The Academy France + New Workshop Dates

The Academy | Heather Bullard

It’s nearly impossible to describe the experience I shared with the incredible group of women who attended The Academy in Dordogne, France. Words like amazing and wonderful don’t quite encapsulate how I feel, nor do they adequately describe the memories I’ll have for a lifetime. What I envisioned when I began planning my first workshop far surpassed what I expected and that belongs mostly in part to the wonderful attendees who gathered with me to learn about creative and editorial styling. Here’s a few highlights from our time together in the French countryside and the new 2017 workshop dates for The Academy in Dordogne, France Available Now!


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We were up bright and early on our first full day in order to shop for props at one of my favorite brocantes in France.  I encouraged everyone to keep an eye out for antiques and objects to use during their styling sessions. Items that would speak to their own personal style and aesthetic. Once our French market baskets overflowing with treasures, we headed back to the chateau for a light supper and an old school show-and-tell.

The Academy | Heather Bullard

The next several days were spent with morning lectures on styling techniques in the chateaus 13th century barn we affectionately named L’atelier de la Ferme. In the afternoons we would break for lunch on the estate grounds and then into small groups for hands-on styling and photography practice. Everyone did such a fantastic job and I loved watching them style their vignettes. Loads of talent!

One evening I planned a special Dîner en Blanc for my attendees. The authentic seven course French meal prepared by the chateau owners included oysters, foie gras, pike quenelles, iced nougatine…and so much more. Lingering on until nearly midnight it was one of the most decadent and memorable meals I’ve ever had.

Heather Bullard | Diner en Blanc

Heather Bullard | The Academy

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Several of our days included trips to open air French markets to buy produce, flowers, and patisserie which provided unlimited inspiration while they practiced their photography skills. Another day excursion was spent visiting an 11th century village to take in the sights and stop for a delicious picnic lunch.

Heather Bullard | The Academy

The Academy | Heather Bullard

I also included an afternoon of jam making so everyone could learn new skills as they relate to lifestyle and food photography and styling. I enjoyed helping them learn ways to direct their models and to style food so that in the future they will be able to convey meaning and show authenticity through their work.

I feel there is so much more I could share but indeed words do escape me. I suppose that’s part of the magic. Remembering it almost as a dream. As the chateau owner Laurent said, “You ladies want to live inside a fairytale.” Yes, yes we do. And I’m so grateful it actually came true.

Heather Bullard | The Academy

All the planning and behind the scenes effort that went in to having such a memorable and successful workshop event wouldn’t have been possible with the help of my assistant Jill McKee, who helped plan incredible meals and delightful desserts and used her gorgeous calligraphy skills to adorn so many details, Jaci Smith Carlson for the beautiful imagery and in helping me capture every moment with joy, and for my friend Terry Littman my fellow Francophile who among many other things, came to the rescue when I was (quite literally) putting out a fire!

Heather Bullard | The Academy

Heather Bullard | The Academy

If you would like to join us June 3-9, 2017 for the next – The Academy in Dordogne, France please don’t hesitate. There are a very limited number of spaces available and my hope is that you will take a leap of faith and invest in yourself and your work by attending. I promise you this…it will be an experience you never forget! To learn more please visit The Academy or read our Academy Brochure. Hope to see you in France!

Here’s what a few attendees are saying about their experience at The Academy.

“Best. Trip. Ever. Not only was it a magical experience because the accommodations are practically out of a fairy tale. I have never been so inspired in my life.” – Stephanie

“This was a trip of a lifetime – the hands on photography and styling tips were all things that I have been dying to get some expert advice on. I feel like we got the best of everything in shopping, travel, food, and the French experience in our week together. I would go again in a heartbeat.” – Denise

“It was magical, dressed in white- rules of composing- vignettes tell a story- aperture will never be the same for me. Thank you for bringing us along on this once in a life time adventure.” – Teresa

“I gained so much knowledge and I’m slowly putting all your teaching into practice. All the advice you gave us I’ve taken like gems. Truly a wonderful trip!” – Jamie

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24 Comments

  • Denise

    all the heart eyes and warm fuzzies seeing these photos and remembering what an incredible trip this was. I’m going to start saving my pennies for 2018 😉 Hugs to you Heather for more wonderful memories for this next group. I’m so envious!! trip of a lifetime!! xo

    September 26, 2016 at 2:39 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      For me as well! I would love for you to come back anytime!! It was such an incredible experience for me because of you and our first little tribe of attendees! xoxo

      September 27, 2016 at 8:55 am Reply
      • Kathleen

        Denise, if you go in 2018, let me know this time so I can tag along…. sounds and looks amazing Heather

        October 4, 2016 at 11:59 am Reply
        • Denise

          That would be fun Kathleen! You know we will stay in touch on that 😉 Heather, you would have so much fun getting to know her! ❤️

          October 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm Reply
      • Karen Bertelsen

        WAIT! WHAT??! Whatisthis??!! LOL. omg. This looks like the greatest kind of vacation in THE WORLD! I’m gonna need to know a great deal more about this!

