I've put off writing a SNAP follow up post, because I didn't really know what to say. It's not really that there wasn't anything to be said, rather that it was all a bit overwhelming. How it all started, how the planning almost drove me over the edge, how it was the most stressful thing I've ever done and how I almost called the whole thing off at least twice.
The stress came because I wanted so badly for it to be awesome. I wanted people in the UK to experience the sense of community I've felt when attended similar events. This post explains exactly what I wanted SNAP to feel like.
The thing with planning something for the first time is that you'll never know if all of the elements will come together to create the vibe you want. Will people feel safe enough to let themselves go and step outside of their comfort zones? Will the introverted people feel at home and will the extraverts be able to feed from the energy they need to sustain them? Will it gel?
It did. It hit home for me around 11pm on the second night, as both our speakers and our attendees were sitting around the campfire singing and drinking cider. People were connecting.
And on the last day when 2/3rds of the people on site were in tears, I knew something special had happened.
Of course all of the above is just my perspective, so I want to share the words of our SNAP community. We collated every single piece of feedback they left for us in the SNAP private community Facebook group and it ran to 11 pages. Here are just a few of them.
Got my feet on to Welsh soil for the first time last month. Green everywhere. Left-hand sick driving (terrible), sheep galore and just the quaintest, most lovely countryside. I spoke at SNAP Photography Festival, just outside of Cardigan. Fforest Farm, a beautiful outdoors-nature-everywhere glamping set up.
It was a huge honour to speak among such talented people in the industry. To hear others' hearts and perspectives on their work.
I went just to speak but I was not expecting to leave so inspired and ready to take on my year ahead.
We heard this a lot: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is how Snap made us feel.
Alex James (quote by Maya Angelou)
Just want to leave this little three letter word with you guys today. Hope you find it in all you do, in all you hope for, in all are learning. These three letters truly summed up our small experience of SNAP.
1a. Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness, or an instance of such feeling.
b. An expression of such feeling.
2. A source or an object of joy: their only child, their pride and joy.
v. joyed, joy·ing, joys Archaic
To take great pleasure; rejoice.
1. To fill with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction.
2. To enjoy.
What a beautiful experience; so many new friends and memories. It was a gift to be able to spend the last five days with you all, something I'll always treasure.
Inspiring talks, inspiring people, hugs on tap, crackling fires, heart strings being plucked, guitar strings being plucked, brisk starry nights, warm sunsets, destroyed disco sheds, batshit-crazy-impromptu-DIY-parties, trust, home made drum kits, unicorns, empty bottles of tequila (sambuca and whisky) and full hearts.
I LOVED SNAP!
It's been very inspirational. It's been straight back to work for me so I've been slow in gathering my thoughts but the sessions from Andy, Sam, Nick and Ross were exceptionally useful and inspiring.
It's was great to refocus on the work and think about what was really important to me. I'll certainly be looking for a reboot in 2016
"I feel like I've woken up. I mean, I literally have just woken up but bloody hell guys, I'm so overwhelmingly moved by what this week has given me (you may have been able to tell by the overwhelming movement of my tear ducts!). It's brushed away cobwebs I didn't even know were there. It's given me the kick up the arse I have been waiting for! Each and every talk was a breath of fresh air, so varied, so relevant, so important, helpful and desperately needed. Now for some big changes towards mega-happiness, continued learning, celebrating love, immense unbelieveable gratitude about the direction my life has taken and some seriously hard work. But if you love what you do, you never work another day in your life... SNAP has reminded me that I love what I do and I somehow think I'd forgotten.
On the night before my presentation a group of us collected around a warm fire in the workshop lodge. We spoke about the industry and we spoke about something quite fresh and interesting – the energy that it draws from the practitioners. And one thing stood out from that talk which in over my twenty years in the photography industry I have never heard as clear as I heard on this night – these photographers were tired. Not because of the industry. Not because of politics or continuous moving posts as we shift from one technology to another. They were tired from the falling in love with their clients. Because in order to do this it means an emotional investment far beyond any wedding photography How To book or YouTube video on lighting and technique. This was further supported by my visit from workshop to workshop where I witnessed photographers showing lovely aesthetics yes – but there were stories behind the images that went so deep that each speaker knew that they were not only image makers. It bothered me for a time that I couldn’t put my finger on it. And then I realised that for these folks who attended this festival at fforest farm what made them so unique was that they were memory makers and they truly felt a privilege in that. The commitment to deliver from a point of privilege was an emotionally invested act. And through all the clamour we may have come to associate with the wedding photography industry here was this rising heartbeat in a forest in Wales.
