rollercoaster:

1) Budget Well – It is important that you know EXACTLY what you need to spend annually. Don’t forget holidays, takeaways, fun and possibly a little extravagance every now and again. Once you have worked this out make sure you add some tax on the top to work out your gross income need. If you aren’t sure ask your accountant.

Let’s say this figure is £60,000 per annum, you know you need £5,000 per annum in fees each month to live your life. If you need a budget template you can download one from


2) Don’t Forget Your Future Self – yes this is retirement!! It is really important this you start thinking about this period of your life as early as possible. Will you still work but perhaps part time? What age do you want to be working because you love what you do rather than you need the money? How much will you spend then when you are on a fulltime holiday?

People are often scared by the work pension and retirement doesn’t have to be all about pensions but you need to know what you need and how you are going to get it. If you do decide to go 100% down the pension route, a general rule of thumb is that you take your age, divide it by 2 and this is the minimum percentage you need to be saving each month as  a percentage of your salary. Scary!! For example, if I am 40, I need to save 20% of my income for retirement.

Yes, that's me, SNAP's founder up there in the picture.  No I do not have my finances sorted so I need Miss Lolly as much as you do. 

Yes, that's me, SNAP's founder up there in the picture.  No I do not have my finances sorted so I need Miss Lolly as much as you do. 

3) Bomb & Bullet Proof – being employed by a big company may come with lots of additional benefits that are taken for granted. For example, its not uncommon to have a good amount of life cover, sick pay and also private medical insurance. This all creates a nice safety net should anything not go to plan. You need to create this benefits package for yourself. It can be something that you build on gradually and often people are surprised by how little some insurances cost.

4) Have A Five Year Financial Plan – for some people this is very detailed and for others it can be a vague idea. I like to break it down into property, family and big expenses. Property wise, do you need to move in the next 5 years? If so you need to start thinking about it now.

Are your accounts in good shape to achieve what you want? Perhaps you would like to have a child or pay for school fees? Or one that I love to help clients with is planning a sabbatical!

All these decisions need planning and the sooner I am able to put the plan in place, the more likely it is to happen.

Miss Lolly will be joining us at SNAP 2017 to tell you all about financial management of pensions, insurance and savings.  She'll also be offering 121 health checks so you can get advice on your specific circumstances.  


The Starlet Suite by Becky Ryan


The Starlet Suite by Becky Ryan

Words and pictures by Becky Ryan

The shoot came about from personal interest in vintage style and having worked with a couple of wonderful vintage stylist friends previously I put the idea to them of hiring a venue and offering a whole makeover and shoot experience to a set of clients for a one day event which they could book on to, having set appointments throughout the day.

vintage boudior photography

With lots of studio set up 'vintage makeover' experiences available, I wanted to offer something different, so looked into potentially using an authentic 'vintage' feeling location. We found a private residence available to hire fairly locally which was absolutely perfect for us. We couldn't have found a better match for what we wanted to offer and it added a realness to the whole experience for our clients. A fabulous 60s styled home, it felt like being on the set of an old Bond film! I feel that having the right environment really made a big difference and not only helped to provide a perfect backdrop to the photos but helped the ladies on the shoot channel their inner Hollywood film star too by having these surroundings.

hollywood glamour photography

I'm proud of this shoot for what we managed to achieve coming together as a team and trying something new. I was so happy with the photos, I really feel like I achieved the look I was going for of wanting the photographs to look like they could have come straight from the pages of a vintage magazine. I wanted them to have that atmospheric, cinematic look that I hadn't really seen before in boudoir photography, tying in with the theme of vintage glamour and old Hollywood. I didn't want it to be over polished, airbrushed, and lit with strong artificial lights. I wanted it to be real, just capturing the ladies as they were feeling confident beautiful and super glamorous after their styling session with Sarah and Bethany. Working only with natural light is my favourite way to work and I feel it helps to keep the wonderful colours and tones of the fabulously styled venue we were at. It's also amazing to give women a real confidence boost and help them see how amazing they are!

The feedback we had from the shoot was so lovely, these were some of the testimonials I received...

