April 16, 2016
Shutterfest 2016 | Montreal Photographer
Shutterfest 2016 opening session at Union Station Hotel

It’s always a pleasure to meet old friends who share your passions – both for photography and for business.  As a Montreal photographer, it’s a fabulous opportunity to catch up with what’s happening in the industry.  At a conference like this, you get to rub shoulders with some of the top speakers and educators in the industry. And I wouldn’t miss out at any cost.

Shutterfest 2016 opening session at Union Station Hotel by Montreal photographer

Sal shooting his famous t-shirt canon into the audience – a Shutterfest tradition 🙂

Shutterfest 2016 opening session at Union Station Hotel by Montreal photographer

A few shots from the hands on shoots I did. Since I didn’t bring much photography gear with me due to a back injury, I only took a handful of shots this year as opposed to last year, when I had my entire arsenal with me.

Bambi Cantrell's hands-on glamour shoot by Montreal photographerBride getting ready by Montreal photographerBambi Cantrell's hands-on glamour shoot by Montreal photographer

People that don’t belong to the photography industry might not be aware of the excitement that bubbles and boils over like a witches brew in a cauldron as soon as new dates are announced for the conference.  But this Montreal photographer knows that if the tickets aren’t purchased within the first couple of hours, there’s a slim chance of getting in! 😉 And the countdown begins from Day 365!  Go figure!

I recently joined a photographers’ group run by Paul Pruitt and Melissa Escaro, his fiancée.  I had run into Paul at last year’s Shutterfest.  He spent hours helping me and a couple of photog friends with lights and we all ended up going for dinner, where he helped us with a lot of business and marketing tips.

Paul & Melissa are two of the most generous, kind and helpful people. Paul is a fabulous photographer, author and a really smart businessman having been named to the list of 30 under 30 a few years ago (not for photography, but for being a rockstar real estate business owner with hundreds of employees working for him – this guy has many talents).  Melissa is a sweet, fun, down-to-earth, generous  person who’s a twice published author, life coach and TedEx speaker.  I’ve been one of the many that have been really privileged to receive guidance on my business, branding and techniques over the past few months from these two genuinely kind and giving people.  Plus, I had the honour of being one of the members to receive their jointly published book “Profitographers” as a gift. I carried the book all the way from Montreal to St. Louis, so I could have them autograph it for me during Shutterfest.  I suck at selfies, but I was lucky that Paul has “long selfie arms” (his words, not mine) that I also got to take a selfie with them and later bumped into them again during the 80’s themed party!  Check out their website at http://www.paulpruitt.com.

Paul Pruitt, Melissa Escaro, Toni Chowdhury Montreal Portrait PhotographerShutterfest 2016 party at Union Station Hotel








I arrived a day before the conference started just so I wouldn’t miss out on the opening platform classes, especially when it’s by none else than Sal Cincotta.  In Sal’s words, this is where you go to “get in your learn on!”  Also, the print competition judging was going to take place that day.  It’s a pity I never got to enter any images this time as I was really busy and didn’t have a chance to go through my images to see what could make the cut.  Last year won me a merit award for “Vision” for a stylized glamour session I’d done – pretty proud about that!

There was a massive lineup of speakers – even bigger than last year.  More people than last year.  More vendors at the trade show than last year (I had to keep a tight hand on my wallet because I felt like a kid in a candy store).  More breakout sessions, models, photographers, you name it!  And the awesome part was that it run like a well oiled machine.  Considering this is only the third year since the birth of this conference, it’s pretty neat to see Team Cincotta got all their ducks in a row already.
The day was filled with platform classes by Bambi Cantrell, Moshe Zuzmann, Sal Cincotta and numerous hands-on sessions by Bambi Cantrell, Lou Freeman (she used to be a Playboy photographer, but now does glamour headshots and fashion for celebrities and magazines),

Bambi Cantrell's hands-on glamour shoot by Montreal photographerMoshe Zusman hands-on class Shutterfest 2016 by Montreal photographer




It’s a fantastic community out there.  People work hard at honing their craft and these amazing educators hold nothing back from their students.  It’s the giving, nurturing and empowering environment that draws me back to the conference year after year.  I’m proud to be one of the only Montreal photographer to be part of the first alumni. I love what this conference means to me and the thousands of other attendees.  It’s a life changing experience because each year I return home inspired and rejuvenated.  This is especially welcome after the slow winter months in my business.  It’s amazing to see the veterans come up with new techniques and ideas for their imagery.  The whole idea is to stay ahead of your game, and they really go to lengths to reinvent their art and themselves as business owners to do that.

The second day was as good as the first.  I trailed Bambi Cantrell around and after the second session she came up to me and asked if I hadn’t gotten sick of her yet. How could I?  She is funny besides being and amazing educator.  Doing a private workshop with her is high on my list of priorities as a Montreal photographer!

Unfortunately, I don’t have many decent photos this time as I couldn’t bring most of my gear with me due to a back injury. I have only a handful of decent shots from a single hands-on session I attended during the conference. I’ll post them soon!

SF is nothing without a party!  And this year it was an eighties-themed one. There was a band that rocked the hotel lobby and the audience.  It was fantastic!  Great times had by all… and looking forward to a great year ahead!

Shutterfest 2016 party at Union Station Hotel by Montreal photographer

Shutterfest 2016 party at Union Station Hotel by Montreal photographer







You can find my review on Shutterfest 2015 here.