March 28, 2016
Shutterfest 2015 | Montreal Portrait Photographer
Bambi Cantrell's platform class

The Photography Conference Where You Shoot. Learn. Party. Review by Montreal Portrait Photographer

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

It’s well known that creatives are really bad at doing business.  As a portrait photographer, I’m not an exception, even though I hail from a family of entrepreneurs, and my father is by far one of the most enterprising men I’ve seen (besides Salvatore Cincotta of course, who’s just Sal to me)!  More about Sal in a bit, but coming back to education – every year, I take a number of online workshops to improve both my technical skills as a portrait photographer as well as my business skills.  But as gathering knowledge in a virtual environment isn’t always the best method, it sticks with me for a bit, and then it’s virtually gone (no pun intended here).

Sal Cincotta with Toni Chowdhury

The man behind Shutterfest – Sal Cincotta

That’s where Shutterfest, one of the biggest and best photography conferences in North America (or, maybe even the world), came in!  I was introduced to the idea of a photography conference/trade show that would follow the principles of shoot, learn, party!  I’m not a big party person, but shoot and learn resonated with me so much, I was very interested.  But since this idea came from none other than Sal, whose hands-on workshop I was attending at that moment, I knew it would be epic!  Because nothing that this man does, is short of epic!  I had just made friends with 9 other amazing photographers, and we all agreed we’d attend.

Shutterfest 2015 attendees

Shutterfest 2015 tradeshow area

Shutterfest 2015 speakers by Montreal portrait photographer

 

 

 

 

 

Attendees at Shutterfest 2015 by Montreal portrait photographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure enough, within a few months, Sal announced the first Shutterfest!  Since I was on an alumni list, having participated in one of Sal’s workshops, I got an earlybird email, and boy did I fly to book my seat!  Later I found out that the early bird really gets the worm, because the event of 500 people sold out in hours, and then the host hotel sold out as fast!  Thus, Shutterfest was born and so were Shutterfesters!

I’m proud to be one of the first, and I feel so lucky for being a part of this huge network of wedding and portrait photographer who laugh with you and celebrate your wins, and lend a shoulder to cry on and reach out with encouragement and great ideas, when you think you’re failing.  Sal makes sure it’s a nurturing environment within the group and will not tolerate nonsense at any cost.

In 2014, as Shutterfest debuted, I was there sponging up every little drop of knowledge that was passed down.  I was amazed by the commitment and generosity of all the educators – the commitment of time, energy and the sheer amounts of knowledge they were willing to share.  What was even more exciting were the hands-on classes.  True to the spirit of shoot, learn, party, we were given opportunities to work with models and go out and put our learning to work and build our portfolios.  It was an amazing experience for me as a portrait photographer – an experience that really made my portfolio look so much better!

Here are a few images from 2014:

Gorgeous teenaged girl in prom gown by Montreal portrait photographerGorgeous teenaged girl in prom gown by Montreal portrait photographerGorgeous teenaged girl in prom gown in horse carriage by Montreal portrait photographer

Shutterfest 2015 was a bigger hit with close to 2000 attendees.  I wanted to give something back to the community that had given me so much.  I chose to volunteer.  Made more friends, and had so much fun.  I was originally mandated to be the event photographer, but since one of the volunteers had to cancel in the last minute, I ended up assisting William Innes – an award winning wedding and portrait photographer whose work you’ll find on most of the Panasonic Lumix ads as he’s sponsored by Panasonic!  A fellow Canadian, he was amazing to be around – such a down to earth, kind and gentle person.  His brilliant photography was of course a given!  I also ended up meeting Dave Cross, another fellow Canadian and a Photoshop guru.

William Innes teaching students at Shutterfest with Michael AnthonyWilliam Innes teaching students at Shutterfest with Michael Anthony

 

 

 

 

 

 

The woman that got me interested in portraiture is Bambi Cantrell. She’s one of the first women photographers to battle it out in a male-dominated industry back in the day.  She’s brilliant, she’s funny, she’s another award-winning portrait photographer, and she’s a fabulous educator.  If she hadn’t broken down portraiture into posing and lighting for me really early on, I don’t think I would have been able to get into it at all, despite my friend’s urging me to do so.  I was quite the novice 4 years ago, and this woman taught me most of what I know today.

Bambi Cantrell's platform class

So many beautiful models – look at this adorable little girl! She was changed, and made over a number of times through the day… and yet she was patient, poised and ever smiling!  Passion for modelling came to her at an early age.  I would love to see where this takes her.

Young model with butterflies in her hair Young model with butterflies in her hair at Shutterfest 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all must keep learning.  And the opportunity to attend this conference every year is exciting and inspiring as I listen to the industry leaders and follow their suggestions on how to improve my craft and business skills.  Since I volunteered, I got to join the other volunteers for a tour of Salvatore Cincotta Photography studios and was invited to a very special brunch with the Cincottas. Sal’s hospitality and amazing people skills are unmatched!  He isn’t one of the top photographers and businessmen for nothing! Check out his work at http://salcincotta.com.

Here are some images I got from Shutterfest 2015:

Gorgeous model in antique elevator - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer Gorgeous redhead in flowing halter dress - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer

Gorgeous model in rail yard at Union Station hotel in St. Louis - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gorgeous model in rail yard at Union Station hotel in St. Louis - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer

Marilyn Monroe style blowing dress a gorgeous model in rail yard at Union Station hotel in St. Louis - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer Gorgeous model in rail yard at Union Station hotel in St. Louis - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer Gorgeous actress at Union Station hotel in St. Louis - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer Gorgeous actress at Union Station hotel in St. Louis - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer Gorgeous actress at Union Station hotel in St. Louis - fashion shoot by Montreal portrait photographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion shoot at Shutterfest with Craig Lamere

If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned for the next review as I bring back more news about Shutterfest 2016.  Learning should be a lifelong activity and I intend to keep it that way.

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