Retreat 2016 will be hosted by Nirav Patel and Michael Ash Smith.

Our goal is to bring together like minded artists to discuss current issues in photography, have fun shooting (outside the style of a workshop), and provide a chill environment so we can pass along all we have learned as well as our philosophies on art and successfulness.  There will be discussions over food, drinks, and perhaps even some instrument playing.  It will be a chance for us to all get re-energized after a long photography season, or perhaps before the start of one if you are coming from the Southern Hemisphere.  It's not a workshop, in the way they've become to be known, which is why we are calling it a retreat.  We definitely plan to "teach," but not like anything you see much nowadays.  We want you to arrive excited, and leave refreshed and feeling you have grown as an artist.

"It's been a while since I’ve organized something like this, but I knew I didn't want to do another one unless I had something incredibly meaningful to share.  I also told myself that if I decided to do one again, it would also have to be completely different than anything I've done before. I know now what it is I want to share and I've found someone else who happens to share my point of view.  My friend Michael of Ash Imagery and I have decided to put together a retreat for photographers that will focus on issues that we feel are very important to us and will hopefully make a huge impact on those that attend.  We would love to see you there." - Nirav

Here are some of the features:

  1. We want to discuss hot button issues in the current world of photography.  We won’t be telling you how to attract more clients or telling you to find your own voice over and over again, but we do want to discuss the impact social media has on our art and where we think its headed.  What we will discuss a lot is our strengths and weaknesses.  We think you will relate to this more and ultimately help you in the long run.  
  2. No time constrictions.  We plan to start super early on a Wednesday and go through the night until we all crash.  We want you to be exhausted after filling your brain up with a ton of info.  Then we will get a good night’s rest, wake up and have a final meal/feedback session before hitting the road.  
  3. Long chats.  Yup, we want to hike along side you and talk.  We want to have a picnic and talk.  We want to shoot and talk.  We plan on having deep discussions about whatever we can think of and whatever you can think of as well.  We want to discuss being competitive, feeling jealous, artistic slumps, you know, all the bad stuff that comes along with being an artist.  We want to talk about it all AND shed light on these issues.
  4. Limited group size.  We are maxing the number of attendees to 15.  This way you each get a ton of 1 on 1 time and exposure to our knowledge.  2 instructors for roughly 10-15 people ... we like that ratio. 

Between us, Nirav and I have about 13 years of experience dealing with a multitude of photograph related things.  You name it, we’ve most likely dealt with it.  We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, things we have no issue discussing with anyone.  We’ve been in tough situations, and wonderful ones as well.  We are willing to strip away our guards and bombard you with everything we know.  It is in our best intention to not sugar coat anything.  While the retreat will feature us, it will also be about you.  Our focus is each of you, as individuals and photographers.  And not just wedding photographers, ANY photographer.  We invite anyone interested in honing their craft to attend.  We want you to learn, laugh, get frustrated, come out of your shell, share, participate, and question.  We want to make an impact.  We hope the topics we discuss will affect you so much more than learning how to “run a business” and “be successful” because let’s be honest here…there’s so much more to happiness than that. 

Still interested?  

Event dates:  11/10/16 and 11/11/16.

Location:  The house location is still TBD but the event itself will be in Northern California, most likely near Jenner along the beautiful northern coast and Route 1.  You will be staying overnight with us - included in the price.  This will give you about 18hrs of constant exposure to our knowledge.  It will access give you access to food we’ll have around, cameras to try, and other things as well.

Cost:  Nirav and I both believe in fairness and aren't looking to take advantage of anyone in regards to the cost.  After launching with a higher price point, we decided to lower it to allow more people to access this event.  So here is what we decided on ...

$595 for the event.  Includes everything mentioned above and below.  It does NOT include travel to get to the location.  Think of this as a nearly 2 day event to help you get further in your business.  

$495 if you book before May 31st, 2016. 

To purchase a seat, please email Michael at to get process started.  

Both pricing options include a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks on Day 1 (11/10) and breakfast on Day 2 (11/11).  We will have food/drinks at the house however you are welcome to bring anything specific to your diet.

Please don’t hesitate to ask us ANY questions.  You can reach me (Michael) at and Nirav at