How to choose the right photography conference

Choosing the Right Photography Conference for You

I believe that continuing education is incredibly important: it keeps you sharp, makes sure that you aren’t becoming stale in your work, and revitalizes low spirits and energy after a long wedding season.  With my work season jam-packed into four or five short months every year, I can tell you that a dose of inspiration is essential to my spring!  That being said, there are a gazillion workshops and conferences out there to choose from, from the small to the massive.  Choosing the right photography conference for you is a hard task.  How do you know where to focus your energy and hard earned dollars?  Where do you put your focus?

The first thing that matters to me when choosing a conference is WHY and I have three of them.  They very rarely overlap in the conference world.  I’m either going: 1) to put my hands on products, 2) to master or learn a new skill, or finally, 3) for inspiration and networking. 

Choose the Right Photography Conference

 

1. Go to photography conferences to put your hands on products.

Every three years, I head to one of the big two, which are Imaging USA and WPPI, simply because their expo is the easiest place to source out vendors for client products and new technology.  From USB drives, to album companies, to camera manufacturers, you’ll be able to touch and feel anything you can dream up out of the thousands of exhibitors at these expos.  With quality face to face time with the brand reps themselves, you can often purchase new gear on site at a discounted rate, and secure lower pricing for bulk orders from print labs and product manufacturers.  

While the big 2 certainly offer a wealth of networking drunken debauchery and parties, along with “conference” sessions intended to impart photography wisdom on you, I’m a pretty firm believer that the best learning isn’t crammed into a giant convention hall and a one hour talk, nor is the best networking done at an event where there are thousands of people.  

Choose the Right Photography Conference

2.  Go to a photography workshop to master or learn a new skill.

Small hands on workshops lend themselves to more in depth dissection of key skills.  A few years ago, I attended Azulox Photography’s Anytime Light workshop in Austin, TX.  With only 8 students and a full day dedicated exclusively to difficult lighting scenarios, I walked away feeling significantly more comfortable using off camera flash and strobes to make sure that I could handle anything.  

Last year, I attended the Missouri Photo Workshop in Perryville, MO for hands on learning in photojournalism.  Guided and mentored by world renowned  freelance photojournalists and photo editors, I came away with a better understanding of gaining access, shooting, and creating photo essays. 

I try to narrow down what I want my focus to be for the year in learning and choose a small format mentorship, workshop or online resource that fits that ideal.  If you’re interested in pursuing family lifestyle sessions, I would recommend looking into mentorship by Kristen Lewis.   If you love my moment-filled portrait and wedding work and want to improve on drawing the same reactions out of your own clients, I would recommend starting with Candice Cusic’s Moment Driven Workshop in Chicago.

Choose the Right Photography Conference

3. Get inspired and network

There is no conference more inspirational to me than Fearless Conference Europe.  (Tip: to save a buck or two, there is one in the USA every November as well).  Huy with Fearless Photographers has made a pointed effort to create conferences that are diverse, filled with women, and welcoming.  It’s incredibly easy to network at Fearless Europe – everyone is so incredibly open.  I walk away every year with nuggets of incredible inspiration and a new stamp on my passport to boot.

Other great medium sized events that offer a wealth of fun, inspiration and networking opportunities include Field Trip and Laura Babb’s incredible Snap Photography Festival.  

How to choose the right photography conference

What to Take With You

Don’t forget to fill your pockets with business cards, branded koozies (a must for me), and lots of smiles.  Remember that everyone at a photography conference is there for the same reason: to learn, to grow and to meet like minded people.  As such, open yourself up to opportunities.  Say yes to new things, new people and new conversations. Don’t sit with people you know: find someone new every day.  Be welcoming, smile, and make it a point to open up conversations to include strangers who happen upon your group.  Introduce yourself to others and extend invitations and you’ll walk away with a lifetime of laughter, friends and perhaps some new skills.

Start Small

Eventbrite makes it easy to attend and organize events.  So easy, in fact, that there are dozens of small format photography classes and events on there near you.  Take a portrait photography master class!  Learn how to get started in bird photography!  Learn the ins and outs of food photography!  I just ended up in a rabbit hole of options and I barely even got started.

Where will you find me next?  

I’ll be at Mystic Seminars this January because I’m desperate to hear Pete Souza speak, and the Fearless Conference Europe in Split, Croatia this March.  As usual, you’ll also find me running amok, networking, taking photos and basically drunk everyday at SXSW 2018, which is like everything the photography world has to offer on steroids.  

What to wear to your family portrait

What to Wear in your Family Portraits

I am constantly getting queried by clients on what to wear in your family portraits, so I thought that a handy dandy blog post on the subject matter was required! I promise, you are not the only head of household that’s been stressed by the daunting task of trying to figure out what to pack for your family vacation portrait session. It’s not that hard when you break it down simply, I promise!

What to wear at your family portrait

1.   You want to pick coordinating colors, but not matching!

For family portraits, it’s best if you pick 3 coordinating colors such as two brights and a neutral to work with so that everyone is coordinated but not too matchy-matchy.  This color wheel tool is a great way to choose complimentary coordinating base colors.

what to wear in your family portrait

2.  Use your accessories to add pops of your colors.

With two primary colors and one neutral, you can mix and match your colors as much as you want.  If someone in your family tends to be more subdued, they can still dress without bright colors and bring in that pop of coordinating color through their accessories.

What to wear at your family portrait

3.  Still stuck? Consider placement.

Are you filling space on one of your walls with a print from your session?  Consider the colors in your home (which are probably the ones that make you happy) when picking your color scheme.  If you love your orange and turquoise living room, then  start there!  If you’re a family of Aggies, don’t be hesitant to show off your colors!

What to wear in your family portrait

4.  Jewel tones work great but stay away from greens

Taking photos in the Tahoe forest?  Don’t blend in!  Greens don’t pop very well against our all green forest, but other jewel tones like dark blues, golds, and plums, look great!

what to wear in your family portrait

5.  Limit patterns, logos and branding.

Say no to anything with big logos or branding and limit patterns, especially on adults.  Patterns often tend to read too busy on adults.  That being said, small children in patterns is a great choice to compliment your color scheme!  It adds a mini-dose of fun to any portrait.

What to wear in your family portraits

6.  All white or all black: just say no.

All white?  Sends you straight back to the 90s yo!  This isn’t a Florida beach photo.

What to wear in your family portrait

7.  Keep it classy, San Diego.

Stay away from trends and hip current fashion.  Keep it classy and classic – especially when it comes to high school senior portraits.  It will prevent your photos from looking dated in a few years.

Chateau Winter Wedding

Chateau Winter Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Lisa + Jeff

Any couple who has It’s Its instead of cake is cool in my book, literally and figuratively.

I know Lisa and Jeff because of Lisa’s sister in law, who has been a good friend and client of mine for many years. I’ve watched Lisa’s nephew, Jack, grow up over the years. I think I was supposed to be taking photos of Lisa and Jeff’s wedding but what I was really doing was taking photos of Jack.  His cuteness is irrefutable.

Lisa and Jeff, I’ll always be the fifth wheel on dinner dates with you and the fam.  I know y’all are going to have a lifetime of happiness together purely based on the simplicity, genuineness and care put into your wedding day.  Weddings that are about spending time with the ones closest to you, and not about burlap, have a special loving place in my heart and I’m so honored to have been part of yours.

May your lives be filled with whiskey, wine and laughter.

Venue: The Chateau at Incline Village | Coordinator: Cloud 9 Event Company | Florist: High Sierra Gardens | Hair and Makeup: Michelle at L’Atelier | Bride’s Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Jos A Bank | DJ: Lake Tahoe DJ | Bakery: It’s-It

Chateau in Incline Village WeddingChateau in Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village weddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline Village WeddingChateau at Incline village wedding

Central Texas Wedding Photography

On Death, Love and Photography

Last week, some of my good friends traveled to Utah to celebrate their cousin’s wedding.  Their week was filled with celebrations of life, love and their enthusiasm for the mountains and winter.  The wedding was held at the top of a resort and everyone who was able skied down together afterwards.

The groom’s mother, Aunt to my friends, who had been suffering some significant health problems, watched her son get wed to his love, danced the first dance with him, and then passed away in the pre-dawn hours of the next morning.

Mother and Bride

I photograph weddings because I believe that the images that capture the relationship between you and your loved ones, on one of the most special and memorable days of your life, often become the only written and permanent history of your family and friends.   This weekend, I photographed my third wedding of 2017, fresh off the inspiration of Fearless Conference Europe, but introspective over my friends and their family.  I can’t imagine the roller coaster of emotions that must come from the high of a wedding day and the low of a death in such a short timespan.   I hope that their cousin hired an amazing photographer, because those images of the groom’s mother will be the last photos they have.  I think about my friend Nicky, whose wedding I will photograph in September, whose mother passed away from cancer on New Year’s Day a few years ago.  She will not have images of her mother on her wedding day.  I think about one of my oldest and dearest friends, whose mother was diagnosed with ALS and is rapidly declining.   The photos I took of his mother on his wedding day are the last professional photos they will have of her.  In them, she looks proud, happy and beautiful.

I photograph weddings because when an elderly grandmother leans in snarkily to me every summer with a wag of her finger and whispers in my ear with a laugh, “I know you’re taking so many photos of me because I’m going to die soon,” we both know that all things funny have an element of truth to them.

Lisa.Michael.06052016-626

At the wedding I photographed this past weekend, the mother of the bride hated being photographed.  She wore sunglasses the entire day and spent most of her evening avoiding my lens and abruptly turning around backwards with a scowl every time I tried to get an image of her.  She didn’t care for me much, but frankly, I decided I didn’t care whether she liked me or not.  Normally, I see it as part of my job to win over the extended family members of the bride and groom, but in this case, I wasn’t going to give in.  I took it upon myself, in light of how I was feeling about death and love and family, to rise to the challenge.  I was absolutely going to get a good photo of her so that her family members would have some images of her to cherish.

Later that night, while chatting with some family members on the dance floor, the bride’s cousin told me that most of the photos they have of the mother of the bride involve her holding her hands or a napkin up over her face.  When I showed her an image that I captured of the two of them together in the back of my camera, she cried.

Virginia City Wedding

At Fearless Europe this year, Emma Case talked a lot about her why.  She strives to make images that are personal to her clients, while photographing both the extraordinary and the ordinary.  She talked about how our images link the past, present and the future together and that by photographing weddings, that we are photographing something bigger than us.  While it certainly resonated with me at the time, the incredible importance didn’t really sink in until my friend’s Aunt passed away.  So while my heart is heavy for my friends and loved ones, I am inspired to keep doing what I do in the best way I know possible: trusting myself to continue to grow while capturing the moments that will tell your story for generations to come.   To be frank, I think it’s a hell of a lot more important for me to be photographing you facetiming with your grandmother in her nursing home than off photographing your shoes on a damn tree trunk.

Mary.Scott.11052016-53

This week was a reminder that I am photographing not just for you, but for decades of your family members to come after you, as well as, for the friends near and dear that hold a space for you in your heart.  As photographers, even as wedding photographers, we are responsible for cataloging our culture, our traditions, and our relationships for all of time.  We are the record keepers and as Emma reminded me, even the mundane is important.

I love that my clients become my friends.  I love that I have a hard time untangling how I feel about them and what I see in a photo from the technical specifications of it.   That I can’t judge the compositional merits of my own images, because I’m too blinded by how happy my clients make me feel.  I love that when I look at a photo of someone’s wedding day that I took, it summons up how I felt about the day with a high speed retelling of the events and feelings and speeches and funny touching moments that I remember.  They whoosh by in my head with an explosion.  I can only hope that the images I hand over to my clients make them feel exactly the same way and that one day, a new generation of your family will cherish the images as well, albeit for completely different reasons.

I photograph weddings because I like people.  I think they are weird and quirky, entertaining and amusing, funny and touching.  I like watching them interact with each other, or not.  I like meeting them and dancing with them and sharing with them and in the end, I like cataloguing their day for them.  While the importance of my job certainly has never been lost on me, it’s nice to be inspired and reminded of just exactly why every once in awhile.

Aaron-Ellen-160

Sugar Pine Point Portrait

Anniversary Portrait | Sugar Pine Point | LeeAnn + Sam

LeaAnn and Sam were in Tahoe on an anniversary getaway: they were celebrating 25 years of marriage!  They had originally honeymooned in Tahoe and were excited to see how the area had changed in their absence.

An anniversary portrait is a great way to celebrate years of marriage together and although Sam was a self-professed portrait disliker, he was nothing but smiles for his beautiful wife during their session at Sugar Pine Point State Park.

Sugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point PortraitSugar Pine Point Portrait

Tahoe Boudoir

Announcing 2017 Tahoe Boudoir Mini Sessions!

Because every woman deserves gorgeous photos of herself.

Because it’s absolutely wonderfully insanely confidence inspiring and liberating to participate in.

Because you should love yourself the way you are and accept the way you are today.

Because it’s about celebrating your beauty, whether it’s laughter filled or curvy.  Whether you are wearing boy shorts or lingerie or nothing.

Because you should be gentle on yourself for all the time you wish you had to take better care of yourself, but you should be honest with yourself that we are human and busy and perfect as you are.

Because it makes a really amazing gift to yourself, or to your partner.

Because every once in awhile, you should celebrate yourself.

Tahoe Boudoir

These days filled up fast last year!  Don’t wait!

2017 BOUDOIR MINI SESSIONS

Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA

Dates: Friday, Feb 24

Included:

• Professional Hair & Makeup by Tahoe Salon Be
• Champagne & Mimosas upon arrival
• 30 minutes of shooting time
• 25-35 finished high resolution images in a password protected gallery
• Print Release
• Choice between an 8×12 metal print or a 5×7 Magazine Style Press Printed Book (valued at $105!)
• Product Delivery by March 15th

Investment: $350

Boudoir Lake Tahoe

HOW TO BOOK

Sessions begin with 45 minutes of hair & makeup, followed by your 30-minute shoot.

When booking, please note your preferred session date & time. The times listed below apply to Friday 2/24.  Spots will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

8:15 – 9:30 AM
9:15 – 10:30 AM
10:15 – 11:30 AM
11:15 – 12:30 AM

1:15 – 2:30 PM
2:15 – 3:30 PM
3:15 – 4:30 PM
4:15 – 5:30 PM

To secure your spot, a signed contract & $100 retainer payment are due upon booking, with the remaining balance due two days before your session date.

Tahoe Boudoir

FAQ:

Q) What is a boudoir mini-session?

A) A boudoir mini session is a half hour photo-shoot booked on a select weekend.  The cost is significantly lower since we book multiple portrait shoots all in one weekend.  You book a time slot for your hair, makeup, & photo shoot.  The lovely ladies from Tahoe Salon Be will be on-site for professional hair and make-up, to create a look that you love that matches what you’ve brought to wear.  We’ll have champagne, mimosas and snacks!

Boudoir photography is a great gift to yourself and your partner, which is why we’re holding this before Valentine’s Day!  Often, we get so busy and in such a routine that we forget to take care of ourselves, treat ourselves or feel beautiful.

Q) How do I contact you to book?
A) Email me at Lauren@laurenlindley.com or hit the contact button at the top of the website.

Q) How much is it to book my slot for the photo-shoot?
A) A $100 deposit is due upon booking. That amount will then be applied to your package.  The remaining balance is due two days before the date of the photo-shoot. After your shoot you will be able to view/select your top 20 photos from your online (password-protected) gallery to be included in your book or select your favorite image to be placed on a gorgeous 8×12 metal print.  You can choose between a black or red leather cover OR black or red suede cover for your album. Additional prints or products may be ordered directly from your album.  Books may be upgraded to a larger size, if you so choose.  Email me fore more info and prices.

Q) How should I arrive for my shoot? What should I all bring?

A) Once you book your time slot, I will email you an info email full of tips on how to prep for your shoot, what to bring and how to arrive, but in short, bring 1-3 outfits or your favorite lingerie.  For some folks, this might mean boy shorts, and for others, it might mean lace.  We can brainstorm ahead of time for something that fits you.  When I modeled, I actually had nothing with me and I ended up borrowing a lacy bra I wouldn’t wear in a million years but it ended up looking amazing and I felt totally comfortable in the moment in it.

Q) What if I’m nervous?  

It’s totally normal to be nervous beforehand, but I promise the experience is fun, liberating and you will mostly be so distracted by the extremely specific directions I’m giving you that you won’t have time to think about anything else except which hand is your left and where you are supposed to move it.

Q) What is the location like?

A) The location is a large spacious recently renovated suite at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.  Hair & makeup will be done in a large additional bathroom and a separate, 2nd bath area provides a private changing area for you.

Q) Will my photos be shown on your website or kept private?
A) I won’t post images from a boudoir photo-shoot unless given specific consent to do so.  I understand that because of the nature of the photography, it’s something most women like to keep to themselves.  However, if you don’t mind sharing your photos, I would love to post them.  Final decision is completely up to you and what you are comfortable with sharing.

