With it's fun Rock-n-Roll theme, this year's Little Red Schoolhouse experience drew almost 50 photographers to Oklahoma from August 7-9. We gathered like groupies at the luxurious new Spa Tower and Convention Center at Choctaw Resort in Durant to learn from five of our industry's leaders in their field of expertise.
To begin the weekend, Arlington Camera hosted our meet and greet time on Friday evening, treating us to wonderful hor d'oeuvres and a laid-back time to get to know one another better. Participants received swag bags which included gifts from our generous sustaining members/partners.
Saturday morning began with breakfast hosted by Tony Corbell Photographic Workshops. Richard Sturdevant kicked off the education by pulling back the curtain on how he creates his show stopping composite posters, giving us business ideas along the way. In addition to Photoshop wizardry, Richard encouraged us to press on to continually improve, producing high-quality, creative images consistently for our clients.
Then, Mike Corrado, Manager of Nikon Professional Services- Pro Relations and Product Marketing and choice photographer of hundreds of musicians, gave us an true insider's view of the world of concert photography. After wowing us with his jaw dropping portfolio, Mike spoke about how he gets a wide variety of great band images in a very short time. He gave us tips about dealing with the demands of event photography and the etiquette it requires. In particular, Mike shared one of his own personal projects, "Drummer Love," based on his desire to photograph drummers as they are rarely seen: up close, personal, and in action! His sensible yet creative methods could be translated into any type of event photography.
In the afternoon, commercial photographer Joe Glyda spoke about the particular demands of commercial photography and how to meet them. He discussed working with art directors, understanding the unique requirements of the each application, and coming up with a concept to meet the need. Joe did a live demonstration, photographing musical instruments and explaining his lighting techniques specific to the subject he is photographing and the needs of the publication.
Our own Larry Lourcey challenged us on the topic of personal projects, his "Off the Record" project, neatly fitting into the theme of the weekend. He spoke about finding something that one is passionate about and simply enjoys creating, but also about setting goals and deadlines to give oneself parameters in which to complete the project. Larry walked us through both his thought process and his actual process in the recreation of famous album covers, which hung last year in a local gallery. He also shared examples from his "40 at 40" project, a series of 40 out-of-the-box self-portraits created when he turned the same age.
Saturday night brought an unscripted surprise….. The hotel staff had enjoyed working with our group so much so, that when they discovered two empty box suites for the Three Dog Night concert, they spontaneously invited us to attend. Of course, this fit our theme in a most serendipitous way! Perhaps even better was the opportunity to hear our own Tony Corbell and Gabriel Alonso jam to Beatles tunes afterwards.
Sunday morning's breakfast was graciously hosted by Pounds Lab, followed by classical portrait photographer Gabriel Alonso demonstrating lighting and posing with the band members of Denton's Highway 31. Gabriel's connection with the band members was something that any portrait photographer could learn from. His ability to get them to feel comfortable in front of the camera, both before and as he was lighting and posting them, was appreciated by all! Attendees walked away with a better understanding of how to elicit what they want while flatteringly photographing their subjects in a storytelling way.
The weekend was capped off by a private concert by North Texas' very talented Highway 31 in our ballroom. Sigma allowed attendees to borrow lenses as they applied the skills learned from Mike. "Little Red Schoolhouse - of Rock!" was a great weekend of fun, connection, and learning for DPPA! Our thanks to Tony Corbell and Rob Hull, who put together such a great experience for us!