I'm not one for new year's resolutions but one of my goals for the year is to attend more photography seminars/meetups in 2014 so what better way to start than by attending The Societies Convention? If you've not come across it before it's the annual get together for the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, you don't have to be a member to attend but it seemed like a good idea so I signed up and opted for the 'Masterclass' ticket which gave me access to five 90-minute seminars each day through Friday, Saturday and Sunday - all for £100 which given the content was excellent value.
The trade show aspect was sizeable and free to pre-registered attendees which again was good value given that Adobe were offering free talks throughout the weekend, I attended an excellent session by Richard Curtis on video editing in Photoshop and another on new features in Photoshop CC. The trade show didn't contain many surprises in terms of exhibitors a couple of camera shops, a good stand by Canon, a few on lighting and millions companies offering albums and photo books which did get a bit tiring. I did pick up a few bits of gear which I'll review in time, a bracket to mount the flash to the side of the camera, a tripod mount clamp and a Rogue lighting kit.
One of Friday's highlights was Doug Gordon's posing masterclass where he showed aspects of his Flow Posing technique with model Della Maylan, what intrigued me most was that Doug's stunning images are largely created using hand-held LED lights rather than speedlites so at the end I picked up one of his lights and a mounting bracket which I'll also review at some point in the future. Another highlight was Frank Doorhof's masterclass which deviated from its "technical side of model photography" description but was informative, funny and inspiring - if you get the chance to hear Frank speak I'd recommend it.
I started Saturday on a different tack with Chiara Fersini's talk on surrealist photography which was a very personal walkthrough of her own background, motivations and personal style. I found the talk to be highly inspirational, the overriding feeling I took away from the talk was to establish a vision for the images you want to produce and just keep at it until you get there, check out here portfolio on her site: Himitsuhana. Lisa Beaney ran a talk with great tips on low light wedding photography again with Della Maylan modelling during a practical section showing how to achieve good results when confined to hotel/venue interiors. Last off on Saturday was a masterclass by Lindsay Adler who packed so much content into 90 minutes that it honestly felt like more like 3hrs! The talk was inspiring and encouraged photographers to add 'fashion flair' to wedding and portrait shots by breaking rules and being creative but Lindsay's overriding message was much more human - get to know your subject and use your creative skills to reflect their personality in the images.
I'll definitely be attending next year and may add one of the full or half day sessions as well since it's well worth it, hope to see you there.