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  • The Last Two Weeks

    Over the past two weeks, I've:

    • Shot and edited more than 1,000 photos at two conferences in New Orleans and San Francisco.

    • Written a column for one magazine and a paid-sponsorship feature for another. Also wrote a blog on Fathers and Sons and posted two albums of photos on my business page.

    • Officially (at least according to LinkedIn) marked year 4 of this solo business gig.

    • Visited a Louisiana swamp and Bourbon Street. (I'm not talking about the same thing, despite many similarities.)

    • Spent an invaluable week with my oldest son, showing him NOLA, Texas, and (long enough to snap a picture) Oklahoma.

    • Saw and spent varying degrees of time with my mom, aunt, sister, first cousin, and nephews/grandnephew. (Just saw one of the nieces in a literal drive by.)

    • Took a number of photos in Kilgore, where my parents first got together.

    • Visited my grandparents' gravesite and showed Nick the places where my parents grew up.

    • I did not leave the hotel these last three days in San Francisco, but with an afternoon to kill before my red eye back to Virginia, I went to the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see the Summer of Love 50th anniversary exhibit. Before leaving, I also walked through the National AIDS Memorial Grove, where I had a fascinating conversation with two college-age women.

    And despite a trigger finger that is rapidly approaching carpel tunnel status, I took my camera. It was nice, after all the work-related stuff, to let my eye roam free.

    All in all, it's been a great and productive trip, exhausting but emotionally recharging at the same time. I'm truly grateful to Jill (who's had a couple of interesting weeks in her own right) for having the love and patience to let me do these things.

    So that's the news from this end. Look for more photos here and on my Facebook page soon, and hope I sleep well on the plane ride home.

    Thanks for reading... How's your week been?

  • Capturing Conferences, Telling Stories

    Conference photography is a growing — and highly enjoyable — part of my business. Earlier this month, I shot the APMP Bid and Proposal Conference in New Orleans and the Graduate Management Admission Council’s annual conference in San Francisco. I already have three more conferences scheduled in November and December and am bidding on several others.

    The best conference photos, in my opinion, tell stories using visuals rather than words. Nothing bothers me more than the photographer obstructing the views of both the speaker and audience, so I try to remain as unobtrusive as possible. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I do not use flash during sessions, because this has the same disrupting effect on the speakers and audience at a live performance or show.

    APMP, which serves professionals dedicated to winning business through proposals, bids, tenders, and presentations, holds a three-day professional conference for its members. More than 900 attended this year’s June 13-15 event, the largest in the association’s history. Over three-plus days (including preconference sessions and portraits for the board of directors before the meeting started), I shot and edited more than 600 photos, completing the task before leaving New Orleans to visit family in Texas.

    This marked the fourth time I’ve shot the GMAC annual conference, held June 21-23 in San Francisco. Each time, I cull through the edited photos to produce a 2- to 3-minute slideshow of highlights that is aired during the final general session.

    An aspect of my journalism career — working on deadline — also has helped in my approach to conference photography. I carve out time during breaks and in between sessions to dump and edit what I’ve shot. Typically, you shoot three to five photos for every one you keep, so this approach gives me a running tally of what I’ve got, and allows time for more shooting if necessary.

    This year, for the first time, the slideshow came as close to real time as possible. I had a backup from the first two days already completed, but wanted to see if I could push the envelope. I took photos from the final morning of presentations, went out, picked the best, and edited them. I then shot photos at the start of the 90-minute final general session, edited the best, and added those to the slideshow as well.

    When the slideshow — see below — aired, audience members saw about 15 photos that had been taken that morning. In that respect, the photos told the whole story of the meeting.

    To see more of my conference work, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/meetings--conferences. To contact me about shooting your event, send an email to glenncook117@gmail.com.

  • The Tonys and NOLA

    I watched the Tonys last night in my hotel room in New Orleans, where I'm starting a two-week trip that includes shooting conferences here and in San Francisco, with another trip to Texas in between. (Bonus: Nick is meeting me here tomorrow and will be with me through the Texas jaunt. Yay!)

