About the Retreat

Created by internationally acclaimed, award-winning pet photographers, Style Lab Retreat is a dog photography learning experience like no other.

Think about the photographers whose work you love and admire. When you’re scrolling through social media, you can immediately identify their images.

What is it that makes their work so instantly recognisable?

This is what we'll be exploring in detail, and this is what you'll gain from the workshop - a deeper insight into yourself, your work, and your own unique style.

Limited to just nine attendees, the workshop will run over five full days, providing plenty of opportunity for group and individual activities, inspirational chats, creative shoots and editing deep dives.

We’ll be embarking on a journey of discovery, where you’ll:

  • Explore what makes you different from other photographers.
  • Learn how to tap into your unique way of seeing, interacting with and interpreting the world.
  • Give yourself space to honestly explore what makes you happy, and hone in on what you truly enjoy.
  • Learn why being different can help pave the way to success.
  • Discover how to inject your personality and vision into your work.
  • Understand why shooting for yourself can be instrumental in attracting an audience that appreciates you for your style.
  • Identify any skills you need to develop further, to create your unique style.

Style Lab Retreat is the all-inclusive, life changing experience that pet photographers around the world have been waiting for!

See the wrap up of Style Lab 2020

This isn't the first time we've run Style Lab!

Meet your instructors

Charlotte and Craig of Unleashed Education are thrilled and honoured to be joined by dog photographer extraordinaire, Alicja Zmysłowska.

Charlotte Reeves

Charlotte's style incorporates creative use of natural light, location and expression to produce vibrant and emotive work highly praised by her clients. In 2018, she was awarded the AIPP Queensland Epson Pet/Animal Photographer of the Year. Addicted to creating lightbulb moments for students, Charlotte has been teaching pet photographers since 2013.  She relishes simplifying tricky concepts, and helping people achieve their goals by making the learning fun, practical, and positive. 

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Craig Turner-Bullock

Craig has been photographing pets professionally since 2001 and describes his style as giving his subjects a sense of belongingness. Originally from the Channel Island of Guernsey, Craig is now based in Christchurch, New Zealand. He has written and photographed three bestselling books and in 2018 won the title of NZIPP New Zealand Portrait Photographer of the Year. Craig loves working with others to help refine their creative style and stand out from the crowd.

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Alicja Zmysłowska

Through 14 years of experience in dog photography Alicja has developed her own emotional and dreamy style recognised all over the globe. In her art she values uniqueness and presentation of new ideas. Her work has been awarded countless times in photography contests and published at international photography portals like National Geographic Yourshot, PetaPixel and photography magazines like Digital Camera UK, Digital Camera Poland, FV Photo and Video.

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More about Alicja

You're probably already familiar with Craig and Charlotte of Unleashed Education, but if you're not yet familiar with the incredible work of Alicja, here's a brief rundown.

Alicja Zmysłowska is an incredibly talented and world-renowned dog photographer from Poland. Alicja has been a dog photographer for 14 years and has taught workshops all over the world.

Her work is instantly recognisable for her ability to transport the viewer into another world, where the stunning beauty of nature is combined with the unique personalities of the dogs she photographs. She is a master of colour and tone, composition and expression, and a true pioneer in the soft, dreamy style that she is so well known for. We could talk about her work all day, but go ahead and enjoy a selection of our favourites below - many of these captured in Iceland.

Must-know details

  • $4,900 USD for a twin-share room
  • 25-29 September 2023
  • 5-day creative dog photography workshop
  • 3 instructors - Charlotte Reeves, Craig Turner-Bullock and Alicja Zmysłowska (pictured right)
  • Iceland, near Reykjavík
  • All-inclusive (workshop, accommodation, meals & transport during the workshop)

Keep reading below to discover the full details!

Workshop Details

Style Lab Workshop is an immersive pet photography retreat.

Inclusions

  • Six nights of accommodation in an exclusive lake front retreat on Iceland's south coast, uniquely located on a peninsula, providing privacy and connection to nature.
  • Twin-share accommodation
  • When not immersing yourself in all the retreat has to offer, you'll be enjoying the peace and quiet of the lake and taking in views of the iconic Icelandic scenery from the hot tub and firepit.
  • Our private chef will prepare delicious meals with healthy, organic and local raw ingredients.  Dietary needs will be accommodated on request. 
  • All transportation during the retreat.
  • Five full days of exploration, self-discovery and dog photography immersion.
  • Group activities and one-on-one attention from three experienced instructors.
  • A private Facebook group for continued support from the instructors.
  • Your own Style Lab Retreat goody bag, including a T-shirt and notebook.

