Earlier this year I was asked to be a speaker at the world famous Snap Photography Festival in the beautiful West Wales hills. I had a blast, met some great new friends and experienced lots of great new things…..like a silent disco.
Snap Photography Festival is a unique blend of world class speakers, amazingly creative like minded folks who want to learn, great food, good company and lots of laughs. Laura Babb and her husband Pete work wonders all year round to create an event that epitomises (to me) what a great learning event should be.
Everybody mixes in, there is no room for ego, and Laura and her band of merry helpers have fostered something that I think is brilliant, brave and possibly even unique in the photographic industry.
By being cocooned with people who’s only ambitions are to be positive, the negatives that often exist in social media and “silent whippers” in my world as a professional wedding photographer were zapped at their core. Laura is a believer, an educator, a bloody good photographer and a person that will grab an embryonic idea and nurture it into something very special.
I’ve spoken at many conventions across the world; the amazing FDF in Argentina, forFujifilm in Japan and all across the UK and Europe. My latest jaunt took me back to my home land of Wales. And it was a wonderful experience. I’d call it F**ng EPIC.
- Kevin Mullins
SNAP is so much more than a photography festival. It's a community that celebrates individuality, cultivates kindness and encourages us to enjoy others for their uniqueness. There were so many different people from different parts of the world, with different views and ideas about things, yet there is this overriding sense of harmony and support here. I'm pretty sure this doesn't exist anywhere else in the photography world. It's priceless. - Alice Boagey
I'll be honest and say I'm always a bit of a skeptic about things which isn't a good thing, and I tried to approach SNAP with an open mind.... However the first 36 hours I wasn't really 'in to it'. It just seemed like some talks which were good but mainly just an excuse for everyone to escape their lives for a few days and get drunk. I thought that for the price I'd rather take my family away and spend some much needed time with them. I really thought I'd not even consider returning next year. I wasn't having a bad time but it just wasn't for me. There wasn't much practical stuff and I'm not really in to the 'ooh be yourself vibe'... I just wanted to learn cool tricks to make better photos. The more SNAP went on the more I realised I just had totally the wrong approach to it, and I didn't change my approach, SNAP changed it for me. I now realise being a creative isn't just about learning a new trick here and there to make cooler photos but it's a voyage of self discovery, one that in the end helps you become an artist not just someone with a camera who knows a few techniques that helps make an ultimately soulless photo. I can safely say that I am more inspired than I thought possible in every aspect of my business due to SNAP, I feel less stressed and very clear what I want to do and how to do it (ok I have to apply that now which is the hard part!).
- Andy Hudson
I have just got home.....I am so utterly broken that one of my eyes stopped being a useful part of my body somewhere along the M4. I had such an amazing time!! Thank you so much Laura and Pete for putting on such an amazing event. Thank you to everyone who came to support me at my talk and cheered me on when the speed presenting kicked in. Finally thank you to all my new amazing friends...it fucking rocked....just remember....don't be a dick!!!
- Sassy aka Assassynation
To Laura and everyone else who shed blood and sweat to make Snap happen you have created something truly special! Thank you so much! To the speakers and all those I had the pleasure of spending time with, be it a chat by the fire or in the sun, or random (often booze fuelled) shenanigans thank you for making it such an unforgettable week! The future has never felt so bright and exciting :)
- Matt Badenoch
I'm home and feeling completely exhilarated and happy despite being utterly broken from the week's shenanigans. I'm feeling so blessed to have got the opportunity to live the magic of Snap again, to see beautiful familiar faces and to have met fabulous new ones. You're all bloody ace!! The inspiration is off the scale. Thank you Laura, Pete and to everyone else involved in creating this super special experience. You really are a total legends. And Xeco and Ro Chan, thank you sooooo much for letting me be part of the most amazing wedding day ever! You are two truly special people.
- Ayesha Rahman
I just wanted to say this has been an ultra super week, met so many awesome people, learnt so so much to help me forward ME and most of all I can now say I've been to Snap. Thanks Laura for running such an fabulous event. One that will stay in the memory! Thanks to Xeco & Ro for deciding to get married and let us all join you all. Truly unforgettable memories. I've come away having made some wonderful new friends and cementing ones I already had. Please make sure you all keep in touch. Can't wait for the next time we meet. You are all so brilliant and amazing! Right.... I'm off for a cry!
