So after a huge build up, and lots of preparation that’s it over for another year. The Societies (or SWPP- Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) annual convention at the Novotel Hammersmith. It is a huge event, the biggest of its type in Europe and attracts speakers and delegates from all over the planet. This was the 10th convention held by the Societies and the 6th in London, also my 6th having been to all the events in Hammersmith. This year I was back as a speaker and a judge. I was pretty stressed out in the weeks leading up to the event as I just seemed to struggle to find time to get prepared as it is so close to Christmas and it is a busy enough time of year.
I’ve been involved in judging before but it had been a while and I was offically judging this time, rather than just being asked to help out like before. The judging was great fun. It is done in front of a live audience so it is quite pressurised as you can be put on the spot to explain your score at any time. It’s quite a buzz, and I was very happy with my scoring throughout the two (very long) days. The judging panel was chaired by Dennis Orchard and I felt it was a great success throughout. I did think one or two categories were a bit weaker than usual but overall the standard was very high, and has prompted me to enter again this year!
I did three masterclasses. Friday on using run down location, Saturday was about my business and how I work, and Sunday I did one on mixing different types of lighting during a wedding day. All three classes were very busy and the feedback was great. Hopefully everyone enjoyed seeing how I work, and hopefully not to disturbed by any of my jokes or the PJ video….. Usually I am a nervous wreck before talking, but this year I felt a lot more confident and actually even enjoyed them. I’ll definitely be back presenting again next year! It’s also given the bug to do more teaching, so look out for more courses soon, aimed at all levels from beginners upwards.
The event itself is always a great chance to meet people. I had forgotten how many great friends I had in the photographic industry, but you don’t forget for long. I had just walked in the door when I was met by Christina lauder who I met at my first ever convention. You’re five minutes there and it feels like you have never been away since the previous year. This year I really enjoyed the social side, and I can honestly say I have never laughed so much in my life as I did over the week I was there. The banter this year was on a whole new level. To all the many people who had me almost doubled up laughing, I thank you – you know who you are. In particular, Derek Poulston and the One Vision team, Grant, Lenny, Joyce, Caroline, Alannah, and far too many others to even try to list. So much fun.
There are so many great photographers I’d like to thank for their continuous encouragement and support as well as freely offering advice on all sorts of things, not even restricted to work, and again too many to mention. I’d like to pay a special tribute to Tony Corbell, who despite saying in Professional Photographer magazine that I was nuts, is one of the nicest kindest people I have the privilege to call a friend. We go back a number of years and sometimes it’s easy to forget just how highly regarded Tony is throughout the world as a teacher and photographer. A very down to earth and humble guy who would do anything for you. Also Trevor and Faye Yerbury, who were by my side the very first time I ever spoke in public back in 2007 and they have always been a huge help as well, and their advice is always appreciated, as again they have probably got better things to do with their time than speak to me! There are so many others and I apologise for not mentioning them but i’d be here for days if I started.
Big thanks to Mark at Hasselblad who kindly let me play with a H4D-31 on Saturday. I didn’t get as long as planned due to a problem with the radio triggers we were using but what a great camera and I want one. I will be buying lottery tickets from now on. Image quality out of this camera is amazing.
Also a big thanks to One Vision & Johnsons Photopia for their continued support throughout the years. Great partnerships which I am proud to be part of.
I already can’t wait to next year, which is at a new venue in a more central London location. hanks and well done to Phil, Juliet and all the rest of their team for yet another amazing week.