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Chic Retreat Instagram Pics

by Kelli France | Editor-in-Chief

If you are on Instagram you may have seen some images of the Retreat from @kellifrance, @chiccritiqueforum, or with the hashtag #chicretreatseattle.

Here’s some of the fun phone captures that our Attendees and Speakers got during the Chic Retreat in Seattle:






Chic Retreat Recap


















Get on the waiting list for the next Retreat and stay tuned to tomorrow to see some of the amazing Instagram images from the #chicretreatseattle!



2 responses to “Chic Retreat Recap”

  • Leah Remillet says:

    Chic Retreat was amazing! Having the opportunity to meet and connect with so many fabulous women! To talk about our passion, our dreams, our hopes… To laugh, to play, to cry… Kelli my dear – you created something incredible (along with Ashlee and Cassie) and we were all blessed to have gotten to be a part of it!

    May 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

Chic Retreat Sponsor Shout-out

Had to give a big shout-out to some of the Speaker’s Sponsors & Favorite Vendors at the Chic Retreat:  








Chic Retreat Video

by Kelli France | Editor-in-Chief

Ummm words can’t even express how insanely fun the Chic Retreat in Seattle was! FOR REALZ! You’re just going to have to see for yourself…


Click here to GET ON THE WAITING LIST for next year’s Retreat




Todays Teaching Tuesday comes to us from Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman of JellyBean Photography.  I know this topic is a huge concern for many of us as we try to juggle being a mother, wife, business owner and a superhero to everyone.  So I know we can all relate to what she is saying and I hope we all can take something away from it.  Just warning you, I had to grab a tissue!

This year I started to teach during the down time. Became involved in a few more sites- started writing for them, teaching for them. I volunteered photography services for local projects in my area. Started the 365 project. Before I knew it? Completely and utterly overloaded.This is supposed to be the slow time for most East Coast photographers. It’s winter. Cold. Snowy. Blech. No one is really thinking of pictures unless it’s a new baby arrival.

I caution my students all the time about being involved in too many things: forums, FB contests, following other photographers then beating oneself up because they aren’t as good. I am a classic example of someone who is not practicing what she preaches.

As I sit here sick. And still working. I wonder what kind of example I’m setting for the most important person in my world- my daughter.

This post came about from three a-ha moments this week:

First, a kind, amazingly loving friend sent me a card in the mail this week. The front of the card said live in the moment. The inside, her handwriting letting me know her concern that I was burning it at every end. And she sent me some energy.  Thank you CM.

The second {and I can cry even by writing about it}, came earlier this week when Mother Nature gave us a break and we had 50 degree temps. After school and her homework, I said to Emma “let’s just go sit outside.”  She brought her sidewalk chalk and away we went. I watched her as she created a hopscotch board. She then found a rock. Started to play. I never knew how good she was at it. She said “Ava taught me at school.” My immediate thought was a. YAY I love this game and thank god in a plugged in world, children still play it and b. how very sad I didn’t teach it to you.

I got up and we played it together. Not more than 45 seconds in, Emma turned to me and said “I like hanging out with you Mom.” As if it were a novelty. Well. I guess it kind of is.

Everyone thinks stay at home/work at home Moms have it made. And we do in some aspects. I mean I get to go to all her class parties, I drop her off and pick her up from school. But I think those that work outside the home have better luck at mastering the quality of time spent.  That it is those Moms who are more present then I am.  At least that is my grass is greener take on it.

Emma’s simple words of telling me she likes hanging out with me have crushed me this week. So I must pull back. I HAVE to pull back.  She deserves more than an exhausted Mom every afternoon who sneaks up to answer an email or edit a few images when I think she doesn’t notice.

The third moment happened when another friend texted me to go out to eat next week. I said I needed a few weeks. Explained the overload of commitments. She wrote she understood. And then wrote it’s ok “as long as you are enjoying it still.”  So I thought about that. I adore photography. I adore teaching. I adore writing. I do love all that I do. I am just doing too much of it all at the same time. And I need to calm down. To get back to good (to paraphrase Rob Thomas).

I believe when you put things out there in the Universe you are held accountable. So I’m putting it out there that I’m going to be pulling back a bit to get myself back a bit.

I also wanted to put this out there for all the people who write me and speak to me and think I have such a great grasp on the ‘balance’ aspect of life. Because I know those very people kick themselves thinking they should too. I know this because they tell me. And I know this because I can see it in their eyes when they talk to me.

