SWPP – Mini Convention Falkirk

SWPP – Mini Convention Falkirk

Ever since I joined the SWPP (Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers) in 2008 I have wanted to, but not had the chance due to other commitments, attend the yearly convention and awards dinner in London.  So when I saw the Societies were putting on a series of mini conventions this year, I booked my place there and then.

Today saw me travelling to Falkirk and the MacDonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa for the SWPP Mini Convention.  I had been looking forward to attending this from the day I booked my place.

What is a mini convention?  It is a day of seminars from speakers such as Catherine Connor, Gordon McGowan, John Denton and Damian McGillicuddy.

Running alongside the seminars is a small trade show which allows you to chat with popular suppliers, and to see what the latest products they have to offer are and feel like.

I arrived a little early so had a chance to have a coffee and a chat with a few fellow photographers who had arrived early too.  Before long it was time to grab a seat in the seminar room for the first talk of the day.  I will discuss the seminars first, but between them it was a case of browsing the trade show asking questions about the exhibitors products, grabbing a coffee or two and socialising with the other photographers.

The Seminars

9:00 – 10:00am with 60 minutes to change your businesses performance (Catherine Connor).

This was the first time I had heard Catherine speak, and did take copious notes, which I will have to decipher another day.  There was some useful information given to help with the structure of your business and some ideas I may put into practise.

12:30 -13:30 How to create stunning wedding shots (Gordon McGowan)

This was a very entertaining talk for me as I do not offer wedding photography.  It was interesting to hear his views about photojournalism and how he does not use flash, as opposed to his more classical approach and posing the bride and groom.  Personally I think a mix of photojournalistic and classic posing approaches would work best, and yes if I did shoot weddings then I would use flash on some shots.

16:00 – well past 17:00 –  Make you lighting exciting (Damian McGillicuddy).

They saved the best for last, Damian’s brand of edutainment had the attendees  laughing from the word go, brazenly take a jovial pop at many of the delegates, whom he knows from Mentor Me on Steroids.

With the wonderful Fredau modelling for the seminar, he demonstrated how he built a shot up from measuring the ambient, then adding a light, and then another, and another until he had the lighting he wanted, and all using the new Olympus OM-D.

The Trade Show

The trade show at the mini convention did not open until 10:00am, but at least that gave me time to attend the first seminar of the day, there were a number exhibitors there.  The range of exhibitors covered things such as album suppliers, insurance, photographic equipment and professional photo labs, all allowing you to see, touch and discuss their products with them.

In a way the day is similar to a Photovision roadshow, which was at the Royal highland centre in Edinburgh a few weeks back, and follows the same format of seminars and trade show.

Overall Impressions

This was the first year The Societies have run mini conventions and I think they will be a feature for next year too.  So what did I think, overall I had an enjoyable day, although my head is full of all sorts of ideas.  I will have to take this information and use it with the old and new ideas to form new plans for pushing not only my business but my creativity forward.  Some things will be put into action immediately, and some will take a little more planning.

Would I go to a mini convention again, yes I certainly would.  The amount of information available during the day from both the seminars and the exhibitors in the trade show can be overwhelming but it certainly is useful, and best of all free.

Apologies for there benign no images in this post, but I was too wrapped up in the day to even think about getting photographs of the venue or anything else for that matter.

Gareth Williams LSWPP – Portrait Photography Dundee.

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