The Background on Skip’s Summer School
The Summer School project started because there was a need for something mid-year to help photographers stay focused, fine tune their skill set and recharge their battery. Over the last three years it’s evolved into one of the leading network builders in the industry. It’s no longer just a workshop of photographers attending to expand their expertise, but a community of people who work to help each other all year long.
Thanks to feedback from hundreds of photographers, Skip’s Summer School has become a hub for education, networking and expanding everyone’s marketing and business skills. This year we’re going to take it to a completely different level and help photographers expand their shooting and marketing skills with a more intense experience. If the last three years was Summer School for the “under-graduate” then this year it’s Graduate School!
We’ve taken the top three requests from attendees on three years of feedback surveys and rolled them all into one program: a more centralized location, more hands-on shooting and more marketing and business. Plus, we’ve added something completely new, a website review of your “about” section and galleries, giving attendees an opportunity to start fine-tuning various aspects of their business and skill set before they even get to Summer School.
This year’s Summer School is about change and helping you raise the bar on the quality of your work, your marketing and your relationships with your clients. A big thanks to Adam Sherwin from RETV for producing this short clip about last summer’s program!
The 2012 Program
Location: We’re moving this year’s program to the Chicago area. Everything will be at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Oakbrook, Illinois. The hotel is just ten miles from O’Hare Airport, making it a short cab or limo ride. Limo service is available for under $30, allowing attendees to share a ride to the destination and split the cost.
Here’s the link to lock in your special Skip’s Summer School discount for the hotel, which will include free WiFi during your stay!
Hands-on Programs: There are currently seven hands-on programs and one two day film-making class to choose from this year. Plus we’ll have at least five general sessions for the entire school focusing on marketing and business. Each attendee can choose two of the seven instructors to spend an entire day with or register for the two day film-making class.
All seven instructors have been chosen because of their teaching expertise. While each instructor demonstrates slightly different specialties or skill sets, they’re part of this year’s Summer School because they’re some of the best teachers in our industry.
NO CLASS WILL EXCEED TWENTY PEOPLE. We want this program to provide you with the tools and information you need to expand your skill set as both a photographer and business person. You can only do that if you have the opportunity to really get to know the instructor, build relationships with other members of the class and have the time to practice, practice, practice.
Hands-on Shooting: Each instructor will be sharing ideas on a wide variety of photographic situations. The Doubletree Hilton offers some terrific diversity in shooting situations both indoor and out. We’ll be providing models for each class and utilizing a diverse collection of different challenges in hands-on shooting. Keeping the class size small will allow each attendee time with their instructors and the ability to build stronger relationships.
Film-Making: Thanks to the advancement of technology, every photographer today has the ability to produce video, both as a service to your clients and a marketing tool on your website. In this two-day program, film producers Ross Hockrow and Jeff Medford will help you build the skill set to produce your own promotional video. Story-telling in video is completely different than creating an album for a client. You’ll learn the techniques you need to tell your story and in turn capture and create the stories for your clients. Helping to make the class even more effective in such a short period of time, the MAC Group will be providing the most necessary video accessories, giving attendees the opportunity to learn on the best equipment.
Note: Most of the equipment used in the class will be available for purchase at the conclusion of the program at dramatically discounted prices.
Program Costs: The cost for this year’s Summer School is $499. Your tuition includes:
- Website review of your About section and galleries, including suggestions on more effective copy for the marketing bio.
- Two days of hands-on intensive shooting with the instructors you choose.
- All-School programs starting Sunday, August 5 and ending at noon on August 8.
- Lunch on August 6 and 7.
- Discounted registration to WPPI 2013. Summer school attendees will receive a special WPPI full registration cost of just $75 for WPPI 2013 in Las Vegas.
Alumni Discount: Enter “Alumni” and the most recent year you attended Summer School and receive a $100 discount if you register before May 1, 2012. For example, attendees to Summer School 2011 would enter “Alumni2011” in the discount box.
