This was my third year attending Project Obscura and my second year speaking at the event. In years past this two-day workshop has been held in Las Vegas around the same time as WPPI. This year was a little different and found this event relocating to Kansas City. What exactly is Project Obscura? It is a photography event like no other. The event itself is purely on a lottery system with only about 2-300 tickets available depending on the year. It is put on and hosted by H & H Color Lab as a way to give back to the photography community while also elevating it through education.
This two-day event starts with 8 hours of hands-on learning. Multiple educators are found at stations with models, unique outfits, and specific topics to help photographers leave the event with better portfolio images. The first year my attitude was “go big or go home”. For that year I connected with Enola Gaye to use hundreds of smoke bombs for senior high school models to create a dramatic look.
This year, with the event indoors, smoke bombs were out of the picture. Instead, I collaborated with a local SCAD designer Daniette to provide dresses for our models. I will say that I don’t know how fashion designers travel because fitting three wedding dresses in luggage for the airplane was comical. For day one the focus was to get the students more comfortable with posing individuals and couples. For many, this was the first time they had worked with models or even clients in over a year.
One of the biggest struggles that I see with wedding photographers is that they get stuck on posing. They will overshoot the same pose so many times, leaving the couple irritated and over the process. The more you as a photographer can practice posing, the better at it you will be. Observe what others do, look at media and magazines for inspiration, and then make it your own.
The second day of Project Obscura is spent in the classroom. This time is more business-focused than photography-focused. I spoke about selling luxury products to your clients. No matter how many times I attend a photo conference the fun is in getting to learn from industry peers. There is always a nugget to take home and it was delightful to see old friends again.