Agave

Phoenix, AZ

4 Days, 4 Nights - January 15-January 19, 2023

Editorial content and all inclusive retreat for photographers and videographers

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Welcome fellow creative souls!

Welcome to Agave. A content retreat based in the Phoenix, AZ. We are excited to offer our first all-inclusive retreat! This is the fourth event that we've hosted for photographers and videographers. This time there will be more creative content, education, and opportunities to recharge and fulfill the creative in you.

We started hosting these retreats to create epic content and foster networking opportunities among fellow creative photographers. Since we've started, each event has been a safe place to come and be yourself. A place you are accepted, supported, and encouraged to grow. We want to see you push yourself as an artist and person. There is a huge community of creators looking to dive into a different side of visual storytelling that makes them feel more fulfilled and happier overall. This is where our journey meets yours.

Our mission is for everyone leaving Agave to feel creatively recharged, supported, and empowered to create the career they want.

This retreat is for photographers and videographers who want an all inclusive experience while expanding their creative portfolio, networking with other like-minded, talented creatives, developing the skills to market their business and selves, and fulfill their creative tank.

our oaSIS

THE STAY AT JULEP

When we were deciding on our oasis, we wanted something open and spacious that had places dedicated to relaxation. Julep is a beautiful modern mansion in Scottsdale, AZ with tons of amenities including an in-ground heated pool, outdoor fire pit, game room, and more. We are most excited because the home is big enough for 25 of us to all create, relax, eat, and sleep with plenty of room to spare. There will be space for introverts and extroverts alike to take the space they need, plenty of opportunities to recharge yourself with love and support from your fellow attendees.

We will also be using Julep as a creative space for attendee styled photoshoots! This will be an opportunity for you to bring your creative ideas to Agave. Attendees will be styling shoots for one another to model and photograph each other! For more inspiration, check here for more photos of Julep.

As for sleeping accommodations Julep has 9 bedrooms with 4 king beds, 3 double beds, 3 bunk beds, and a queen. This means that most of you will need to share a bed and room. We will be assigning beds and rooms and trying to accommodate any requests.

for the lifelong learner

Education

We are offering multiple opportunities for growth and education during the four days we spend together. We will have a portfolio critique/reflection session ran by Michael and four separate classes to teach you skills that you can incorporate into your business and life. Each speaker has been hand selected by the MBP team and given specific topics that fit within their creative wheelhouse. Come with an open mind, and a pen and paper to fully take advantage of the information! The speakers have years of experience, knowledge, and information on running successful photography businesses and growing profitable artistic careers. The classes will cover topics like: creative concept building, editing and creative cropping, posing and directing models, business and finance, how to price yourself, content creation, social media tips for growth, and so much more! As a bonus all of our speakers will be creating along side of you for all of Agave.

Meet the Team

Hello friends!

I'm Michael, a self taught editorial photographer based out of Durham, NC. A little TW backstory: as so many of us know the media's portrayals of bodies has affected all of us in one way or another. As a teen and young adult I struggled heavily with my weight and body image which led me down the path of having multiple eating disorders and years full of body dysmorphia. After years of self reflective work and therapy I healed and became the confident, strong version of myself y'all see today! Once out on the other side I realized that photography was something I could use to impact others and change the media's portrayal of all of us. I could create the content I so desperately needed as a teenager. After that day I decided I would do my best to represent all different bodies and skin tones.

More about me, I'm a husband, artist, cat dad, hiker, flower lover, educator, and content creator. After creating a loving and supportive community in my city I realized when connecting with other photographers online that so many others are also discouraged by their communities. The gatekeeping of important information and put-down culture from established photographers stunted my growth. I started working on ways to create a supportive and uplifting community. And so was born, through a lot of trial and error, MBP Content Retreats. Providing opportunities and skills to new artists and established creators who also desperately needed connection and love from fellow creators. MBP Content Retreats are a space where creative photographers and videographers can come to grow and connect with other talented storytellers in a safe space.

Michael's Website

Dani Venen

We loved having Dani at the May Retreat. She will be returning as the videographer and speaker for Agave.

An introduction from Dani, "Hi! I’m Dani and I’m a 28-year-old self-taught editorial photographer and videographer based in Cleveland, OH. I’ve been fascinated with the visual arts my entire life and have taking photos for over 10 years, but it wasn’t until 2020 that I pursued photography full-time after being let go from my day job that I was so unhappy at. I’ve since found my true calling in my career and my life — to create art. I’m just a goofball at heart. Be prepared for endless puns and tomfoolery as we work together! I’m also a hugger. I love meeting new people and learning and growing with everyone! Laughing through life is how I thrive.

