25 Jan Convention Summary – SWPP
A couple of weeks ago, I went down to London for the annual gathering of wedding and portrait photographers at the SWPP convention, held this year at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel.
It is a great opportunity, in what can otherwise be quite a lonely occupation(!), to hear what is going on in the wedding world in other parts of the country, catch up with old friends, meet new people doing exciting new things and learn plenty from leading photographers in their field from around the world at the seminars.
Some of the highlights:
Kevin Mullins is renowned for his pure documentary style. ‘Pure’ is something I have always lusted after. The bravery to step away from interfering or directing any type of portrait session at a wedding has always felt a little too intimidating for me, although I certainly am much keener to spend 80-90% of the day working in a documentary/photojournalistic role. He had plenty of inspiring slideshows with fantastic moments captured simply because he was waiting and had trained his instincts well enough to know when those moments might occur.
Kate Hopewell-Smith was such a fantastic speaker, and so generous in her teaching that I went to hear her twice. The first was on boudoir. Forget whatever you think of when this is mentioned – I’m pretty sure the face of boudoir is changing with more and more photographers (and more female photographers) offering a much softer, more feminine, classy, beautiful style than has previously been available. It was fantastic to hear how transformational boudoir sessions can be for her clients too. In the second talk, Kate encouraged us to hone our eye by really critiquing an image’s composition. She teaches up the road at Aspire in the Lakes, so there’s always opportunity to learn more from her too.
Zach and Jody Gray are wedding photographers from Nashville, and have built their business by providing amazing customer service. It was also really refreshing to hear their ethos and reason for doing what they’re doing, as it’s one I can completely identify with: they are passionate about blessing marriages, and love the role they can play as photographers in supporting a couple leading up to the wedding day and ongoing through the images created to last them throughout their lives together.
Julia Boggio had plenty of great thoughts about location shoots versus studio shoots. At the Julia Boggio Studios in Wimbledon, they offer clients the choice of both and there are clearly reasons when each would be more suitable. Julia raised many key points about how to exploit the advantages whilst being aware of the limitations. As my work has been almost solely based on location so far, I definitely see the creative potential in a studio setting and it is something I’d like to try out more this year. In fact, I have some more images to blog from a recent day’s studio shooting… watch this space!
As well as the talks, another key element to the weekend is the trade show, and I was impressed to see the new products and services at Folio’s stand. I use Folio as my album supplier because they are a British based company, set up by a photographer who understands how beautiful images need to be similarly presented beautifully and with the highest attention to detail and quality, and they are also keen to do everything to keep their materials and processes as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible, (something that I know is important to my couples too).
At the show, they announced that they will shortly be offering a carbon neutral scheme, which I will be keen to take advantage of. There are also plans in the pipeline for offering fine art prints. Instead of your typical glossy, silver halide, I think fine art printing on matte paper has a real, beautiful, authentic quality. Using archival inks, this produces crystal clear images with amazing colour and depth – if you’ve seen a Folio album, you’ll know just how delicious the results are, so this is certainly an exciting development!