One of the reasons we started the IP Retreat was because we saw so many conferences where people just rotted in a conference center all week. Lame.Jim Harmer
The Retreat is a photography conference open to photographers of all skill levels who want TONS of hands-on shooting opportunities, fun, new friends, and a positive and supportive environment.

What Will Happen at the Retreat?

When you arrive on the first morning, you'll get your name tag, information about Whova (our event app) and a welcome by our friendly staff at the registration desk.  Then, you'll go into the opening session where we have plans for an inspirational and helpful intro to the conference.

You'll be placed in a group of 10-20 other photographers, and you'll quickly become friends as you spend time together during the Retreat.  You'll share meals together, give photo feedback to each other, go out on many shoots together, etc.  Don't worry about what group you're placed in–we're always happy to help if you want to be in a group with someone else, etc.  Many dozens of life-long friendships have been formed at IP events because we're always helping people to make connections and feel part of the group.

Each day you'll have opportunities to attend several classes by many expert and some world-renowned speakers.  We design our classes to be as hands-on and engaging as possible.  We'll teach you how to clean your sensor–hands on.  We'll bring models into the classes so you can see what the instructor is talking about.  We'll have macro setups around the rooms to practice what you're hearing, etc.

But the real fun of the IP Retreat is the shooting opportunities.Attendees of the Spring 2017 IP Retreat all left home with many portfolio-quality photos and all of them spent many hours behind a camera at some amazing locations. In addition, we invest in bringing top-quality models to the event so if you're bored in class, you can work with a model and shoot any time, or use the Really Good Photo Spots App to get out and shoot landscapes.  This is a hands-on conference with tons of top-notch shooting opportunities.

Oh, and…. there's something else we'll be doing at the Retreat.  But that's top secret.  Just know it'll be fun, you'll need your camera for it, and it just might be life changing.  But it's a secret until you get there, and we have HUNDREDS of hours of work ahead of us to make it a reality.

Purchase Ticket

Schedule, 60 sessions of  classes, live models, photo reviews, tours and general awesomeness.

Schedule subject to change

Thursday 03/22/2018

07:30 AM to 08:30 AM Registration Opens
08:30 AM Opening Event
09:30 AM Session Break Outs
10:30 AM Session Break Outs
11:30 AM Taco Lunch Provided by Improve Photography
12:45 PM Panel Q&A
01:45 PM Session Break Outs
02:45 PM Session Break Outs
03:45 PM Optional Group Photo reviews
04:45 PM Dinner (on your own) Travel to Plantation

Friday 03/23/2018

07:15 AM Optional Sunrise Photoshoot
09:30 AM Session Break Outs
10:30 AM Session Break Outs
11:30 AM Session Break Outs
12:30 PM Session Break Outs
01:30 PM Lunch (on your own) and Travel to Tour
03:00 PM Downtown Tour
08:00 PM Optional – Networking and Collaboration, Photo competitions

Saturday 03/24/2018

08:30 AM Session Break Outs
09:30 AM Session Break Outs
10:30 AM Closing Event
12:00 PM End Conference
Post Conference Workshops (additional purchase)


The ticket price to attend the conference is $459.
Generally, the biggest cost of attending a conference like this is not the ticket price, but the travel cost.  Most conference venues make the conference rooms somewhat inexpensive, but charge exorbitant hotel costs to the attendees to stay there.  Last year, the hotel was $200/night!  This year we set out to reduce the cost of the conference for everyone–even though the ticket price is slightly higher.  We've done that by picking a location that is easy to fly to, and where hotels near the venue can easily be had for $100 or less, where parking at the venue is free, etc. I believe this will result in a reasonably priced trip that you'll remember until the day you die.

