The Push Conference 2015


Just a idea…
10 months is a long time, but that is how long we have been planning this announcement.  There has been a lot of back and forth, a lot of questions asked of our readers and a lot of heart felt conversations to come to this point.  A conference is not something you approach lightly.  There were many questions thrown around in the past 10 months.  Many doubts openly put out on the table.  A big concern was how do we do it differently?  What would our readers want to learn in two days and from whom?  How can we make this something that would appeal to all photographers in all levels of their business?  And most importantly how do we keep it exclusive to an intimate small group environment?

I remember the beginning stages of this conversation very well.  I was at one of my son’s basketball games waiting on another game to finish so they could take the court.  I went outside and called Amanda Holloway.  I asked her if it was time.  This was just after the release of the HOT 100 magazine in November.  Something told me it was time.  She listened to all my reasons as to why I shouldn’t and then as any good friend would…she countered them with reasons why I should (you can thank her for the name…because push is what we are going to do in these two days).  I filed that conversation away until a couple of weeks later, I came back to it.  I asked Craig Stidham to give me a call and told him my thoughts.  He quickly squelched my fears and said he would do whatever I needed and help in anyway possible (which he has and I am so grateful).  The idea was taking shape and I did not quite own it (even though everyone else had) until I spoke with Latasha Haynes in December.  She was like “you have to do this.”  And has been pushing along the way ever since.  Many conversations occurred after this with several people.  One of the biggest signs was when an SSG reader contacted me and said “I think you should do a conference…it is the obvious next step and your readers kind of expect that”-thank you for the extra push Gina!  I had just about made my decision to do it in March and then pulled back.  Heather Dunnigan from Denim + Grace threatened bodily harm if I didn’t and has been an amazing support system along the way.  She has probably pulled her hair too.  But jumped on board and contributed…including customizing our website and designing the logo.  Everyone we spoke with has been amazing.  I am truly blown away with how everyone embraced this idea, nurtured it and rolled up their sleeves to help in so many facets of this.

As I started planning for Push, I knew I wanted it to be intimate, exclusive, in depth, challenging and rewarding.  At first glance I thought I would have it in a big city but quickly abandoned that idea as a big city/big hotel took away from the intimate feel I was going for.  I decided to opt for a boutique hotel situated on a college campus in Greencastle, IN.  Why?  Because the hotel provided accessibility to all types of shooting areas that would not be inundated with  people and distractions like in a bigger city.  I spoke with the events manager and realized this was the hotel for Push.  In fact, they have reserved all the rooms in the house for Push attendees.  Creating the ultimate environment for this conference.   You will be able to freely learn in this ultra intimate environment!  And don’t worry…Greencastle is only 30 miles from Indianapolis International Airport!  But the town itself lends to the charm of this experience (and Starbucks is a block away).

Combine the hotel, location and all of these elements…
-Two days of classroom instruction

-8 Speakers

-50 seats

-Classroom instruction from some the best and rising senior photographers in the country

-Courses that you can actually use in your business

-Evening portfolio building shoots with the speakers (including a styled shoot with Brooke Daniels!)

-15-20 Teen and Senior Models

-After hours shooting pods to practice lighting techniques with  instructors on hand to further advance your new found skill set

-And so much more to be announced!

With the conference being “a go” we had to create a dream team of speakers and courses.  I wanted people to be pushed beyond their comfort zones in all aspects of their business from client relations, marketing, posing, senior models, editing, lighting, running a successful year round business and creation of both a styled shoot and a fashion shoot.  We have put together a team of 8 amazing speakers all invested in helping your business.  Each one of them has a very specific topic and course created for you to incorporate into your business.

Amanda Holloway

(Amanda will be teaching two courses-one each day)

Day 1
Marketing The Senior Experience
How to push your word of mouth marketing to the limit by creating a once in a lifetime senior portrait experience.

Learn how to get your senior clients to talk about you in their schools and on their social media sites with specific marketing strategies to pull in your target market and increase your booking rates.

