Monday, April 07, 2014

PhotoPro Expo 2014 – The Experience!!!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

NKCVBI know It’s been a while since I’ve posted - but in the next few weeks I’d like to get you caught up on what’s been going on around here. 

In today’s post I want to share with you the wonderful experience of our recently held PhotoPro Expo 2014. PhotoPro Expo  has been recognized as one of the most important events in this part of the world by the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau.

It’s quite a long and detailed read, with me trying to hit all the major aspects of the convention.  But I’ve included over 30 photos to illustrate the article complete with a slide show at the end that pulls the entire post together.  I’ve worked on the article all weekend so I really hope you enjoy it.

Let me show you what I mean in my following re-cap.

PhotoPro Expo 2014 – The Experience!

Print Competition – Very Exciting!

We kicked things off Thursday morning with the start of one of the Mideast’s largest Image Competitions with images submitted from around the country.  Our judging panel was selected from some of the best photographers in several specialties nationwide.

PJ2It takes a day just to set up for the print judging organizing the prints, setting up the viewing station, and getting ready for our worldwide image competition webcast. There’s a lot of work that goes in the production of this event but everyone involved really enjoys it. That’s Rosemary checking that the computer is up to date with all the prints logged in, bar coded and ready to go.

The images are each reviewed individually one at a time so they can be judged on their individual merit, quality, and impact. Sometimes the judges come to a quick consensus on the print’s score and other times their deliberation is much more lengthy complete with challenges and re-challenges before a final score can be applied to the image.

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A lot of the fun in the print competition takes place up in the Clubhouse Lounge where many of the print makers are watching and listening to their images being judged. Refreshments are being served and everyone is having a great time.  During the quiet moments before the score is called a certain tension fills the room.  Once the score is announced, the crowd cheer the high score or bemoans the low scores.  In this image below you can see how the room is set for our webcasts too.

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PJ6We generally have two announcers calling the show – they must have been on break when this image was made;~)  One will moderate the competition while the other offer the “color” commentary.  It’s all quite fun and broadcast worldwide.  A few years ago we had folks from the middle of the Pacific Ocean listening in from Micronesia – pretty cool and always educational.

Every now and then something spectacular can happen.  For example:  when Kate Higdon’s image scored a perfect 100!  The room went crazy with excitement and after Kate slightly calmed down I quickly took this photo of she and her print scores still up on the screen. Needless to say – she was on cloud 9!

Pre-Conference Programming – Wowing the Crowd!!!

PC1One of the other highlights of PhotoPro Expo is the bonus programming taking place on Thursday.  Richard Sturdevant, one of the top image makers in the country and a most talented Photoshop gurus  – even Photoshop evangelist Julieanne Kost took a class with Richard – presented at this year’s Expo. Richard presented to one of our largest Pre-conference audiences ever!

Richard began the day photographing a model showing his lighting setups.  Then he followed that short shooting session with an inspiring afternoon Photoshop session transforming the images into wonderful works of art.  The crowd loved it.

In the evening H&H hosted a great 2 hour program by youth sports photographer and green screen artist, Jeff Locklear, to a crowd of about 175 people. After Jeff’s program, my good friend and president of the Professional Photographers of America, Ralph Romaguera presented a wonderfully information and humorous program on “How To Score Big In Print Competition”.  The entire day wrapped around 10:00 p.m.  Like I said – long days – and we were just getting started;~)

A Bag Full Of Goodies Worth $600!

PPE14 BagsOne of the added benefits for attending and PhotoPro Expo is the tremendous value the team tries to bring for each attendee stopping by. This year in addition to receiving the NIK Complete Suite, every attendee also received nearly $500 in free software, vouchers and gift cards from many vendors, and discounts to many of our exhibitors products and services.

Again, it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to get all that organized.  Here is a photo of LaDawn ( the one with the long blond hair) and her volunteers stuffing the more than 600 bags of goodies. 

Friday – A 17 Hour Day That Can’t Be Beat!!!

PPE14 PR1That’s right – it’s a long day and worth every minute.  Our Kickstarter Programs begin the day at 7:30 a.m.  Friday we had two great speakers as our leadoff batters, Jessica Edwards on Seniors and Jen Rozenbaum on Boudoir.  Both Programs where very well received.  The early morning slot is a tough one for speakers but the 500+ plus attendees do really get up that early to see the programs. That’s Jen with two of our attendees/fans after her program.

My buddy Matt Kloskowski (below) presented a great Photoshop/Lightroom program for the next 2 1/2 hours to a packed house of nearly 600 attendees.  As usual, Matt hit it out of the park with his program.

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Sandy Puc (below) kicked off the afternoon session with a “LIVE” stage DEMO for the next two hours.  Every body loves the “LIVE” Demos and we plan to have even more next year.

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Celebrity/Editorial photographer Brian Smith, shared stores, techniques, and fabulous photography with the audience for the next two hours. 