“The makeover and photoshoot with Becky and the team was amazing. There was a lovely atmosphere at the venue – tea, biscuits and chit-chat were flowing. Everyone was really friendly and the makeover team were really helpful in deciding what worked (and what didn’t) for me. I felt very safe in their hands. Becky was great, she gave me excellent direction, telling how to pose, where my arms/hands/head/etc should be, all helping me get the best photos. When the previews came through I was thrilled. I am my own biggest critic, but I genuinely found it difficult to narrow it down. So many amazing photos! I’ve done a number of the makeover/photoshoot days and this was hands down my favourite experience. I would highly recommend Becky and her team to anyone wanting to do a more glamorous vintage shoot. You won’t be disappointed. Just make sure that you’ve got something fabulous lined up for the evening afterwards so that you can show off your amazing look!"

"Having gone through a period of change in my life and feeling a bit negative about my appearance, I wanted to rekindle that love I should have for myself. The experience gave me back that spark. That knowledge that no matter what size my boobs, bum & hips are I can still feel good about myself.”

“The experience was what I expected and more, I knew the day would be good. I trusted you to do your usual excellent work. I was just worried that I’d hate myself in the photos… but I needn’t have been concerned. The photos were fab! The venue was great and I found it with no problems. Hair and make up was great. In particular I liked that Sarah tried a style and was honest when she thought it didn’t work for me, so did something else”

“Such an amazing day! I would highly recommend Becky and the team to anyone wanting to do a makeover shoot. I absolutely LOVE my photos. Thank you for making me feel and look so glam!”

“The shoot location is reminiscent of an American film set and I felt like a vintage film star. Make-up and hair skilfully and beautifully done with a warm and friendly atmosphere. Becky is effortlessly professional and a naturally talented photographer, knowing how to capture your best features. I instantly felt at ease. The experience was even more than I expected it to be. I’ve never felt I’m very photogenic before so thank you for taking such wonderful photos of me. Everything about the whole day was brilliant, it is now firmly etched into my happy memory bank!”

“I think all of the ladies from the shoot look like film stars. I have never felt like I am very ‘photogenic’ before so thank you for taking such wonderful pictures of me.”

becky ryan photography - alternative wedding photography_0035.jpg

Positive feedback from clients means so much to us photographers. Particularly as someone that lacks in confidence at times themselves, it means a lot to hear you've made a difference to someone. It's one of the lovelies rewards you could ask for in a career. All ladies deserve to be reminded what sassy, sexy, and wonderful creatures they are. 

Make Up - Bethany Jane Davies
Hair - Sarah Bloor
(Venue was a private local residence)


Happy International Women's Day


Happy International Women's Day

Header image by Shelley Richmond

Happy International Women's Day! This year's International Woman's Day theme is #beboldforchange so we thought we'd share a little bit more about what we're doing to promote diversity and inclusivity.


Before we do, you can give your commitment to #beboldforchange without even leaving the SNAP site.  Magic.

Here are some of the things #snapphotofest is doing to promote change

- Over 60% of our SNAP 2017 speaker line up is female - this is in stark contrast to many other photography and wedding photography events.

- This year we're partnering with Catalyst Wedding Co to bring you content around working with couples who don't conform to gender norms, including using inclusive language, pronouns, tailoring your communications and website, how to stand out in the industry as an advocate for diversity, how to write an inclusive about me and how to keep your portfolio intentionally diverse

- We're also working with Nu Bride who'll be taking to us about diversity as a business necessity, including talking about the wedding industry and it's often one dimensional view of what a wedding couple should look like, memes, 'political correctness gone mad' and how you can be better at reaching diverse couples.

- Our learning manifesto and community standards lay out our approach to learning and also creating a positive, welcoming and inclusive learning environment for our attendees:

- We'll be holding a dedicated SNAP camp fire session this year to talk about the issues affecting women in photography. We'll be using our influence and contacts to bring these issues to a wider audience.

- Most of all we're committed to doing better. We know we can do better in terms of the diversity of our line up. We know we need to do more to attract diverse participants and attendees. If you have suggestions about how we can improve our approaches then please do get in touch with us via our website. We'd love to start a dialogue!

And finally that's enough about us, tell us about a female photographer that inspires you because they're committed to #beboldforchange in the comments.