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“Make a new friend. Share an old story. Feel inspired by a uniquely magical experience. Something clicks into place that wasn’t there before.” This is not a description for some tropical wellness retreat or a mini getaway; it’s actually how the team behind UK-based SNAP photo festival describes their conference. Photography conferences aren’t exactly synonymous with retreat, but their website and Ami Robertson, wedding and brand photographer and SNAP’s showrunner, describe it as, “A festival, retreat or maybe a conference but ultimately it is an experience designed to inspire you as a photographer and change your business for the better as well as give you some new photography friends for life.” At SNAP, it’s not just about the education, but also the experience you gain. 

So why should you be spending your time discovering this photography festival that might not even be happening in your city/country? Well, because they are amazing and they genuinely want you to succeed in all the areas you need to  keep running a successful photography business.

How did SNAP Photo Festival Begin?

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When we asked Ami about the event, she explained, “I bought the company last year during the pandemic, so this is actually my first year running it. The conference world has been quite new to me, but it’s exciting as well. We are probably quite similar to ShootDotEdit in the sense that SNAP’s very much about community and we work really hard to nurture that community as well.” 

Our response to Ami was what many of you might be thinking right now, so we asked her, “Can we rewind back to the part where you bought a conference/company during a pandemic? What motivated you to do that?” Ami replied, “It was Laura Bab who started the SNAP photo festival back in 2015. It was very well-known for being the kind of conference that wasn’t just a conference. It was about connection and community. It’s also known for its parties as well as amazing education – from within the photography industry and also from outside of it. Laura stopped doing the conference in 2019 because she decided that she wanted to go back to university to train as a psychotherapist. That was meant to be the last year of the conference, but the community still kept going. And so she approached me last spring and asked if I’d be interested in buying it. We’d built a relationship through our love of long distance walking, but she’d also seen what I’d been doing in terms of education and the way I’d manage my own platforms as well. So she felt that I’d be a good fit. I had a good six weeks to decide. Ultimately, the decision came back to that if I said, no, I would have regretted it. So that’s why I said yes.” 

All About The SNAP Photo Festival

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Even though it is a photographer’s conference, SNAP offers so much more to the attendees, even those who decide to attend just a day or two of the usually four-day conference. It is not a huge conference, but the photo festival is packed with activities, and it’s not just activities that will help you build your business but also in-person connections. “One of the key things about the SNAP photo festival is that it’s residential – it’s kind of like going on holiday or camping. We have shared accommodations and it’s about coming together,” Ami told us, adding, “It’s not just about the education. It’s also about the experience of going away, meeting new people, creating bonds that you can only really create by having that shared experience with people. And then also facilitating the education and the kind of creativity as well. Our key focus is education, inspiration and community. We have photographers and people outside the photography industry like Facebook ad experts, confidence coaches, and other people who can help you build your business in different ways. They are all very, very established and really know their stuff. Photo walks and styled shoots are also a big part of it. We also have dinners, games, and campfires.” 

How Ami Managed Two 6-Figure Years During The Pandemic

a girl sitting on a sidewalk looking at the cameraImage Credit: Ami Robertson

While the pandemic did lead to many photographers going out of business, photographers like Ami were out there thinking about how they could diversify their business and use their skills to bring in income. Talking about her journey before she bought the SNAP photo festival, Ami shared, “I’m a wedding and brand photographer. I do personal branding for small businesses. And of course, at the beginning of the pandemic, I was also one of those who lost all work and income for the year. A little bit of history prior to the pandemic – I was homeless in 2018 after leaving an abusive relationship, and had a very difficult two years before the pandemic. So 2020 was actually meant to kind of be my comeback year. And it was all looking good until we got to March and it was like, okay, everything’s gone again.”

She added, “I had the initial month or so of moping and being annoyed at the world. But then I really hit the ground running and diversifying my business more. I did a huge discount for brand shoots, SEOed my website for micro weddings, and now I’m number one for London micro wedding photographers. And it went really well. I sold a huge number of the discounted brand shoots, which gave me a lot of work to come back to when we could start working again. It was great because my business was still gaining momentum even though I wasn’t actually able to shoot for quite a while.”

Even after she got her clients and business back, Ami went the extra mile (quite literally) to boost business. She said, “Because we lost all of our weddings in summer 2020, I decided to walk the entire South West Coast Path, which is around 630 miles, to raise money for charity. This got quite a lot of traction and publicity. I got invited onto quite a few podcasts. And I still wound up shooting 20 weddings in 2020, and my brand photography just completely went nuts. But the other thing that happened was that since photographers were at home and there wasn’t really anything for them to do, they were looking to improve their business. So I actually started doing some education. I did some online master classes for NineDots Gathering, another conference in the UK. They’re also a community. And that then made me think, “Well, maybe I could make a course.” So I put a course out, which sold really well. And overall I’ve had two six-figure years. So despite the pandemic, I’m very grateful for that. I know that other people haven’t had that. And obviously I was very grateful that I started The Woman And The Wolf – my brand photography studio – prior to the pandemic, because that really saved me on the wedding side of things.” The pandemic taught us that the world can pause any minute and so will your business. We’ve also often emphasized on the importance of diversifying your wedding photography business and finding passive sources of income, and what Ami did with her business is a perfect example of that.

Experience Community With SNAP

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At ShootDotEdit, we are always looking to highlight businesses that go the extra mile to nurture community and help photographers improve their businesses through shared learning; businesses that run on human connection. SNAP photo festival is a community that is committed to bringing education and inspiration to the photography industry, and after talking to Ami and getting to know the efforts the conference – with her at the helm – puts into making people, no matter where they come from, feel at home, we can see why people would still want to continue to be a part of SNAP. Their website says that when you sign up for SNAP, you “expect education for your business, inspiration for your photography, starry skies, delicious food, chats late into the night and our epic mid-week party.” So that’s a little glimpse of what you can expect when you book yourself a ticket to be at SNAP next year.

Thank you Ami for taking the time to talk to us. We know the different time zones can be challenging, but we were glad that we got to learn so much from you.  

Further Read: 7 Conferences And Photography Trade Shows For Photographers To Attend

At ShootDotEdit, we help you by lessening your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services. To learn more, check out our pricing plans. But we ALSO blog to empower and inform wedding photographers. This blog is a part of the series we do to raise awareness about the awesome brands (and conferences) that can make your life easier and perhaps give you some insight into what else is happening in the industry. So take a much-needed break after photographing 20 weddings over the last six months and read, dream, and grow.

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