Day 2
Effective and Efficient Client Workflow
How to personalize preemptive client strategies while streamlining your client workflow.

Learn how to be proactive with your responses to your potential clients while remaining personal yet automated with your current client base.

Brooke Daniels

Styling The Senior Client

“I’m an open book and cannot wait to share with my peers what I’ve learned over the years to run a thriving business and enjoy the ride in the process!  We will dive into creating stylized shoots from A to Z, leaving no detail unturned.  This will be the perfect boost of inspiration for you to plan your first concept shoot, or help get your creativity flowing if you’d like to try something out of the box to help set you apart.  Fashion, Styling and Hair and Makeup are key elements in extraordinary Senior Portraits.  We will discuss some simple tips to take a client’s wardrobe from unimpressionable to unforgettable!  I will also share a few easy hairstyles that you can try out on your Senior girls to give them a second look during their session and help bring out their inner supermodel.

We’ll break down the current social media trends and help make sure you are reaching your target market audience and how to boost your Instagram followers overnight by creating buzz.  If you don’t already have an intern program, we’ll explain the benefits of starting one and how you can find a great assistant.  Lastly, we’ll chat about running a home-based business and how you can juggle family priorities with business responsibilities. I’ll touch on the importance of offering in-person ordering sessions, how to boost your sales, and what products teens want most today.  And, I’ll share my secret for the one decision I made in my business which has brought me the most overall happiness and prosperity!

Our shoot will consist of a full stylized session that will knock your socks off!  I’ll be able to show you hands-on posing tips with our models so you can put your inspiration into action.  When shooting on location outdoors, I use only natural light.  Just the glorious sunshine and one reflector.  When it comes to equipment, I’m a minimalist, and can show you how to make the most with what you have.  I’m a self-taught photographer who believes creativity, passion, and a genuine connection with your clients is the ultimate key to success!”

Jen Basford

The Year Round Profitable Senior Business

Are you looking for a way to get more of the “right” senior clients in the door, but don’t have a big budget for marketing?  Jen Basford will teach you the exact strategies and marketing techniques she uses in her highly profitable senior business, to fill her books all year long with seniors who value what she does and are willing to pay her prices. She’ll also show you how to fix the mistakes you’re making in your senior marketing that are scaring away clients. And if you’re working 24/7 during your busy season, hoping to make enough to get you through the rest of the year, then you won’t want to miss Jen’s best low cost marketing ideas that took her senior business from seasonal to year-round.  See how Jen became one of the nation’s most successful senior studios by taking her marketing to a whole new level with personal relationships.  If you’re serious about seniors, then you won’t want to miss this!

Latasha Haynes

Building A Loyal Senior Model Program

Connecting to the youth voice and vision can be challenging, staying up on trends and what is popular to an ever-changing population of young people where here today, gone tomorrow has become hot for a minute and on to the next, makes it tough to build a senior model program that sticks and garners the excitement you need to keep your business growing and going.

I am going to teach you the principles we use to choose our senior models, the techniques and too;s for anchoring them and keeping them close and how to build loyalty and commitment towards your brand that carries out the goals that you set for your business the entire year.

Craig Stidham


Experience and participate in “Creation”, a real photo shoot starting with storyboard and guided from the styling to lighting set up to the shooting and fishing with post retouching.


In “Creation” we will view a storyboard and communicate our ideas with a model to build a creative shoot, learn fashion lighting using studio strobes and giving you, the student a chance to participate in shooting, direction and hands on feel to a fun and creative shoot. After shooting a few images I will demonstrate my post workflow and some high end retouching tips.