Sample Budget for Attending

  • $459 – Conference Ticket
  • $200 – Hotel for two nights
  • $75 – Food (If you have breakfast at your hotel you'll save money, and Improve Photography is paying for one catered meal at the event so we can all be together)
  • (Optional) $250 – Pre/Post-conference workshop with your favorite speaker
  • (Optional) $100 – Rental car or Uber fares, or you could split a rental car with someone at the Retreat.  You'll be invited to a Facebook group for attendees so you can do that.
  • Remember that if you earn money with your photography at all, you can use these expenses to write off income you make–even if you haven't formed a separate LLC or anything official.  Obviously, you need to consult with a tax professional to get tax advice for your situation, but be sure to keep track of your receipts for the conference so you have that option!

Last year, the conference sold out many months before the event, so don't wait too long or we might sell out.

Location & Venue

Charleston is a fantastic photography location.  From Angel Oak to the plantations, to Botany Bay, and the beach–Charleston is a gorgeous city with multiple 5-star landscape and portrait photography locations.  Also, the bird photography should be quite good this time of year.

We are incredibly excited about the venue for the event this year.  It will offer us more than enough space to spread out, to have more classes happening during each hour to provide you with a better choice of classes, and larger rooms to accommodate everyone for the most popular speakers.

The event is being held at Trident Technical College in Charleston.  The address of the venue is 7000 Rivers Ave, North Charleston, SC 29406.

Post-Conference Workshop Information

The Retreat runs from Thursday morning to noon on Saturday.  However, many of you will want to stay through Saturday night to attend post-conference workshop.  These workshops generally cost $250 and will allow you to spend about 8 hours with your favorite speaker in the field shooting in a small group (limited to 15 or fewer people).  For many attendees, the extra workshop is their favorite part of the conference, and they are priced so it can be a reality for most attendees.

The post-conference workshops are available right now.  You may want to arrange your travel plans to stay until Sunday so you can be in a conference workshop and shoot the sunset or night photography before you leave.

What Genres of Photography Will Be Taught?

Landscape, portrait, wildlife, street, night, macro, sports, you name it.  We're bringing in top-notch photographers in all genres to come and speak.


Charleston, South Carolina has an airport so most people will fly there.  Generally, it's pretty cheap to fly into Charleston.  That's one of the reasons we picked it as the location.

Generally, I would recommend renting a car.  You can likely get a rental car for under $40/day, and it will allow you total freedom to get out and shoot.  Also, parking is free at the venue.  However, many attendees split a car or split a room.  You'll have plenty of time to do that via the Facebook group for the event, which you'll get access to after purchase.

When to Arrive

We'll start early in the morning on March 22nd, so you'll need to arrive the night before.  The opening session is when you'll get info about how the event will go and we like to make that session pretty epic, so don't be late!

What Gear Should I Bring?

Funny you should ask, I have a handy dandy page with information for you right here.

What Will Happen After Purchase?

After you purchase your ticket, you'll go to a page with a download (the download will also be emailed to you).  The download is a simple file that gives you two links.  The first link is to a survey.  That survey is where you'll give us your name and some information about what type of photography you enjoy and your skill level so we can place you in an appropriate group.  Also, you'll get a link to a private Facebook group just for attendees of the conference.


There are lots of hotels near Trident Technical College which you can get for $100 or less per night.  We're really glad that we found a location where the hotels are separate from the venue so that attendees can save on lodging costs, and so that you can pick lodging according to your personal taste.  The following is a list of hotels within two miles of the conference venue:

  • Hyatt Place North Charleston – $$
  • Staybridge Suites Charleston/Ashley Phosphate – $
  • Motel 6 North Charleston – $
  • Rodeway Inn Charleston – $
  • Best Western Plus Airport Inn & Suites – $$
  • La Quinta Inn North Charleston – $
  • Country Inn and Suites – $$
  • Red Roof Inn North Charleston – $
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Charleston North/Ashley Phosphate – $$$
  • Extended Stay America – $
  • Suburban Extended Stay Airport – $

I Have a Question/Need Help

Please feel free to contact us at [email protected]