 

What to expect

The retreat curriculum has been carefully crafted to take you on a journey of self-discovery, though group activities, brainstorming sessions, instructor-led discussions and worksheets.

We will take you through our personal style development, using our creative process to highlight what goes into defining and developing a specific look. We'll cover technical aspects such as lens choice, along with creative shoot planning and execution with regards to light, location, composition and framing.

There will be multiple shoots during our time together at iconic locations, allowing you to capture gorgeous canines in the raw power and natural beauty of the Icelandic landscape.

During the post-processing sessions, we will show you how to creatively edit your images to bring your vision to life. You will realise the potential of the scene based on your own imagination and the tools you have available.

Receive feedback and input from your fellow attendees, along with one-on-one time and individual attention from the instructors.

Throughout the retreat, we'll continue to revisit the themes of originality and creativity, finding inspiration and promoting individuality. The retreat will truly be an intensive laboratory for creatively mixing various stylistic ingredients along with a dash of your individual vision, helping you create a recipe for your own personal style.

By the end of the experience, you will feel inspired, motivated and revitalised, with a clear plan of how you can stand out in an increasingly crowded pet photography market.

How is Style Lab different?

As all attendees will already have a good level of technical skills in shooting and editing, this experience will be less about learning the basics of pet photography and more about helping you refine your skills even further. This will help you achieve a higher level of self awareness and creativity in the work you produce.

During our time together, we will be engaging in a range of activities that cater to different learning styles, both group and individual.

We have carefully chosen the venue for its quiet location and setting in nature, offering a true retreat experience. This retreat is for attendees only, which we feel creates a close-knit community feel and a distraction-free setting where you're empowered to learn and discover your core motivations and unleash your style.

Application Process

Due to the limited number of spots available (only 9) and to make sure everyone is on a similar level, we will be accepting attendees based on an application process. 

Applications will include a 10-image portfolio and will be open from January 3–17, 2023.

Applications will not be accepted on a first-in, first-served basis. Instead, after the application closing date we will be processing applications and selecting students based on a variety of factors.

When assessing your portfolio for suitability for the retreat, we'll be looking for:

  •  demonstration of good basic camera skills
  •  well-focused images
  •  a good basic understanding of working with natural light
  •  an understanding of correct exposure
  • evidence of competent editing skills

You do not need to have an outstanding, professional portfolio to apply, as that what we'll be working towards during the workshop. But you do need to show a competent level of skill as a dog photographer. 

We ask that you own or have access to a digital SLR or mirrorless camera, with lenses ranging from wide angle to telephoto. You'll also need a laptop computer with Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop Classic installed.

Successful applicants will be notified no later than January 25, 2023. 

Payment

Please note all prices are in USD.

The total workshop fee is $4,900 for a twin-share room.

When you complete the application form, you'll need to pay a $100 application fee.

This fee will be fully refunded if your application is unsuccessful. If your application is approved but you decide not to attend, your application fee will be not be refunded, so please only apply if you are serious about joining us!

If you are offered a place, your $100 application fee will be applied to the total fee. A deposit of $800 will be due one week after acceptance. The remaining amount of $4,000 will be due two months before the workshop, on July 25, 2023. 

To view the full cancellation and refund policy, please read the FAQ section below.

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Register your interest

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The Style Lab Venue

A unique lakefront retreat

Our venue is an exclusive water front retreat on Iceland's south coast. It is uniquely located on a peninsula by Lake Gislholtsvatn, providing privacy and connection to nature and designed to provide unique spaces for reflection and meditation.

There is one main building and three spacious guest houses, mixing together an old Scandinavian lodge style with modern Scandinavian architecture.

The main building features three twin share bedrooms, a large kitchen, a library with a wood burning stove, a dining area with a direct south facing lake view, a living room off the dining area with a fireplace. There is also a large south facing deck that combines the inside and outside experiences, so you can relax and take in the expansive views.

Each of the three guest houses is twin share with their own bathroom and kitchenette.

