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The start of WPPI 2010 Vegas!

What a whirlwind the past week has been! I haven’t really been able to blog as often as I would have liked to. I still have so many things to write from my coastal trip from San Fran to LA! Unfortunately that will have to wait.

This past one week, I was in Las Vegas, attending the largest wedding & portrait photography conference in the world – WPPI 2010! This year, 14,000 people came from all over the world to hear from the world’s best –  photographers like Marcus Bell, Jerry Ghionis, Yervant, Jasmine Star, Kevin Kubota, Dane Sanders, amongst many others.

I was thrilled that I could make the trip this year, together with fellow photographers influential in the Malaysian industry –  Louis Pang, Zung, Patrick Low & Jenny Sun. I’ve made so many new friends this week and have been so inspired by the lives of the people that I’ve encountered.

In a nutshell, he’s an overview of what happened the past one week.

The first 2 days of the conference was really awesome because I attended Cliff Mautner’s Plus class. This is an intimate class of 25 people only. Cliff not only taught us his signature style of getting beautiful back rim lighting like these shots…

…but he also shared with us his life, experiences, and his thoughts on the business of wedding photography. I’ll share more in another post. [updated: read the post here]

While I was in Cliff Mautner’s class, Alex was attending Ken Sklute’s Plus class, where he learnt a lot about lighting. The Plus classes are worth it. If any photographer out there is thinking of attending WPPI, this is something not to miss.

After the 2 days of Plus classes, we had events like Master classes going on. Master classes are only 2 hours long, but the class size is up to 50 people. Unlike the main Platform classes, some of which seat up to 1000 people, you can understand why people pay more just to have a more personal time with the trainer.

I attended only one Master class (you have the option to attend up to 3, with a fee of course!). I chose Dave and Quin Cheong’s class, or better known as DQ. Some photographers might be familiar with DQ QuiKeys, a hardware workflow solution for post processing your images. Dave and Quin are the photographers who developed this product.

Doesn’t Quin look hot? And the best thing is, she’s from Malaysia! But living in Canada now.

They too shared their perspective on business. One of the things that they said which makes so much sense is their idea on albums. They believe that photographers should always shoot for albums.

“If a story is worth sharing…” they said, “…present it properly. Whose children will pop a DVD and sort through a thousand images years from now?”

The main thing about selling to your clients is ensuring that you gain their confidence and trust. Getting your potential clients to trust that you will understand their needs and cater to it. You are making photographs for your clients, after all, not just to satisfy ‘your personal artistic vision’.

While Master classes are ongoing in various rooms, the print competition judging is held over 2 days. This is a really informative session for me. In various rooms, judges are presented prints from the latest 16 x 20 print competition. These prints come from all over the world, including Malaysia and Russia! As they comment on what they think makes or break that particular image, I learnt a lot about how to view a print critically.

A few things I noted:

1. The best photo size for the 16 x 20 print competition is not more than 12 x 15 inches. Leave the rest for the matte board.

2. Matte photos look better under the hot spotlight.

3. Photos that are post processed in moody, darker tones seem to interest the judges more than bright coloured images.

4. Your eyes are drawn to the brightest part of the image first, then the darker areas. This is a post processing rule as well – so make sure that when you post process your images, you dodge and burn until the audience sees ‘your vision’.

5. It’s not just technical things that the judges are looking out for. They pay attention to the bride and groom’s body language in the photo. Does the pose look believable? What do the expressions on their faces convey?

On the 7th of March, the WPPI 2010 conference was officially launched. It was also my birthday. What a celebration it has been, to be inspired by so many people through WPPI! Prior to WPPI, I also joined a competition, and I won a photography session with Dawn McCarthy, a renowned photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. We did the photo shoot on my birthday, so that was special! Looking forward to seeing the images.

I can’t possibly summarize what I experienced in WPPI 2010 through one blog post. So, part 2 coming up soon! [updated: view part 2 here]

View the Trash the Dress Vegas photos here.