Every year like tradition, a couple photography friends and I make a trip out west for a Wedding Photography Conference. Over the past few years, we’ve gone to WPPI in Las Vegas and United in Santa Barbara – so when my good friend Ryan Moore Photography told me about Mystic Seminars in Portland, OR (a place that I’ve been dying to go to anyways), I was all in.
Ryan, Sara (of Sara Smile Photography), and myself went a few days early before the conference started to get our fill of Portland. And by fill, I mean fill of beer and food. Lots of IPAs, lots of food trucks, lots of gluttony. I did balance it out with a day trip to Timberline Ski Resort on Mt. Hood, though – and I’m so glad I did. It was a perfect warm-up before my snowboarding trip out to Big Sky, Montana this week ☺ For the few days we had before the seminars, lunches turned into barcrawls, snacks turned into food truck tastings, and one Voodoo doughnut quickly turned into a half dozen. Portland, I love you. Seriously, I thought I loved Denver, but I think you may have stolen my heart…
As far as the seminar (the reason I came to Portland in the first place), I don’t have a ton of pictures from the three days of listening to incredibly inspiring photographers because I was too busy soaking it all in and jotting down notes. But I can’t say enough about how much I learned, how much the presentations made me think differently, and how much it all made me want to push myself every single wedding day. To challenge myself. To always find ways to be creative. To shoot more. To see things differently. And to never settle for the safe shot. I listened to crazy talented people like Stark Photography, Charleton Churchill, Sean Flanigan, Sam Hurd, Last Forty Percent Boudoir (seriously incredible, check them out if you haven’t already), and Susan Stripling, The knowledge and inspiration I gained from all of them is priceless, and I can’t wait to start implementing what I’ve learned into my business.
I have pages and pages and pages of notes, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say my Top Ten Takeaways from Mystic Seminars are:
- Don’t be afraid of shadows. Use the pops of light/darkness of shadows to create dramatic images. (see image of Ryan below)
- Play with double exposures to create more interesting images.
- Use off camera flash to light subjects without blowing out the sky to create dynamic images.
- Add “Pull Images for Awards” to each wedding workflow checklist.
- Don’t be afraid of silence. Take a moment to find the best light, frame, etc.
- Schedule a creative shoot for myself once a month.
- Listen to everyone with an open mind. You never know when you’re going to learn something.
- Push myself to be more creative.
- Play with lens chimping, free lensing, and bokeh pano.
As you’ll see from the photos below, Portland and Mystic Seminar was nothing short of amazing. In fact, I’m almost positive I’m going back next year ☺ Until then, Portland.
My must see/eat/do things list in Portland // Tidbit Food Farm and Garden, Pine State Biscuits, House of Vintage, Salt & Straw, Pok Pok, Timberline Ski Resort (Mt. Hood), Voodoo Doughnuts, Mulnomah Falls (take the scenic Vista House route), cocktails at Swift.