On the one hectare private peninsula you'll also find a firepit and large hot tub, with a dedicated teaching space in addition to the quiet and cozy nooks around the house.

Style Lab is for you if:

  • Your pet photography shooting and editing skills are solid
  • You are reasonably happy with your standard of work, but feel your portfolio lacks cohesiveness and an identifiable style

Style Lab isn't for you if:

  • You are still working on basic camera and photography skills
  • You need to learn how to use Photoshop and Lightroom
  • You need help with starting or running a pet photography business
  • You want to learn how to replicate successful photographer's styles

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Our first Style Lab took place in early 2020 in Tasmania. You can read the full wrap up here!

Style Lab Retreat has been primarily created to help pet photographers with the art of pet photography, so there will be no business (sales, pricing, marketing) related topics taught during the workshop. This makes it suitable for a wide range of pet photographers, whether you run a business or never intend to!

September is Autumn in Iceland, and being close to the arctic circle, it can be quite cold. Average temperatures range from 5°C / 41°F to 10°C / 50°F.

There is a reasonably high chance of cloud cover and rain at this time of year, however the inclement weather can lead to atmospheric shooting conditions.

Sunrise is around 7:30am and sunset around 7:00pm.

At this time of year on a clear night, there is the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights! 

We have no control over what the weather decides to do on the day. We’ll still shoot if it’s cloudy or raining, but if it is raining heavily we will attempt to re-shuffle the shoot times.

It's best to assume it will be cold, rainy and windy, so dress accordingly with layers and waterproof outers.

We also highly recommend rain-proof protection for your camera gear.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer refunds based on weather, but we promise to make the best of any weather situations.

The retreat is an immersive experience so we have made the decision not to allow additional people to attend.

If you would like to combine your retreat experience with a holiday, we recommend meeting up with your partner or family before or after the retreat.

We're all about full immersion for this experience - we will be eating, sleeping, and talking pet photography all day every day - so staying with the group at the venue is a must. We also limit the number of people attending so we can give each and every attendee personal and individual attention.

Style Lab Retreat is closest to Reykjavík International Airport (RKV). From Reykjavík, it's a 1 hour 20 minute drive to the venue.

We will run a shuttle from the airport to the venue on the afternoon of Sunday, September 24. We'll also run a shuttle from the accommodation back to Reykjavík on the morning of Saturday, September 30. If you need transportation to or from the venue outside these times, this will be your responsibility. There is plenty of parking space for cars at the venue if you choose to self-drive.

Please note all prices are in US Dollars.

There is a $100 application fee which be applied to the total retreat fee of $4,900 if your application is approved, or refunded in full if your application is unsuccessful.

If your application is approved but you decide not to attend, your application fee will be not be refunded, so please only apply if you are serious about joining us!

If the retreat is cancelled due to travel restrictions, border closures, lockdowns or any other pandemic-related issues, you have two options. All fees you have paid can be transferred to a future Style Lab Retreat, or we will refund you in full, minus the $100 application fee.

If the retreat goes ahead but you are unable to make it due to travel restrictions, border closures, lockdowns or any other pandemic-related issues, you have two options. All fees you have paid can be transferred to a future Style Lab Retreat, or we will refund you in full, minus the $100 application fee.

Please make sure your travel is refundable or transferrable, as we cannot offer any refunds or financial assistance with money lost due to cancelled travel bookings.

If you are unable to attend the retreat due to personal reasons and the retreat is still going ahead, we offer a full refund, minus the $100 application fee, providing we can fill your place. If we are unable to fill your place, unfortunately we cannot offer any refund.

Style Lab was such an amazing experience shared with an incredible group of photographers. I knew I would love the photoshoot portion of the workshop, but what I found to be the most valuable were the individual hot seats and group image critique. I really enjoyed seeing the wide range of styles in the final images. Although we all used the same location and dogs, yet we each had our own way of working with the dogs, light, and composition. 

Now that I'm back home, I have been on a mission to find new, epic locations to shoot at and have been going back to my old spots to rediscover new ways to use them. Style Lab was the perfect way to kickstart the year with a ton of inspiration and creativity. I look forward to creating a few personal projects this year and excited to see how my style develops!

Keri Nakahashi, Style Lab 2020

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