September 5, 2012

Live Blogging: WPPI U Portland, Oregon 2012 – Day 1


By: Wendy Roe

It’s day one of WPPI U in Portland Oregon and we’re excited to be here for live blogging this 2-day conference with some of the best in the industry in our own backyard.  We here with the two thumbs up and backing of the WPPI team and our favorite sponsor, AsukaBook. Our goal is to give everyone who can’t be here a small grasp of the experience of the conference, some takeaways to apply to your studio, and maybe hit up one in your area!  Questions or Comments?  Feel free to reply in the comments below and we’ll do our best to reply to everyone!  If you think this is valuable, please pass it along and use the hashtag #wppiupdx  Pardon the cell phone pics 🙂

We have a fabulous line up today but here’s the rundown:

1) Kirk Voclain – Become The Coolest Studio in Town with High School Seniors
2) Scott Robert Lim – Lighting Amazing Light – Anytime, Anywhere
3) Jared Platt: Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6: The Ultimate Workflow

1) Kirk Voclain – Become The Coolest Studio in Town with High School Seniors
Session Background:
Kirk’s class is based upon requests from attendees he has met at the last two WPPI conventions.  He seeks to answer the question, “With all the imagery bombarding us today, how can I stand out and be different?”  You can no longer sit the modern day high school senior in a chair, put up a blue background and expect to be in business.  Kirk’s approach is quirky and out there – but soon your high school imagery will be out there as well!

Opening: Kirk’s showing a fabulous fusion demo of a recent senior session…
Agenda: 3 Things: Marketing/Pricing, Lighting/Posing, Workflow/Photoshop – :30 of each (that’s his goal…wow, then again, he’s a fast talker!  I have coffee, don’t worry.)


Normal marketing vs Aggressive marketing (with his pink pants, Kirk is a proponent of the aggressive marketing – yeah)

  1. Normal = Buy Postcards; Aggressive = Buying a Harley (as a PROP, of course!)
  2. Normal = Hire Ambassadors; Aggressive = Senior Models (call it what it is people, no photography talk)
  3. Normal = Business Cards; Aggressive = Different Products (mini cards, tins, wallet accordions, think outside the box ideas)
  4. Normal = Selling Packages; Aggressive = Minimum Order (no sitting fee, no packages – he’s an a la carte kinda guy)

4 Steps to a $2000 Average

  1. Collect $1,000 deposit upfront, money spent is money forgotten
  2. Stop selling packages
  3. Offer a print discount for 1 week; discounted prices if ordered in the first week, higher after the deadline
  4. Take fewer images and Pre-Touch everything (great visual Kirk of our trigger finger issues as photographers!)

His a Canon lover and is sharing his equipment list….Kirk’s just as much as a comedian as he is an educator! 🙂


Kirk’s running around the room explaining the difference between soft light vs. hard light from the same light source…with his comedic metaphor however – so funny.

Magazine looks have flat light (he’s sharing using a combo soft box and reflector in front combo to give a great close-up shot with several sequences.  Now, he’s using a strip light to separate the subject from the background.  Another idea is to keep the subject close to the background and feather the main light in front right in front of the subject.  Love the creative shoes shot and iphone shot!  Another tip Kirk uses…wherever the nose of the subject is (left, right or up), he lights the main light in that direction.   He’s got some fabulous examples of shots of models laying on the ground with the light directly above them, fun!  Kirk’s showing a few segements of his lighting DVD where he shoots a model-like senior, a rounder gal and a guy both inside and out – looks awesome!

Ohhh, time for door prizes!  Looks like we got 2/3rds through…

2) Scott Robert Lim – Lighting Amazing Light – Anytime, Anywhere
Session Background: Learn Scott Robert’s amazing off camera lighting techniques that has turned him into an international superstar. Scott will teach his simple techniques using available light and portable strobes that will allow the photographer to create amazing images on location and almost anywhere within minutes. See how to shoot in extreme bright sun and in low light situations, how to find the best light. Discover how to maximize shooting time to create a variety of stylized images.

Okay, I like this guy 🙂  He’s opening with how technology is making it easier to take good exposures…but great exposure doesn’t necessarily mean good photography.  5-10 years ago, good exposures was great PAY!  Today, that’s not the case…he says with today’s camera’s “light is optional!!”  (Good laughs from the crowd).  Good pictures today is about creating ART, then you get paid 🙂

“Art is your unique vision executed to perfection” – Scott Robert Lim

To create a masterpiece, we need to know how to use ALL the tools!  Why Flash?  To create drama when light is flat and giving light when there’s nothing at all.

