Portrait Winners!!

Oh what the heck- Ill post this before I leave for the airport. Here there are- the top portrait photos!!

Let me say this…All the honorable mentions are there for a reason, in this case you can see there are more than 5. Any honorable mention is there because it was extremely close to being a top 5 image but there may have been one or two very things that the winners did have. I will pick on the picture of the girl on the far right. I thought this was an extremely awesome portrait, in fact, hanging on the wall of any home, it is fabulous! The reason it didn’t place (and it would have been in the top 3) is because it is just a little too soft (in terms of focus), and that was it. The top 4 were perfect in terms of sharpness, especially in the eyes.

Congratulations to the top winners!

1- Shannon Morgan
2- Scott Roeben
3. Carol Call
4. Zack Baker
5. Leif Cole

Honorable Mentions- Mike Cruz, Kathy Simmons, Ron Payne, Pamela Smette, Melynda Bean, Mark Eisele, Heather Jennings, Rebecca Payne

Day 230 – A HUGE Thank You!!

I know it hasnt entirely hit yet, but I am feeling a deep sense of gratitude to everyone who contributed to helping me to complete this trip. I would have to say, most of the credit has to go to the hosts who stepped up and volunteered. I was talking with my good friend Mike Madsen about this tonight, I really dont think any of it would have been possible without the hosts. Every single one of you was absolutely phenomenal and I couldnt have asked for anything more in terms of planning. I was so impressed that you were willing and able to do this and make it happen, even though we had never met.

I am equally thankful and grateful to everyone who could make it to the workshops. Your interest and enthusiasm, as well as meeting you in person, and watching you learn, grow, and get excited the way you did has proven to me that what I am doing with my life is important and valuable. Its extremely rewarding for me to know that I am helping others and making a difference.

There were also several people who helped with various logistics. Mike and Adam both drove up from Alabama to shoot the 3 days at Nashville, Leah stepped up big time for the mock bridal shoot.

Lastly, I want to say thank you to everyone who supports me, even if you weren’t able to attend a workshop. We had an amazing turn out on the contest, ~250 images, an amazing amount of support on the blog, forum and facebook. I received many emails from many people just wishing me well and success on the trip- you will never understand how all these little pieces of encouragement kept me going and you all mean so much to me.

I think the absolute best part of the trip was meeting and working with everyone face to face. I feel like I have 80+ new friends. 🙂

Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you is extremely powerful and I am more aware of this than I ever have been. Do not underestimate it for yourself as well. Find those who believe in you and in return, believe in them. Everyone will win this way.

4 months, 23 Workshop days, 80+ attendees, 22,000 Miles by car alone, 1 DVD Finished, portions of 5 more DVDs were shot on the trip and are in the works. I also have a mess (about 25) of shorter videos I havent even gotten around to editing yet – shot at different landmarks all over the country.

A day of rest and then back to Vegas and on to Mesa!

For tonight’s 365, I wanted to try to convey what I am feeling, even though it hasn’t entirely hit:I know many of you are wondering what the deal is with the photography contest. We have the 10 finalists for each category and will be opening a vote for the number one prize shortly. More to come…Ill try to post wall shots of all the photos tomorrow and explain how the judging went and why it did things the way we did. Crashing for now. 🙂

Wedding Photography Crash Course DVD Session

Wow…what an amazing time we had today on the first day of the Michael Andrew Nashville, Tennessee workshop! I have a good friend who lives in Nashville, Tenn- Leah who was just AWESOME. I had been flirting for a few weeks about possibly doing a mock bridal shoot and we had been trying to contact some venues in the area and learned last second (as of last Friday) they were all booked. I thought I would ask Leah for suggestions and long story short, she did ALL of the footwork involved- found the church, the dress, the bouquet, make-up and hair artist, etc.

How last minute was this? Most of the plans were finalized YESTERDAY. I had to make phone calls between flights from Vegas to Nashville, one with me whispering while we were taxi-ing on the tarmac as the plane was pulling away from the gate, just to finalize everything as Leah got all the info. Met with the church this morning to sign the contracts and pay them- right before the day started. I really love the last minute, spontaneous ideas. None of it would have happened without Leah and I am so incredibly thankful for her help. As you can see, she’s a great model too!

A great part of this…the cameras were rolling…ALL DAY! Many of you will be able to see this shoot on the Wedding Photography Crash Course DVD, we are hoping for a December release.

My favorite part of the whole day was near the end of the shoot. We collectively got this idea that every attendee should create their own unique bridal portrait shot and the rest of the group would help bring their creative idea to fruition. It was soooo much fun and I have to say this- the results, of every attendee was nothing less than ASTONISHING. Every one of their pictures was so incredibly good, it was magazine material. I hope I can post more here tomorrow (being that its almost 1am and I need to recharge) 🙂 I am still in awe of how awesome their pictures were, just in the 5-10 minutes each had to work with the group, take charge, tell us what they were thinking and then we all worked together as a team. Man….Im so excited its hard to explain. I love the workshops, to be able to see everyone learning and working together.

We are having a great time- more tomorrow! Wish you were here! 🙂

Day 227 – Micro Lite Panel Continuous Video Light

When it comes to still photography flash lighting, Speedlites are the way to go.

However… Ive been really needing a solution for some soft fill light when shooting video. If you never shoot video, this probably isnt going to interest you. If you find yourself with a 5DII and are looking to get into more video type shooting. This may interest you. A Micro Lite Panel runs on 4 AA batteries, its LED lights, so they are pretty bright and they even have an adjustable dimmer switch to control power. The shoe adapter is a little flimsy, otherwise I am excited about this.

You can see on the Canon Speedlight DVD that there are times that I dont have quite enough light on my face. I had been using bounce cards, which help…but when Im shooting alone, I need something quick, bright and easy to use. I know a lot of videographers who Micro Light Panels on their video cameras- so I thought I would test this out on the Canon 5DII for video. Ill let you guys know what I think after Ive played with it for a few weeks. 🙂

Just think, its almost 1:30am….I need to get some sleep! :p

Thank you Scott!

Scott, the Host of the Las Vegas workshop sent this to me last night. Thanks so much Scott! Had a great time with you guys yesterday!

Had an interesting day today. Packed went to the airport, booked a Bridal Session for the evening portion of the workshop tomorrow (for Wedding Photography Crash Course), which included getting a dress and getting the church rented between flights. Landed in Nashville ok, but airlines lost one of my bags which had half of my gear in it. Boo. Planning meeting with host and video crew at 10pm, run to Wal-Mart for supplies at 11pm, back to hotel and now doing laundry at 12am.

Im excited and ready to rock and roll.

By the way- final count on the photography contest? 251 entries!! WOW!!