Last Monday before setting off for our Spring Clean Detox retreat at Dorset I attended a photography workshop run by KerryJPhotography. If you have been on our website or our Facebook page you will have seen the gorgeous pictures that Kerry took for us of real Body Retreat clients on real retreats. When we heard that Kerry was running a photography course for small business “Your camera means business” we were super keen to dust off the old SLR that dutifully comes on every retreat with us…but never quite makes it out of the camera bag. This workshop was specifically designed to help business just like ours, for whom capturing images of what we do, where we do it and who we do it with is an important part of our marketing message..
I arrived at the training day armed with my trusty camera and my desire to create images what would make David Bailey sigh with amazement. Despite having owned the camera for years now I had (of course) never read the manual and so had never turned the dial past Auto. I was very much a point & shoot kind of photographer, but I was also a very frustrated photographer at my inability to take a decent photograph, after all it looks so simple. You point the lens at the thing you want a photo of and you press the button …right? Well it never seemed to work for me. That was all about to change.
Over the course of a fun, practical but very informative day Kerry explained the hows and whys of our cameras, how they see light, how to compose a picture, not only how to take a picture but how to take a picture that means something. At the end of the day my head was buzzing with all the new “stuff” I had just learned. Before we left Kerry gave us a goody bag which had amongst its delights a workbook of the days notes, a small laminated crib card to remind you how to set up the picture and an ideas book to encourage us to put into practice all that we had learnt.
I went off into the day a novice photographer and straight into Spring Clean Detox Retreat and the perfect opportunity to try out my new skills. So, I made a conscious decision that I would take at least one picture every day while on retreat… and I mean a proper picture, using my new flegdling skills. Morning one and we have Ruby Red Juice for breakfast, my first test subject. I served the ladies then snuck a couple of extra juices to the spa area to compose my shot. Instinct was telling me to just put the glasses down, take the picture and get on with my day, it had been less than 24 hours since I finished training but I couldn’t quite remember what the steps were. I fiddled with the glasses, moved the fruit props, twiddled the dials on the camera… but all the pictures didn’t look right. I was frustrated and it crossed my mind that it was time to give up …or maybe it was time to get the goody bag out, take out the workbook and crib sheet and go through the steps I had been taught! And guess what…RESULT!!
Spurred on by this success there was no stopping me and my camera, piles of veggies…snap, cups of tea…snap, bowls of soup..snap. Then after a couple of days I decided it was time to venture outside. So armed with my invaluable crib card and camera I set of with Bella for a walk around the farm to be inspired.
It was while I was lying on my belly on the ground in a field taking a picture of some daffodils that it struck me that photography is a lot like weight loss. Bear with me here 😉
We get ladies who join us on Weight Loss Retreat who come armed with a history of dieting and the desire to finally make it work. They have been trying to figure out how to make it happen for ages… perhaps even years. They may even have read a couple of manuals and there may even have been times when they hit the jackpot and one of the diets paid off (in the short term) but they are not able to replicate that success. In the same way that I thought photography was “point & shoot” these ladies think that loosing weight is “eat less & move more”, thats what they want it to be. Because that sounds simple. But the trouble with these simple solutions is that they don’t provide consistent results, results that make you happy and so you become a frustrated dieter.
On Weight Loss Retreat, there is an opportunity to learn a little bit about the hows and whys of weight management for women. To learn some new steps and behaviours to support a better outcome, to practice these new steps in a safe, fun and supportive environment and then just like me at the end of my photography day there is a tangible result, I took a couple of pictures I was really happy with (guided by Kerry of course), for the ladies on the weight loss retreat its pounds and inches shed that is the result.
Then the retreat ends and the ladies return home with a goody bag with new recipes and a crib card for on the go nutrition amongst other goodies. But just like my first photography shoot after the course, the first couple of days back in the real world and their instincts are telling them that its too difficult, its too time consuming… just get on with your day.
This was what struck me as I lay in that field and I am by no means a lie on ground type of woman, Im not the most patient of women either. But here I was enjoying putting my new skills into practice and I was enjoying the results these moments of putting myself outside my normal comfort zone gave me. But just a couple of days before, when I took my first photographs, it was almost back to “Point & Shoot”. I had almost wasted the new skills I had learnt, but something inside me stopped me and I made myself take a little extra time, get the tools I had been given to support me, practice taking pictures and not expect that the first picture taken is going to the the winning shot.
So you see photography is a lot like weight loss
1. “If you do what you always did, you get what you always got”, it may be time to acknowledge that you need to change your old behaviours.
2. You need a little bit of knowledge upon which to base your new behaviours, when you know why you are doing something it makes it much easier to keep going.
3. You need to use the tools and resources you are given.
4. You are going to need to practice your new skills at home, and through practices soon it becomes easier and easier until it becomes just the way you do things.
5. You need to relax. Stress makes you take bad pictures, some how the camera seems to know you are tense and frustrated, when you are relaxed and enjoying it, result! Likewise when you are stressed your body will hold onto that extra weight.
At The Body Retreat we make sure that our ladies leave all our retreats armed with the best possible skills and resources so that when that “its too difficult” voice raises its head they have the skills, the strength and the patience to keep going.
Im certainly keen to keep up the photography practice, hoping to make it from veggies and flowers and maybe on the next retreat, when I’ve practiced more I might even take a picture of retreater 🙂
If you have enjoyed this blog post then please share the inspiration using the social media buttons at the side.
We would love to hear from you so please leave us a comment below letting us know what you think about this story.
P.s all the lying on the ground in the daffodils was so worth it when I was photo bombed by Bella 😉