PhotoLUSH | Bellingham Professional Photography Conference

Several years ago, Clinton of Clinton James Photography and I (Aaron) went to Vegas for a huge (like 14,000 photographers gathered) wedding and portrait photographers gathering to learn and get inspired.  It was a great trip, but it was travelling home that was the kicker.  With some time to kill and considering the amazing talent and knowledge we have right here at home in the Pacific Northwest, we thought… What would it look like to utilize our amazing community here at home to inspire and grow together?  And we took some notes, landed and went home to rest.

Fast forward a fews years to the 1st of January and Clint said to me “Aaron, I think this is the year!”  And with little hesitation we connected and  jumped in with both feet.

And PhotoLUSH was born!!

We had a big vision and little time!  About 9 weeks actually, eeks!  It was amazing to watch as the community caught on to the vision and jumped on board!  We definitely volunteered some people that didn’t feel ready to put themselves out there as teachers, but everyone did absolutely amazing.  It blew us away!!  We chose a date, started to nail down venues (Meg and Lyle Jansma were key to that) and of course the next step was a promo video!  So Brian from Willowcraft Media jumped right in to help out!!  You should seriously watch this if you haven’t!  P.S. the video is about “photography”, of course.

Martin Waidelich did an amazing job on our press release and it paid off  - here was a feature in the Visual section of the Cascadia Weekly!

You’ll see plenty of shout outs along the way but the rest was weeks of hard work from so many people!!  And an absolute blast!! Thank you to all who contributed to make this idea happen!

Setting up the Depot Market Square for Friday evenings sessions and of course the VIP Party!

We couldn’t believe the awesome response.  We had nearly 80 photographers come together.  How cool is that?

A part of Friday evenings festivities was a Photo Salon in which all the participants brought a print that represented them as photographers.  It was pretty great to see the talent that was represented in the room!

Tiffany Burke was the emcee for the weekend! She also gave an opening keynote that was both hilarious and inspirational!

Brian Russell talked about ‘Planning for the Story’.  Giving us fresh perspective from a cinematographer!

The Popes and Alante Photography shared about ‘In Person Sales’ and how they use it to take great care of their clients!

Friday evening concluded with a VIP Party and it was awesome!  Local wedding vendors were invited to join us photographers and mingle!

Thanks to the following businesses for helping make the party happen!

Audio Innovations, Ever After Events, Bellingham Wedding and Events, FlashMe Photo Booth

– DAY 2 –

Saturday morning found us at the Heritage Flight Museum!

Thanks to Tied Bow Events for helping set up and tear down on Saturday!  Did you even know a company like this existed? Check them out!!

Meg and I (Evantide Photography) kicked off the learning by talking about ‘Client Communication, Expectations and Agreements’.

The next three presenters were so inspirational!!

Rachel Vos talked about taking a year to focus on her craft and do just personal projects, she seriously got so many rave reviews!!

Next Josh Durias and Karlyn of Anda Photography presented about their experiences working with organizations in a way that inspired donors to help those in need around the world.  Whether it’s money for clean water, food or schools –  it really was inspiring to know that we can use our craft to better the world we share!

Clint (Clinton James Photography) was the ‘organizer galore’ – ‘the big kahuna’ – ‘the clipboard holder’ – ‘the time keeper’ – the man of many  hats!  Thanks Clinton!!

Before the lunch break, we wanted to get a group shot of all the participants… So of course Lyle Jansma hopped in a helicopter to get the shot from above.  I’m assuming this is the correct caption for this photos:-)

“No, I’m serious… All of the photographers are just waiting for me. Just tell the tower we want to get the helicopter in the air really quick. I just want to take their photo. This shouldn’t be a problem, should it?”

Yep, taken from a helicopter!  What an event.  Thanks Lyle!

Nicole of Medcalf Photography chatted with us about ‘High Speed Sync’.

Evan from Marlys Bourm CPA worked through some of what we need to be thinking about from a tax and money perspective.

Al Sanders from Quicksilver shared about color management.  We all tried to follow, I promise:-).


We had a fun time shooting with models, planes and interesting lighting!  I didn’t end up being a part of a group but it was fun to watch everyone explore and learn about new ways to use light!

Thanks again to Heritage Flight Museum, Tart Beauty and Black Market Boutique for all the help with the shoots!

Nicole, Kaila, and Jeff each offered different lighting techniques at three different stations.

Oh Lyle, and we really wanted this shot in our portfolio:-).

One of these models is not like the others!  (Hint – upper left – he’s wearing a blue sweater…ok – it’s me)

Instagram’ing, of course!  Devon Michelle was our furthest traveller coming all the way from Tacoma!  She was a huge help in set up and overall support of the event!

Lyle shared about light painting for our final class of PhotoLUSH.

We finished strong with LUSH’ies.  These were award winners from the Friday evening Print Salon.

A light painted WWII warbird!

Wow, What an event!!  In what is supposed to be a down economy with a “saturated and competitive” market.  Our photography community does the outrageous and the awesome!  We support, nurture and care for each other in a way that is going to raise the bar for not only us but the broader photography community!

Rolling credits:  Thanks to the following companies for the great giveaways and support!




White House Custom Colour

Think Tank

Damian Vines - March 17, 2013 - 9:10 pm

Great post Aaron! Such a wonderful event :-)

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