In April 2015, the 3rd Hair of the Dog Retreat was held in sunny Naples, Florida. When I say we had an incredible group of women, I’m not kidding. There is no doubt that some new long term friendships were created! It’s amazing to watch how photographers at all different levels come together to share, learn, and grow.


What_an_AWESOME_group_of_women_for_the_Hair_of_the_Dog_Retreat___Thanks_for_the_frames__theorganicbloom_____hodretreatThe Retreat focuses on ALL aspects of running a profitable pet photography business. A photographer can take the best photographs in the area, but if their business is not efficient or their pricing is not profitable they will always be struggling against the tide. Working too hard for too little return.

While I do my best to share openly on Hair of the Dog, there is just no substitute for in- person learning. We delve so deeply into many topics and customize them precisely for your business. There is also something to be said for getting away and focusing only on your business for a few days, away from the distractions of daily life.

A retreat just wouldn’t be complete without doggie models of course! Our first session is always an observation lesson. I love to share what I see when I look at a location and how to find incredible compositions in common surroundings. Often this is one of the most impactful sections of the retreat.


This is Ti, short for Tiberius, and we held our session at Ft. Myers Beach.  You can get an idea of where I am shooting from the pull back shots.  These are areas that every single person has around their home, whether you live on the beach, in a city, or in a small town.  11137141_10205139095971367_7909776195825123435_n

*Thank you to Michelle Clasby for the behind the scenes shots!










Of course a pet photography session held on a giant peninsula surrounded by water wouldn’t be complete without a beach session! Florida is pretty strict about which beaches dogs are allowed on so we held this session at a dog beach. Generally I would never hold a session at a dog park, but I do shoot at this beach fairly regularly when I meet clients in Southwest Florida as it’s a large area and it’s beautiful. That makes the challenges of distracted dogs and extra dogs and people in the area worth it in this instance. It was certainly great practice for the students to work in an environment with such challenging lighting as well.

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Each student receives their own model on the last day and the ability to work through a full session while I work with each student one-to-one. The location was a quiet state park that had an incredible variety of shooting options.


All this photography can work up quite an appetite. As anyone who has attended a retreat or even a single day workshop can attest, I take my food seriously and there was no shortage of delicious meals that week! I really want to go back to The Counter and have another bison and avocado salad. Oh my word…..delicious. I should have taken more pictures of the food…..

I think the best way to get a feel for what to expect from the Hair of the Dog Retreat is to hear what the attendees had to say….

“It would really be near impossible to single out a specific part because the entire experience was fantastic. I will say that the amount of information and detail, especially in respects to not just running but achieving a successful business and watching Nicole shoot were probably two of my most favorite parts. Everything else comes in a close second though!”

“The keynote presentations in a spiral bound book with a place for notes will be a tremendous resource to refer to and the USB full of worksheets and documents is amazing. I was surprised at the generous sharing of how Nicole’s business is run, all the secrets, there for the viewing – that is huge for me and I hadn’t expected that. Incredible!”

“Thank you, Nicole. Your talent, experience, resourcefulness, and entrepreneurial spirit was a breath of fresh air. You have a lovely way with people and a gentle sense of humor, which sets the tone for the retreat. Big fan here.”

“Really take advantage of the workshop format. Not all workshops are this personal/informal, allowing you to spend so much time with the instructor and other photographers even between class time AND jam-packed with this much information and resources. Also, be prepared for a lot of great food :)”

Be sure to visit the websites of the fabulous ladies that were part of the 2015 Hair of the Dog Retreat!

Helen Thompson – Voff & Mjau Photography

Megan Murray – coming soon!

Michelle Jordan-Clasby – Michelle Jean Photography

Tracey Luttgens – Heart Spot Pet Photography

Jacqui Jensen-Roy – coming soon!

The next workshop is scheduled for February 2016 in sunny Florida. Details such as exact dates and location will be coming by the end of summer. Make sure you are on the email list to be the first to hear, sign up here.

I also can’t wait for the 1st Hair of the Dog alumni reunion next year!  It’s going to have lots of doggies….and LOTS of food.  😉