“Creation’s” main goals are:

– Creative shooting

– Lighting set ups and lighting equipment

– Directing/posing your models

– Meter settings and image composition

– How to organize a shoot

– Useful fashion photography terms


Jen Bertrand

*(Jen’s education and instruction was sought after by Amanda Holloway for lighting education and mentorship…this is a great opportunity to expand your business offerings)

Studio Lighting…No More Excuses

You’ve told yourself every single excuse in the book  I’m a natural light photographer, I don’t need to learn lighting, and, Studio lighting for seniors means I have to have a giant foam number and a ladder on a white backdrop.  The truth is none of those reasons is the REAL reason you haven’t learned lighting. The real reason is you’re scared.  But now is the time to break up with your excuses, never return their phone calls, and go get a sexy, new haircut.  And by sexy, new haircut I mean a kickass lighting course.

I understand the thought of learning studio lighting can be both overwhelming and intimidating. But, I’m going to walk you through the fundamentals and break them down into digestible nuggets that will leave you saying, OMG! I can do that!  Ill teach you about lighting styles and light modifiers, and then show you how to use them to create high-end images on a low-end budget in a space the size of an apartment bedroom.  (No, seriously. I shot in a bedroom in my apartment for a year.)

Through this course, you will become a more versatile photographer who will master both 1 and 2 light set ups like a boss, sucker punch the objections holding you back, and learn to mold light to the vision in your head.  By adding studio skills to your natural light repertoire, you will transform yourself into a lighting badass who can provide a more robust, creative experience for your clients. Ill teach you the rules then encourage you to break them.  This is studio lighting, no holds barred.

Christina Ramirez

 Editing for Perfect Skin Tones

“I am thrilled to be a part of the PUSH Conference among so many incredible instructors! During our time together I’m going to show you how to edit your images for the perfect skin tones and spot-on color that will transform your images and leave your clients in awe. Getting it right in camera is essential, but once you’ve done that – then what? How do you take your images to the next level without over-doing it? It’s so important to have your clients look natural without over-processing their skin or the colors in your image and I will show you just what to do in a few simple steps. I will also show you how to create the simple actions I use in my editing process along with other fun Photoshop and Lightroom tips and tricks! During our photo-shoot time with our live models, I will guide you on how I pose my clients during my own sessions. Variety is key and it’s something many struggle with on the spot. I utilize flow posing and quickly discover how my senior naturally moves in order to pose them according to what is comfortable for them but also will give me the creative edge I seek in all of my images. I look forward to working with you on transforming your senior experience!”

 Jim Meyer

Beginning OCF

“Hello everyone! I’m Jim Meyer, owner and lead Photographer at Meyer Studio. I’m look forward to helping everyone break into the world of Off Camera Flash. In our industry we all want to stand out, do

something different and I believe using flash is the quickest way to reach that goal.

I will share some very simple set ups that can give you very dramatic results, set ups that you can do even if you shoot alone AND with minimal gear. I look forward to sharing all of the things I’ve learned on my path to working with off camera flash, gear, tips, equipment lists, etc. I’ll also share some pull back shots, final images, settings and be on sight to help or answer questions.”

I also want to give a shout out to Senior Style Guide’s Lab…ProDPI!  They will be printing all of the marketing materials for Push and sponsoring a lunch for the attendees!  Thank you!

**As an exclusive opportunity to our attendees, there will be an amazing financial seminar the day before the event taught by the one and only Amanda Holloway at an insanely low price!**  The financial seminar will be a 6 hour intensive course that has spurred 100’s of up and coming senior photographers to triple their income and reach average sales of $1000-$3500 per client.  Once you register for Push you will be able to sign up for the optional financial seminar master class with Amanda.

Additional info for Push:

When:  July 14 & 15

Where:  The Inn At Depauw, Greencastle, IN

Who:  50 Lucky Attendees

Registration will begin Monday September 8 at 11 am eastern time.  We will provide details on how to register Monday!

Price:  $1300 (registration only…meals, master class, transportation and hotel are not included)
Want more details?  Visit the website by clicking HERE

*There will be a 35 mile protective radius from zip code 46135-you cannot live, shoot or have a business within this radius.

I can’t wait to meet our lucky attendees as space will be super limited to this conference!  Come hang out, shoot, build your portfolio and learn with these amazing speakers!