Lake Tahoe Boudoir

Rabe Meadows Portrait

Tahoe Anniversary Portrait | Zephyr Cove, NV | Nikki + Brandon

Nikki and Brandon traveled to Lake Tahoe to celebrate their one year anniversary.  Nikki is a self-professed lover of photography and wanted a Tahoe anniversary portrait session to commemorate the trip.  This rad couple had a bit of a secret and hilarious agenda for the session that I was more than excited to participate in.  See, Brandon had really wanted to smash cake in his wife’s face at their wedding but she was vehemently against it.   A compromise ensued and for the second half of our portrait session, Nikki changed into her personally altered (she cut the bottom half off) wedding dress and Brandon’s dreams came true.  It’s one of my most favorite portrait sessions to date.  I feel really lucky that I get such rad clients with great senses of humor!

Rabe Meadows Portrait Rabe Meadows PortraitRabe Meadows PortraitRabe Meadows PortraitRabe Meadows PortraitZephyr Cove PortraitZephyr Cove PortraitZephyr Cove PortraitZephyr Cove PortraitZephyr Cove PortraitZephyr Cove Portrait

Winterhill Olive Oil | Tahoe Product Photography

I discovered recently that I am not particularly into architectural and real estate photography.

I also discovered, however, that I love product photography.

_DSC9862

I was elated when the owner of Winterhill Farms approached me to do some product photography for them, partially because I discovered how wonderful product photography is in the process but also because I selfishly lust over their products.

Winterhill Farms specializes in the best certified extra virgin olive oils in the area and they are divine.  They are luscious and delicate, with a robust olive oil taste and come infused with things like garlic, jalapeno, basil or lemon if you so choose.

They are unbelievable.  Trust me.  

_DSC9864

Commercial product photography is pretty awesome for a variety of reasons, the best of which is that I can drink wine while I shoot in the comfort of my own home.  I set up a small studio in my office with three lights, a folding table, a huge 4 foot wide, 10 foot long piece of white cardboard that I convinced some visual merchandising reps for Bounty at our local Staples Store to give me instead of throwing in the trash (seriously), and a piece of plexiglass.  This was yet another experience where I discovered how valuable my expensive film degree at UT where I  learned lighting was.

_DSC2637

 In addition to olive oils, Winterhill Farms offers artisanal balsamic vinegars, chutneys, local jams and jellies, honeys, relish, and best of all, dark chocolates and truffles infused with orange or habanero (my favorite)!  If you are local to the northern CA area, Winterhill Farms offers hosted Olive Oil Parties as a delicious way to gather and taste their products.  Their olive oils can be purchased in Tahoe at my favorite place to drink Apres Wine Co and the Farmers Market at the American Legion every Tuesday (8 AM-2 PM) in the summer.

If you aren’t in Tahoe, you can order their products via mail order on their website, or in the Northern CA area, pick up Winterhill Olive Oil at my favorite vineyard, Holly’s Hill, of which I am both a wine club member and an emphatic and insistent fan, or at their storefront at 321 Main St in Placerville.

_DSC9911

  I have nothing but respect, admiration and love for people who are passionate about their product.  I have been a fan of Winterhill Olive Oil long before my professional relationship with them began and I will forever sing their accolades now that I have worked for them.  I strongly recommend you order their products; you will not regret it!

You can follow Winterhill Olive Oil on facebook via this link.

Read a great article about Winterhill on page 41 of Living Magazine.

A Magical Nevada City Wedding Moment

 As a photographer, I’m always looking to capture that magical moment.  It’s the moment when an emotion freezes in time and you’ve managed to paint a gorgeous picture with one click of the shutter.  All your feelings and memories are wrapped up in a nice tidy package that eloquently conveys everything you remember about what was happening right then.  It’s a perfect emotion.  It’s a job well done.  It’s a feeling of elation.

Sometimes, I set everything up and snap snap snap away and it takes awhile but I know when I press the shutter and look at the screen that I managed to get it.  Nailed it.  But sometimes, in the case of this gorgeous Nevada City wedding photo, I totally don’t realize it in the moment: I move on, not even recognizing that I captured something wonderful and it’s not until much later when I’m sorting through photos that I stop and smile and reflect and see something special and begin to love it.

I had no idea I took this photo when it happened.

This is a magical moment for me.  I like this one.

DSC_9122