“Flash is like having a sunset in your pocket” – Scott Robert Lim

I’m listening now because he says we’re going to talk manual flash, not TTL (I’m scared now, I’m a TTL gal…I leave the hard stuff to Byron).

Light Basics:

  1. Adding 1 stop of light (F4.0) is doubling the amount of light (F5.6)
  2. Adding 1 stop of lights to 2 stops of light is quadrupling the light (F8.0)
  3. F-Stop Cheat Sheet: 1.4, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0, 11, 16
  4. Equivalent exposure: ISO 100, Shutter 1/100, Fstop 5.6 (See visual)…flash is NOT controlled by Shutter Speed #1 misunderstood concept about flash (Wendy learned something new already today!)
  5. When you’re taking a photo with flash, you’re taking two exposures at the same time (one for the background, one for the foreground) – LOVE.
  6. Shutter controls continuous light (or ambient light).

TTL vs Manual – Control Your Flash

TTL = EV Compensation
Manual = Flash output, distance to subject, Aperture, ISO – with technology of ISO our flashes become much more powerful – it’s the new strobist movement!

He asks would you need TTL if I could show you how to nail an exposure in ‘one click’ and have more control with manual?  – YES, PLEASE!  Ohhh, he’s giving away cheat sheet cards.

Key Features in a Manual Flash – he’s a fan of SIMPLE, menu free operation.  He created the  Simplicity = Speed + Reliability, 1/64 power or lower and ‘NO’ sleep issues. Ohhhh, HOLD UP…he has an iPhone APP that gives the cheatsheet on your phone!  Sweet.

Wow, okay…I’m not a math major here but this is pretty darn cool, Scott’s formula for light makes me want to go practice.  He’s talking about creating a fabulous group shot with one umbrella, one light – amazing!

Using flash in sunlight outdoors…using one light is ‘weak sauce.’  He’s got my ears perked 🙂

The SUNNY 16 rule: F16, ISO 100, 1/100 Shutter – uh oh, what happens when you are underpower?  We need MORE JUICE!  Scott’s introducing the Big Boy Flash Bar.  Shooting with two flashes gives you 2 stops back, more recycled power, wind resistant too! 🙂

Multi-Flash Formula
1 Flash = Full Power
Two Flashes = set to 1/2 Power on each
Four Flashes = set to 1/4 Power on each flash

Now we’re talking ND filters (Neutral Density) –

Robert Scott’s Flash Workflow

  1. Set Camera to F2.8, ISO 100, 1/100,
  2. Turn ND filter to desired darkness of background
  3. Set off camera flash to expose for F 11 or F16
  4. Vary flash distance to adjust light intensity on subject or increase or decrease power

He’s talking about the cost advantage of using manual because using TTL requires more expensive flashes.

“When you understand manual, you can do more with your money ” – Scott Robert Lim

Jared Platt: Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6: The Ultimate Workflow

Session Background: Take your photography portfolio and your individual events from good to great and save time in the process.  Come and learn how to tap into the power of positive selection and decisive developing techniques in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 and learn how to seamlessly integrate Photoshop CS6 into your Lightroom workflow.  In this seminar, Jared Platt will show you how to:  Cut your post-production time in half with advanced selection and developing techniques; boost the quality and style of your images with advanced adjustment techniques; automate your Lightroom workflow with Lightroom Plug-Ins, Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions; integrate Photoshop CS6 into your Lightroom workflow; publish your images quickly from Lightroom on the web and in printed books. Your experience in post production is about to be supercharged by the workflow guru himself.  Spend 90 minutes with Jared Platt and conquer your workflow demons.

We’re back from LUNCH (yumm) and refueled for the afternoon.  Jared grabbed the crowd by awarding one person that shot 6,500 images alone for a 6 hour wedding – WOW!  Again, we’re here to talk workflow (I don’t think they will be doing that after this lecture!).  He awarded them because they were not afraid of their post-production however by shooting that much.  What he says we can’t fix is the fact that you didn’t shoot enough. We’re talking about story-telling here and the fact that it’s better to be safe than sorry by taking a few more shots than you think (instead of assuming you got the shot) for the big shots (the kiss at a wedding for example).

