Capturing Childhood photography retreat with Sarah Mason Photography | Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

Nestled in the Yorkshire Moors, overlooking an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is the location of Old Cragg Hall Barn where I stayed on a photography retreat last month. It was here where I spent a weekend with five other women on the Capturing Childhood photography retreat led by Sarah Mason. Her business partner and wife, Suzi and their daughter, Olive, assisting in the weekend retreat too. 

Cragg Hall barn in the fog, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

About Sarah Mason Photography

Sarah Mason is a wonderful fine art and portrait photographer based in Hebden Bridge, whose work ranges from photography and making films for families and commercial businesses. I discovered her through Instagram and have long admired the way she captures the everyday, bringing them to life through her emotive photography with natural light and warmth. She is also a skilled film photographer and freelensing artist, which she manages to combine both in her work and creative projects as well. 

With that in mind, there is much to learn on any one of her photography retreats, which she has five to choose from.

Capturing Childhood retreat

I should add at this point that Sarah and I have been talking about meeting up with her and Suzi, and now Olive, for some time. When she generously invited me along to her Capturing Childhood photography retreat earlier in the spring, I did not hesitate to say yes. This was how I found myself a couple of months later stood at Mytholmroyd station to be greeted by Sarah, who had come to take me to our accommodation in Cragg Vale.

Below are some photos I took from the first morning where I woke to find the fog had descended over the valley during the night. By mid-morning, it had all dissipated just as the other attendees of the retreat arrived and were welcomed by warm pastries that Suzi had served for us.

Road leading up Cragg Hall in West Yorkshire
Cragg Vale in the fog
Almost silhouette-looking trees in the fog
Morning welcome pastries taken by Diana Hagues photography, Camb
Recommended reading. Photography Books. Captured Childhood retre

Capturing Childhood - Day One

As we sat down on the cosy sofas inside the barn with light streaming through the huge windows, Sarah begun the morning session over a short presentation about her business, and the skills and techniques she uses to capture family photographs of her clients. She gave us a little exercise beforehand that we shared in photographs we had brought along with us to the retreat.

What I love about this exercise and her retreat was how she encouraged us to dig deeply into why we make photographs, emphasising on finding our photographic voice that makes us not only take better photographs but feel about them too, which I think is incredibly important whether you’re starting out in photography, shooting your own family, or rediscovering what it is you love about photography.  

Sarah Mason Photography retreat in West Yorkshire taken by Diana
Old photographs pegged on a string taken by Diana Hagues Photogr

We also got the chance to do several shoots over the weekend.

The first two were captured mostly indoors and around the barn, utilising different light. While our models were lightly directed and guided by Sarah, we were encouraged to photograph in our own unique styles and approach. (You can read about the different types here).

Photographers in action on the Captured Childhood retreat run by
Students on the Captured Childhood retreat during a mother and b

Child portraiture

Girl in a red sequin jumper sitting on a bed in a child portrait
Girl in a red sequin jumper framed in a doorway at a child portr
Black and white photograph of a girl taken at Cragg Vale, West Y
Black and white panning photo of child running

Mother and Baby Photo Shoot

Mother and baby standing on the stairs
Baby reaching for her shoes while her mum is holding her on the
Black and white family photograph with a cloth thrown over a bab
Mother and baby hiding behind the net curtains
Mother holding her baby by the fence
Black and white photograph of a mother kissing her baby

Capturing Childhood - Day Two

On the second day, we did a family photo shoot outside on the steep-sided valley. I posted the photos from this shoot in my previous blog post

Captured Childhood retreat photo session in Hebden Bridge, Yorks

While we recapped from the weekend before the photography retreat ended, Sarah gave further ideas for shooting personal creative projects and I took away some of them that I would like to try out.

Thank you to Sarah, Suzi and Olive for a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxing and inspiring weekend. It was wonderful to meet all of you (finally!) and indulge in conversations about photography and our businesses with other photographers too. I came away from the retreat refreshed and with new ideas.

Family photograph of a same-sex couple and their baby inside a b