Yesterday, I attended the WPPI Road Trip at the fantastic Sheraton Hotel in downtown Orlando. I’m a proud member of the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International, and was glad that Orlando was chosen as one of the host sites for this year’s road trip shows.
Liana Lehman Hall, a wedding and portrait photographer, out of Atlanta, Georgia was the host for the event. After a brief presentation, Liana introduced each of the many fantastic presenters.
Doug Gordon, a wedding photographer from New York, was the first speaker. Impressively, he was able to get the crowd of over 200 up on their feet dancing to Y-M-C-A at 8:30 in the morning. His presentation was half motivational / half posing, and jam packed with great humor and energy. There were two model participants who were on hand as Doug worked through his posing work-flow.
Following Doug was Bruce Dorn, a Canon explorer of light (essentially a legend in the industry as selected by Canon). His presentation was on HD Video Capture using the DSLR camera. Even though I have the capabilities of shooting video, it’s something I have only dabbled with. He showed some fabulous examples of how he has embraced the video capabilities of today’s cameras to create amazing portrait sessions, particularly with high school seniors.
One thing WPPI was great at, was feeding us. Between each break there was another assortment of food. And, lunch was no exception. Personally, my favorites were the soft pretzels they had. Those went quick!
After lunch, Amber Holritz, a lifestyle baby photographer from Chattanooga, Tennessee did a presentation on the philosophy and practice of lifestyle baby photography. She told many fantastic stories from over her years, and explained lifestyle photography in more detail. I think in the coming years, lifestyle photography as it applied to children will grow tremendously, similar to how photojournalism changed wedding photography. Although a picture of a baby in a funny hat next to some fake props in a studio are very “cute”. These pictures can become very generic and don’t reflect who we are. Almost all of her photographs are taken at the baby’s home, in areas where the family gathers.
Following Amber was Garrett Nudd, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chattanooga. Garrett started out as an Orlando wedding photographer, and still has some roots to the city. His presentation was more on the business side of wedding and portrait photography with many inspirational messages mixed in. We were also fortunate that he brought with him Rebecca Grinnals, founder of Disney’s Fairy Tale weddings, and founder and owner of Engaging Concepts, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in the wedding industry. Some of her clients include Disney, Sandals, Harley-Davidson, Graceland, and the Kessler Collection. She spoke about the state of the wedding industry and particularly how it pertains to wedding photographers. She discussed a lot of statistics. But, one that stood out to me was, that on average, 43 different businesses are involved in every wedding (bakeries, florists, caterers, planners, etc.). And who says that planning a wedding isn’t stressful?
The final presenter of the day was Bambi Cantrell. She is a wedding and portrait photographer from San Francisco. She is one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world, and has been for some time. She’s known for creating the most beautiful portraits of brides. Having the opportunity to see her present was the highlight of the day. Even though her presentation was on boudoir photography, many of the posing and lighting techniques translate directly to wedding photography. My only complaint about the day was that Bambi’s presentation started 50 minutes late, and thus, she was rushed for time, and wasn’t able to do her full presentation.