NEW! 2017 {online} Family Retreat hosted by The Milky Way



hosted by The Milky Way

2017 Family Retreat - The Milky Way

Discover new posing ideas, editing tips, marketing strategies - all from the comfort of your home!

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    Learn to capture authentic connections
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    Discover new family posing ideas
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    Come away inspired and ready to create!

23 inspiring instructors | Lifetime access to the video downloads

$297 USD
(or 2 monthly payments of $154 USD)

Enjoy INSTANT access to the videos!

Videos will have English, Spanish + Portuguese (Brasil) subtitles

What are students saying?

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • You LOVE photographing families but you aren't totally confident with your posing and you really, really want to capture authentic expressions.
  • You find some sessions going sideways and aren't sure how to get everyone (like dad!) on board.
  • You struggle to get more clients.
  • Things are starting to feel stale and you need a little boost of inspiration.

If so, I get it.  I SOOOOO get it. 

I have felt every single one of those things (sometimes all on the same day - ha!) 

And that's why I am SO excited to share the 2017 {online} Family Retreat where you'll learn new posing ideas, editing tips, marketing strategies and more from 23 photographers - all from the comfort of your home!

I love in-person events but sometimes traveling to a conference isn't in the cards.

Plus, I find my brain can only absorb so much info before what I'm learning goes in one ear and out the other - can you relate?

That's why we created our {online} Retreat series - where you can learn from an amazing group of teachers, connect with a positive group of like-minded photographers in a private online community and download videos for lifetime access.

(because sometimes it's nice to be able to review before a session!)

And because we know life is hectic, you don't have to be online at a specific time, so you can watch on YOUR schedule!

Who are the teachers?

(And what are they teaching?)

Rachel Vanoven

Rachel Vanoven Photography

Golden Hour Family Shoot

Follow Rachel for a fly-on-the-wall workshop while she photographs a family of six in her favorite field! These models have never been clients of hers, so you'll watch her slowly (and sometimes awkwardly) win over toddler twins and shy big brothers.

You'll get to watch first hand as she improvises and figure out the best way to interact with a new client.

Rachel will cover both posed and unposed group shots, individual shots with the kids, parent-only portraits, and all four siblings together!

See in real time how she not only creates stunning portraits, but creating relationships with new families.

Running Time: 46m

Doug Weittenhiller

Twig & Olive Photography

Dealing with Difficult Dads

We've all been there - a beautiful location, great ideas in your head, a family that steps out of the car dressed like page 32 of the Zara catalog .... and then you hear it. The dad, with a 'I-had-nails-for-breakfast look', says, "how long is this going to take?" Not the idyllic start you had hoped for. Can the session work? Will you survive unscathed?!

Fortunately, difficult dads can be easily corralled if you stick to a few simple practices. In this video, watch as we share eight steps to creating a memorable and enjoyable session for your family. Then, we'll photograph a family showing these practices in use and share the finished product.

Running Time: 60m

Erin Elizabeth Hoskins

Erin Elizabeth Photography

Online Sales and Efficient (+ Profitable!) Family Session Workflow

In this session, Erin will share her family posing workflow that allows her studio to run efficient (and profitable!) family sessions.

Say goodbye to worrying about what to do next - once you find your flow, you'll be able to concentrate on your clients and maximize your time together.

In addition, Erin will dive into online/ digital sales and how you can structure your price list to do your selling for you.

Don't have the time, energy, or space for IPS?   Look no further - this is the video for you.

Running Time: 50m

Heidi Hope

Heidi Hope Photography

Marketing Family Portraits
through Limited Edition Sessions

The Heidi Hope Photography Studio is best known for its creative portraits during baby's first year, but what happens to business as those babies grow up?

With a team of 7, it's important that the studio remains busy and profitable even during "slow season". In this class, Heidi takes you through the steps she uses to create and market Limited Edition Mini Sessions in her studio to keep families returning for portraits long after baby's first year is over.

