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The Societies 2014 Convention
Learning from the Best
The Societies 12th annual Convention rolled into action on the 15th January 2014 at the luxury Hilton London Metropole Edgware Road with eager attendees arriving from all four corners of the globe.
The scheduled programmes commenced with photographers on the Wednesday attending the full day intensive Business School, organised by leading business lecturer Catherine Connor, from Aspire Training.
The group of in excess of 100 photographers also gained valuable advice and training from Melissa Love, Kevin Mullins, Kate Hopewell-Smith, Tamara Peel, Lisa Beaney, Charlie Kaufman, Gary Walsh and Doug Gordon. The Business School was sponsored by album and mount supplier One Vision Imaging.
Also day one saw groups gathering for the ever popular location shoots, which take photographers, lecturers and models off to carefully selected and exclusive locations around the capital city. Canadian lecturer Dave Montizambert’s group visited the sumptuous Hippodrome Casino, whilst popular UK instructor, John Denton, focused on fashion hands on lighting with a ‘Street Safari’.
Additionally the opening day saw commencement of the Societies 20” x 16” competition judging with a bumper entry of submissions, almost doubling previous years entries. The assembled experts had their hands full with the task, as the judging rooms being open for attendees to see the processes proved a success with more attendees there to watch and gain valuable insight into the judging.
Convention day (Thursday) two witnessed more attendee arrivals with many attending Damian McGillicuddy with his presentation ‘The Very Best of British’ concentrating on Lighting Creativity Inspiration. During this full-day seminar Damian and his team wowed attendees by creating four uniquely themed shoots utilising speedlight, studio, continuous and UV lights, splitting the auditorium into four - with a set in each corner. Each shoot was themed as the best of British and aimed to utilise many exciting props as part of the four sets that Team McGillicuddy built for this presentation.
Also on day two the 20” x 16” judging continued with the eventual winners being decided later in the day, however the results would only be announced at the Awards Dinner.
Additionally for delegates, Doug Gordon and South African lecturer Brett Florens took more groups on location, Brett’s shoot taking place in the unique ‘All Star Lanes Bowling Alley’.
Thursday evening concluded with a Welcome Party which gave attendees the opportunity to meet fellow photographers socially. The evening presented the organisers with a small headache as the booked entertainment telephoned minutes before the party was due to start as their vehicle had broken down, however the agency pulled out a minor miracle and produced a replacement meaning that party still went off with a ‘swing’.
Thursday also saw the members if the trade arrive this always presents the hotel and organisers a real challenge to get everybody in and settled, with over 100 vans of all shapes and sizes arriving at the venue. Yet despite their being just one service list with a great deal of planning and scheduling all arrived, stands built and polished and ready for action for the next day.
Day three of the Convention saw the commencement of the comprehensive Masterclass and Superclass programme, featuring over 100 speakers many of whom had travelled from around the globe to share their skills and knowledge with eager attendees.
The wide variety of topics presented by the assembled team of experts caught the delegate’s imagination with there being a ‘buzz’ around the show with many eager to share their personal experiences from each class.
Studio lighting specialists The Flash Centre, distributors of Elinchrome equipment supported the event supplying the needs of the lecturers. With Simon and Brian, The Flash Centre representatives clocked up an amazing 47 miles distributing gear around the venue!
The massive trade show opened timely at 10 o’clock with attendees flooding in to see the latest products and services on offer from many of the leading companies within the photographic industry. Many companies had invested substantially and creatively to build purpose built stands. Canon’s newly designed stand was thronged with photographers able to get their hands on the latest gear and was keen to pick up bargains from resellers such as Cameraworld and Park Cameras.
Olympus also had a lounge area which drew crowds eager to see their equipment and see presentations on their third floor dedicated area.
Social photographers also had the opportunity to see the latest albums and products from the leading suppliers many of whom had designed exhibition stands, these included Loxley Colour, Simm 2000, Colorworld and One Vision Imaging.
Additionally framing manufacturer Ultimat also created a memorable designed stand to display their range of quality products.
Lighting manufacturers and distributors Bowens and The Flash Centre created lecturing areas on their comprehensive stands, giving attendees the opportunity to not only the equipment in action but also share some tips and tricks.
The trade show spanned three days with each having a considerable new wave of attendees arriving making this years event more popular then ever.
Day 4 (Saturday) concluded with the prestigious and swank Awards Dinner were 470 gathered to celebrate the success of both the trade and photographers who received recognition for their achievements in 2013.
The evening commenced with the Trade Awards, 12 categories with the finalists and winners being decided through a voting system in the latter part of 2013. With in excess of 7,500 votes being placed across the various categories competition for the top prizes was fierce.
The glittering Awards Night was presented by Maggie Philbin is a television and radio presenter whose credits include Tomorrow's World and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and the Societies own Juliet Jones MD.
Following a sumptuous meal the Photographer of the Year presentations commenced.
With over 13,877 images entered over the 30+ categories plus awards for the 20” x 16” and forum competitions many walked away with elegant trophies and terrific prizes which were sponsored by the photographic industry.
Following the Awards Dinner the majority moved to the hotel bars and lounges with the party atmosphere continuing throughout the night, some managing to keep going until day break the following day, yet remarkably all seemed to be back at their duties on the Sunday.
The Convention’s final day saw leading USA photographer Clay Blackmore present his full day programme on ‘How to Photograph Everyone’. Clay being One of Canon’s Explorers of Light and a member of the elite Cameracraftsmen group captivated his audience and providing a fitting end to a fabulous event.
And finally, the attendance of 14.000 throughout the event ensured that this year was a massive success for all. Many attendees had travel considerable distances with an exceptional increase on photographers from all European countries being present and many attending from elsewhere.
The Societies staff arrived back in the North Wales HQ tired yet elated and ready to start all over again on the 2015 Convention.
Look forward to seeing you there
Phil Jones The Societies CEO
All bookings are final. We reserve the right to change speakers and exhibitors without notice.
2015 Societies Convention and Trade Show at The Hilton London Metropole Hotel ...
You have 132 days to book for the 2015 Convention Wednesday 14th January 2015
Convention testimonials Thank you very much for letting me take part in this year’s SWPP Conference. I had a fantastic time and learnt much whilst assisting in the programme of events. Steve Broadley
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What our members say
Why I like the Societies: There is a bottomless mine of help and information here at SWPP. I would often be lost without it! - Kevin H
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Photo Quote: I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term -- meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching -- there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster. - Ansel Adams