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The Elena S Blair Photography Mastermind Alumni Feature – Samantha Duncan

Over the course of 5 months, photographers who choose to be apart of the Elena S Blair Photography Mastermind will transform their business and themselves. Although every experience is different we have seen so many talented photographers grow in ways that sometimes even surprise themselves. In this blog series we will highlight Alumni who have completed the photography mastermind and allow them to discuss what their personal experience was like. Keep reading to see the thoughts of today’s Alumni, Samantha Duncan.

What cohort were you a part of? I was apart of Level 1 – Cohort 4.

Samantha Duncan, Alumni of the Elena S Blair Photography Mastermind Cohort 4

Samantha Duncan

What your favorite part of the mastermind?

My favorite part of being part of this mastermind was having so many incredibly talented women surround me and cheer me on. Having this community surrounding me and supporting me has been the one thing I was missing and that kept me from reaching for my dreams.

What are some changes or improvements that you have seen in your business since joining and completing the mastermind?

2022 was my most profitable year yet. I now have a REAL business. I’ve blogged more than I ever have as well. I even have returning clients! My business has literally grown in every way possible!

What are some changes or improvements that you have seen in your habits, lifestyle, confidence, and spirituality that you have seen in yourself since joining and completing the mastermind?

I have a drive to keep going even when it’s slow now. I really lacked motivation before, and I was afraid of success. I’m no longer afraid to reach for my goals.


How would you describe the retreat experience.

Let me tell you about the greatest weekend in my professional life. Let’s start from the beginning. In 2022 I decided to step out of my comfort zone and join the Photography Mastermind by Elena S Blair. During this 5 months I grew in ways I never thought possible! I reached and achieved goals I had only dreamt of. At the end of this mastermind was a weekend long retreat in Palm Springs CA.

Of course, being a Mama, I wasn’t really sure I even WANTED to go. I had a 15mo babe at home and I’d never been gone from him for more than a couple hours before. But, my wonderful hubby told me “go, I’ve got this.” And so I booked my plane ticket.

Now, I’m not a risk taker, or an adventure haver, so going all the way to CA from MO by myself was a HUGE endeavor for me. I HATE flying, as someone who is short I like to tell people “I’m short, I like being close to the ground!” But I did it anyway. And boy am I glad I did!

Fast forward to January 2023, I hopped on that flight and faced my fears of being alone for the first time since I was 18. I had a layover in AZ. By the time I landed in Palm Springs my mind was buzzing with all that awaited me at the retreat. Me and my housemate for the weekend, Kristen, adventured around Palm Springs for the afternoon and later met up with the rest of our cohort at Joshua tree.

As we FINALLY got to meet each other face to face for the first time, none of us could stop SMILING! It was as if we had known each other forever. We spent that evening taking photos of the beautiful scenery and one another.

Day 1 of the retreat. The next morning we excited hopped into the car and drove down into the desert. When we finally arrived at Elena’s Airbnb we were greatest by everyone that was there. The day was nothing short of AMAZING!

We had an entire afternoon of taking headshots and letting our creative juices flow. We got to meet and hear from Brooke Shultz, talk about learning from a master! We also go to witness her process first hand as she did a shoot with a gorgeous family and an equally gorgeous sunset! That’s evening was spent chatting and getting to know each other. There was so much joy that you could feel it in the air!

Day 2 of the retreat. After spending the entire previous 2 days with everyone, we were chatting like old friends. We spent the day hearing from our Canon reps, who by the way we didn’t even know were reps till their presentation, and got to continue to explore the gear they had provided for us. As well as a presentation from Bridget Wood, who joined us all the way from Australia! She, like Brooke, walked us through a shoot with another beautiful family.

As the night went on and dinner had been eaten, we found ourselves having deep talks with those around us. From motherhood to the bond we’d found in Photography, we chatted for HOURS. The night grew late, and the air grew cold as we said our farewells. There was few dry eyes that evening, but we knew that it wasn’t”goodbye” just “see you later.”

As I woke up the next morning and boarded my flight, I reminisced about the weekend we had had. Coming back to reality after such a weekend is incredibly difficult! But I know that though we may be miles apart, I have a group of absolutely ASTOUNDING women cheering me on!

What would you tell someone to help them take the leap to join the Mastermind? What words of encouragement do you think they need? 

Just do it! Yes, it’s an investment, but it’s an investment in yourself and you CAN do it. I never thought I would, but I’m sure glad I did!

What are you working on right now? What is something that you are excited about in your life and biz? 

Something that I am very excited about is that I’m currently about to offer spring minis!

You can view more work by Samantha Duncan at her website and on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

If you are a photographer who is looking to level up and transform your business and mindset to achieve your goals, you are invited to apply to be in the next Cohort of the Elena S Blair Mastermind. You can join the waitlist to be notified when applications are live and being accepted. Don’t miss this opportunity to create life long community, the business of your dreams and the confidence to be authentically you.

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