A couple months ago I attended Camp Do More – a retreat hosted by Do More Photographers that brings together boudoir photographers from around the world for a week of workshops and adventures.

So yes, as a professional headshot photographer, I was obviously out of my element.

An invite had been extended by some friends who knew I had been contemplating a break into new genres. I had been toying with the idea of adding portraiture and boudoir into my work, as combined with headshots, the three are genres that allow me to focus on providing individual and personal empowerment.

Researching the Camp; I learned that one of the instructors this year was Pratik Naik (a professional high-end retoucher and retouching educator). He was a Facebook friend, and I had been extensively learning retouching from him via his online course, so the opportunity to both meet and learn from him in person sold me on attending.

I didn’t know what to expect.
I knew virtually no one as there is little overlap between the boudoir genre and my own.
And it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had as a photographer.

I tend to gravitate towards the kind of people who are best described as the care-free, judgement-free, forever young-at-heart types. For the few days I was at Camp I was surrounded by these very people.

I met some of the leaders in the industry, became friends with some of the most creative people I’ve ever met, and not once ever during my time there did I feel like an outcast.

There were classes on retouching, photography, videography, marketing, and business. Outside the standard trope of traditional photography workshops there were also classes on sexuality, acceptance, and other like important topics. In the military I’m a conflict resolution adviser, a mental health sentinel, and a harassment adviser… so I’ve sat in on more than my fair share of motivational talks… but Teri Hofford’s talk on Body Image may be one of the most powerful discussions I’ve ever been a part of.

This all took place against the backdrop of a remote scenic summer camp, taken over by us for those few days. Classes took place in lodges, or sometimes just in the wild. We ate together in a mess hall, relaxed together against the water during our off time, and partied together because why the fuck not. It was a genuinely welcoming community made up of every demographic type you can imagine. And clothing was definitely optional – it was very normal to see people in various states of undress posing for their peers.

I hate the stale classroom environment, this was anything but that.

I definitely learned. I took part in some sessions (a thank you to the ladies who were patient with the photographer inexperienced with anything not a headshot). I left Camp Do More motivated enough that I’ve since done a deep dive into this genre… and now have every intention of pushing into this genre professionally. I’ve already registered for Camp Do More in the coming year, and in the time between now and then I will push myself to keep growing.

I’d be amiss not to thank the ladies (Sabrina and Ashlyn – both amazing photographers themselves) who extended the invite in the first place.

Please see some of my work captured at Camp Do More 2019 below.

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