As of recently, I’ve downsized a lot of what I create and focused more on what makes ME happy as an artist. I prioritize creativity, oddity, and beauty in both my photos and videos. My motto has always been “the weirder, the better.” Creating emotions and stories with my art is always a goal. I was put on this earth to make people happy and to make art.

I’ve recently started doing video again and I almost forget how much I loved it. Whether is a short film, a highlight reel, or a product drop, I put my all into each clip. Movies have always been a huge passion of mine, from the storytelling to the cinematography to the editing. Being able to create my own mini movies is a dream come true."

Dani's Website

Lucia is a long time friend and collaborator that we are so excited to work alongside at Agave! She will be speaking and also joining us as a photographer for the whole retreat.

An introduction from Lucia, "Hello beautiful creative babies!! I’m Lucia, an Oregon based editorial fashion, couples & wedding photographer. I’m originally from Charlotte, NC where I primarily shot senior photos & family sessions. I started styling and shooting my own creative concepts in 2019 and just become obsessed with telling a full story through my galleries. I did a solid 6 months of just “creating for me” to find my style, learn how to work/ reach out to models, putting mood boards together and bringing my visions to life. I moved to west coast for a fresh start with no clientele at all. It was hard, not gonna lie, but kept “creating for me” and posting on all social media platforms and the clients came slowly. I then invested in myself with a wedding/elopement/couples photography workshop that changed the game for me. I was able to learn more about running a business and opened my eyes to couples photography. I went into my first wedding season (2021) with my editorial style and discovered a new passion!…I think adding a funky twist to life’s big moments is my calling.

I now am a full time editorial fashion, wedding/elopement photographer. I never imagined this would be my job. I’m a total open book and can/will answer any questions:)

Looking forward to to meeting all of you and chatting all things photography & having a beautiful time in AZ!!"

Lucia's Website

Benjamin Betzner

As with all of our events, Benjamin organizes and operates behind the scenes making sure that everything runs the way it's intended. He has been playing a similar role for Michael Betzner Photography. For Agave we are excited to bring him into the spotlight to talk about the business and finance side of photography.

An introduction from Benjamin, "Hey friends and artists! My name is Benjamin. Often I introduce myself as Michael's business and life partner. I've been working with Michael helping/encouraging him to do the things he didn't know how since he started taking pictures as a hobby 3 ½ years ago. Now that I work full time I've dedicated myself to learning about business taxes, financial planning, website design, marketing and pricing yourself to your ideal client and more.

I started my education at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo studying lighting design and stage management for theatre. After meeting Michael, my priorities shifted and I did not complete my degree. I worked in several restuarants until Michael couldn't run the business alone last year. Since then I've been supporting the business by increasing the profitability of client work and starting new sources of revenue for Michael Betzner Photography.

Starting MBP events has been a great way to combine Michael and my strengths of community building and educating respectively. I'm looking forward to spending the better part of a week with creatives that share the same passion for learning and growing. See you in AZ!"

Behind the Scenes

Check out the memories made at past events

Arizona

Shoot Locations

To make this trip the complete package, we will be providing transportation for the entire retreat. We are excited to be traveling all over the Phoenix area! In addition we will be spending a day in scenic Sedona. Pictured are some of the locations we will be going to. The juxtaposition of the barren landscape and blue skies will create a truly picturesque backdrop to explore your art.

Additional Activities

Portfolio Critique/Reflection

Attendee Photoshoots

After hosting our May Retreat, we realized that nothing could stop the creative juices from flowing. Attendees were setting up shoots with one another every chance they got! We wanted to make these impromptu sessions even easier by having dedicated time for y'all to style sessions for each other. Because we don't have time for all 20 of you to style a session, we will be asking a select few to style sessions easy enough for everyone to get creative with. Julep will be our backdrop for these sessions. For inspiration here is the link to all the photos of Julep.

There will be down time at Julep for you to edit, relax, and recharge. We love to see you getting creative with one another and impromptu sessions are not only possible but encouraged outside of this time.

This activity is set apart to take an introspective look into your work. Come prepared with an album you'd like critiqued. We will reflect on your accomplishments, look to the future of your

business, and help you make a plan to get there. Michael will offer feedback to encourage growth for the artist in you.

mindset is everything

the experience

We have taken the time, energy, and thought to create an atmosphere where we can all create together in harmony. But, we can't do that without you. We want this event to recharge your soul. It's easy to burn yourself out by taking dozens of videos and thousands of pictures. Brainstorm and come with a few ideas at each session. Be intentional capturing content. If something doesn't work out, don't be afraid to change it up or ask for some advice from your fellow creatives.

