Capturing Childhood Retreat with Sarah Mason Photography

Just over a month ago I was fortunate enough to attend one of Sarah Mason’s Retreats. My husband bought it for me as a Christmas present.

Sarah is a photographer, filmmaker and mentor based in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, UK. I have followed Sarah’s work for about three years now. I stumbled across this photoshoot while browsing 100 Layer Cake-let, went on her website and fell in love with her photography and films. To me there is something nostalgic and timeless about her work and her family films always bring tears to my eyes (I can only imagine what those lucky families feel when they watch them)! She captures every family with such tenderness and honesty.

Ever since Sarah started running her retreats I dreamed of attending one. There are a few to choose from and all seem worthy and interesting, but as my true passion lies with capturing children and families, it seemed fitting to attend her Capturing Childhood Retreat first. 

The retreat took place in Old Cragg Hall Barn, not far from Hebden Bridge and was run by Sarah and her wife and business partner Suzi. I was one of six like-minded attendees. We spent two days chatting, learning from each other and putting what we’ve learned into practice. Sarah spoke about her business, finding her voice as a photographer, different techniques, the light, composition and much more. I loved seeing examples of her work and listening to what each photo means to her as a creative, where she finds inspiration and how she approaches family photo sessions. 

We also got a chance to practice over the course of the retreat. On the first day we shot mostly indoors, understanding different types of light and how to capture it. Shooting alongside Sarah has been really useful and enlightening!

Here are a few photographs I took:

Suzi and baby Olive were kind enough to pose for us too! And I managed to snap a few photos of Sarah with Olive amongst it all.

On day two we were lucky enough to photograph a family. The shoot was directed by Sarah, she spoke about her approach, the location and how to use it to your advantage, how to engage children of different ages and much more.

I will share more photos from this photoshoot in a separate post, but here are few sneak peeks:

Following the retreat I am intrigued to try new techniques such as freelensing and film (I can finally put my dad's old film camera to good use). It was enlightening to listen about both and see some of Sarah’s freelensed photographs and the ones she shot on film.

The Retreat has provided invaluable experience for me as a starting photographer and also as a mother, who enjoys taking photos of her little ones. I thoroughly recommend the course to anyone aspiring to be taking better photographs of precious time that is childhood!

Thank you to Sarah, Suzi and Olive for being such wonderful hosts!

Lola Jones