At the end of 2016, I joined The Wedding and Portrait Society. Every year they hold their biggest
and most popular event known as Portrait Palooza. SO, what is Portrait Palooza you ask? Well, it's a timed
competition where you literally go in blind. You have 10 minutes to decide your portrait, set up your lights
and shoot. You are assigned a time slot, a model and have 48 hours to edit and submit 2 commercial quality
images. The venue changes from year to year as well as the vendors etc... I WANTED TO GO!!!
So the event date finally was set. March 28,2017..... The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC... It's on.....
The closer the date came the more I started to chicken out. Let's face it... I'm not good with models.
I don't care for posed shots. It's just really like, not my thing. I am more of a photojournalistic photographer.
I like to sit back and catch life and moments as they happen. I almost didn't go. As a matter of fact,
I waited literally until the day before until I registered. There was no turning back now.
I arrived at the Carolina Inn about 10 minutes before the event was supposed to start. We were
allowed to scope out the venue beforehand to pick out our locations ( of course, I am kicking
myself at this point that I didn't arrive a little earlier ). I scrambled as quick as I could to pick my
two locations and stuck to the first floor. I finally decided on the fabulous hallway with
lots of windows with natural light and the main lobby with the grand piano. Going into
this I knew the hallway would be a challenge. Not so much to photograph there, but more
like EVERYONE is going to shoot there. I mean, how can they not? The windows, the perfect
checkerboard floor, the leading lines. It was grand, A new panic started to take over.
What if they have the same idea as me? The butterflies were going strong but at last it was time
to go to the holding area.
7:15 P.M. This was my assigned time. I'm thinking great, and hour and fifteen minutes to
worry, to panic. SO many things were racing through my brain. I sat there at the table
alone thinking. And then it happened, my time slot had arrived. It had to have been the quickest
hour and fifteen minutes of my life. It's here, it's time. I grabbed my light and another photographer
there ( nice enough to be a mobile light stand for me ). I met my model and proctor and
off we went. I started in the hallway. All the dread to my surprise immediately began to dissipate.
It was simple really, I got out there and just had a good time. We spent about 5 minutes in that
hallway which felt like an eternity. We then headed off to the main lobby. This ended up
being more of a challenge than I anticipated. There were hotel guests coming and going and
I encountered a problem I wasn't really thinking about. I had to change my lens. It was tight in there.
I had to bring out my wide angle lens. While I love this lens for landscapes and scenes, I absolutely HATE
photographing people with it. But, I had no choice. I had no back up plan.
My 10 minutes were up. We headed back to the holding area. I did it. I was done.
All and all I am glad I went. It was totally out of my comfort zone. I am super socially awkward and
introverted and knew no one else there with the exception of one other photographer
( which I had only met a time or two before that ).I almost didn't go.
After I arrived home, I imported all my photos and started the excruciating task of trying
to pick two. TWO..... I can only pick two! How am I supposed to decide on only two?! I like them all!!!
I narrowed it down to 4 and started the editing process. Great, edited I like them even more.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PICK TWO!!!!!!!! I can't do this I thought so I put them up for a vote,
I let the people decide.. I submitted my entries. Two weeks fly by and the winner is finally announced
on the website. I see the post on facebook, and, it's not my photo. Instantly bummed I didn't even read the
post at first. Eventually my curiosity couldn't let me go about my day until I read that darn post.
To my surprise, there is my name and photo. I came in second.... I'll take second. You always
enter into things with the hope that you will win. I wanted to win. But honestly I never imagined I
actually would or that I would place at all. The competition was fierce. I was a small fish in a big
pond with people who had done this before. Up against seasoned veterans and here I am
a newbie. But I did it. I took home second place and I am truly happy and grateful for that.
Wedding and Portrait Society, Second Place 2017 Portrait Palooza