PhotoPro 2020 Covington, KY
Updated: Mar 25
This past weekend (Feb 27 thru Mar 1) had me in Covington, KY attending and assisting with PhotoPro Expo 2020. Words cannot begin to describe the joy, the camaraderie, the learning opportunities, and the overall enjoyment of being involved with one of the best Regional PPA / PPN events. The weekend began with meeting Bert Behnke, our illustrious President of PhotoPro on Wednesday evening and assisting with the beginning stages of preparation.
Day 1 was a whirlwind of activity as vendors, speakers and attendees began to gravitate to the the Marriott Hotel at RiverCenter in Covington for the weekend's activities. By 1PM, I was excited to rest a bit and attend one of the first lectures of the conference, presented by Tonya Bolton of Tonya Bolton Photography. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a huge "cheerleader" of Tonya's. Her Business Classes and insights about beginning, running and maintaining a successful and lucrative Photography Business are absolutely wonderful. She is humble and acknowledges all those who have provided her insights. She is always ready with a "real and honest" response to questions. She is a ClickCon Instructor and regularly holds FREE instructional meetups at Studio821 for her followers and Cincinnati area photographers. I was also fortunate enough to be introduced to Tony Corbell, Kelly & Kalina Schneider, Mike Mowbray and a plethora of other talented and amazing photographers. Day 1 concluded with an impromptu Photowalk through the streets of Covington, stopping by The Gruff, Keystone Bar & Grill, Molly Malone's and ending at Smoke Justis to see Noah Wotherspoon (this guy is EXCEPTIONAL - imagine Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Hendrix and BB King embodied in one AMAZINGLY talented musician /song writer / singer - yeah, he's that good!) perform.
Day 2 began early with a "Master's Class with Kelly and Kalina Schneider - 'Salient Intimate Portraiture'". These two are beyond amazing in what they are able to capture and create in their photography. Kelly defined "Salient Images" as those that are "worthy of notice and prominent". He explained how the great masters of yesteryear, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Da Vinci, etc. are memorable because of their "salient images. Their use of light and shadow in their paintings were inviting, intriguing and created a captivating expression that still lives on today. I can't wait (and hope I get the chance) to learn more and more from these two at their presentation/workshop in Florida in June. Following Kelly and Kalina was another HUGE opportunity to see the "Master's Class with Tony Corbell - 'Between Light and Shadow'". Tony is an icon in the photographic world with over 40+ years of experience. His classes and workshops are highly sought out by photographers and artists throughout nearly every discipline and nearly every level of experience. Tony showed how just the slightest change of angle, the slightest modification of the light, the model to the light and camera, or even just you as a photographer can change/create mood, contrast, and more in your photo. It was truly amazing to watch this MASTER at work and witness first hand how truly humble and giving he is of his time and knowledge. Day 2 concluded for me at Studio821 in Kentucky as everyone came together to watch yet another presentation from Kelly and Kalina Schneider and shoot at a truly amazing studio, full of all sorts of different mockups and spaces, with some of the most incredible models I've yet met. One in particular, Holly Noel Angel was beyond words. I would get opportunities to get to know her and shoot with her throughout the conference. Her personality and ability was unsurpassed. At the tail end, as I was about to leave, Kelly had me make an attempt at a "Salient Image" of my own with Holly at the top of the stairs in the main studio. Posing Holly on the couch with her guitar, I gave a little posing idea, set my light (Godox AD200 with MagSphere diffuser) and snapped my image. Kelly liked it, but thought I could do better and adjusted my light ever so slightly around the corner... the result... #SALIENT !!
Day 3 Gave me another wonderful opportunity as I went down stairs to the main floor. Once again, I had opportunity to join Kelly and Kalina as their grip as we headed up to the Presidential Suite at the Marriott. There, Kelly and Kalina taught their "Salient Boudoir & Intimate Portrait Workshop". Although there as a "crew-member" I was invited to take part and snap alongside the other photographers. Again, Holly was amazing. She had never shot this sort of environment; however you wouldn't have known that by watching her. Asked to hold rather uncomfortable poses for extended amounts of time (while 10-12 photog's took her picture and worked out their settings), not once did she seem to indicate anything wasn't outside of perfect. Again, Kelly and Kalina challenged me to create & make a "Salient Image" it took a couple attempts, but as Kalina reviewed the dozen or so shots I took, there it was... #SALIENT
The rest of the day had me busy, running errands and setting up lights & backdrops for different speakers. Day 3 came to an end with a wonderful party and Meet&Greet Photoshoot. With over 5 photobays set up, Holly and even some of our own photographers posed and modeled as we all did our best to capture great images. Using the elements I learned over the previous days, I had some great images... and yes, a couple definitely earned a thumbs-up and nod of approval from my two new mentors.
Day 4 Seemed to start a bit early. Maybe it was because it began at 7:30 AM and I hadn't gotten to bed until 3 hours before - LOL. I began with setting up for the intro class for Chris Knight's - Mastering One Light. Chris Knight is another great photographer and instructor. His profile includes celebrities such as Alec Baldwin and others. He is a featured artist on CreativeLive where he teaches numerous different Portrait Photography techniques and styles.
Afternoon was greeted with the wrap-up of the Tradeshow and assisting vendors with their teardown. Afterwards, it was back upstairs where Chris taught his "Master's Class with Chris Knight - 'Shooting the Dramatic Portrait'". Again, Holly was there as a model and again showed how wonderfully professional she is. Two and a half hours she modeled and posed, laying on a hard banquet table with a simple black sheet and a hard plastic Pelican case as a pillow, without once commenting on the discomfort or even once suggesting in her expression the possibility of what had to be extremely uncomfortable. She was joined by Cassidy Hill, another fantastic model (and soon to be lawyer).
Day 4 concluded with packing up gear, saying goodbyes and thanking everyone for a fantastic time. I cannot even begin to express my thanks for Bert Behnke, Tony Corbell, Kelly and Kalina Schneider, Mike Mowbray, Tonya Bolton, Chris Knight, and of course Holly Angel for their hard work and dedication and allowing me to be part of this great conference. I met so many other amazing photographers and friends and I truly look forward to next year, where I can be a part of making PhotoPro a great success and educating opportunity.