The Wedding Summit at WPPI 2022

February 16, 2022

By Brienne Walsh

© John Branch IV

The Wedding Summit (Sunday, February 27, at the Mirage in Las Vegas) will feature four sessions with notable experts in the field of wedding photography, including John Branch IV, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based wedding photographer, designated one of Rangefinder's 30 Rising Star of Wedding Photography in 2021, who will share his insights on natural posing.

It can be daunting to set up a photography business, especially during these strange times when, at any moment, a new variant of COVID-19 might completely clear your schedule. There’s so much to consider, from naming your business to writing an ironclad photography contract and making your work stand out from competitors. Then, of course, there’s the part about making a profit. To navigate the complicated path to success, Rangefinder will be hosting the Wedding Summit, a day-long wedding photography education conference at WPPI 2022. (Save your spot by registering here!)

In its third year, the Wedding Summit (formerly called Rise + Shine) will take place on Sunday, February 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Mirage in Las Vegas. It will feature four sessions with notable experts in the field of wedding photography. They include:

[Read: How to Get Started in Wedding Photography—Tips from John Branch IV]

The latter three speakers were also previously chosen as 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography, Rangefinder’s prestigious wedding photography competition that identifies 30 talented emerging wedding photographers from around the world every year. (See our tips to becoming a 30 Rising Star here!)

The classes, held throughout the day, will be followed by breakout mentoring sessions with each expert, in addition to award-winning wedding photographer Roberto Valenzuela, who will offer invaluable advice about strengthening photography portfolios and websites, and answer burning questions from attendees on the topics of business, branding, shooting and more.

To get you excited for the event (because we’re excited!), here’s a brief preview of what each of the experts will talk about during their wedding photography education sessions.

wppi 2022 speaker aaron m. arce stark lawyer for artists

You only need to have a disagreement with a client a single time to know how important it is to have a sound legal framework behind your business. In his talk at the Wedding Summit, Aaron M. Arce Stark will outline three important legal topics to cover as you establish the foundation of your business. “The talk will be great for photographers who are just getting started, and also photographers who have been in the business for a long time but haven’t necessarily gotten legal advice,” Stark says.

First, Stark will talk about the difference between working as a sole proprietor and a business entity and will help attendees parse through the best option to choose. The second part will examine copyright law—how it can first be established, and then enforced if someone steals or misappropriates your work. And finally, Stark will talk about managing your business risks by creating an ironclad contract. This, he notes, is especially important as the pandemic continues, given that a contract can protect your business in the case of illness or cancellation.

wppi 2022 speaker daniela villarreal

Speaker: Daniela Villarreal
Topic: Creative Marketing Strategies
Time: 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

When Daniela Villarreal was named one of Rangefinder’s 30 Rising Stars in 2019, she knew that she could use the prize to build a powerful network with her peers and share her insights on wedding photography education. Today, she turns to these peers for creative advice, mentoring and job referrals. “The more you share, the more you grow,” she says.

daniela villarreal 30 rising stars wedding photography workshop bride and groom portrait
Taken at a wedding photography workshop in Mexico that Villarreal had organized with fellow 30 Rising Stars. © Daniela Villarreal

You no longer need to be in New York or Los Angeles to have a successful and lucrative career, notes Villarreal, who will divide her talk into three different sections: how to observe, create and connect. First, she will talk about how to identify other professionals who will help you grow as a photographer. Then, she will talk about creating opportunities, followed by where to make connections—whether in workshops like this or online.

wppi 2022 speaker jennifer boris

Speaker: Jennifer Boris
Topic: Bold Black & White Photography
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Jennifer Boris knows that certain emotions—a father crying when he sees his daughter walk down the stairs in her wedding dress, for example—are more poignant photographed in black and white. It’s all about striking the right balance in black and white (tip: it’s always better to shoot in black and white rather than convert photos from color, she says). “Great black-and-white images are just classic,” says Boris, a 30 Rising Star of Wedding Photography in 2021 who had submitted an entirely black-and-white portfolio to the competition judges. “They’ll still look great in 70 years.”

black and white wedding photography tips from jennifer boris 30 rising star
© Jennifer Boris

In her wedding photography education talk at the Wedding Summit, Boris will walk attendees through her process of shooting black-and-white images, from setting up and lighting the shot to framing the composition within environmental details that will bring out contrast in the final image. Along the way, she will share some tricks of the trade—that pastel colors on bridesmaid dresses, given their muted saturation, don’t lend themselves well to black and white, for instance.

john branch iv wppi 2022 speaker

Speaker: John Branch IV
Topic: Natural Posing
Time: 2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

John Branch IV acknowledges that given the formal and fast-paced nature of most weddings, it can be difficult to capture images that feel natural and fun during breakout portraiture sessions. In his wedding photography education seminar, he will talk about how he creates an atmosphere during such shoots that allows clients to get comfortable and begin to loosen up in front of the camera. “You can’t just expect candid moments to happen by themselves,” says Branch, a 30 Rising Star of Wedding Photography in 2021. “You have to handhold the situation a little.”

wedding photography education on natural posing by john branch iv at wppi 2022
© John Branch IV

Some tips he will share include bringing a small Bluetooth speaker so that clients can play their own music during the portraiture sessions. Branch will also advise on how to talk to clients so that they’re on board with whatever creative vision you have in your head.

To learn more about what each speaker has to offer in wedding photography education, you’ll have to attend the Wedding Summit for yourself. You can register here. We look forward to seeing you in Vegas!