Speaking at the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference

Last weekend, I was very fortunate to get to speak at the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference in Ft. Worth Texas, and I have to say—I had an outstanding time. I met so many great people, plus I got to share the stage with two photographers I consider to be among the best: Bill Fortney and Jeremy Cowart. (Photo above by Stanley Leary)

An Amazing Opportunity for Students
They offer a student conference the day before, aimed at College students, and what a great program they put together. I went early to be a part of the Student Conference, and along with instructor Bill Bangham (heck of a nice guy) we took a group of five students to the Stockyard area of downtown Ft. Worth for a 2 hour photo walk. I had been to the Stockyards 10 years ago, without a camera, so it was fun to get to finally shoot it (some of my shots from the photo walk are shown in the Lightroom Grid above, and below—click on them for a much larger view). Our students were awesome, and I enjoyed getting the chance to teach one of the students how to shoot her first HDR photo.

I started the Photo Walk just kind of shooting anything, and then with only about 20 minutes left, I decided to give myself a practice assignment of shooting as if I was shooting for the Ft. Worth Visitor’s Bureau, trying to get images that capture the flavor of the Stockyards. I didn’t have enough shots of people at that point, but having a goal, an assignment like that, actually made that last 20 minutes more fun (and it made it absolutely fly by).

Here’s an HDR shot (above) taken inside a wonderful little boot shop we came across called the “Ponder boot company.” Amazing place, and the owners were kind enough to let our students shoot there as long as they liked. The image was processed using Photoshop CS5’s built-in HDR Pro, and then I hit it with the Tonal Contrast preset found in Nik Software’s Color Efex 3.0.

After we got back, we worked on the post processing for a few hours, and the students edited the photos down to just a few they would display to the entire group during the full conference. I got to spend some one-on-one time with the students in my group helping them with the post processing, and it was so cool to see them getting into it like they did. I was really glad I came a day early.

(Above: That’s Bill Bangham in the Ponder Boot Company store).

The Business Side of Things
On Friday night I did a presentation on the state of our industry, and what we can do to stay competitive, get an edge, and keep working in an industry with greatly increased competition and clients with very tight budgets. The crowd was really receptive, and I had lots of questions afterward.

Photoshop Time
On Saturday morning, I did a class on my current “Photoshop Seven Point System” for CS5 and we had a ball. What a terrific crowd to present to. Afterward I did a few one-on-one portfolio reviews (as seen above. (Photo above by Stanley Leary ), and before I knew it, I was on my way to the airport for my flight back home.

(Above: This shot was taken at our lunch stop—The Love Shack (Love baby, that’s where it’s at). Awesome place. Great live music, even at lunchtime).

I Was Really Impressed
The conference is coordinated by the Southern Baptist Photojournalists, with support from Christians in Photojournalism, and it was hosted at a beautiful conference center on the campus of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I have to say, they absolutely put on a first class event. What a great job they’ve done bringing all these people together for such a great learning experience. I met so many really wonderful, really passionate instructors and participants, and I totally see why they get people like Bill and Jeremy (and past instructors like Joe McNally). Highly recommended. Here’s a link to their site in case you want to mark your calendars for next year.

I want to thank my friend and photo assistant Brad Moore for getting me involved in this event (Brad has been going to this conference for years now, and he was there this year as well). Also my personal  thanks to the SWPJC conference team: Stan Leary, Matt Miller, Morris Abernathy, Bill Bangham, Bob Carey and especially Jim Veneman for letting me be a part of their very special event.

P.S. Ashley Landis, one of the students at the conference, posted some B&W shots on her blog of me teaching which I actually like, which is saying somethin’ right there, because as you might already know, I pretty much hate all photos of me. Here’s the link.

  1. Scott, I joined the Christian Photographers of America. Gary Fong told me he saw you but never got a chance to talk to you! Would like to make that meeting one year!