- Jamie Sia Gadong
I'm so sad it's all over guys, WOW. Honestly, life changing, i'm SO fecking pumped for our next wedding! Not to mention the amazing people we've met and friends we've made. Thank you to all of the frigging fantastic speakers and to every one for making the experience so incredible and to you Laura for looking after us all and making everything go just perfectly. Would definitely love to be a second time Snapster. ️
- Katie Fairclough
What an amazing week it was!!! Fucking awesome experience! Many thanks for inviting us. It was a real honour to be part of this fantastic event among all the great speakers and attendees. We haven’t expected to meet such an amazing community who will became so dear to our hearts. We’re absolutely thrilled that we were part of it. We’ve got lots of inspiration from all of you guys. All of you gave us great energy, wonderful vibes and simply say kicked us out into the new wedding season. Wonderful time which we will treasure forever. We’ve got new friends and amazing memories. Thanks for such a warm welcome, endless talks and friendship! Laura and Pete you've created such an amazing and supportive community. You rock!
We already miss you all! Until the next time! xoxo
- Whitesmoke Studio
I have an alternative name for SNAP PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL. #Hugfest
- Alex James
This last week I had the most amazing time at SNAP Photography Festival!! We toasted marshmallows, sang around campfires, danced our hearts out, hugged all the hugs, were invited to the most beautiful surprise wedding and just happened to attend a whole bunch of fabulous inspirational workshops along the way. I have made so many wonderful friends through SNAP, you are an amazing community. I love you all, huge hugs!
- Louise Miller
This last week at Snap has given me back my confidence to trust my gut and my voice. University had all but destroyed my love of photography and in a single week, all of you have helped me get it back. I just cried AGAIN because I was trying to explain how life-alteringly amazing snap was to someone and couldn't find the words... cry count this week = off the charts. You guys are the bomb.
- Sophie Fowler
Home now too and haven't caught up on all the posts... But I'm basically feeling the same as all of you. What an amazing week it's been! So great to meet lots of lovely snapsters! Thank you Laura and Pete for a week I'll never forget! Big love xxxx
- Selina Marie Harris
When I first heard of SNAP last year the grumpy cynic in me couldn't believe how everyone that I knew who had gone were putting SO much time and effort into praising it, and promoting it ...I thought everyone must have been coerced into leaving such insanely good feedback by brownies & cups of tea. Now I realise exactly why those people spent the time and effort talking about SNAP. What an incredible week, with such amazing people. I seriously can't wait to see you all again. Thanks so much for organising such a fantastic event. The grumpy cynic in me has officially gone.
- Will Fuller
Thoughts on Snap: You know that thing when you go on holiday and want to do all the stuff but can't do all the things you want to? Well it means you have to go back again, and that's nice. Snap is the same.
- Emma Louise Latham
Before snap Megan and I thought we had our shit fairly together, Snap has caused us to loose our shit (in the best possible way) we're now spending the next few weeks finding our shit again (just in time for the first wedding of the year). Thank you so much Laura and Pete for creating such an amazing supportive community. This week has been incredibly inspiring and a little bit overwhelming. Thank you! You are all beautiful. Keep moving, keep shooting and don't be a dick!
- Ahmani Vidal
What an emotional ride. There is no other workshop with this magical vibe. Im trying to write something but Im speechless, just not sure if it was a good idea to book a wedding for tomorrow...
