Our passion for making beautiful photographs is matched only by our enthusiasm for learning more about the business of photography. In early January, we attended the Digital Wedding Forum Convention, which was held simultaneously with the nearby Imaging USA photography trade show in Tampa, FL.
Not only did we enjoy listening to seminars by some of our favorite wedding and portrait photographers from around the world, but we also had a chance to give back by sharing some of our own experience as “mentors” in a special Mentor Program. The large room was filled with tables and chairs where each mentor could sit down and have personalized discussions with a “mentee” who was given 1/2 hour to ask questions about photography, website, portfolio, customer relations, or anything that pertained to specific areas that could improve their business. It was an opportunity to network as well as to educate. We had such a blast participating in this helpful program and lending a hand to several enthusiastic photographers.
There was another important benefit from the mentor program. The proceeds collected – some $20,000 in total – went directly to the Keep a Child Alive charity. “Keep A Child Alive” is working to help stem the spread of AIDS in Africa, provide medication and care to those with AIDS, and provide care and shelter for children orphaned by AIDS.
There was also a bit of fun at the convention. We attended a mock wedding in which every detail was intended to be problematic. The goal was to show photographers that no matter what happens on the wedding day, we can still produce striking images for our couples. The wedding itself was hilarious: The bride was over 6-ft tall, with a 5-ft groom; the wedding party wanted to do nothing but party; the father of the bride wore a T-shirt that was supposed to look like a tux shirt; Uncle Bob tried to hog the aisle with his own video camera and tripod; and the lighting for the day was incredibly challenging. Each segment of the wedding was shot by some personal friends of ours, each award-winning photographers: Greg Gibson, The Bebbs, and Susan Stripling. Each approaches weddings with a completely different style. And yet what an awesome job they did during the orchestrated chaos! 🙂
And a huge thanks and hugs go out to each of the seminar speakers and other mentors for giving their time.
Here are a few photos from the wedding, courtesy of the amazing Susan Stripling (click any photo for a larger version):