She'll share the marketing sequence she uses every time including tips for List Building, Facebook, Instagram, Email Marketing and Video. You'll watch her photograph a maternity session with 2 siblings which will then be used for promotion of Limited Edition Sessions. She'll then show you how she used the images to drive demand for the sessions online through various marketing channels.

Running Time: 59m

Kristen Cook

Kristen Cook Photography

The Importance of Personal Work

Often in our day to day work, things may start to feel stale. It's a common event that happens when you do the same thing, day in day out, for months, if not years, on end. We start to lose that creative spark - so to reignite that, we need to explore, often in ways that have nothing to do with our day to day work directly.

Come with me on my journey of my personal January project that I have created with my own children for the past nine years - examples of some of the themes I look for each year, how this pushes me creatively, and examples of how my personal project weaves its way into the work that I do for my paid clients. Find a way to connect (or reconnect) with your 'why', and your future creative self will thank you.

Running Time: 49m

Julia Kelleher

Jewel Images

Studio Families with a Modern Flair

Family photography is one of the most high-dollar, sellable sessions you can do. But posing them in studio - a controlled environment with not a lot of "surroundings" and a lot of people in one shot - can be intimidating. Come learn from renowned family portraitist, Julia Kelleher, how to pose, light and connect with families inside a studio environment. You will learn:

  • The 3 Elements Of Success You Must Use With Every Shot
  • How To "See" The Pose & Set It Up With Multiple Subjects
  • How To Encourage Clients To Wear The Right Clothes
  • The Simple Lighting Set Up You Can Use With Every Family
  • The "L" Design In Family Posing & Why It Works
  • Why Camera Angle Can Change A Shot & What To Look For To Get It Right

At the conclusion of this class you will be able to successfully pose, light and shoot multiple subject families with ease in a way that's clean, edgy and commercial.

With simple backgrounds that highlight the family as they truly are, showcasing their individual personalities, and without relying on an outside location to "define" the image, you will have complete control over the look and feel of your family portraits, creating a style that's all your own and unique to your market.

Running Time: 87m

Emily Lucarz

Emily Lucarz Photography

Photographing Families on Location

Are you looking to add different types of photography sessions for your clients? Do you want to learn how to get repeat clients simply by changing locations? Follow Emily behind the scenes taking a family on location in a small community city. Get an inside look on how Emily evokes genuine reactions out of her clients.

Emily will go over ideas on setting up actions to help guide your client to interact in a way that will capture not only the joy amongst them but their love. You will walk away with more confidence on how to engage family members and with ideas on storytelling. Finally, Emily goes over all camera settings, how she shoots large families with a wide open lens and then walks you through her simple editing process.

Running Time: 54m

Sarah Petty

The Joy of Marketing

From Overlooked to Overbooked: How to Market Your Mini-Sessions

Mini-sessions are a great way to sample your work to a LOT of clients really quickly.

But with LOTS of photographers doing them, how do you make sure your mini-sessions are booked solid?

Join one of America
s most profitable photographers, Sarah Petty, as she walks you through how to get clients to your mini-session event.

She’ll be showing you:

What to do first, second and third when it comes to crafting a mini-session event that rakes in the dough.

The #1 way to quickly and easily fill your mini-sessions. The great news is, you don't even have to know how to sell with this strategy.

3 Things you MUST include in your mini-session marketing to attract the right clients. Miss any one of these and you risk having your event fall flat

Running Time: 52m

Sujata Setia

But Natural Photography

Fast Family Photo Shoots

I really do feel that besides your gear and your knowledge, as a business owner your biggest asset is your time. This video will be all about how you can optimize your time.

I will take you with me to the secret gardens where I do all my family photo shoots, along with a lovely client family. I usually finish my shoots in 45 minutes to one hour.

So you will get to see how I do it very quickly. I will explain my pricing to you. How I prepare my clients for their session. How I keep children involved and most importantly what is my exact posing workflow that I use over and over again in all my family photo shoots so that I do not have to spend time thinking up poses.