Come ready to grow, create, connect, and experiment with new ideas. You're in a safe place to foster growth and creative expression.

Food

Transportation

There will be transportation to all sessions and activities. Pickup from PHX will also be provided a half hour before check in on the 15th. Drop off at PHX will be provided 1 hour prior to check out on the 19th. You may also drive to the retreat, but there will not be any parking available at Julep. If you plan to drive we will help find some options to store your vehicle.

All meals will be provided after checking in. Please note any allergies or dietary restrictions when applying.

Agave

We will exceed expectations for $2,995

Now is the time to invest in you

We are offering the option to pay in full or a payment plan with an additional fee ($300). First payment will be due 10/8.

Agave is an all-inclusive photographer and videographer retreat that will change your perspective on yourself and the way you create.

Agave includes:

-4 nights, 4 days in the Phoenix, AZ area

-10+ unique and creative shoots styled by Michael Betzner Photography

-All meals provided

-A beautiful mansion with endless photoshoot opportunities

-Heated pool and game room

-A day trip to Sedona, AZ

-Portfolio critique/reflection

-Dedicated time for attendee photos with each other

-4 speakers covering topics including concept creation, posing, how to market and price yourself, and video creation, etc.

-Private transportation provided to and from PHX and all sessions

-Access to other talented photographers to grow with and learn from

-Videography of the entire retreat by Dani Venen. Instagram: @theeditorialstyles

-Makeup of all models by Peaches. Instagram: @peachcowgirl

Agave

Applications open Now

Applications open Until 9/30

@12:00am EST/9:oopm PST

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FAQ's

  • IS AGAVE OPEN TO ANY SKILL LEVEL CREATOR?

    Agave is open to any skill level photographer or videographer. This being said, you need to know how to operate your own equipment. There is no formal or one-on-one training on how to use your gear. You will benefit the most from Agave if you can shoot in manual and in a wide variety of lighting conditions. Sessions are fast pace and we will be able to offer advice in challenging situations, but we cannot instruct you on how to use your gear.

    Additionally, there will be 4 speakers joining us for the entire retreat. Despite the speakers lack of formal education, each has years of experience running successful photography business's, growing a profitable artistic business, and/or professional education on the topic they are covering. The classes will cover topics like: creative concept building, editing and creative cropping, posing and directing models, business and finance, how to price yourself, content creation, social media tips for growth, and much more! Make sure you bring questions and something to take notes! We will be offering a Q&A after each class where we can answer your burning questions.

  • HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK AND HOW WILL CREATORS BE CHOSEN?

    How does the application process work?

    Applications open Thursday, Sept, 9th at midnight and close Sunday, Sept, 11th at midnight. We will be reviewing applications Monday the 12th and Tuesday the 13th. We will start sending out acceptance emails starting Wednesday the 14th.

    How will photographers and videographers be chosen?

    When reading application, attendees are chosen from a variety of criteria: artistic expression, basic camera skills, a passion for learning, and more. This is to ensure a diverse set of styles and people to work and learn alongside.

    What if I am not accepted?

    If you're not chosen, no worries! This is not a reflection of you as an artist. As much as we would love to accept everyone it's not possible for a few reasons. We want to make sure we are able to give every attendee attention and time, city ordinances prevent us from having more than 25 people in a house, and we want everyone to have a chance to connect and grow with each other. Please apply for the next event so that we can try to bring you into the MBP community.

  • WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE ALL THE MONEY RIGHT NOW?

    We are offering payment plans if you're unable to pay the full amount now:

    We are offering payment plans for the first time. This is our biggest and most exciting retreat ever and the prices reflect all the work and time invested! If you're wanting to come but can't afford the larger sized payments, we are here to help. We can split the payments up to six times over the coming months with an additional fee of $300 for all plans for a total of $3,295. There will be spot in the application to indicate how you many times you want the payments split. All payments will be due by January 1st, 2023.

    What do I do if I cannot afford Agave this time around?

    You will be missed, but no worries. MBP Content Retreats are not going away anytime soon. We plan on creating more events throughout the foreseeable future and would absolutely love to have you join the MBP community! Our events and retreats are only growing in size and epicness which means price will most likely stay around or above $2,995. My advice here would be to look at the payment plans or start saving up for our next event. We are trying to host 4 retreats a year, so plan for the next retreat in April.

  • WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ATTENDING AGAVE?

