Wedding and Portrait Photography International Convention

Every year I make a trip to Las Vegas (not a place I would go otherwise) to the Wedding and Portrait Photography International (WPPI) convention.  WPPI attracts about 20,000 of the world’s best wedding and portrait photographers.  The convention offers large platform classes, small master’s classes and a sprawling tradeshow.

The first stop I made after arriving at the MGM Grand was to see Sal Cincotta.  Sal is fantastic photographer with a TON of energy.  Day two was a highlight of the trip including Roberto Vanelzuela’s talk on posing.  Roberto WPPI2014began by describing the problem with posing we are too focused on what looks good, rather than what does this communicate. “Look at posing like a language” said Roberto.  I couldn’t agree more and highly recommend his book Picture Perfect Posing!!  That evening I had wine and chocolate with the people form Shoot Dot Edit at a patio suite with a view of the Las Vegas Strip.

Day three included an emotional presentation by Elizabeth Messina.  Elizabeth is a gem in this industry.  She is talented, humble, kind and genuine.  Her new book The Silver Lining grew out of a personal project of photographing a friend of hers through her battle with breast cancer. Elizabeth’s advice to us in the audience included “learn who you are.”  So many stories Elizabeth shared were worthy of a presentation of their own.  That afternoon, I headed over to the Two Bright Lights booth for an appearance.  I met many wonderful people, excited to see The New Art of Capturing Love.

WPPILasVegasEvery year, I swing through Kevin Kubota’s Photographers Ignite for a quick dose of  5 min. presentations on various topics.  The show never disappoints!  My final day included another platform on posing by Lindsay Adler.  Lindsay opened the presentation saying “The most important part [of a portrait] is expression.”  And with that I was hooked on a presentation of techniques for enhancing clients physical strengths.

Reluctantly, I left before the convention ended.  I got home at 2 am on Thursday morning, just 1 hour before my husband left for his winter convention trip.  Luckily, my flight was not delayed, so my kids had a ride to school.

It was a whirlwind of a trip, from which I am still in many ways recovering and absorbing the information presented.  I do enjoy this convention; every year I learn something new, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s!



Our Relationship to Sugar

Our Relationship to Sugar

I have spent much of this month noticing, reading and photographing sugar in various forms.  Spring has been very late this year and we still haven’t really seen the maple sap begin to flow, although our trees have been tapped for 3 weeks.  On March 11, we had a seasonable warm day where it hit about 50 degrees, the minimum honeybees need to fly, I looked out the window and saw bees flying around their hive.  I was thrilled!HoneyBeeNH

On a warm Spring day honey bees will emerge from their hive for a “cleansing flight” which is a polite way of saying they need to defecate.  Like most of the natural world, bees don’t poop where they live.  In New Hampshire where it has not hit 50 degrees since October, these bees have actually waited 6 months for a bathroom break.  How do they do that?  I’m guessing when you expend so much energy shivering to heat an uninsulated hive, there isn’t a lot of waste product.  Nevertheless, the line between survival and death for a New Hampshire honeybee hive is very thin. So thin that between the two hives we went into winter with, only one survived.

When the bees are flying it also means they are burning calories, which means it’s a beekeepers job to make sure they have enough food.  Beekeeping is a form of “insect husbandry” we are stewards to the bees but we are also cultivators.  In any kind of cultivation there is a form of manipulation.  We manipulate the bees to live in a man-made, wooden hive, that is easy for us to manage, inspect and collect their honey.  We manipulate the bees to live off of the least amount of their own honey as possible, by feeding them sugar water, fondant (essential frosting for bees) and pollen patties (frosting with imitation pollen).  We trick the bees into staying in their hive by managing their “swarm cells” (the hive can make a new queen when the population is thriving to split themselves to propagate).  We care for the bees by managing and often treating for diseases and pests.  Inevitably, we like our bees, although they don’t show affection like other livestock.

3.31.14_sugar-004The worker bees life span is only 6 weeks during the summer season.  Over winter they actually live longer, because they are not working as hard.  During the summer months the worker bee will fly miles/day gathering pollen and nectar that eventually their wings begin to tear.  I am reminded of Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire.  “Design in nature is but a concatenation of accidents, culled by natural selection until the result is so beautiful or effective as to seem a miracle of purpose.”  Is it purely coincidence that sugar has driven both bees (and humans) to such lengths?  Or is it a “miracle of purpose.”  During our current obesity and diabetes epidemic, the world’s richest and most powerful nations are being killed by sugar – just like those worker bees.  And yet our government subsidizes its production.  And we consume it. EvolutionOfSugarNH

I plan on spending the next month trying different angles of photographing my relationship to sugar.


The Perfect Profile Photo

I just read this interesting article on PhotoFeeler. They did a [somewhat] scientific survey to try and isolate the characteristics of a good profile photo. Some of this should be taken with a grain of salt as these findings are not empirical, but they are interesting. I do certainly believe in the power and importance of a ‘good’ and consistent profile photo across all platforms. So check out PhotoFeeler’s advice below.
The Perfect Profile Photo Infographic

Becoming a family

Becoming a family

I can’t say it enough, it is a true joy to watch a couple become a family. I photographed Nate and Stephanie’s wedding in 2011 when I was pregnant with my second little girl. Now, Nate and Stephanie have a little boy of their own, Oliver. I am so excited for them and hope to be this family’s photographer for many years to come.


This baby has a blue steel look! I actually think he was about to sneeze, but I love it none the less.

NH Family Portrait NHPhotography NHBabyPictures

The Importance of Portraits

We all know how precious family is, but it is emails like this that make me appreciate the gift and power of family portraits.

“Hi Thea,

This past October you took pictures of my family at the Armont Inn, NH. This was where my in-laws had taken their picture 64 years ago at the very same spot. I purchased all the pictures from you because there were just so many that I needed and wanted to share with my husband’s whole family. This Christmas I gave out large gallery block portraits of my in-laws to them and each of my husband’s siblings. I also had smaller ones made for the younger generation including my son so they had the same pictures of their grandparents. NHFamilyPortraitI wanted to show you how they turned out. I was able to include the original picture of them which made this even more special. I cannot tell you how much joy these pictures have brought to our whole family. My mother-in-law shows every person that walks in the door as do we.

Three days ago my father-in-law passed away. I cannot express to you how happy I am that we were able to do this on his very last summer spent in NH. Every person that has walked through our door over the last few days have admired the pictures with joy, love and tears.

I just want to thank you again for your beautiful pictures and memories that will last the rest of our lives!”

Thank you,
Tracy Tucker and the whole Tucker family

 I am truly touched.