Running Time: 49m

Sarah Hill

Sara-Beth Photography

Family Sessions with Older Kids

Join Sarah as she shows you the secret to simple posing and natural family interaction with older children.

Emotion and intimacy is possible regardless of the childrens' ages, and you'll see it's easier and way more fun than you ever could have imagined.

Running Time: 54m

Elise Gow

Elise Gow Photography

Rainforest Family Photography Adventure

Join Elise Gow for a fun outdoor family session at a gorgeous rainforest location near her home in Queensland, Australia.

Watch as she creates an exciting adventure to keep the kids engaged and the parents relaxed and achieves natural images in the process.

She explains her process and planning, ensuring all of the basics are covered with room for spontaneous interaction and 'in between' moments whilst working towards creating a widely varied gallery her clients will adore.

Running Time: 35m

Jackie Acosta

Jackie Jean Photography

The Heart of a Boy

Join Jackie Jean in a behind the scenes look at how she goes into a session with boys.

As a mom of five boys with big personalities, she shares how to prepare and succeed in a session of just boys with a little imagination, adventure, and fun. This session covers all the details from start to finish, including the final touch of editing in Photoshop.

Running Time: 44m

But wait...there's more!  
It's the retreat that keeps on giving!

Leah Robinson + Anne Kerr

Horizon Within

Soulful Parent and Child Portraits

Come behind the scenes with Leah and Anne as they reveal the secrets to capturing the profound connection mothers and fathers have with their children. This video demonstrates how to get them to showcase their loving relationship, and what to say in order to lead them into that “perfect moment” that showcases the parent bond from a variety of perspectives.

Leah demonstrates how she works on location with a client mom to capture those dream-like maternal images with her daughters. Watch Anne break down her “dad workflow” with fun-loving, masculine daddy shots that put dads at ease by capturing what daddy’s do best. Within the video you will see the whole process, from how they interact with client, to SOOC, to the final edited images.

Gain the skills needed to guide your clients into those soulful moments that is all about connection-what every parent desires and will be sure to cherish.

Running Time: 33m

Lisa DiGeso

Milk & Honey Photography

Sweetly Sitting

Join Lisa in studio for two sitter sessions where she shares her secrets on creating a diverse gallery quickly during this sweet stage.

Showing both natural + studio light set-ups, Lisa will also share tips on camera settings, light placement, props, outfits, accessories and set-ups you can create quickly regardless of the space you have available. She will also show her editing steps on an image from each session.

Running Time: 41m

Jessica Drossin

Jessica Drossin

Transformative Editing

Watch Jessica Drossin hand-edit a photograph in ACR and Photoshop into a unique cinematic moment that bends reality to fulfill her creative vision for a shoot.

Running Time: 87m

Morgan Burks

Morgan Burks Photography

Family Session Composite

Join Morgan Burks as she walks you through the steps of a complex head swap/composite in Photoshop.

Morgan will show you the exact process she took to combine portions of three photos into one, in order to achieve a seamless final image of a family with three young boys, two of whom were two-year-old twins. Along the way, Morgan will show you how she handles issues that may arise when creating a composite, and will finish up by showing you how she'd edit the final result.

Running Time: 92m

Stephanie Lemmon

LemmonMade Photography

Style Group Mini Sessions

Go behind the scenes with Stephanie as she walks you through the planning, execution and editing of a styled group mini session. You'll discover how to make these type of shoots seamless, profitable and fun!

Running Time:  66m

Bryan Caporicci

Sprout Studio

Redefine Busy:
How to
get more done in less time and eliminate the stress in your life

Being a photographer isn’t about being busy. It isn’t about more money, more connections or more opportunities.

It’s about being an entrepreneur and enjoying the freedom, flexibility and control that comes with it. It’s about doing what you love and making a living doing it. It’s about designing the lifestyle you want and creating a business that fits into it.

Too many photographers do the opposite and structure their life around their business. Would you like to do more of the things you love to do? Would you like to spend more time with the people you want to spend time with? Would you like to be the best person you can be? If so, then let’s redefine your relationship with time. Let’s redefine how and where you chose to invest your attention. Let’s redefine your priorities. Let’s redefine your business. Let’s redefine busy.

Running Time: 59m

Reina Procee

Reina Procee Photography

Rainy Day Family Sessions

Join Reina Procee while she works with two families in their homes, capturing beautiful images of them being absolutely themselves and having a really fun time doing it!

Reina will be walking you through the common fears of shooting in a person's home and how to deal with them, as well as her prep, equipment choices, the reasoning behind her posing and editing the images quickly and efficiently.

Running Time: 82m

Sally Molhoek

Sallykate Photography

When it all Falls Apart: Weather, Location and Attitude

When it comes to photographing families, we all know that sometimes our best-laid plans get derailed and we might have to scrap our Plan A and go with Plan B, C or D.

Join Sallykate Photography as she shares her best tips for assessing the scene, adapting to the family's dynamics and rocking the shoot, every time, despite the curve balls coming in from all angles.

We'll discuss using light and environment, making any location work for you, and winning over the tough clients and capturing the true, unique essence of every family.

Running Time: 43m

Chris Scott

Swift Galleries

Make it Work, Then Make it Better:
Your Step-by-Step Plan to Making the Switch to
In-Person Sales

You've heard that In-Person Sales can make the difference between famine and feast in your photography business. You're sold on the idea of serving your clients better by helping them figure out exactly what to do with the images you create. And you're convinced that IPS is the next "thing" you need to add to your business.

But where the heck are you supposed to start?

By the end of this class, you'll have an actionable plan for baby-stepping your way over to In-Person Sales without breaking the bank, losing your mind or selling your soul.

Running Time: 58m

Cyrissa Carlson

Sparkle Society

Using Live Video to Expand Your Reach & Increase Bookings

Want to know how I consistently sell-out my photo shoots in under two hours? I'll let you in on a secret: I'm using live streaming video!

I know that the thought of going live may scare you, but it truly is the future of social media marketing! My videos typically reach at least 30-50% of my audience and a whopping 20% of my audience engages with my live content! Would you love to see those numbers for your portrait business?! Let me show you how to successfully leverage all that live streaming has to offer!

I'll teach you how to overcome your fear, my five-point system for successful broadcasts, and all the tips and tricks you need to know to shine online!

Running Time: 43m

Win a FREE seat to Enlighten with

(and a surprise or two!)

Here's what students are saying already.....

If you're ready to walk away feeling inspired with your family sessions, and confident with creating authentic, real moments with your clients we would LOVE to have you join us!

Ready to say yes?

$297 USD
(or 2 monthly payments of $154 USD)

Consider this...if you can book just ONE extra session based on what you learn, it will have paid for itself! 

First retreat experience with us?

Here's how it works...

Imagine an in-person conference except all the sessions happen online, you don't have to 'pick' which class to attend (you can watch them all!) and you don't have to travel anywhere!

23 talented photographers will share their secrets and expertise on posing, editing, marketing and more!

All the videos are are pre-recorded, so you don't have to "show up live" at a specific time (so it works for all time-zones and all kinds of work schedules!).

Enjoy instant access when you sign up!  The videos will be on the member site until August 31st, 2018 and you can download them too (so you have them for life!)

You'll also receive an invite to our BONUS* private Retreat Facebook group which will stay open until our 2018 retreat gets underway so you can keep receiving support and advice from your fellow students (so long as it remains a positive, drama-free zone!)

Ready to say yes?

$297 USD

(or 2 monthly payments of $154 USD)

Step 1

Get your ticke​t
(choose one payment of $297USD or 2 monthly payments of $154 USD)

Step 2

Watch for your invite to our private Facebook community* where you'll connect with fellow students

Step 3

Dive into the teacher videos. You don't have to "show up" at a specific time - once released, videos stay up for a year and you can download them!!

Step 4

Get ready to ROCK your family sessions and watch your confidence soar !  Say good-bye to stiff awkward posing!

If you went to an in-person conference, it could cost you $1,500+ once you factor in the price of the ticket, airfare, accommodation and meals. 
(And while we love in-person events, it's nice to be able to learn from home, on YOUR schedule, with videos - all for a fraction of the price!)

Watch on YOUR Schedule

You can watch when it works with your schedule!  Enjoy instant access to the  videos.

Download the Videos

You can download the videos
so you have them for life!

Bonus Facebook Community*

Connect with fellow students in a safe, drama-free space  

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I HAVE to be online at a certain time?
No! once videos are released you can watch on your own schedule! 

Can I download the presentations?  Yes - you can download the videos so you have them for life - and you'll be able to able to access the info on our private Retreat website until Aug 31st, 2018.

*Is there a Facebook community for the retreat?  We'll be hosting a bonus Facebook group.  Please note, this pop-up community is a bonus - not a paid part of the Family Retreat experience.  To participate, there is a set of community guidelines to follow (basically - be awesome!), but those who are not awesome, will be asked to leave. 

Is this subtitles? Yes.  Videos will have English, Spanish and Portuguese (Brazil) subtitles.

What currency is the price?  USD

How does the payment plan work?  If you choose the payment plan, your first payment will come out when you register.  The next payment will automatically come out in 30 days (using the same method of payment you used to register - ie: Paypal or Credit Card).  You WILL get full access to the retreat experience on Day 1 - you do not have to wait until the second payment is made (because we know you are awesome and will complete that second payment!) - however the option to download won't be available until full payment is made.  And yes, it is the best deal to purchase the single-pay option.  Why?  Because it requires less follow up on our part, less book-keeping, and there is no risk of full payment not being made. 

Can I buy this with a group and share my login?  We appreciate you respecting our teachers (and the law!!) by ensuring your login is for your eyes only.  Thanks for being awesome! It's a bummer when we have to pursue legal action to protect our teachers, but we will.

Is this beginner-friendly?  Yes!  While it isn't an A-Z guide to family, we also know that new and aspiring family photographers will take away lots of tips they can implement immediately (not to mention, the boost of inspiration!)  We don't cover the basics of understanding your camera, etc.

How long are the videos? Teacher videos will range from 30-80 minutes. (see class descriptions for individual run times).  Some will be video footage of the instructor in action showing specific posing and lighting techniques, while other topics will be presented in a slideshow or screenshare format. 

Is this professionally filmed? Nope! In fact, each presenter will be creating/filming their own presentation which might be a slideshow presentation, a video of them in their office, studio or on location showing you a session, or a screen share where you can watch them edit.   You will enjoy a jam-packed event with info, tips and inspiration to help you with your maternity photography (but it won't be up for any videography awards, so if that's a deal breaker for you, give this a pass until a future retreat)

Is there a discount if I've taken a retreat in the past?    Sorry, as each retreat is a new collaboration with a unique group of instructors, there aren't discounts beyond the early-registration price.

We do, however, have alumni discounts on our Milky Way classes - Illuminate, Beyond the Beanbag and 5 Days to Photoshop.

Do you have a money-back guarantee? Ticket are non-refundable.  Just like an in-person conference, you go in knowing there are some sessions you are going to love and some that might not feel applicable to you.  At the end of the day, you need to decide what you are looking for and if the sessions described fit what you need! 

Is there tax added?  If you have the good fortune of living in Canada, then yes, there will be GST  and/or HST charged. If your business is registered, it is more of a 'paper shuffle with the CRA vs added cost.  If you don't have a business tax ID, we know tax can seem like a bummer, but think of all the wonderful things it healthcare tops our list!

$297 USD

Have a question not answered?  Email us at

Teaching Opportunities

Interested in speaking at a future Retreat (family, newborn, maternity)? 
Click here
to fill out our initial application.

*IMPORTANT:  the Facebook group is a BONUS, not a paid part of the program to connect with other students.  We have community guidelines (basically be awesome) - if you aren't, you will be removed. 

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