Read Karl's full blog post here.
Home from the most immense week of my life. I can't put in to words what I have come away with as I think only the Snapsters who went along could understand, but I am refuelled and refilled with love for what I do. Amazing friends made, crazy times had and experiences and knowledge that will stay with me forever.
Thanks Laura Babb and actually especially to all the speakers who literally touch our hearts and screwed with our minds. I will literally be processing this for weeks!
I have a new way of looking at the world (that is crazy) how can you possibly expect to get that from a photography 'course'!
Snap was immense, crazy, lovely, but most of all to quote.... (Was it Andy Gaines or Emma Case) who said...
'It's is so much more than the sum of it's parts'
That is 100% how I feel about SNAP.
lovely lovely lovely lovely....EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!
I don't know where the fuck to start with this....
I personally came to Snap in a bit of an odd place, mentally, emotionally I was all over the place, its a massive combo of the journey Emma and Me have been on recently and other life stuff with families, to be honest I just felt like disappearing for a while and not having to socialise. Which isn't like me at all...
Fast forward to today, I just walked away this afternoon so rejuvenated and nourished and full of wonder at the universe once more. Just the most fantastic group of humans, what a gift. Thank you.
This wonderful community of people happened thanks to the vision of the ever humble and gracious Laura It was a really tough journey, with a few bumps and scrapes but you absolutely nailed it, thank you for having such an eclectic taste and idea to bring together such a diverse yet super connected bunch of people, that is real testament to your guts and your knowledge of people. It was with pure joy that I sat and listened to every speaker bring their vision and ideas across so eloquently and articulately, sometimes from different perspectives but always with a tangible thread connecting us.
Ross, your talk will stay with me for a very long time. Everything that you spoke about resonated massively with where I'm at, where I've been for a while with so many questions and thoughts yet always struggling to make sense of it and put it into any structure, yet you managed to do that in the space of a couple of hours.
I've just returned from a lovely walk with my dogs and am walking on air. I don't really know how I'm going to process this week but feel totally blown away by it. I was really quite low when I booked this and now I know why the universe made it this way. I was meant to be part of something so special like Snap and I am honoured to have met so many amazing, special, warm, sharing, creative, ego-less, loving people.
Laura you totally rock, your vision has made something so special, the speakers you chose, the people that that attracted, the fforest (so magical) all combined to make something soooooo amazing and magic, wow I'm blessed to have been part of it.
So now I'm sitting here in my warm quiet home thinking what I'd be doing today if it had carried on. I'm in a good place now, inspired, happy, knackered, and smiling. All my clothes have a faint tinge of campfire on them and I love it.
So to finish. Thank you to everyone for making this week so special. Judging by the remarks we all feel the same. Feel like we've been at the start of something really magical and I'm blessed to have played a small part of it.
I could go on. As I said I have at least 11 pages. I'll leave it there though. SNAP was my baby and I made it happen, but the people who came are the people who made it. Thanks to each and everyone of you. I love you all and you're all invited for Christmas.
A few more thanks to the people who helped to make it happen.
Alex - planner stylist extraordinaire and my right hand girl
Pete (best husband ever) and the designer behind the SNAP brand
Thanks also to the brains behind our styled shoot areas (which we'll be featuring soon) Erica from Mr & Mrs Unique and Louise from Bloved and the team of suppliers who contributed including Sincerely May, Early Hours, Wedding in a Teacup, Katya Katya Shehurina, Wilden Bride, Mint Mustard, Nevie Pie Cakes, Kate Cullen.
Thanks to Ellie Gillard who helped to photograph vast parts of the event and also photographed our styled shoot areas, with the help of Lydia Stamps.
Thanks to Nick Tucker for these EPIC party shots and for wild swimming shots which we haven't shared yet and thanks to Jaye Cole for the photobooth awesomeness that you'll see here.
Thanks to the team at Fforest who could not have been more hospitable. Awesome food, friendly staff who go above and beyond the call of duty to make you feel at home. I can tell you how much I love it at Fforest.
Thanks to the rest of the SNAP helpers, who made sure things ran smoothly on the day.
Thanks to the other suppliers who all contributed towards making SNAP awesome including The Story House, Doris Loves, Bubblegum Balloons and The Sweet Hostess.
Thanks to the brands that donated awesome prizes to our competitions and supported us in the run up, all of whom can be found here.
So that's it. SNAP 2015 is gone but not forgotten and plans are underway for SNAP 2016, as well as some other exciting events over the Autumn and Winter. Sign up to the mailing list, if you haven't already, so you don't miss any important announcements.