- Wojteck Chrapek
YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING. thank you for all the laughs and hugs and genuine kindness. I love all of your accents and smiles and caring attitudes. All of you have inspired me to just be myself even more so than I already am. I have never felt more at home anywhere else.... I am exhausted, in tears and really can't put the words together to describe what Snap has meant to me. xoxo
- Rachel Kaye
What happened?!! I blinked and it was over! Thank you Laura and every single one of you for a totally SNAPtastic week. My head is swimming with shooting, info, fun, hugs, giggles, cheeky daytime drinking, little chats, belly laughs, smiles, tears, and hundreds of fizzy, wonderful little snippets keep coming back to me. To Ro + Xeco, thank you for sharing such a special celebration with us. It was magical and I'm welling up just thinking about it. SNAP forever xx
- Elyse Marks
What an amazing week back at beautiful Fforest with the Snap tribe.. I've made some awesome new friends, reconnected with old ones, learned shit loads, drunk shit loads, and generally had a bloody brilliant time. After a really difficult time personally, last year's Snap kind of brought me back to life (my Mum's words!), and this year was no less special to me. We got something really wonderful going on here. All the happy tears.. Thanks so much to Laura, Pete and the other organisers for making it happen. You rock. Oh and I still haven't been in the sauna, to the beach, wild swimming or made it to breakfast on the last day, so I guess I might just have to come back next year ;) #snapsterforlife
- Helen Schryver
Never really been a fan of workshops. Went on one and watching 15 people running around trying to shoot a couple while the speaker tries to explain how they shot just kinda made me sad. The last few days I had the honour of shooting at Snap. I have come home tired but completely and utterly buzzing with ideas, business goals and a massive hunger to shoot EVERYTHING. What Laura and Pete have achieved with Snap is quite frankly unbelievable. They haven't just booked some speakers at a venue, they have created a community that wants to help, learn and share. I feel very proud to have been accepted by you all in to the Snap family and feel a bit like the strange uncle who never puts down his camera - you know what I'm ok with that. I may have learnt a lot about shooting, composition and business but the biggest thing I have taken away is that maybe I am alright at this and maybe I should love myself a bit more. I had a couple of chats with people who gave me a loving telling off and the things they said surprised and (sorry for the word) empowered me to be a better person. So thank you to ALL of you for making this loud mouth, hairy, slightly tubby fool feel loved and very very special.
- Lee Allen
I have literally no words. Snap Photography Festival and the incredible people who surround it have absolutely broken me in the best possible way. A more coherent account may appear later once everything's filtered through my brain, but for now I'm just going to go with: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 - Elly Lucas
I'm just home. Fucking knackered and head full of stuff. I'll write a proper post later next week when I've really made sense of it all. But what a fucking immense week that was. A very very special community with some very very special people. You've turned a weary cynic into a different person. I'm also fairly sure that the most hugs I've ever had in a 4 day period. To you all. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
- Guy Collier
There were soooooooo many happy moments this week...seeing old friends, and making new ones! Massive thanks to Babb...you have created something that has, and will hopefully for many more years to come, change people's lives! Great lineup of speakers again...you all rock! Hope to see many of you again at the reunion. #SNAPhugs
- Andy Li
Sad and tired back home after a wonderful week with so many amazing people. It was a pleasure to see everyone again and get to know the new people of our family. SNAP is really something else and I can't wait for next year. I still can't believe what a weather we had on the wedding day, totally unreal and perfect. Thanks Laura Babb for creating this unique experience!
- Lukas Piatek
Words can't describe how I'm feeling. Last years SNAP was awesome and WOW snap 2016 was just as AWESOME. I wondered whether it would be as good but you certainly did SMASH it!! Last year when I attended Snap I was still in my day to day job feeling unappreciated and trying to juggle work, my photography business and family life, and like Petar Jurica said 'its fucking hard work'. Fast forward to September 2015 and I've quit my day to day job. It's just amazing how people have seen the change in my work since attending snap 2015, I thank Laura, Pete the speakers and everyone of you snapsters for creating this special unique community. Keep hugging tight and remember 'Fucking love your clients', 'don't be a dick' and 'we are all unique and special' x
- Richard Savage
This year Snap was extra special for me as my husband got to come too. For those of you that know our story, Snap was a turning point for me last year and again this year, simply because it brought out a passion for photography and an inspiration I haven't seen in Julian in a long time. I know its a turing point for him as well and that is thanks to every one of you. Thanks again Laura Babb for doing what you do. See everyone next year and hopefully many of you at reunion. xoxo
- Jessica Milberg