All hotel, transportation, meals and expenses other than those listed are not included in tuition.
Agenda and Schedule for 2012
Please note: Each attendee will be receiving the final schedule with room assignments and times for each program two weeks prior to arriving.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
3:00 pm Registration Opens for Badge Pick-up
3:00 – 7:30 Mini-trade Show
7:30 – 8:00 Skip Cohen: Welcome and Overview
8:00 – 10:00 Melissa Ghionis: Customer Service – The Secret Weapon for Great Marketing
Monday, August 6
8:30 – 12:00 Hands-on Intensive with first selected instructor
12:00 – 1:30 Lunch and Panel Discussion: Vendors In Your Network
12:00 – 2:00 Vendor Exhibit Hours
2:00 – 5:30 Continued Hands-on Intensive with first selected instructor
5:00 – 7:30 Vendor Exhibit Hours
8:00 – 10:00 Catherine Hall: Building a Rock Solid Brand
Tuesday, August 7
8:30 – 12:00 Hands-on Intensive with second selected instructor
12:00 – 1:30 Lunch and Panel Discussion: So You Want to be Published! Resource Magazine Staff
12:00 – 2:00 Vendor Exhibit Hours
2:00 – 5:30 Continued Hands-on Intensive with first selected instructor
5:00 – 7:30 Vendor Exhibit Hours
8:00 – 9:30 Passion and Creativity with Scott Bourne
Wednesday, August 8
8:30 – 10:30 Couples Panel – Working With Your Spouse: Bob and Dawn Davis, Kevin and Clare Kubota, Vicki and Jed Taufer
10:45 -12:15 Business Tips to Change Your Life…NOW with Sal Cincotta
Departure for O’Hare Airport: The last program ends at noon and just to be safe, we recommend attendees book their return flights any time after 2:00 pm.
Special All-School Programs
Customer Service: The Secret Weapon for Great Marketing…Skip Cohen and Melissa Ghionis
Skip’s experience in Customer Service is extensive, going back to his early Polaroid days and continuing through Hasselblad, Rangefinder, WPPI and today with Marketing Essentials International. Melissa brings contemporary front line experience with today’s consumers. Working together with Jerry, she’s responsible for developing a completely pro-active approach to Customer Relations. This isn’t about problem solving as much as it is problem avoidance. Melissa and Skip will share solid ideas you can take back and implement into your business profile immediately.
Building Your Brand: Catherine Hall
Great branding as a photographer isn’t just about creating top-of-mind awareness with your client base, it’s about establishing a consistent reputation for quality, service, value, integrity and reliability. Over the past several years Catherine Hall has established herself as one of the leading high-end wedding photographers in the United States. From being published in Grace Ormonde Magazine to producing the TWIT video series the reach for her brand is extensive, but it didn’t happen overnight! Catherine will share ideas to help you extend your brand on the local, regional and national level and develop a goal-oriented marketing plan with key bench marks all along the way to help track and measure your progress to achieving your goals.
Vendors in Your Network: This year’s Summer School Sponsors
We launched the first ever panel discussion at last year’s Summer School and this year we’ll take up right where we left off. Photographers so often make the mistake of under-estimating how helpful the vendor community can be in problem-solving, but think about it for just a second. Your suppliers talk to your peers every day. Every day they hear the challenges photographers are experiencing all over the world. They have the ability to help you with so many different challenges in your business, many of them completely outside what you might perceive as their expertise.
This year’s sponsors are top shelf and in this lunch-time panel discussion we’ll talk about some of your most difficult challenges.
So You Want to Be Published: Resource Magazine
How many times have you looked at an image in a magazine and said, “I could have done that!” Well, the issue is you either didn’t or the publishing world doesn’t know about you. In this frank discussion, the senior staff and founders of Resource Magazine will share with you their perspective on what they look for in images and editorial. What makes an image newsworthy? How do they find their photographers? What are they looking for in Resource Magazine, the hottest new publication in photography.
