GC Blog

Photo School

I just graduated... again! For the past few days, I’ve been attending WPPI-U in Atlanta, the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International’s mini-university. It was three packed days of working photographers sharing their tools of the trade to an eager and varied audience of 400+.

As with any big workshop, sessions were hit or miss, but I certainly went home with some gems of new info. So, aside from the fact that I really need to upgrade to Photoshop CS5 for the spot healing brush feature alone, I was introduced to one of the best Photoshop teachers in the country, Suzette Allen. With her mouse and mouth moving at lightning speed, she demonstrated the new content aware features and an array of magical techniques to quickly improve portraits during post-production. A personal favorite was Nik Software’s Dynamic Skin Softener, one of the many speedy and powerful tools available in their Color Efex Pro bundle of goodies. Additionally, she’s a featured contributor Shoot Smarter Dot Com, a resource-rich site of free tips, tricks and videos.

I’m a new fan of California-based photographer (and inspirational speaker) Jasmine Star. Apparently, I’m well behind the curve in hearing about this fabulous woman, but her website is a new favorite, both for its unique, beautiful design and her open and honest blog. Lindsay Adler also rocked the house, giving two great talks on fashion photography and social media marketing. My big take-aways from Adler were her excellent tips for shooting with natural light and her sage advice that you sometimes have to work for free (me, the perpetual "volunteer" gave a big "Amen" on the inside). In a follow-up post on her blog, she added this nugget of wisdom…

“You will NOT build a fantastic portfolio only on paid work, especially when you are starting out. You need to go out of your way and shoot the type of images you eventually want to be hired to shoot. Your personal work helps you grow personally (learn more about yourself and abilities) but ALSO professionally.”

Preach it, sister. Let’s get shootin’!