I’m here to say I am not balanced. I am a work in progress. Just. like. you.

Thanks for reading.

- J




We are so excited to have a Business Critique by the Celebrity Photographer Leslie Kerrigan of Seniorologie!

kerriganbio seniorologie_ad2




Leslie Kerrigan is a photographer and writer. She is the owner and creator of Seniorologie, an inspirational blog dedicated to the study of senior portrait photography. In addition to running the daily blog, Seniorologie, Leslie has been a contributing writer for blogs such as The Savvy Photographer and The Lens Loves. She is also the fashion editor at Chic Critique Forum. Her photography business, Leslie Kerrigan Photography, is located in Greenville, South Carolina and specializes in senior portraits and family portraits.

Why do you think honest critique on your images is important?

I think as photographers we are all growing in our craft! Hearing honest critiques and ways to improve are something every single one of us can benefit from no matter how long you’ve been in the business. There is always room for learning and improving! I also think hearing positive feedback helps you gain confidence and with confidence you produce better work.


What camera do you use? Favorite lens?

Nikon D300 Favorite Lens 50mm 1.4


What has been the most helpful critique you ever got on an image?

I was told to shoot at a wider angle. I tend to take lots of photos vertical and close up. So by someone showing me that I can have more variety in my photo shoots by shooting wider angles and more horizontal photos, I was able to give my clients more photos to choose from.



What 3 words would you use to describe your style?

fun, energetic and colorful

 Everywhere! I love magazines, catalogs, pinterest and other blogs! I am also inspired by collaboration! Working with other people in the industry, whether it be another photographer or a stylist or a set designer. Coming together and brainstorming and all working together is inspiring to me.
What is one specific way that you balance work and family?
Before my boys were both in school, I had a hard time balancing my work and being a mom. Now they are both in elementary school from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. I take them to school, go to the gym, then spend the rest of the time they are at school, working. Once they get home, I shut off my work and concentrate on them…homework, making dinner and just being with my family. If there are other things to be done with work, I try to wait until the kids are in bed and I will do a little more work. But I love to sleep so I try not to stay up too late! :)
Best biz/photo advice?
Figure out what is right for you and use that to your advantage! Every one of us has a different set of skills that is unique. Use those and build your own business based on you. If you only love photographing one genre, then you can have a business that is exclusively that. If you are good at styling in addition to photography, then base your business on that. Be unique and Be you!
What have you learned the hard way?
Gosh, lots of stuff! Ha! I mean it is all trial and error. I have learned to say no to things that just didn’t feel right. In the past, I have said yes to something where I didn’t feel comfortable or I didn’t feel valued and I said yes just to get a job or a client. But in the end, those are never worth the money. So I have learned to accept jobs that I feel passionately about and not ones where I just wanted to get paid.
How does your business deal with the rise in photographers. What have you done to standout and compete?
This goes back to my best business/photo advice. I think being you and building your business on your specific set of skills is the way to stand out. There are a lot of photographers in my area but I choose not to compete with them because it is not good for any of us. I would rather concentrate on what makes me unique and hope that I get clients based on that. I also think that being friends with other photographers is a great way to break through that competitive nature. I have tons of friends in my area that are photographers. And rather than compete with each other, we share, refer and help each other. I want to see them succeed as much as myself and that to me makes me stand out and be unique.
Where have most of your 2011 clients come from (besides WOM)?
Word of mouth is huge for my business! I have also gotten a lot of clients from other people in the industry such as planners, etc. Seniorologie has also brought seniors from different cities and states to me and I love connecting with them!
What has been the best workshop or convention you’ve attended so far?
I love workshops! Love them! I literally would go to one every month if I could afford it! I think this plays into the collaboration that I mentioned earlier. I think birds of a feather flock together and being around other photographers just inspires me! I love walking away from a workshop with a whole new set of friends, email pals, etc. Out of all the workshops I have attended, I don’t know that I could pick just one! The very first workshop I attended was with Nichole Van and I would say it is the one that really helped me with the technical aspect of photography. I also attended Folio Love which was awesome for portfolio building. Then there is WPPI, which is just a wonderful place to network, learn and it really helps me recharge for my business each year!
What is your most popular product?
My clients love the mini accordion albums by millers.
If you haven’t already signed up for this class, you need to HERE before they are all gone. Only 9 Spots Left!
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