People always wanna know where we'll be speaking. We'll be shooting/teaching at SYNC at the end of January in St. Petersburg, Florida and at After Dark at Miami in March.
Google those things (or see our "For Professionals" page on our website) if you're interested.
My first experience winning a folio competition was in 1993 at the Wisconsin state folio competition. It was pretty scary because I competed against Darton Drake, Steve Ahrens, and many other fine Wisconsin shooters.I don’t recall if this was my first time entering, but I do remember studying Steve’s folios in previous years. He had won many times, and his folios were examples of not only suberb image-making, but also careful thought. I observed that each image would have scored an 80 in print competition. I learned that you can’t have ANY weak images in the folios. A folio is only as strong as its weakest print. So I endeavored to make each image as good as I could.
Note: I enjoy judging because I enjoy helping others. However, that “helping” caused a problem. Several years ago I wanted to judge our state folio competition, but someone accused me of cheating by helping another photographer with his folios. What happened was I visited a photographer to compare the Fuji S1 to the Kodak 760. We shot a few images of a girl to test both cameras. Somehow that got twisted into the assertion that I helped him shoot and arrange the prints in his folio. It was totally false, and I have no idea how that assumption got so distorted. Besides, the photographer I visited entered a folio with a different girl. Regardless, I got booted from judging that year. I was very bitter, especially because I was refused the chance to know what I did wrong, to know who accused me, or the opportunity to explain what really happened as well as to defend my character and reputation. The only reason I know what I know now was through some digging and confidential sources. It was a terrible moment, and I could have started a grievance procedure. But our state association had just gone through a very bitter grievance and I didn’t want more of that to continue. Besides, that negative incident resulted in a positive change in judging. From that point forward, the state decided to hire out of state judges for folio competition to avoid any hint of "jury tampering".
Next installment deals with more modern times... 2000 and beyond.
As you can see, they are done with respect, taste, and my usual careful attention to detail. VERY easy for any woman to do... no need to feel apprehensive.
While some of these women were relatively young and easy to photograph, the average age for a boudoir portrait is around 32! Remember, we're PROFESSIONALS... meaning ANYONE can look beautiful with proper lighting posing and composition.
There was a fun program on boudoir photography at the the convention. That was popular in the 1990s and is coming back. It should really never have faded since EVERY woman should feel beautiful and celebrate that with a glamour portrait. We've always offered it but haven't pursued it lately. Our on-location approach is much more personal and creative than a sterile studio with generic props. I hope it regains its former popularity. In case any of you are trying to imagine what it is... it's like Victoria Secret... but with real people... not models.
It's SO much fun for the women who are savvy enough to realize what it does for their self-esteem. Women (especially mothers) often are doing for everyone else, but not themselves. This gives them a chance to feel pampered and special once again.
Tomorrow I'll post a few examples of our modern, classy yet sexy glamour portraits.
Some other PPA programs were simple, and since I've been around for about 30 years, it's pretty rare to hear something new. So if I get one, new tidbit, I'm happy. The few new things I learned were in the area of technical, and internet stuff.
But the main thing a convention does is reinvigorate us to be more proactive in attracting new business. Shirley and I use the winter to catch up on things we don't have time for in the summer. But we always enjoy portraits in the winter. They are often very creative because we're applying techniques we don't have time for in the busy season.
I love shooting ANYTIME of year, but this time is especially fun because I've got all these ideas floating about in my head that I want to play with. (BTW, the really neat thing about boudoir photography in the winter is that it's done in the home... and snow outside helps with window lighting.)
Since I'm a lighting guy, I see all kinds of lighting techniques that start the creative process. In the coming weeks I'll try to focus on posting the results of those ideas.
I went with bare-bones equipment... a camera, lens and flash. I should have brought a flash diffuser like an umbrella. So I kept the flash close to the camera to keep the djhadows from being a problem, but away enough to create "modeling".
The low light was done by bouncing the flash off the wet sand.
The SPA convention in San Diego was an unforgettable experience. Callie, our senior who was chosen to model out there was incredible. The weather and sunsets were gorgeous. And, thanks to Callie Beine and Aaron Pomeroy our senior boy entry, I was chosen SPA's Artist of the Year! I've never won that honor and it's one I hoped I would someday win. I've won five similar awards from a different senior group, but my last first place award one was in 2000, so the photography these days and in the SPA group is at a much higher level.
I'll post images and movies later.