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I Heart Photography Conference
Review by Ron Vachon
October 15-17, the I Heart Photography conference was held in Grapevine Tx. I really enjoyed it and I’d like to share some of my thoughts and experiences.
The classes are about 4 hours which is a longer format than many workshops I’ve attended, like Imaging. I liked this length because we could dig deeper into the topic and that wouldn’t be possible in a 1-hour class. Sure, you’re limited to attend 2 classes a day (unless you jump between classes) but I think it was very worthwhile.
Friday morning, I attended the zoo excursion. This was one of 3-4 excursions which were offered pre-conference. The instructor, Dennis Kelley, spoke for 30-45 minutes outside the zoo and gave us some good tips about photographing the animals and general photography. He also discussed the layout of the Ft. Worth zoo. Once inside the gates, the class broke up and went our own ways. I was able to get some 1:1 time with the instructor. The zoo itself is top-notch; unfortunately, the big cat enclosures were closed for renovation.
Friday afternoon I attended Alison Carlino’s class on sports photography. She definitely takes it up a notch beyond step & shoot. She had models for hockey, soccer and drill team. She shared lots of the tricks of the trade that she’s learned over the years. A couple of my favorite take-aways were the posing charts she has, as well as, the use of canned smoke along with some cool gelled lighting techniques. She also discussed how camera position (low or high) would impact sports photography.
Friday evening, Alison led a photo walk in downtown Grapevine. I expected that everyone would be shooting architecture of the historic downtown but it was much more. Again, she had models and it was like we were along with her on a Senior or couples environmental photo shoot. She showed how ambient light plays into the decision of the locations she chooses.
Saturday morning, I had a hard time choosing which class to attend, Richard Sturdevant and Todd White’s video class. I must admit I jumped between those classes a bit. There was so much great content.
Saturday afternoon I attended The Battle of the Business – presented by Katherine McClure & Allison Russell. I’d recommend them as speakers if you get the chance to hear them. They’re obviously good friends and, although their businesses are somewhat different, they cross state lines to help each other with marketing and business ideas as well as keeping each other accountable. It is sort of like they mentor each other. It is a unique relationship but one that seems to work well for them.
Our own Teri Whittaker presented a photo walk, Friday afternoon, and a couple classes Saturday and Sunday. I missed her class but I know I can go to one of her workshops in Houston. Shannon Squires, Dr. Tomayia Colvin and Stephen Stookey also taught classes. When you go to I Heart you’ll just have to be choosy and decide which class will benefit you the most.
It was good to see some friendly faces in the Houston contingency like Scott Holoman, Mitch Daniels, Terri Whittaker and Cornell McGee. Unfortunately, I had to travel back to Houston for Sunday so I missed classes that day. With the quality of the content, I heard during the rest of the conference, I’m sure there was lots of good information Sunday as well.
Overall, I enjoyed the small classes with adequate opportunity to ask questions as well as the half-day class length. Additionally, I found the instructors to be very helpful and willing to share.