    It was wonderful to see so many people I've become acquainted with performing and being part of the ceremony, and you couldn't help but love the speeches of Ben Platt and the Divine Miss M.

    I got here early yesterday and walked around the city, dodging the raindrops to take a few photos. In the afternoon, I went on a swamp tour (why not?) and then called it a night, sitting in my bed and happily watching the Tonys.

    Based on all the noise I heard outside, it sounded like the streets of NOLA were viewing the show on a giant screen, but I decided not to be part of their fun. And given the marathon of the next two weeks, I'm happy with that.

  • Shooting Meetings and Conferences

    A photographer's financial bread and butter, in addition to portraits, is often reflected by your ability to shoot meetings and events. Over the past couple of years, I've been fortunate to obtain a number of recurring clients.

    Over the past month alone, I've taken photos for the Graduate Management Admissions Council's day-long staff retreat, the American Payroll Association's Capitol Summit, the Equal Employment Advisory Council's annual meeting and policy conference, and the American Staffing Association's law conference.

    At the GMAC retreat, in addition to the group photo seen here, I compiled photos from the event into a five-minute slideshow that was shown the following day. 

    To see the slideshow, go to GMAC Staff Retreat 2016. This type of work is part of commissioned services I can provide to clients.

    For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.

  • A Crazy Week: Recap

    Life is crazy enough when you have four kids in four schools in three states. Add in two conferences, a Knicks game, Billy Elliot's 1,000th show, Nicholas' prom, Emma and Jill's 10 mile race, and my nephew's airplane ride, and you have the makings of a crazy week — even by our standards.

    Thursday: My mom and nephew arrived from Texas to take care of Ben. It's Eric's first trip here, and he seems a little intimidated. Looking good in my dad's UT jacket, however. With Jill and the girls in Virginia, and my mom and nephew Eric taking care of Ben in New York, I went to San Francisco for NSBA's annual conference. After the six-hour flight, I had an hour to go out with my camera before several 16 to 18 hour days.

    Friday: My mom and nephew Eric attended the 1,000th show for "Billy Elliot," where Ben played Michael.

    Saturday: In North Carolina, Nicholas went to his high school prom with his date, Gracie Strand.

    Sunday: While Kate enjoyed a sleepover at her friend Stephanie's, Emma and Jill completed the 10-mile GW Parkway Classic.

    Monday: While Jill and Emma recovered from their run, Nicholas went back to school after prom, and I prepared to fly on the redeye back from San Francisco, Ben and Eric enjoyed time together in the afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

    Tuesday: Before Eric and mom go home, I take him to see American Idiot before it closes on Broadway. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes sit in the row opposite us. When I point them out, Eric notes that Holmes is gorgeous but asks me who Tom Cruise is. Youth...

    Wednesday: While Ben was at the show, i was able to go to the New York Knicks game against the Toronto Raptors. David Drier, another Billy parent, invited me to see the festivities from his company's box. Cool way to watch a game, and the beer wasn't bad either.

    Phew...

  • Photos of Two Conferences Up

    Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was the opening keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC), a nonprofit employer association comprised of more than 300 major corporations. I was hired by EEAC to shoot the event.

    The Washington, D.C., meeting also featured speeches and Q&A sessions with Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and Jenny Yang, chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

    The American Payroll Association recently held its annual Capital Summit in Washington, D.C. Above are highlights from the daylong session I was hired to photograph.

    To see more photos from both meetings, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/events.

  • Staffing Association Conference

    Approximately 500 attended the American Staffing Association's annual Staffing Law Conference on April 28-29 at National Harbor. I was hired to photograph the second day of the conference. Karl Rove, the former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush, was the final speaker and a special guest at a private luncheon for ASA’s top members and sponsors.

    For more photos, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/staffing-law-conference.