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The Words Of Alice Che | Malibu Photography Retreat

We are excited to share another attendees story.  Alice Che, of Alice Che Photography has graciously shared her experience and her images.  If you have not checked out her work, you can see it HERE.  She is a genius with self portraiture and very talented with couples.  I will let her take it away.  Enjoy! 


wo weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be a part of the very first Blair + Thurston Retreat. I have admired Bre and Elena for years now, but in the last year or so, I have grown to know them personally and am blessed to call them friends. When they announced that they were going to start holding in-person retreat style workshops, I knew immediately that I wanted to go. Despite knowing this, I almost talked myself out of it. I told myself I was barely in business and I also have very little interest in photographing families, which is one of Bre and Elena’s specialties. I also knew that I was already strong in the technicals and I wasn’t sure what I was hoping to take away from the experience. I was afraid that I wouldn’t learn anything and I would be wasting my money. I was wrong. 

The retreat was worth every single penny and more. I went into it thinking that at the very least, I would have an amazing time hanging out with Bre and Elena and the other girls. Instead, it was the beginning of friendships that will last a lifetime. I’m already trying to figure out how I am going to see these incredible women next!


Bre and Elena planned out every detail to make sure that the entire experience felt like a three day, luxurious vacation with your favorite girl friends. We had a private chef who prepared some of the best food I have ever had (uhm, deep fried lobster tails anyone?!) and we even got to have a yoga session with the sound of the waves crashing on the sand and the smell of bacon wafting out of the kitchen. Okay, so the bacon part was kind of torture… but it certainly made me motivated to make it through yoga, haha! The location was insanely gorgeous. We were literally right on the beach, making it easy to take breaks for quick walks between learning. This is the deck outside the room I shared with another attendee. 


But as amazing as all of those things were, they just helped create the setting. The best part of the retreat was hanging out with 9 incredibly talented women who are all at different places in their photography journey… and bonding with them over our shared passion for beautiful, emotional photographs. 

I was immediately impressed with how well Bre and Elena played off of each other. They pretty much have the exact same approach to photography: they are drawn to beautiful light, but more importantly, it is all about the connection and the moment. I loved seeing how they were able to stick to their own distinctive styles despite having such a similar underlying goal. They didn’t teach us to be them. They taught us how to find ourselves and keep pushing to be /our/ best, not someone else’s best.

If you follow my work, you know that I am NOT a family photographer. And yet, I was able to find my own style during the family session that we all photographed together. And I have Bre and Elena to thank for that. That’s why I want to share these photos with you instead of the ones from the couple session we did the next day that was much more in my wheelhouse. 

I walked out of the retreat feeling rejuvenated and inspired. I was reminded again to stick to my own path and not try to force myself into someone else’s mold. And, of course, the retreat reaffirmed how amazing the photography community is and brought me some incredible friendships. If you are thinking about attending the next Blair + Thurston Retreat, don’t hesitate. You won’t regret it!



The Words Of A Malibu Attendee | Photography Retreat

We could go on and on about how wonderful we think the retreat was but you don't want to hear that from us.  We are so excited to have each individual attendee share their experience with you in their own words and with their own images.  We took care to make a loving and encouraging environment for each woman to grow.  Our job isn't to make our attendees be like us, not at all, but instead to be and find their best selves.  We also wanted to make sure it felt like the vacation we knew each and every attendee deserved.  

Allow me to introduce Kallie Pitcock.  Kallie is a photographer based out of Washington, DC.  You can find her website HERE.  


Now, I will let her words and beautiful photographs take over.  

The Blair & Thurston Retreat exceeded my expectations.  I am a person who craves community.  I want to be known and know others to feel encouraged and supported.  That happened in Malibu. 

I am in the early stages of photography.  I started my business a little over a year ago.  I was nervous I’d be lost in the talented group that would gather.  There is always a sense of vulnerability of sharing who you are with new people.   Photography is personal for me.

The technical skills and use of photography were varied among the women who attended.  That didn’t slow anyone down.  The creative energy swept through the house like a strong wind.  Elena and Bre were the first to open up and share personal stories of triumph and failure.  Taking the lead in what would be a life-changing weekend.

We all bonded in our love of emotive images.  In spite of our varied subjects we all want photos that evoke and touch the deepest parts of our soul.  Creating and finding those moments drove the weekend.  Love of light and utilizing its power was center to instruction. Editing with your own style was encouraged.  

Our portfolios were reviewed individually in front of the group.  We moved from one comfortable spot to the next for discussion, instruction, and questions.  The luxury of the experience elevated the weekend from work to vacation.  We ate slowly and shared our stories over dinner.  We had two styled shoots: One with a family and the other with a couple.  Both sessions Elena and Bre led by example then pushed each of us out of our comfort zone and encouraged us where we needed it. 

Through laughter and tears I shared my fears and dreams.  My creative soul was nourished and my thirst for knowledge was filled.  I walk away with friends.  I look forward to attending a Blair & Thurston Retreat again.