Terrific Added Benefits for Summer School Attendees
This year’s program includes all of the platform programs plus two days of hands-on shooting. In addition:
- Two lunches with lunch-time programming on Monday and Tuesday of Summer School are included in your tuition. Lunch will be served promptly at noon on both days, allowing you to get the very most out the day’s programming.
- All attendees will receive a special full registration discount to WPPI2013 for just $75.
- All attendees will be receiving special bonuses from many of this year’s sponsors. More information will be coming in the next few weeks.
- All attendees have access to special discounts on the equipment being used for this year’s programming. This includes primarily Profoto lighting products and video accessories used in the two-day film-making workshop.
The 2012 Instructor and Speaker Line-up
This year’s program, thanks to feedback from past attendees involves two solid days of hands-on teaching. We’re ecstatic to have what many are referring to as the best lineup of hands-on instructors of any workshop in the country!
As one of the most diverse wedding and portrait photographers in our industry, Clay has a reputation for non-stop energy and creativity. Many of last year’s attendees had an amazing experience when Clay, camera in hand, took on the Las Vegas strip and that wasn’t even part of the official program! Well, he’ll be bringing that same enthusiasm to this year’s Summer School and helping you understand the posing and lighting you need to create outstanding images especially in weddings and portraiture.
He’s back and he’s bad! After stepping away from the teaching circuit for a few years, Calvin Hayes is back! He’ll be teaching together with Clay Blackmore which is right where so many of us met Calvin very early in his career. There are few photographers who give back to our industry like Calvin. Just about every major photographer has a story about the time Calvin helped them out of a jam. He’ll be helping Clay in his hands-on class. Calvin is an outstanding shooter and even better at teaching hands-on technique having learned himself from the very best, but when you meet him you’ll understand his passion for this industry runs so much deeper. Calvin is all about giving back.
Loaded with non-stop energy and enthusiasm, Michele is proof that hyper-active kids grow up and get jobs! Having the experience of business both on the east coast and now in Phoenix, she’s one of the industry’s strongest instructors. Her business today focuses primarily on family and children and as one of America’s leading portrait artists she’ll be helping you hands-on, learning how to get the most out of every client relationship! You’ll learn how to create art, not just beautiful portraits.
He’s the “King of Lighting” and typically considered one of the very best instructors in the country. Working with Tony you’ll learn to see the light and most important of all, control it rather than having lighting situations control you. From commercial work to weddings to family portraiture, Tony has done it all. Here’s your chance to learn from one of the very best in a typical setting with the challenges you deal with each day.
Nobody sees a wedding the way Jerry does. Perfectly ordinary situations become extraordinary images when captured with Jerry’s creativity. His wedding work is incredible, often taking situations most of us would consider impossible and turning them into art. The secret? Learning to photograph through the eyes of a loved one. In this workshop, you’ll learn from Jerry hands-on as he helps you to develop your ability to see the creative potential in some of the most ordinary situations.
One of the most diverse photographers in our industry, he’s worn a multitude of different hats. He’s an incredible photographer, software developer, teach and author. In Summer School though you’ll have the advantage of expanding your skill set into the realm of Kevin’s new book, The Lighting Notebook. This is all about on location lighting and the hands-on experience to make you a stronger photographer.
Recently written up as one of thirteen of America’s best photographic instructors by Photo District News, Bobbi is all about portraiture, both commercial and family. She’ll be helping attendees with everything from natural to studio lighting and giving your skill set a jump start on creating high impact portraits. Her primary passion is on location portraiture for editorial and corporate clients, plus “real people” for stock. This is hands-on teaching at its best by one of the country’s very best.