      1. Ken,thanks for the advice but I live in Ireland, if only Scott would come over I’d have a pint or two of the black stuff waiting for him.cheers. PS kudos for the first posts

  2. Hey Scott,
    Great post. I’ve never even been to the stockyards in FW. I live less than 200 miles away too. Heck I could even take a train from OKC TO FW to do it. Does this sound like a road/rail trip?
    Have a great weekend. I’m up early to go on this Biology trip to South Texas right now. I get to play Moose for the next week photographing birds & wildlife. My goal is to get some great Whooping Crane shots.
    See ya,

  3. I was at the conference. I wanted to say thanks from everyone there I know all the students loved getting to work with you. I was happy to get the few Hints from you while at the stockyards and then the Talk on the blogs has pushed me to start that back up again. I also spoke to you about the book I won that I haven’t received and you told me to post something on here and you would let me know what I need to do so I am doing that also. Thanks for everything you have done in the education of us young group I hope to one day meet again.

  4. Hey Scott,

    Thanks for sharing your adventure to Ft. Worth. What a fantastic opportunity for these Kids to get to listen to you and get pumped up! Sound like you had a wonderful time as well! Love the HDR of the Ponder Boot Company!

    Have a Great Weekend!


    1. Oh, BTW … you just have to Love Tonal Contrast in CEP 3! I took a HDR Class from Jason Odell here in Denver a few weeks ago and he turned me on to Tonal Contrast … wow just a super plug-in! Also, I was watching Moose Peterson’s “Romancing the Landscape Part 2” on Kelby Training yesterday, and he uses Tonal Contrast a lot also! In my opinion, Tonal Contrast in its self is worth the cost of CEP 3.


  5. Scott, I really liked your recounting on your day with the college kids, and doing the one-on-one sessions with them. I’m sure that they will remember that forever. Bet you created some future NAPP members,as well!

    Now, there is one question to be asked. When you went to the Love Shack, did you take all the kids there in your Chrysler? I heard it’s as big as a whale and seats about 20. I’m sure the whole Shack was shimmying…… :D


  6. Hey Scott, I was at the conference this weekend I’m sure you probably don’t remember from all the different people you met, but I talked to you after your talk on the first night I am the Photo Chief at the Texas A&M newspaper. I just wanted to say I went home and purchased one month of kelby training to take my photoshop ablitlies to the next level and I am learning so many different things its awesome.

    Also Brad’s concert photography was freaking awesome that guy is talented, what a sweet two minute video he had so legit.

  7. Fort Worth is one of the hidden gems among great American Cities. I wish I had picked up on the fact that you were in town. I would have thrown off the monster work load for a day and made the trek over from Abilene to stalk you down for a handshake. Hope you had a great time and can make it back again soon.

  8. We really enjoyed having you at Southwestern. Your teaching sessions were very informative and I, for one, a videographer (shhh, don’t tell anyone), learned so much about processing still images from you in your second session. Ponder Boot is a great place … there aren’t many left like it.

  9. Scott,

    I can’t help but like the portrait of the old guy in the boot shop. The other images are wonderful too. Thanks for being part of the Southwestern. It was great working with you. I look forward to doing so again sometime.


  10. Darn, wish I’d known you were in town. I work in Fort Worth and would have rearranged my schedule to have heard you speak. Scott you should come back to Fort Worth and do another photo walk. There are a ton of us here who would sign up and then take you to some fabulous places to eat.

  11. I loved being a part of your group at the conference!! Thanks so much for all your tips and advice. I am thrilled you were able to come and share all your amazing knowledge – it’s really changing a lot of my work for the better! Hope to see you at the conference next year!

  12. I am very new to photography and came across your blog. Outstanding! THe HBR shot inside the boot company is phenomenal! I love the composition and the color. You have inspired me.

  13. Scott

    We all enjoyed your time there. We all learned something.

    We hope you will come again. We also like your great assistant Brad Moore. A few of us noticed how much the two of you have similar mannerisms.

    Thanks for taking the time to come to Fort Worth.

  14. Scott,

    I’ve gone to SWPJC every year but one and your presentation ranks as one of the best throughout the years. As I said to you there, I really enjoyed all you had to say, but I was most impressed with you as a person! BTW you will be hard pressed to find a better friend to have in your life than Bill Bangham. Rumor has it he can set you up with a mean cup of coffee as well. Hope our paths cross again.

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