Thursday, May 9, 2013

AD 2013 {Professional Photographer's Education}

I recently returned from a 5 day educational trip with three new friends, Melissa, Kelly and Gloria.  Perhaps the best part of the trip was the 10 hour drive to and from the conference.

We attended a photographer's workshop called After Dark held in St. Louis this year at the impressive Union Station Hotel.  Over 40 photography mentors were on hand to educate the over 400 workshop attendees - each offering classes in their given areas of expertise.

It was information overload 100%, but I loved every minute of it!

The workshop is called "After Dark" because much of the fun and learning occurs after the scheduled classes are through for the day/night - i.e. after dark.  Mentors are known for taking groups of students on impromptu photographic "field trips" around town.  The goal: Learn to embrace the creative side of our craft.

Many times these groups are out and about until 3 or 4 in the morning.  Anticipating that this is the normal schedule for most attendees, scheduled classes do not begin until 1:15 in the afternoon each day.

Models from all over the country attend the workshop on their own dime - knowing their only compensation will be images from each of the attendees and mentors.  Each attendee and mentor agrees to upload at least one image of each model from each class they attend during the week.  The models are then able to download those images for use in their professional portfolios.

With such a large list of mentors and classes to choose from, it was a challenge to decide what I wanted to learn for the week.  I ended up making a connection with two of the mentors on the first day and decided to take several of their classes.  Sue and Neil Silverman were two of my favorites for sure.  They taught me how to pan, how to use reflectors in mixed lighting and how to found materials as natural filters - among other cool tricks.

During the week I attended workshops with the following mentors:

Sue and Neil Silverman
Brooke Shaden
Leslie Spurlock and Sue and Neil Silverman
Chris Marquardt
Brian DeMint
Kevin Jairaj
Jen Rozenbaum
Jon Allyn

The best part of these conferences is making new friends in the industry.  One of my new friends (from Frisco) Jennifer and I even had dinner one evening with Sue and Neil Silverman and Chris Marquardt at the Shaved Duck - a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.  The night before the group of ladies I hung out with (most of them from the Dallas PPA) met up with Leslie Spurlock at the same restaurant.  Apparently, it pays to attend a workshop with a foodie who researches all the local hot spots.

I even met up with my friend Bethany who lives in St. Louis for lunch before leaving town.  We went to this awesome little tea room located just blocks from the hotel. Take a look at their menu online for a few good laughs.  It is brilliantly worded.  The London Tea Room.

Here are a few of the images I created during After Dark this year.

My friend Melissa brought along a tub full of fabric. This "dress" was fashioned out of curtain panels of all things.

Melissa and her friends met this young lady at their restaurant that night.  She was their waitress for the evening.  They invited her out to the hotel to model for them later that evening.  Again, her dress is fashioned out of fabric remnants.

This glowing floor (a.k.a the "glo flo") was by far the most photographed area of the hotel that week.

My attempt with a lens baby.  I need more practice!

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