Great day at the SWPP convention

What’s Occurring
Young girl poses for fun family portraits in the masterclass at the SWPP conference.

Last Sunday I went to the SWPP annual conference to attend a few of their masterclasses and see the trade show that is also open to the general public.

My first masterclass started at nine o’clock Sunday morning. I got up at five o’clock and arrived at the Hammersmith Novotel shortly before nine.

Andrea Nielsen from Canada gave an inspiring talk on making a living with high-key portraits. I was looking for ideas to use for our fun family portraits and makeovers using the white backdrop. Although it was focused on family portraiture, it was still very useful.

Here is Lucy, who was modelling for us.

For family portrait photography, Andrea encourages her child subjects to play with letters that spell their name.

Andrea encourages her child subjects to play with letters that spell their name.

Girl posing for family portraiture masterclass

Lucy playing with the letter 'L' from her name.

When the masterclass finished at one o’clock in the afternoon, I made a mad rush to my next talk that started at the same time in another conference room.

Kevin Casha from Malta gave a great talk on posing and corrective tips for people photography. It was great to learn I’m doing most things right but there were many subtle nuances that I wasn’t aware of. For example, when taking a profile photograph it may be necessary to turn the subjects head slightly further away if they have long eye lashes. This hides the eye lashes furthest away from the camera.

Here's an example from a recent glamour photography session that shows how a profile photograph should be posed and correctly lit.

Kevin’s key point was to take the time to set up the composition and pose your subject(s). As all my clients will tell you, I take a lot of time setting everything up meticulously for each pose of set of poses. And then carefully guide them into the pose.

But there are many photographers who fire their cameras like machine guns in the vein hope of catching the odd descent photograph. As Kevin said, they’ll end up with 100 poor images virtually the same as they’re not correcting anything.

Kevin’s masterclass finished at 14:30, giving me one and a half hours before my next masterclass.

I wanted to have a quick look around the trade show before grabbing a bite to eat and a cup of coffee. I got caught at the Bowens stand where Jon Gray, who’s a top commercial & glamour photographer based in London. He was demonstrating their lighting systems and had a beauty lighting session at half past three. As I use Bowens lighting in my studio, I was interested in a demonstration on beauty lighting. I thought he would be using the beauty dish that I have, so I rushed off for a quick snack.

The demonstration was actually the Fresnel 200, which is very specialised to produce a focused light. It’s used especially for dramatic head and shoulder glamour portraits. As you can see below it produces a wonderful effect but at £550 it’ll have to wait until I have a definite need. Shame 🙂

The Fresnel 200 had been adjusted to give a wider spread of light. It's still quite focused but gives a soft drop off as the light's power fades around the edges.

The Fresnel 200 had been adjusted to give a wider spread of light. It's still quite focused but gives a soft drop off as the light's power fades around the edges.

My final masterclass was with Dave Montizambert from Canada on making light work. He’s a world leading expert on lighting and photographs everything from food to container lorries as a commercial photographer. His talk was excellent, going into great detail, and dare I say enlightening 🙂

The trade show had long finished by the time the class finished. And I never got to see my printers’ stand displaying my images in their boudoir album.

It was time to make the three and half hour journey back home.

About the author: Director, Photographer & Artist of PatB Photography. Award winning photographer and member of SWPP & SIFGP. Featured in cosmopolitan.co.uk, Photo Pro, Alt Fashion. Clients include; BT, Samurai Sports, ItalClean, KeyAgent & AutoTrader.

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