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Brian’s work is instantly recognizable as he has photographed several well known personalities and celebrities including Richard Branson and Bill Gates.  The series of those shoots with Brian sharing his creativity was a very fascinating “listen”.

After dinner, the legendary Richard Sturdevant was back on stage for an all convention program.  Richard’s adept Photoshop magic mesmerized the audience for the next two hours.

After a short break and a  DEMO by Peter from OnOne Software, the very talented, slight hyper kinetic, very funny, high energy Blair Phillips (below) kept the crowd on their toes for the next two hours till 11:00 p.m.  He kept everyone glued to their seats till the very end of his program.

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Hey, we’re not finished yet!  After Blair’s program we all headed up to the Welcome Party hosted by the  very generous H&H Color Lab.  It was great just to sit down, enjoy pizza and popcorn and visit with all the instructors and attendees. 

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A great big high five to H&H for hosting the party.  Things wrapped up about 1:00 a.m. and then it was back to our rooms and get ready for our 6:30 a.m. wake-up calls.  We started the whole thing all over again the next day!!!

You know --- sitting around a computer monitor watching some webcast for an entire weekend is not nearly as much fun, educational or beneficial - if you know what I mean ;~)

Saturday - What A Day : Programs, Huge Tradeshow, Awards Ceremony, and Rockin’ With Teeny Tucker’s Band to the Wee Hours of the Morning!

PPE14 PR9Friday was a big day but Saturday was even bigger.  Once again the day began with two Kickstarter programs, the first by Melissa Ghionis (right), Jerry’s beautiful wife, who rocked the crowd with one of the most insightful customer service programs ever!!!

PPE14 PR10Landon Day (left) spoke to the magical qualities of speed-lighting and how easy and effective it is to create beautiful lighting with those little gems.  Landon received RAVE reviews from the audience.

Next up was Jerry Ghionis who wowed the crowd for 2 1/2 hours.  Jerry is such an talented, insightful, and inspirational speaker his programs are always a hit with the audience.

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While Jerry was speaking Randy Fraley, next to me on the left, Ralph Romaguera, our PPA president on the right, and Jennifer Palumbo to the far left in the photo did the ribbon cutting to kick off the tradeshow. 

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The crowds were lined up and ready to charge the show floor.  I have to tell you – the exhibitors loved it.  We had about 1,100 visitors to the trade show over it’s two day run.

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What was cool and added to the buzz of the show was the fact that SPTV was set up right at the show entrance.  Sandy Puc was hosting the two day worldwide broadcast interviewing guest speakers, vendors, and attendees at the show.  It was like our own little media center right at PhotoPro Expo.

On the show floor the place was buzzing with activity and excitement.  The aisles were packed with folks visiting over 100 booths.

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The Expo Theater was a center of action as 8 presenters, many of them our platform speakers shared more jewels of knowledge with the tradeshow attendees.  That’s Mark Zucker below from Zookbinders telling the crowd how they can add at least $200 to every wedding sale.

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The Westcott Hollywood Model Shootout area was packed with photographers vying for the more that $500 in prizes for the best image taken over the weekend.  As an added treat, Jerry Ghionis, Ralph Romaguera, Blair Phillips and others stepped in to also enhance the experience with a few lighting demos.  Heck, just coming to PhotoPro Expo’s tradeshow was an educational treat all by itself!

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PPE14 PR19Late in the afternoon we were off and running again with another great program by former combat photographer, Stacy Pearsall (right). Stacy’s engaging program entitled “Shooting Under Fire” demonstrated her very efficient use of location lighting. She presented her program by engaging her audience in the stage setups and actual shooting.  So interesting!!

PPE14 PR21After a short break for dinner everyone re-convened at the Marriott for the Gala Awards Ceremony.  After the Star Bangled Banner was inspirationally sung by Rosemary Cundiff-Brown,  Randy Fraley, co-producer of PhotoPro Expo MC’d the show. The prize winners were announced and honored with their trophies.

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There were certainly a lot of excited winners in the house  especially Kate Higdon who was photographer of the year.  Her husband Jason (both left) also pulled in a few awards too along with a few of their friends shown below.  That’s a lot of hardware to carry back home.

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PPE14 PR23The Gala Oscar party kicked off about 9:00 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres galore and Teeny Tucker and her amazing 7 piece band.  WOW!  Were they a great band!!  Teeny has been nominated several times as Female Blues Artist of the Year and won the coveted award this year! The band played on till about midnight – it was the BEST convention party EVER!!!

It’s Sunday – Let’s Do It Again!

PPE14 PR25PPE14 PR24You guessed it – at 7:30 Sunday morning we kicked off the final day of PhotoPro Expo with two more Kickstarter programs.

Suzette Allen (left) wowed the audience with some great money making ideas on how video combined with still photographs can add lots of $$$ to your bottom line. Her tips and techniques were sure money makers for anyone attending her program.