“Practice doesn’t make perfect. What if you’re practicing it wrong? Only perfect practice makes perfect!” It’s Roberto’s mantra and nobody teaches creativity in wedding photography better than Roberto. You won’t just be learning how to analyze and dissect a scene, but how to practice with ordinary objects as well as models. As one of our industry’s finest wedding photographers and instructors, Roberto will help you develop a series of exercises to elevate the quality of your images at every wedding you shoot.
Film-making and Storytelling: It’s a special addition to Summer School with Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow, along with a ton of video gear from the MAC Group. They’ll be teaching an intense film-making program for the full two days. Some of you may have met Ross and Jeff on their Get In Motion tour last year. They’re outstanding instructors and the founders Cinestories. Attendees will not only be learning the techniques of video storytelling, but learn how to create their own personal promotional video. This class will redefine the meaning of the word intense as Jeff and Ross pack years of experience into two full days!
This short video will give you an even better idea who Cinestories really is! It’s the trailer for there highly acclaimed tour last year. Learning to be a stronger story-teller will have an impact not only your film-making skills but your still images and the way you tell the story for each client.
Skip’s passion is all for the marketing side of the photo-industry. His experience in the photographic industry started in a black and white lab for a local newspaper in high school and today includes past president of Hasselblad, Rangefinder, WPPI and now Marketing Essentials International. His expertise though, for this year’s Summer School will be on the marketing and business side, especially customer service. He founded Summer School because photography and business are a constant learning experience. He’ll be working with each attendee on their website presentations, especially their About sections and galleries, with the goal of helping each attendee build a stronger brand.
Melissa is an outstanding photographer in her own right, but her customer service expertise is drawn from years of experience in the business and legal professions. Those of you who heard her speak at Mystic 7 this past January already have an appreciation for her ability to help you think through the challenges of developing your own pro-active customer service policies. It’s one of the most unique marketing tools you can develop and necessary to establishing your brand awareness.
Since winning WPPI’s Hy Sheanin scholarship several years ago, Catherine has proven herself a dynamo of branding, marketing and presentation. From the pages of Grace Ormonde to Rangefinder and PMA Magazine, she’s repeatedly set the pace for building brand awareness and networking. She’s an outstanding photographer, promoter and marketing instructor. In this special program you’ll pick up ideas you can immediately use to build your reputation and strengthen top-of-mind awareness for your brand.
He’s the most followed photographer on Twitter and founder of so many great programs, including www.Photofocus.com and www.GoingPro2011.com. In this special program Scott will share some stories that demonstrate photographic passion (and risk). We’re talking about a passion for imaging that went far beyond the norm. Passion is that one ingredient in your skill set that has the ability to take your work to incredible heights, but you need to understand it so you can utilize its creative power.
Bob and Dawn Davis, Kevin and Clare Kubota and Vicki and Jed Taufer:
Each of these couples have established themselves as leaders in photography. They’ve worked together for many years successfully. There are more couples working together in photography today than ever before. It’s not easy to work with your spouse, but if you can make it work it’s incredibly rewarding. Three couples, with totally different business models, will share ideas that make it work for them. “It’s difficult when the shoulder you want to cry on is attached to the neck you want to ring!” Vicki Taufer
Nobody teaches the practical side of running a business like Sal! He’s this year’s closing program and he’ll bring it all together so you leave with a series of practical improvements to your business you can implement almost immediately.This is all about ideas you can take home and put into practice right away.
Another big thanks to Jeff Medford and Clay Blackmore for their video from Summer School 2010! If you’re trying to decide on a great program for this summer, here’s another perspective on what happens at Summer School!
Album Epoca www.albumepoca.com
Bay Photo www.bayphoto.com
Don Blairs Body Parts www.donblairsbodyparts.com
Marathon Press www.marathonpress.com/skips-summer-school
Nik Software www.niksoftware.com
Resource Magazine www.resourcemagonline.com
Skips Photo Network www.skipsphotonetwork.com
Song Freedom www.songfreedom.com
The FILM Project www.thefilmproject.net