That time of year again PSW Las Vegas 2013

Every year thousands of people come to Photoshop World to listen to international renowned speakers, learn from the best in the industry and keep up to date with the latest technology at the Expo. I'm proud to say, I was the PSW Las Vegas 2012 Westcott Shootout Winner. It's not hard to be creative when you have an opportunity to photograph monsters created by the hit show "FaceOff" (BTW-My New Favorite Show). Read Full Post "I Can’t Believe I WON the Westcott Shootout!" [Here]

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My PSW portfolio review was with the famous Bert Monroy and truly inspirational. I never realized that my work would be considered as fine art and could be viewed in galleries as collections.  I always thought of myself a sports photographer and having "The Man" Scott Kelby review in San Francisco was a career highlight. Read Full Post [Here]  Sports Illustrated photographer Dave Black is my favorite speaker from last years conference. Dave is an exceptional sports photographer, but beyond that he is true to his values and is not afraid to be real. He is not fearful to be vulnerable and show his passion for photography. 

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When not in class, I had so much fun hanging out with my photo buddies photographing Red Rock Canyon, some local basketball and good Ol'Downtown Vegas. Keeping my wallet close to me this year (;)Darren!) I even had time to do a photowalk with the boys from NY-Lens Baby. This year is sure to be bigger and better than the last...just like I strive with the next picture I take!

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PSW last year became a pinnacle point in my photographic career. I feel that I have grown tremendously as a photographer. Portraiture is part of my steady workflow. I have had many actors and athletes who book work straight from my headshots (Thanks Peter Hurley) The encouragement from my mentors and investment of big glass brings my photography to an all new level. My sports photography has taken leaps and bounds. I'm toning my arms carrying around my dinosaur lens...I LOVE my 400! Sooooooo looking forward to meeting Brad Smith Director of Photography Sports Illustrated in NY!!! "How to edit your photos by Brad Smith" View [Here]

I ’m on a journey and I’m seeking beauty in life. It may be gone tomorrow, but life is picturesque. It may be captured in a moment and experienced for a lifetime. This is what inspires me! Read Full Post [Here]

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Can't wait to see what models they will bring this year! Above: 2012 Westcott Shootout Las Vegas 1st Place Photo

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Part 2-My Personal Google+ PC Experience

It all seemed too familiar; the last time I was in California was on an NCAA recruiting trip to play for University California Santa Barbara girls with braids lacrosse team. It was a whirlwind adventure with many fond memories. Five years later I was asked to coach the UCSB team. Again, the thrill of California enticed me, but the reality never led me back.

When I booked the Google+ Photographers Conference through Kelby Media Group, there was no hesitation. Because I have an instilled trust for any product they promote, the details were irrelevant.  It wasn’t until I booked my flight/hotel that I realized; I was finally on my way back to California.

The Google+ PC was full of opportunity and purpose. I felt this trip was the innovative launch I needed to feed my desire for photography. My hopes were that the Google+ PC would get me on the right track to streamline my workflow as a photographer.

Sometimes I feel that I just press a lot of buttons and wait for a response. I find that even experts are not experts yet, because the world is changing rapidly how we market and communicate. Events like this are almost like a big focus group and can only get better with time. I have chosen to continue to learn, develop and advance with technology.

January 1st, 2012 was the goal to restructure & launch my new business website. I have chosen to embrace social media in my workflow, “the good-the bad and the ugly”.

Over the years, I have developed my multi-media skills while making an effort to maintain a balanced lifestyle.  I would like to describe my timeline as Career-Family (Mommy) Mode -Career. At the end of the day I am going home to my family and everything that I have done that day needs to be accountable and time worth spent.

I believe that I still have half my life ahead to accomplish my career goals. Which raises the question of why someone who is successful & I respect would want to deter me from the photography business and make blunt hardcore statements. No fluff about it, straight to the point & real criticism.

Prior to submitting my name for a portfolio review, I followed and researched photographers and industry news online.  I realized that in order for me to gain an experienced evaluation of my work, engagement was important.  I managed to retain a prominent pro sport shooter to view my initial portfolio. Although the first few transactions were pleasant and endearing, the end result was like shock therapy. I encountered my first true “NASTY” reality check.