PPE14 PR26Bill Fortney, master landscape photographer shown mingling with some of the attendees (above right) mesmerized his early morning audience with image after wonderful image of some of the most beautiful photographs one has ever seen.

Next up was the legendary National Geographic photographer, Sam Abell (left). Sam gave a nearly Zen-like presentation that kept all 600 attendees locked to their seats till at the very end of his program the crowd roared to it’s feet giving him a standing ovation for his program. Sam’s work is truly remarkable.  The audience hung on every word and he described his meticulous thought process that went into creating his incredible images.

PPE14 PR29Even with the ice storm that hit the city in the early Sunday morning hours, the crowds still kept on coming.  Lots of photogs were crowded around the Westcott Hollywood Model Shoot area creating some very unusual and exciting photographs like the one you see to the right – pretty cool.

The exhibitors were excited with the surge of attendees crowding in to see  new and exciting products.

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And of course the Expo Theater was busy all day long with 4 more programs touching on subjects from Speedlighting by Landon Day (below) to Photoshop demos by Jason Higdon, Lightroom demos by Phillips Mitchell, and a discussion of what’s new in tech by Jefferson Graham.

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PPE14 PR32Oh, I forgot to mention that during the Tradeshow hours LaDawn and her Image Experts and Business Gurus were conducting Portfolio Reviews and Business Reviews for all those who requested them. If you were a PhotoPro Network Member, the 30 minute consults were FREE – a nice perk for PhotoPro Network VIP membership.

PPE14 PR34Did I also mention that PhotoPro Expo hosts the largest and most exciting Solon exhibition of photographs in the Midwest.  That’s right – all the images submitted for Print Competition are on display for the three day run of the Expo. 

All attendees and even walk-in folks from the entire area are welcome to stop by and browse through the image display. Those that do enjoy a very special treat in seeing nearly 400 of the most beautiful photographs created  by some very creative photographers. It’s truly inspirational and a  visual feast for the eyes!

PPE14 PR28After the Tradeshow closed my friend Jefferson Graham from USA Today spent time with several attendees who came to hear his video program.  Jeff is the mastermind of USA Today’s Tech Talk which you can find most days in USA Today.  It was fun having Jeff ay the convention this year because of the expertise in all things technical.

The convention ended with one more get together at the Marriott for one last event. We held a panel discussion entitled “Photography – What’s Trending Today?” with panelists Chuck Zix from Imaging Pro, Jerry and Melissa Ghionis, and Jefferson Graham with yours truly moderating the discussion.  The diverse group of panelists led to some lively discussion that I think the entire audience enjoyed. That plus the fact that a small dinner was served made it a great end to the convention.

The next day Jerry Ghionis conducted his fabulous one day seminar to a crowd of 100 photographers who soaked up every word.  Monday ended at 4:30 p.m. From set up to tear down , it was a long six days for myself, Randy Fraley, LaDawn and many, many volunteers but the nearly 1100 attendees that took the time and opportunity to attend PhotoPro Expo 2014 REALLY enjoyed themselves!

PhotoProNetwork Baner 4x2Here’s the very cool thing – most programs were recorded and if you are a member of PhotoPro Network (only $49 to join right now), you can watch them all for FREE.  In fact members can watch the last four years of PhotoPro Expo programs, webcasts, print competitions, and more just for joining. 

In addition to viewing over 75 videos membership also entitles you to special pricing at this summer’s PhotoPro Network’s Summer School, special offers worth over $400, 6 FREE webcasts coming up over the next 12 months and 6 informational newsletters too and  the best price ever at next year’s PhotoPro Expo 2015!

You need to check it out– it’s quite the bargain right now! Membership details right HERE!

Below I’ve put together a slide show which I think picks up all the highlights of PhotoPro Expo 2014.  I hope you enjoy it and I hope you’ll join us for next year's extravaganza.

PhotoPro Expo 2014 ReCap from PhotoProNetwork on Vimeo.

PhotoPro Expo 2015

Mark your calendars now for January 22-26, 2015. Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area will be the place to be!!  I’ll give you a hint to next year’s theme – think Jimmy Buffet, clam bakes, and fun in the sun.  You guessed it, next year’s theme is going to be a BEACH PARTY.  If you can’t make it to the beach next January, we’re bring the beach to you! That’s right, it’s going to be a Sun-sational Sand-tastic Convention;~)

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Mark your calendars: PhotoPro Expo 2015 takes place January 22-26, 2015.  I’ve got most of the speakers contracted and we’ve got lots of BIG plans in the works already.  You can get a preview right here.

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Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Hope you enjoyed the read and I hope you’ll join us for next year’s convention – it will be a blast!.

Also stop back here at Digital ProTalk.  Over the next few weeks I’ll fill you in on what been going on at our end these last few months and what’s happening for 2014.

Have a good one everybody.

Adios, David

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