Las Vegas and Skip’s Summer School 2011

Last week was intense. On my virgin trip to Las Vegas, I attended a 3 day photography workshop called Skip’s Summer School Yes, there is an actual “Skip.” Skip Cohen is the man behind this great program, and as the past president of Hasselblad and WPPI, among other accomplishments, he knows enough industry leaders and professionals to make any photographer green with envy. And because of this, he knows how to get the big shots to come teach at a 300-person intimate workshop. This was my first time to attend a photo workshop, as well as my first time to Vegas. Put them together and I had one heck of a week! I learned SO much about photography and especially about marketing, and came home rejuvenated and ready to start making changes to my business. In fact, the night before I had to get up at 3:30 to catch my plane home, I couldn’t even sleep — I was THAT excited and had too many ideas floating around on how to improve things around here. Expect big changes soon. Besides the great vendors we had on exhibition — Adorama, WHCC, Bay Photo, Kubota Image Tools, Animoto, Asuka Book, Marathon Press, onOne Software, Nik Software, SmugMug, Tamron, and more — there were some truly incredible faculty members. We had presentations by so many award-winning photographers, and I wish they’d each had more time to talk. Jerry Ghionis, Tamara Lackey, Vincent Laforet, Matthew Jordan Smith, Clay Blackmore, Jules Bianchi, Bob Davis, Bambi Cantrell, Bobbi Lane, Roberto Valenzuela, Scott Bourne, and of course Skip Cohen, and more, were all there to drop huge loads of knowledge, experience, and insight onto our photography careers. We had great presentations, but also some hands-on workshops. I saw Bobbi Lane, Clay Blackmore, Matthew Jordan Smith, and Bob Davis in action and learned some great tricks. There was even a casual Q&A with the photographers on Sunday night where we just sat around, with no microphones, and asked them questions. They put in every effort to help us, and it was obvious that even though technically we were their competition, they wanted us to succeed both in the photography business and in life.   A few quotes: Jerry Ghionis:
“As photographers, we capture the natural magic that’s there, but also create magic of our own.” “What’s priceless tomorrow should be really expensive today.”
Roberto Valenzuela:
“Don’t practice when you’re supposed to be performing.”
Bobbi Lane:
“In photography, everything is everything.”
Clay Blackmore:
“The mark of a professional is someone who can repeat things over and over.”
Matthew Jordan Smith:
“Each one of you sees life differently, and you put that life into your images.” “The professional determines what normal is.” “Only three things can enhance your life: the people you meet, the places you go, and the books you read.”
Scott Bourne:
“Stop letting your view of how business is done determine how your business is done.”
Vincent Laforet:
“As photographers, we anticipate the future and capture the decisive moment.”
    And those are just tidbits. Surprisingly, I didn’t gamble even once while I was there! Honestly, I was more worried about losing my money to all of the awesome vendors who were present. They had some great deals, and having them there to answer questions was invaluable.   I’ve put together a quick slideshow of some photos I took while I was there. Check it out and play it in HD! You can also see the photos here on Flickr.   Can’t wait till next year!

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