SNAP and the amazing people and speakers shone a whopping great big light on a lot of stuff for me. I feel hugely, massively inspired, I feel fired up and don't quite know what to do with all the electricity in me right now. I just wanted to say a mega thank you to Laura and Pete for pouring blood sweat and tears into creating something genuinely amazerbeams. I feel uplifted and inspired with a whole new direction of motivation. I also want to say a heart felt thank you to this group/community for being so damn amazing too. Happy SNAPster love to you all xxx
- Bethan Beej Jones
Blimey. What a week. As I prepare to suffer some epic SNAPlag after not managing to get to bed before 4am at any point (sleep is for the weak) I'm really not sure how to describe my first SNAP. I was relieved to discover all the fabulous things I've been tweeting and sharing about SNAP are ridiculously true and I haven't been lying to the online world for the past six months. I loved every second. The party bus bonding, the happily hungover shower queues, the three-measures-of-gin pub cocktails, the mandatory surprise fruity vodka shots, the endless amounts of cheese, the brain-scramblingly brilliant talks, the off-road silent disco spins in light up shoes, the campfire crooning, the camp shack deck sunset chats, the moving, the shooting, the swearing, the stories to well up to, the creeping realisation that someone to your right is sneaking a picture of you, and the hugs. So many free hugs. Huge thank you to Laura (I want to be her when I grow up) and Pete. It was bloody marvellous to be a tiny part of such a huge radioactive camera-clicking Godzilla of an event. Many hugs to Ro and Xeco for letting me and my iPhone broadcast their wedding to missing SNAPsters and watchers all over the world. And even more virtual hugs to everyone who made this weird blue-haired graffiti artist feel like part of your tribe, despite the fact I have never taken my camera off auto. Here's to me being inspired to flick over to manual and beg you all for second shooter jobs after I learn what the hell I'm doing. Love ya, ya bunch of weirdo storytellers (and storytelling deniers). What you do is bloody brilliant.
- Lauren O'Farrell
I'm sitting here reeling at the amount of love in this INCREDIBLE community this week. It was an awesome week (understatement of the century).
Thanks for accepting/welcoming/hugging/loving me whether I was being a pro or being a party monster, I've never received such a concentration of compliments in the space of a week. You are all freaking awesome.
I just wanted to say that I have never met a more talented bunch of people in all my life. Every one of you produces great work. Every one of you is SO dedicated and committed to honing your craft. KEEP GOING. You are all such an inspiration!
Laura and Pete, you are the best and you're never getting rid of me now! Thanks for inviting me to be the SNAP SEO Queen (and thanks to those of you who anointed me with that name!!) I am already thinking what I can do to wangle my way back in next year.
- Maddy Jones
"Just a little post here, now that I've had time to actually reflect on what SNAP did for me and to me. So, I've typically been the quiet type of person that lulls around working a full time job just to fund my life. Never really thinking I could actually enjoy the job part. That all changed last August when I decided to go full time with photography. Since then, I have realised it is the best decision I have ever made. I finally understood what people meant when they kept saying the cliche terms of "Do what makes you happy." or "Find what you love and just do it." I finally understood that part of it, but still felt like something was missing in my life. Here comes April, 2016. I had the opportunity to attend a photography festival in Wales. I had the opportunity to hang out with over 100 people that shared similar interests. For the first time in my life, I found that missing piece. The people. YOU GUYS. To be around that many supportive, inspiring, awesome people. It goes deeper than the photography/creative/inspiring aspect, though. It gets down to the human aspect for me. So many discussions, so many stories, so many real moments spent with the lot of you. It made me realize that THESE are the people I need to be around on a regular basis. THESE are the people that I can turn to if I ever need to. THESE people are my real tribe. And I truly BELIEVE that. I'm not just saying it to be sappy or attention seeking. I've never had anything like this in my life. I have my friends here back home, and I would die for them, but the connection I made with a lot of you guys is just.........different. It's refreshing. It's reassuring. It's a lot of things. So, with all of that said, SNAPSTERS..............you've indirectly convinced me to keep chasing. To keep dreaming. To keep doing my thing. One of those "things" that I plan on doing is MOVING TO EUROPE OR THE U.K. in the next 2 years. That's not one of my typical old Loafman "say I'm going to do something and then forget about it" things, either. I'M GOING TO FUCKING DO IT. It will take time to move my life over there, but it is exciting and I am being smart about it all. A lot of steps need to be taken, but a few are already starting, because that is how bad I want it. I felt truly alive over there. I felt like I belonged. That's what SNAP gave me. SNAP was the greatest experience of my life, and I thank all of you for being a part of it.......even if you didn't realize you were.
- Jacob Loafman
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 unbelievable 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.