Jared’s going all out by sharing a RAW wedding, unedited with a second shooter.  He’s talking about the more you show, the less each photo is worth.  People want better photography, not more photography.  He’s using a metaphor for the inflationary dollar…the more it’s out there, the less it’s worth 🙂  You are tasked at choosing the BEST image for any certain circumstance (it’s your JOB, says Jared).  You are the artist…it’s not like you’re going to tell the doctor how to perform surgery…being the artist, you make the final decision.

The difference between a good photographer and a great photographer is what they show, not what they shoot. –  Jared Platt

 4 Rules to Selecting Images

  1. Look at images by comparative review as a set (i.e. side-by-side), don’t look at images one at a time
  2. Pick by positive selection, not rejection.  Yes, yes, yes…instead of no, no, no.  (i.e…it’s faster to choose picks than pressing a button 3 or 4xtimes for rejections!)  Plus, it’s positive reinforcement for your good images and building self-confidence!
  3. Choose by GUT instinct.  (That’s a great one, Jared…sooooo true)
  4. No DISTRACTIONS; choose an environment that’s focused on choosing the best without distractions.

Jared’s talking about how sometimes perfection in an image is like a mannequin, you don’t really want to date it – it’s too perfect.  Don’t try to perfect your images too much because it sucks the life out of them.

Next up is the great point in showing the difference between the Lightroom basic edits and the Photoshop artistic edits.  He’s preaching to NOT Photoshop all your images because it’s a huge time waste and then the client does not see the value in your artistry and you can’t charge extra for a Artistic edit vs. a basic color corrected Lightroom photo.

Lightroom Workflow

  1. Flag the picks (the ones the client sees) and star images based on your gut for your favorites
  2. Choose photographer’s favorites first in Lightroom (100 images or so throughout the wedding starred above 1 – about 40 minutes)
  3. Edit Photographer’s favs
  4. Sync the rest of the images (you don’t HAVE to sync images that don’t necessarily look the same! (Should take 20 minutes to sync the rest…learn to be a consistent shooter)
  5. Tweak individual image if necessary
  6. Use LR presets when at all possible instead of going into bottom panels

Lightroom Labels

Picks – Client views these images
Stars – Your gut on how much you like the images

Sal Cincotta: The New Facebook – Life on the Timeline

Session Background: Facebook has, yet again, changed its features – how will it impact your business and your social media footprint?  Do you advertise on Facebook?  Are you selling timeline templates to your clients with their images?  Are you grabbing as many fans as you can?  Join Sal as he takes you through the new face of social media and teaches you how to use these new features to gain maximum exposure and impact for your business.

Why Use Facebook?
You can reach a much larger audience on Facebook than on your blog by tagging that offers exponential growth.  That doesn’t mean that your Facebook should take the place of your blog. 🙂

How we use Facebook for our business?
We post one photo of the session or wedding to get something up there that gets people talking.  We also only post images on Facebook that have prints they’ve purchased (we sell that feature) except for sneak peeks, all has the branded image.  We post destination travel plans and available slots for sessions for immediate booking.

Separate pages for your each line of business
Sal’s sharing a story of an unfortunate photographer who has a personal page instead of a business page and consumer behavior that they just don’t care about your personal details for business.

What’s new on Facebook?
Cover photo, profile pic, pinned posts, featured posts, milestones, management tools, private messaging
We all know that these can change on the dime (just like it did less than a year ago).  Wall Street is rebelling and Facebook stock is plummeting, say Sal…so, expect some changes over the next few years to adjust to the business model that Facebook needs to support itself.  Okay, let’s talk about the cover image.  Create templates for the 851 x 315 size to get new images up to speed.  Follow Facebook’s guidelines about no calls to action, etc but make sure the images are branded.  Change it monthly to spotlight an image.

Profile Pic – 180×180 pixels; needs to be a logo, not a profile shot.
Pinned Posts – 403×403 square and on top of the page for 7 days 🙂  I LOVE pinned posts…
Featured Highlighted Posts – 843×403 pixels, create the templates people!!  Clients love the large images but note that featured posts do not stay at the top like pinned posts.
Milestones – Same as a featured highlighted post for size; should be business related milestones, new services and history

Facebook Insights
The ‘Friends of Fans’ is a most powerful number to note…that is your potential for virility and potential reach.

Promoted Posts
Being active is better than doing promoted posts.  Focus on creating your community and regular activity.

Facebook Ads
Sal has not had a lot of success with this but the advantage of doing Facebook Ads is the targeting.  He hasn’t given up on ads, he’s just trying to find the best fit that drives the best traffic.