        January 20, 2017 at 9:25 pm Reply
        • Heather Bullard

          Haha! I have to say it is pretty amazing. You would fit right in! 😉

          January 21, 2017 at 8:07 am Reply
  • Jamie

    EEK! So excited you’re doing this again Heather! I had an amazing time…think I’ll go with Denise again in 2018! I’ll be sure to promote 😉
    Hugs, Jamie
    PS: If you need another assistant, I’m available!

    September 27, 2016 at 11:14 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      We’ll just have to have a reunion! Thanks for helping promote the next workshop! And definitely will give you a shout if I think I’ll need another hand…would be fantastic!!

      September 27, 2016 at 3:57 pm Reply
  • Mary (Cottage B at Home ~ Vintage Country Living)

    What amazing images you shot while at this incredible workshop, Heather! Love the grouping of French market totes ~ one of my favorite things in the world for their practicality and aesthetic appeal. Would love to visit every single one of these beautiful places you photographed (I may need to get back to France again soon after seeing these lovely photos!) 🙂 Completely swoon-worthy adventure!!

    September 27, 2016 at 3:31 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Thanks Mary! I too share your love for French market bags…such a stylish way to transport everything. These images were taken by Jaci Smith Carlson…there’s a link to her site up above. I had her come along to shoot since I knew I would have my hands full with lectures and coordinating everyone. She did such an amazing job!

      September 27, 2016 at 4:00 pm Reply
  • Stacie

    I am definitely in for a reunion! I loved every second of that trip. Heather, I am so glad that you are doing it again. It is all just too good to not share with others. I, like Denise, get all the warm fuzzies seeing all these pictures and remembering all the adventures we shared. And like Jamie, if you ever need an extra set of hands, I too am availabe. ???? Heather your ability to stay calm and roll with the punches is so amazing. It truly made the trip a million times more enjoyable. To anyone reading this who may be considering going, but not sure because you may be going solo, I say do it! I went on my own not knowing a soul and walked away with an amazing group of friends. I can not explain how worth everything you may go through to go on this trip it is. For me this trip was life changing for so many reasons.

    September 27, 2016 at 8:31 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      You were the sunshine in our group! I’m so glad you decided to join us…it just wouldn’t have been the same without your big smile and joyful spirit. Memories for a lifetime for all of us! xoxo

      September 28, 2016 at 7:28 am Reply
  • Jill McKee

    Ah, the most WONDERFUL memories! You described it all so perfectly. The french countryside, the pastries, the markets, the amazing chateau, all our new friends…..priceless. TRULY the trip and opportunity of a lifetime. I feel so lucky and blessed to be going with you to do it all again! xo

    September 28, 2016 at 7:45 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Couldn’t have done it all without you! Looking forward to meeting all the new attendees next year! Vive la France!

      September 29, 2016 at 2:26 pm Reply
  • Kathe

    I’m considering this. I keep looking at the brochure… I saw it last year and it interested me. Sorry to see it is one day less this year!

    September 30, 2016 at 9:25 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      It’s surely a once in a lifetime experience for myself and those who attend and have attended. My team and I feel fortunate to be able to create an inspirational event in such a magical place. 🙂

      October 1, 2016 at 9:21 am Reply
  • Lisa at celebrate creativity

    Heather, your photos have really captured the beauty of this event. What a gorgeous setting. I love seeing all the ladies with camera in hand too.
    Every shot is a reason to attend.
    Have a lovely day.

    October 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      I loved watching them work their magic during our photoshoots! Such a talented group of creatives!

      October 4, 2016 at 8:34 am Reply
  • Our French Oasis

    Oh my goodness that looks like the most truly amazing workshop, the trip of a lifetime for many, I live in France and it still looked utterly fantastic. But what I loved most you captured all of the things that really are essential to living French country life, making jam being one of them! This was a treat to read, I felt as if I wanted to move to France all over again!!!

    October 4, 2016 at 12:36 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Your comment warms my heart, thank you. My intention was to create an environment that would stir their imagination and creativity…and to treat them to my absolute favorite places and customs, and experience the true essence of the France I adore. So glad you felt it captured the same for you! 🙂

      October 4, 2016 at 8:37 am Reply
  • Elizabeth Kessinger

    Love it all. Very warm, inviting, and love the feel it gives me when I see the pics. Loving all the cobblestone buildings, the nature, and the essence of the rural scenes portrayed. That sounds like a fun and exciting adventure. If I could afford it I would tag along. Please let me know the cost of such a trip.

    October 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm Reply
  • elizabeth@Pine Cones and Acorns Blog

    This looks like a magical trip!

    November 21, 2016 at 5:08 pm Reply
  • ANAJÁ SCHMITZ

    Amei o blog. Lindas inspirações. Linda cidade.
    Feliz 2017.

    January 13, 2017 at 8:59 am Reply
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