Now going back to life lessons, I played box lacrosse on a boys’ team up to Jr. B and know how to take a hit. I played full contact football and because I know how to take a hit, I can give it back. I know when not to back down. I know when the game is over, but I also know how to change my strategy to win. Who said Mommy mode doesn’t prepare you for other advantage points in life either.

Taking this all into account, I know how ruthless business can be. What I choose to do with this experience is up to me.  Therefore, I took what I could control; used it and prepared diligently for my Google+ portfolio review. I truly believe in my abilities as a photographer & failure is an attitude I will not accept. I also understand when you are passionate; emotion sometimes takes over for analytical justification. I simply looked at my work from another perspective and painfully dissected.

I meant no disrespect to the pro shooter by igniting a belly of fire to endure the wrath of a bad review. The fact is a lot of what he was saying is right. In the meantime he has continued to send me information to build a better portfolio…because I think he really does care ;).

I know now that my presentation was not elite enough to show a pro shooter of his caliber (because he told me). On this given day it was not my best game, but I’m willing to play ball in the minors a little bit longer. I still have immense admiration for this pro shooter as an individual talent, contributor to the photography & the sports industry.

Moving forward, I recently became a member of NPAC and found some solitude in the forum. Warren Toda has been a positively charged inspiration to me. He takes a proactive approach to analyze and give applicable feedback.   So much that it will be an ongoing task to keep up with all his innovative suggestions. Focus..Focus…Focus!

Now getting back to the Google+ Photographers Conference. I was scheduled to have my portfolio review with NYC, Peter Hurley. Who I think is completely cool. No really he has this swagger about him…love it!

During opening remarks there was a schedule change and Peter was not available to do my review. I am freaking out because I tailored my portfolio slightly for him, since his specialty is headshots.

So I inquire with Tom, who puts the special in marketing (specialist) because he is accommodating and helpful. He tells me…Ready for this  “TA DAAAAAAAAAA” Scott Kelby…Mr. Photography himself will be doing my portfolio review…REALLY! It’s excitement then back to nerves. Here’s my chance to revamp my portfolio to show my best work with a little emphasis on sports photography.

Face to face with Scott Kelby. Oh don’t call him Sir…he doesn’t like that…Great I’m thinking, I screwed up already. “Sir Kelby” does have a ring to it. Little does anyone know that I am a lot of fun, but because my photography is extremely valuable to me…I stay quiet so he will judge me just on that alone. Of course when the discussion opens up, I can’t stop talking a mile a minute because I’m nervous. I also know that my face time is only 15min on a tight schedule.

At this point it is all a blur, I know my time is over when I look up to see Tom patiently waiting for me to finish. What made me feel so special is that Scott allows us to run past our time.

“The most consistent portfolio of the day, collectively the best set of photographs”, Scott said. I understand faces, expression and he really likes my post processing style.  A couple of photographs should be pulled from the set and I need to start off strong. Get closer to the subject with a shallower depth of field, but I’m almost there.

I liked that he said that I already have my own style and knows which photographs are done by me. “You have a lot of photographs that make me laugh”, he said. What moved me was Scott felt that I was better than some of the wire photographers he has shot beside. I felt vindicated when he said that my initial review might have been too harsh.

However, my portfolio may not have been as strong if I didn’t have it under the microscope prior to presenting it at the Google+ PC.

Just before the portfolio review, I finished Scott’s sports photography session. He reiterated many of the points my initial reviewer established. I clearly know what I need to work on, what is required to do it and I’m prepared to work at it.

You can never prepare enough because there is always going to be someone bigger, faster, smarter and stronger than you. Really, you just have to put yourself out there.

The Google+ PC was unique from other conferences because of the intimate face-to-face approach to business.  I had no problem waiting my turn to approach Peter Hurley to say hello. I expressed my gratitude that Scott Kelby did my portfolio review, but disappointed that I was not able to meet with him. “Let’s do it now” he says.

We meet up in the Google lounge and have a very enlightening review and talk about our passion for photography. Constant interruptions don’t aggravate him and he graciously gives me his undivided attention. Who does that?  WOW!

He says, “You know what your doing”. Besides over processing my kids…Because I can LOL…Cut it out! Going back to the raw files for rework or lack of will only make me a better photographer. This is an exercise I must go through to comprehend the “Art Behind the Headshot”.  Good plug eh? Seriously it will make my images great in the end.