    Personal growth and benefits expressed by past attendees included:

    Confidence boost in their work and self; emotional fulfillment from being with so many uplifting and positive people in the same field of passion; a more creative outlook on life and photoshoots; a more clear understanding of where they want their business to go; confidence in the decisions they make pertaining to business and photography; an overall feeling of support from a new found group of loving creative friends; a self awareness of ways to improve their overall mental health and work-life balance; a feeling of belonging after not fitting in with other people or groups; motivation to work towards what they always wanted; and more inspiration to create.

    Business growth and benefits expressed by past attendees included:

    More traffic on websites which led to an overall higher number of bookings; confidence to express their ideas, concepts, and work; social media growth; portfolio refreshes that feel more true to them; skills that gave them the tools to grow in a productive and healthy way; feeling more capable of executing bigger ideas and projects; education that offered a refreshing new outlook on how to create the career they wanted; and support from a group of uplifting creatives willing to support and help you grow no matter what.

  • HOW CAN YOU GUARANTEE THAT I WILL GET ENOUGH CONTENT?

    After hosting several events where we got to work out the kinks of shooting in groups, I think we've mastered it! At this retreat there will be at least 10 unique editorial photoshoots. Each attendee will get put into 1 of 2 groups at the top of each session. (there will be 10 or less per group) each group will then have an hour to shoot and work with each concept.

    Keep in mind this event will not be like a normal photoshoot where you can spend hours getting the perfect angle. Other creatives will be working with you getting shots. This means that taking turns and coming own ideas will be helpful for yourself and your fellow creatives.

    In addition to the scheduled sessions there will also be free time for attendees to create together. If you're looking to get headshots, modeling experience, or just have fun and make the most of your time this is the time to do it!

    We have worked hard to give you and the MBP team time to recharge and relax. This will put you at our best so that you can come back to each session with a fresh perspective! There is more than enough time to get a MASSIVE amount of content. Take it slow and be intentional so you don't tire yourself out.

  • EDITORIAL ISN'T MY USUAL, IS THIS RETREAT FOR ME?

    The way we setup Agave is for you to come stretch your creative muscles. Think back to when you first started photography and how much you learned in the first few years. With the vast number of sessions Agave is the perfect environment to try something, learn, and practice. We believe pushing yourself to create in an environment and style you don't normally find yourself in hones your skills and grows your creativity. You can then implement your new perspective on your style/niche. Agave is for creatives of all different styles to offer a fresh perspective on your art and yourself.

  • WHAT MINDSET SHOULD I HAVE COMING INTO THIS RETREAT?

    We work together to create a welcoming atmosphere with ample time and space to feel comfortable and safe. We want this event to be something you look back on and remember for a long time. So, come ready to grow, create, bond, experiment, and push yourself. Bring your own ideas and questions! If something doesn't work out change it up and try again. You are in a safe space with many like-minded creative entrepreneurs who are all in the same situation as you. You're among friends who want to see you succeed and grow!

  • WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COST?

    Agave is an all inclusive content retreat. $2,995 gets you access to all events, food, lodging, speakers, photo shoots, transportation and more! You are only responsible for arriving at PHX airport on January 15th. This is the biggest event MBP has ever hosted and the price reflects the amount of time and energy that is going in to the experience and the value that you will receive from Agave.

  • TELL ME A LITTLE MORE ABOUT TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING?

    We know that most of you are traveling for this retreat and we are honored to be here for you in every way we can! The home we rented doesn't allow for parking or any extra cars besides the ones we will be using to transport props, wardrobe, and all of us. due to this we decided to offer you all transportation for the entire trip! That's right, no Ubers, car rentals, or taxis! That being said, we will be picking up attendees from the PHX airport on January 15th, at 6:30PM and dropping you off on January 19th at 9:30am. We ask that you plan accordingly so you can all get picked up at 6:30pm without any issues. We are going to be offering y'all private transportation the entire trip. You'll be able to sit back and relax while we drive you to and from all activities!

    We do ask that anyone planning on driving to the event please find and leave your vehicle at a public parking area. There is a public car lot available at the PHX airport for a fee.

  • WHAT ARE THE HOUSING AND SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS?

    HOUSING: The home we rented is a massive 9 bedroom, 5 bathroom mansion located in the heart of phoenix near CamelBack Mountain. in fact, most of you will be able to see CamelBack MT. from your windows or patios. The mansion comes with a heated in-ground swimming pool, game room, 2 kitchens, and media space. we will have props and multiple spaces ready for impromptu photoshoots and headshots for y'all to take photos with each other. Feel free to bring your own ideas, props, and creativity into the space so when you have down time you have the option to create!

    SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS: due to the high number of attendees and city ordinance there are no homes that offered enough space for separate sleeping arrangements. The home we rented has queen, king, and full sized beds that most of you will have to share with one another. (2 people to a bed) The rooms are setup to be very open and provide each of you with ample space to set your belongings and gear. Keep in mind that everyone coming is a like-minded, open, creative friend and will be screened before acceptance to make sure we all feel safe and comfortable. We want this experience to fulfill you creatively and enrich your lives with new friends. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.

  • I NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT FOOD AND DRINK!

    This retreat is all-inclusive, meaning we provide all food and drink while you're in the home with us! At this time we don't have exact details on food. Updates will be provided when we know. Let us know if you have allergies or dietary restrictions. We will do our best to accommodate any requests. We will not be providing alcohol or recreational drugs of any kind and we ask that you to respect that decision by also refraining from said activities.

  • WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE AND WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

    We will be in Phoenix during the most temperate time of the year! As for Sedona it may get a bit more chilly with the possibility of snow because of the higher elevation. Other wardrobe consideration include the stabby cactus, the heated swimming pool, and impromptu sessions at the house with other attendees.

    I recommend dressing in layers, like the locals. They suggest a windbreaker and a warm layer underneath with something on bottom. The nights can get chilly and the days can be hot, but typically it stays between 45 and 65. Bring a bathing suit, lounge wear, sunscreen, and anything you would want to wear for a photo shoot.

    For shoes, try to bring something tougher than the fabric of a tennis shoe. This will help protect you from a stray jumping cactus if you get too close.

  • WHY IS THE RETREAT CALLED AGAVE?

    We settled on Agave because it's known for having anti inflammatory and pain reducing properties. We wanted to translate that healing energy to other's who may be suffering in their career or personal life and need something to help reduce the suffering a little.

  • ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

    Please take time to read through the FAQ to see if your question is answered. If you still have questions please reach out via email to MICHAELBETZNERPHOTO@GMAIL.COM. Do not contact me through Instagram or Tiktok because we will not be able to find your dm and reply soon enough to answer your questions.

  • What are MBP Retreats like?

    Feedback from past creatives

    Taylor Johnson

    “Attending Michaels content day was one of the best days of my photography career. As soon I walked through the studio doors I felt so welcomed and at ease. From the concepts to the comfort of the attendees, Michael and Benjamin put so much love and care into every detail of the day. My goal for the day was to have fun and capture beautiful photos, but I left with so much more. I never imagined that this experience would be so transformative. I left the day with so many new friendships, new found creativity and a huge confidence boost in my work. I’m so grateful I was able to attend 💗 (I literally cried tears afterwards, because I was sad the day was over- it was that incredible!!)”

    Candace Elizabeth

    “The experiences Michael & Benjamin offer through their retreats are like no other. Not only are the shoots amazing and well thought out, they focus on helping you find your way in this crazy creative world through beautiful concepts. MBP retreats have helped me explore my art, but most importantly, I have gained love, acceptance and a group of other like minded creatives that are there for you to uplift & support no matter what - which I think is such an important aspect to have in your life in order to grow in every way.”

    Hannah Shultz

    "This retreat provided me so much more than just content. I learned so much about the photography industry, got experience and built my confidence working on sets with models, and made lifelong friends and memories that I will always cherish. Seriously, book this retreat ASAP because they are only going up from here :)"

    Cam Simmons

    “From the moment I spoke with Michael & Benjamin during my mentor call, I knew I wanted to attend the MBP content day at the end of July. I had attended two content days prior to this, but I still went in very nervous barely knowing anyone. The second I walked into the studio I was greeted by every person, which immediately put me at ease that I wasn’t “just another attendee” and that they had taken the time to get to know each of the attendees. The concepts put together for that day stretched my creativity and challenged me to try approaches to taking photos and creating new concepts on my own! You can absolutely tell that Michael & Benjamin put their minds/bodies/souls into creating their content days, and truly anyone lucky enough to attend is going to have their life and career forever changed! I’d attend every. Single. One. If I could!!”

    Beverly Jones

    “During this content retreat, I made so many new connections! It was amazing how much safety and acceptance was cultivated in a space with so many different creatives. I learned about camera settings and gear, to editing and social media engagement. I learned and was inspired by everyone I met. I grew as an artist and put this down as an experience I won’t forget.”

    Dani Venen

    “To say that I learned a lot from Michael’s content retreat is an understatement. I unlocked a new chapter in my life, professionally and personally. I discovered that I had been overworking myself prior to the event and learned I need to take my time, which in turn will help me not only deliver more content but also create even better content. From education to content creation, his events have it all. I gained so much confidence in my art, experienced god tier concepts, and met so many amazing fellow creatives who have become life-long friends. These content events are not just a great time, they’re a core memory."

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    Check out past creatives work: