Photography retreats: They are the quickest way to transform your portfolio before the 2023 booking season begins! And it’s fun!


The first styled shoot I attended was a 5-day photography retreat to Yosemite National Park: Dirty Boots and Messy Hair. DBMH Camp – yes!! I was one of the “lucky” ones to get accepted in 2019. While it cost a pretty penny, it was worth it on many different levels. (Photo of the attendees above)

I had just started to build my own adventure elopement photography portfolio. It was 2019, and adventure elopements were just on the cusp of trending. Dirty Boots and Messy Hair were also trending on social media when styled shoots started becoming popular.

So why did I decide to go? For the same reasons that YOU should attend a photography retreat. Check out my reasons listed below.


Wait. How is a styled shoot different from a retreat or workshop?

A styled shoot is a commercial photography shoot in a controlled environment but a little more relaxed. It’s put together by a planner who has chosen a theme and invites a group of wedding vendors, educators, and photographers. Essentially, it’s put together to build portfolios. A styled shoot, content days, photography workshop, or retreat are all similar but differ just a little. A photography retreat or workshop adds photography education alongside the photo shoots and usually takes place over a few days. Styled shoots themselves can be scheduled for as little as a couple of hours.

A bride and groom holding hands on the salt flats in Utah, her wearing a designer wedding gown and hat, him in a suit.

Attend a photography retreat or put on your own and invite your friends! This weekend retreat was my first, in the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, with my flight attendant and photographer friends! Ashley is wearing the Andres gown by Willowby by Watters


Here are 6 Reasons Why You Should Attend A Photography Retreat

#1 To Expand Your Knowledge

Have you been dying to push your boundaries or learn a new skill with your camera?  Maybe you’ve wanted to dabble in film photography, and you’re looking for another creative who is also learning. It’s one thing to be self-taught, to learn on your own. But nothing beats hands-on shooting, in-person education, and creative training. Investing in content days or workshops is a way to ensure you’re not only learning but practicing what you’ve learned! Attending a photography retreat, styled shoot, workshop, or content day with other creatives is the easiest and most fun way to learn!

The Wild Love Collective put on a giveaway in May 2022. We started the retreat with a sunrise shoot in Moab, Utah


#2 To Photograph Your Ideal Client

You know who your ideal clientele is, but perhaps you don’t have enough images in your portfolio to make it clear. Your ideal clientele is looking at your website and trying to connect. Are you their ideal photographer? Attending a styled shoot is a great way to photograph your ideal client and be sure they are in your portfolio!  Real-life couples are typically the models in styled shoots, which means you’ll be inspired by the chemistry between the two, which will show in your images! Styled shoots are a great way to transform your portfolio to draw your ideal clientele. Why would you want to attract anyone but?

When I attended the DBMH retreat, I specifically wanted to photograph beautiful couples in designer gowns. This is where I was introduced to the brands such as Rue de Seine Bridal, All Who Wander, Grace Loves Lace, and Lover’s Society. 

A bride and groom, her in a designer wedding gown by Rue de Seine, walking across a wooden bridge in Yosemite National Park for a styled photo shoot.

A social media influencer (Kenna) holding hands with her husband wearing a Lover’s Society boho lace wedding gown at a styled shoot in Yosemite National Park put on by Dirty Boots and Messy Hair.

#3 To Take A Break from Burnout

We all experience burnout as creatives, especially after a busy wedding season. Perhaps you’ve hit a creative roadblock and just need inspiration; or a much-needed break from the stress of shooting brides. Investing in a styled shoot is a great way to get your creative juices flowing in a fun and relaxing environment.  Perhaps you want to diversify your portfolio by shooting in “other” locations. You can choose which styled shoot to attend, the location, and the creative desire to capture the chemistry between a real-life couple. When you leave a styled shoot, you’ll feel enlightened, refreshed, and motivated, ready to take on the next wedding season, I promise!

A bride running down a deserted beach in her wedding dress towards a group of palm trees

When I planned a vacation to Mexico with my bestie, I brought a dress to photograph her on a deserted beach. If you can’t afford to go to a retreat or styled shoot, invent your own!

#4 To Travel To A Bucket List Location

Have you dreamed of having a helicopter elopement in your portfolio or photographing an elopement at a cute Airbnb?  Attending a styled shoot in your dream location can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll be able to experience a new place with like-minded creatives who also share a love for adventure, travel, and education while building your portfolio. The sky is your limit when deciding which styled shoot location you should attend. Look on social media; they are constantly being offered; you just need to know where to look!!  Many styled shoots focus on unique locations, so look for the ones that include your dream location.

A bride and groom standing on the edge of a cliff kissing at sunset with the mountainous landscape behind them

My brother and his wife are in Colorado with the mountains behind them, embracing each other during a sunset photoshoot for their 20th anniversary.

#5 To Build Genuine Connections

Attending a photography retreat allows you to surround yourself with like-minded creatives who share the same passions: education and creativity. But what you’ll walk away with is genuine connections. Styled shoots are usually a “community over competition” environment where you will bond and collaborate with fellow creatives who value where you are in the process. All levels are usually welcome. You will leave with great memories and new friendships and… have an experience that helps to transform and upgrade your portfolio.

2 flight attendant models wearing rental dresses in order to attend a photography retreat at sunset in Pria de Ursa, Portugal at sunset

Just one of the reasons why you should attend a styled photo shoot, content day, retreat, or workshop: amazing connections!


#6 To Meet, Learn From, and Be Inspired by an Influencing Photographer

Imagine connecting and collaborating with your favorite creatives in real life, the ones you admire most on social media.  I attended the DBMH Camp retreat to meet Anni Graham, whose photography inspired me. Not only did I get to meet her, but I got to learn from her as she dug deep into her own business. We sat under a tent in AutoCamp Yosemite, in the pouring rain listening to her and other photographer educators. I got to have a one-on-one conversation with her, learning about the planning of her own elopement to the Gold Coast. I also went to DBMH Camp to meet Mae & Co Creative because I absolutely adore their creative styling seen on Instagram. It was amazing to realize they have gone through some of the same issues we have, growing a business.

Commit yourself to build a business beyond your wildest dreams. If you haven’t already started “looking” for your next styled shoot, content day, retreat, or workshop to attend, what are you waiting for? (Start with a search on IG or FB)

Or, you can do what I often do. If you know what you want to shoot, and no one is offering it, make it happen yourself! 


The Wild Love Collective is a woman-owned dress rental company based in Boston, MA. Sherry is an international flight attendant and an elopement photographer. She brings her dresses to epic locations to photograph on layovers, and instead of letting them sit in her closet, she rents them to others for photo shoots. Her rental clientele includes photographers, event planners, and other wedding industry creatives like florists, wedding venues, hairdressers, and jewelry designers.

The dress rentals are not limited only to the wedding industry creatives. Other clients include models and social media influencers trying to build their portfolios, mamas looking for a couture dress for an epic maternity shoot, and brides-to-be looking for a gorgeous dress for their engagement shoot.

Sherry’s designer dresses, couture gowns, and handmade made-to-order dresses are only for photo shoots and not for events. Brides may inquire to see if one can be made to order, Dress rentals, however, are forbidden to be used for real weddings, elopements, birthday celebrations, baby gender reveal parties, and other events.


Please ask if you have any questions while browsing my dress rental website! I am very accessible by email ( or by IG messaging ( 

For more information on rentals, please read thTerms & Conditions listed on the website before you rent! My dress rentals are ONLY for rent and intended for photo shoots. Thank you for understanding!

Need a photographer? I have a limited calendar (Destination Anywhere Photography); however, I can also refer you to someone exceptional in your area. See my Preferred Vendors list!