There were sweet and sour moments, especially with the blind critiques. No need to rehash that since I already blogged about it earlier.  I am thrilled that as a result of the critique, RC Concepcion and Trey Ratcliff have engaged with me online. They really want to help. “Neat”, Matt Kloskowski says as he stops and listens to how I use social media in my photography workflow.  Catherine Hall eloquently announced people from her photo walk for their talent. Acknowledgement that is normally unknown was brought to the forefront because she cares.  Candid, kind and commending moments like these were collective amongst all at the conference.

My point is that these professionals put themselves out there too. They are making the industry better by being accessible and sharing, just as much as the attendees. This community is coming together in person to evaluate, experience and grow. Sweet and sour, short and sweet…now that I have had time to digest everything, I believe it was a significant journey for me to take.  The difference with the Google+ PC is that communication & momentum is still building after the event.  I hope to attend next year and I am sooooooooo looking forward to Photoshop World.

Mention-Stuck in Customs with Trey Ratcliff

Trey's Variety Hour #37: Google+ Conference Photowalk Recap

Catherine Hall was kind enough to acknowledge three images that I submitted from our photowalk at Fisherman's Wharf. I am thrilled for the Top Model Release give away, but most of all, the recognition on Trey Ratcliff's show was more rewarding than anyone could ask for. The video is full of wonderful reviews from some of the best photographers in the world. The entire Google+ hangout video is great and I hope you enjoy it! (Robin Leworthy Wilson photography/mentions are at 35 min & 1:02 mark)

Please Acknowledge: Content & Video is copied from "Treys Variety Hour" on YouTube 

Streamed live on May 28, 2012 by 

Catherine Hall, Karen Hutton, RC Concepcion, Lotus Carroll, Alex Koloskov, and Eden Brackstone join me for this discussion about all the photowalks that happened during the Google+ Photographers Conference. We all share a ton of photos and stories from our walks.

Here are some of the people whose work was shared during the show:

Eric James Leffler, Michael Frye, Joseph Fanvu, Alan Morris, Alex Shamis, Almus Null, Beverly Anderson Sanchez, Darlene Hildebrandt, Dave Bell, Jamie Zartman, Joe Ercoli, Joette A. Wangsgard, Joseph Ip, Keith Cuddeback, Kimberly Hayworth, Logan Barrier, Omar AlQabandi, Paul Hurley, Peter Adams, Pradeep Das, Richard Camp, Shola Oderinde, Sly Vegas, Toby Harriman, Tom Hierl, Elizabeth Hahn, Curt Nordling, Sean Cawley, Richard Hay, Robin Leworthy Wilson, Angie Smith, Lisa Duncan, Jess Newcomb, Dennis Lodes, Kimberly Tweed, Noah Katz, Amy Heiden, Brian Rose, Sandeep Patil, Joel Horwath, Chris Chabot, Christianna Pierce, Juan Gonzalez, and Shawn Clover.

As always we close out the show with our Google+ Photographer Discoveries: Amanda Recker, Alex Stepanov, Teri Lou Dantzler, Danny Tan, G Dan Mitchell, and Ian Thomas. Thanks to Leo Laporte, Tony Wang, and Dave Veffer for helping out with the whole production! Podcast Options - Great ones! Get it first via... Option 1: Subscribe for free in iTunes: http://goo.gl/ZAKd8 Option 2: It's not in "podcast" form, but you can subscribe to My YouTube channel. http://www.youtube.com/stuckincustoms Option 3: There are other subscription options avail on the TWIT page athttp://twit.tv/tvh

San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf

Google+ Photographers Conference Photowalk with Catherine Hall I began the afternoon with a hilly cab ride to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park to Fisherman's Wharf. I joined a very dynamic group of people from all around the world. Pro photographer, Catherine Hall [website] led our group with the help of Elizabeth Hahn, Michael Bonocore, Doug Kaye & Lighting Guru Ryan.

The photowalk began at Powell & Hyde St. Cable Car Turnaround where our group photographed the street/cable cars. A lesson in portraiture was given as we all worked with Google's very own Vincent Mo's best angles. We then made our way down to Hyde Street Pier (Pier 47-45) where we enjoyed the schooners, tugs, ships, submarines and street life.

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Part 1-Reflecting Google+ for Photographers

Reflecting on my personal experience at the +Google+ Photographers Conference in San Francisco, California May 21-23, 2012 [View Part 2]

I liked the last minute NAPP exclusivity to be a part of a history-making event. The fact is companies may find it difficult to budget and plan for an event on such short notice. At the time, little did I know Mr. Google himself; +Surgey Brin would share ground breaking announcements. The all-star line up seemed to grow more elite each day. Most of all the attendees were warm and welcoming.

People came from all around the world.  I met the hobbyist, extreme techies and many professional photographers.  MY main objective for attending the conference was to gain more insight about social media workflow for my photographs.

Google+ is very new to me and confusing. I found that many other people had the same frustration. Because the conference timing was quick, the learning curve was drastic. Thanks to +Guy Kawasaki’s Ebook, I was able to prep a bit more. Terms like API’s and other foreign technical aspects keep Google+ in it’s own world. It becomes difficult to interact with other conventional social media.

What I was hoping to gain is insight about how to integrate Google+ into my already established workflow.  In January, I attended the first ever DX3 Social Media Conference in Canada. I learned to personalize and connect with our audience and to build relationships. We don’t need to be as mechanical as the “colded” process. Individually we should develop our own experience to engage and make it real. Great Job Google+ PC on accomplishing a face to face approach at this social marketing event.

I have chosen to embrace social media to expand my work environment. My system is like that song, “Dem Bones”, leg bone connected to the knee bones…. Let me break it down for you: Wordpress-create & post to my blog Pinterest-pinit image with content and link to my post (Twitter-Tweets the Pin | Facebook-Posts on personal wall and Business Fan Page | Linkedin-Announces the post on my profile)

I then use Youtube to put together some video of my images, ViewBug & 500pixels to show portfolio work. Meeting the SmugMug people at the conference will get me moving in their direction…they were so NICE!  Note: Thanks for letting me use your power bar-The venue officers were not so nice!

In order to take advantage of the large image power in Google+, I create my post separately. However +Matt Kosklowski, +Brian Matiash and +Jim Goldstein were kind enough to answer my question about how to integrate Google+ into my workflow with a plugin tip "googleplusblog". (Note: Any other tips will sure help...THX)

I need to say, there were so many OUTSTANDING professionals that I want to talk to, but am grateful for those who had time and DID…THANK YOU! (More to come about +Catherine Hall photowalk (Ryan), +Scott Kelby Portfolio Review, +Peter Hurley Portfolio Review. I am disappointed that I couldn’t personally meet +Trey Ratcliff or +RC Concepcion. It wasn’t from lack of trying and they were adored by all…perhaps next year?)

In the meantime, “Engagement” was the buzzword at the conference and let me tell you from personal experience…IT WORKS!  My next post will be all about my portfolio review experience. How social media engagement helped me take a brutal knockout punch. To get back up, keep standing and understand to be a better photographer you need to subject yourself to professional judgment.

Catherine Hall Photo Walk

Google+ Albums

NAPP Editors’ Choice Again WOW!!!!!!!

Industrial Series, "Canisters" Click link below to view NAPP Editor Choice Image Article by NAPP WOW, Two Weeks In A Row! "Canisters" was chosen by guest judge Corey Barker (Like Corey's fb Fan Page) along with Larry Becker, Executive Director of the NAPP for Editors Choice (EC). I am so proud to be a photographer and to be recognized by some of the most pronounced industry professionals is an honor! I'm gonna try my hardest for a hat trick, but I really want the big one "Image of the Week"...LoL! Click the link below to View the article and image "Canisters" http://members.photoshopuser.com/article/napp-image-of-the-week-4-12-12/

NAPP Editors Choice-DUNDAS BE PROUD!

A Day in Dundas Collection "Peakpan from Above"  Click link below to view NAPP Editor Choice Image Comments Dundas is on the map again!  Woooo Hooooo or should I say CHOO CHOO! "Train Below the Peak" was chosen by guest judge  RC Concepcion  along with Larry Becker, Executive Director of the NAPP for Editors Choice (EC). I am so proud to be a photographer and to be recognized by some of the most pronounced industry professionals is an honor! Next step Image of the Week...LoL! Click the link below to View the article and image "Train Below the Peak" NAPP Image of the Week 4.5.12 | National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP)