Sandy vs. Jerry Prank War Continues

Time truly does fly by when you’re having fun. It’s nearly impossible to believe that there’s less than a week left in the 2011 Power of Passion Tour!

Today we’re in Baltimore before a day off tomorrow, followed by Detroit on Friday, Chicago on Saturday, and then the big finale Monday in Minneapolis.

Speaking of Minneapolis, for the first time ever, we’ll be streaming a live segment from the show on UStream! Tune in for FREE April 11 at 6 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Eastern, to see a live posing demonstration by Jerry Ghionis. I’m really excited about this, as it will give everyone who missed the show a chance to experience what this tour’s been all about.

I cannot say this enough, but this tour honestly has been the most incredible, memorable experience, as the turnout and energy from the crowd every single stop has been outstanding.

Working with the SmugMug guys has been a blast.

I’m absolutely thrilled at being able to return home to see my family next week, but the thought of this tour coming to an end really does have Jerry and I both feeling a little sad lately.

Boston

Sunday in Boston was our biggest show yet, as nearly 300 people turned out. Though we’ve never had an audience that large, our incredibly hard-working staff rallied together to make the night an incredible success.

Perhaps Boston’s show was so large because it was a homecoming for Melissa Ghionis. It was hard finding someone in that town who didn’t know her!

Newark

Newark was all about the back-and-forth pranks that Jerry and I have been engaged in for the past week. It all began April Fools Day, of course, when last Friday in Columbus my entire crew and I got Jerry pretty good while he was in the middle of one of his posing technique demonstrations.

Don't mess with my crew and me, Jerry Ghinonis...

You see, Jerry has this whole bit planned out that includes him dancing with a female attendee on stage to the theme song from Dirty Dancing, “Time of My Life.” Only this time, right in the middle of his routine, we stopped the music, and proceeded to rush the stage while the Black Eyed Peas’ remix played instead.

Safe to say we got him pretty good, and I was sure I had won the top prankster award. However, the next night Jerry got me back by switching around the order of my show slides. It wasn’t exactly the end of the world, but it definitely threw me off.

So the next night after that, Monday in Newark, I was fully prepared to get Jerry back and end up on top. Each show he also does a segment on posing a plus-sized bride where he picks a male in the audience to act as his model.

At the end of the segment, he gives the guy a little smooch on the cheek, which the audience always finds hilarious.

This time, however, Jerry was a bit worried about carrying out his act, as he once had a bad experience in Newark, so he wasn’t so sure he wanted to push his luck again.

Knowing that he was a bit apprehensive, I instructed the entire audience beforehand that no matter who Jerry picks as his model, that the model should act disgusted and freak out when Jerry gives him the smooch at the end.

Okay, so maybe we're not all that hardcore.

Unfortunately, it turned out there was a mole (I’m looking at you, Melissa!) who warned Jerry about my plan. Knowing full well of my instructions, Jerry picked one of his friends from the crowd to be the plus-sized model. And instead of totally freaking out about the kiss, like I had told everyone to, the friend proceeded to completely buy into the whole guy-on-guy loving at the end of the segment.

I was shocked! My whole plan was ruined, and instead it was me, not Jerry, who was the victim.

With only a few shows left, I’m determined to get the last laugh.

Philadelphia

As the prank war waged on, we were off to Philadelphia Monday night. But first, we all enjoyed a night out in New York City after the show in Newark.

Grabbing some authentic New York pizza in the Big Apple.

Our brief visit in the Big Apple included stops at the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero and a surprisingly empty Time’s Square. (Who knew this city actually does sleep every now and then?)

Upon arriving in Philadelphia yesterday I was delighted to finally see my trainer, John Drury! John is usually on the road with me on every tour, making sure I stay in top shape no matter where we are in the world. Unfortunately for me (and probably fortunately for him), John wasn’t able to join me on this tour, so it was really great to finally see him again.

I have the sinking feeling, though, that my recent diet (milkshakes, pizza, cinnamon rolls, Easter candy, ect.) is about to haunt me horribly…

Guest Blog: ‘It’s easy to tell that these two really love what they do’

SmugMug Guest Blogger Dustin Bess

SmugMug photographer Dustin Bess has joined Sandy Puc’ and Jerry Ghionis on tour and will be sharing some funny stories, insights and feedback from the road as a guest blogger.

As photographers we are constantly called on to draw on our creative process to create compelling images. Being in this position where so much creativity is needed, one can often experience burnout and fatigue and start to wonder, “Do I really love what I am doing anymore?”

As part of my work for SmugMug I have been traveling the country with Sandy Puc´ and Jerry Ghionis as they take their Power of Passion Tour across America. I joined up with them on March 13 in Phoenix, Ariz., and caught my first glimpse of the show.

I was completely blown away by the power of this event.

Tour attendees in San Francisco have a ball after the show.

The Business of Photography

I have been following Sandy since January of 2010 when I started shooting with the charity Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which she founded. After meeting Sandy at WPPI last year and getting a chance to know her, I was even more impressed with all of her accomplishments and immense knowledge. Sandy isn’t just a photographer, she is a true business woman and it shows in even the shortest of conversations with her. In Phoenix, as I listened to her talk about business and marketing, the things she was saying made so much sense, yet one is left with the thought, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Photographers often neglect the business side of their photography studios. I personally know amazing photographers who still struggle with bookings, not because they lack skills in the camera, but because they lack skills of getting people through their doors in the first place.

Sandy knows how to get people into her studio, and she shares the details of those strategies at her tour seminars (among many other things).

Passion and Emotion in Photography

I had heard Jerry’s name before joining him on the tour but must admit that I didn’t know much about him or his work. I really didn’t know what I was missing. As I sat through that first show and watched his images come up, I was in complete awe. I watched him pull random strangers from the audience and evoke emotion out of them that I have never seen from even my closest clients. I knew I was sitting in the presence of a true master of the craft.

Jerry and I have some fun with some tour attendees in Sacramento.

Jerry has this ability to connect with people through simple words and it is truly remarkable to watch. One minute you will be crying, and the next you are experiencing side-splitting laughter. Jerry is also a master at posing shots to create not just photographs, but true works of art.

Because SmugMug is sponsoring the tour, I have the unique opportunity of being able to travel from city to city with these great people. Let me just tell you: I think what truly makes this event wonderful is how much fun these two have all the time. Whether it is getting stuck in a snowstorm and Jerry whipping out his iPhone to produce Death at Pollard Flat or an impromptu Dance Party on Sandy’s bus. It’s easy to tell that these two really love what they do. They exude passion for photography and for teaching others also. And if you thought Jerry was a good photographer, check out his basketball skills.

Did I mention that Jerry knows how to have a good time?

Simply put, if you only have time for one educational event this year, this is the one to see.

What Photographers Had to Say

I asked my friend David Terry for his thoughts after seeing the Tour in SLC and this is what he had to say:

“Two years ago I had the opportunity of attending one of Sandy Puc’s seminars in Salt Lake City.  It was so good and so worth the price I paid, that I felt bad last year when I was unable to attend due to prior commitments. So this year I signed up for the event as soon as it was announced. At the time, I did not know who Jerry Ghionis was, and so that did not affect my plans. But I attended his class at WPPI a month ago and came away saying to myself that I would ‘pay anything to see him again.’ And wow, what a ‘one-two punch.’ The two of them last night were awesome. Sandy served up business and marketing tips while Jerry both taught and inspired us. His techniques for getting the image AND the emotion are truly inspirational. I would gladly pay to see him again.”

Another friend of mine, Jeremy Hall, wasn’t sure if it would be worth his time to attend because he doesn’t focus on weddings. With a little encouragement he decided to come and this is what he said to me afterwards:

“After some friendly prompting from fellow photographers, I decided to attend the Sandy Puc’ and Jerry Ghionis’ workshop in Salt Lake City. Though my focus is not wedding photography, I was looking for some great inspiration I could apply to all my photography. Sandy and Jerry were excellent. I enjoyed their presentation style, the simple techniques and ideas they presented, but most of all getting the inspiration I was looking for. I now have new motivation to approach my work with more emotion, sincerity and purpose.”

There are still 10 cities to go in the tour and you can save $20 by entering the code SMPP11 on the registration page. After seeing the show that first night, I have encouraged every photographer I know to get out and see it. You can register for the event by going HERE.

To view more photos from the Power of Passion Tour, check out the gallery here.

Guest Blog: 'It's easy to tell that these two really love what they do'

SmugMug Guest Blogger Dustin Bess

SmugMug photographer Dustin Bess has joined Sandy Puc’ and Jerry Ghionis on tour and will be sharing some funny stories, insights and feedback from the road as a guest blogger.

As photographers we are constantly called on to draw on our creative process to create compelling images. Being in this position where so much creativity is needed, one can often experience burnout and fatigue and start to wonder, “Do I really love what I am doing anymore?”

As part of my work for SmugMug I have been traveling the country with Sandy Puc´ and Jerry Ghionis as they take their Power of Passion Tour across America. I joined up with them on March 13 in Phoenix, Ariz., and caught my first glimpse of the show.

I was completely blown away by the power of this event.

Tour attendees in San Francisco have a ball after the show.

The Business of Photography

I have been following Sandy since January of 2010 when I started shooting with the charity Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which she founded. After meeting Sandy at WPPI last year and getting a chance to know her, I was even more impressed with all of her accomplishments and immense knowledge. Sandy isn’t just a photographer, she is a true business woman and it shows in even the shortest of conversations with her. In Phoenix, as I listened to her talk about business and marketing, the things she was saying made so much sense, yet one is left with the thought, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Photographers often neglect the business side of their photography studios. I personally know amazing photographers who still struggle with bookings, not because they lack skills in the camera, but because they lack skills of getting people through their doors in the first place.

Sandy knows how to get people into her studio, and she shares the details of those strategies at her tour seminars (among many other things).

Passion and Emotion in Photography

I had heard Jerry’s name before joining him on the tour but must admit that I didn’t know much about him or his work. I really didn’t know what I was missing. As I sat through that first show and watched his images come up, I was in complete awe. I watched him pull random strangers from the audience and evoke emotion out of them that I have never seen from even my closest clients. I knew I was sitting in the presence of a true master of the craft.

Jerry and I have some fun with some tour attendees in Sacramento.

Jerry has this ability to connect with people through simple words and it is truly remarkable to watch. One minute you will be crying, and the next you are experiencing side-splitting laughter. Jerry is also a master at posing shots to create not just photographs, but true works of art.

Because SmugMug is sponsoring the tour, I have the unique opportunity of being able to travel from city to city with these great people. Let me just tell you: I think what truly makes this event wonderful is how much fun these two have all the time. Whether it is getting stuck in a snowstorm and Jerry whipping out his iPhone to produce Death at Pollard Flat or an impromptu Dance Party on Sandy’s bus. It’s easy to tell that these two really love what they do. They exude passion for photography and for teaching others also. And if you thought Jerry was a good photographer, check out his basketball skills.

Did I mention that Jerry knows how to have a good time?

Simply put, if you only have time for one educational event this year, this is the one to see.

What Photographers Had to Say

I asked my friend David Terry for his thoughts after seeing the Tour in SLC and this is what he had to say:

“Two years ago I had the opportunity of attending one of Sandy Puc’s seminars in Salt Lake City.  It was so good and so worth the price I paid, that I felt bad last year when I was unable to attend due to prior commitments. So this year I signed up for the event as soon as it was announced. At the time, I did not know who Jerry Ghionis was, and so that did not affect my plans. But I attended his class at WPPI a month ago and came away saying to myself that I would ‘pay anything to see him again.’ And wow, what a ‘one-two punch.’ The two of them last night were awesome. Sandy served up business and marketing tips while Jerry both taught and inspired us. His techniques for getting the image AND the emotion are truly inspirational. I would gladly pay to see him again.”

Another friend of mine, Jeremy Hall, wasn’t sure if it would be worth his time to attend because he doesn’t focus on weddings. With a little encouragement he decided to come and this is what he said to me afterwards:

“After some friendly prompting from fellow photographers, I decided to attend the Sandy Puc’ and Jerry Ghionis’ workshop in Salt Lake City. Though my focus is not wedding photography, I was looking for some great inspiration I could apply to all my photography. Sandy and Jerry were excellent. I enjoyed their presentation style, the simple techniques and ideas they presented, but most of all getting the inspiration I was looking for. I now have new motivation to approach my work with more emotion, sincerity and purpose.”

There are still 10 cities to go in the tour and you can save $20 by entering the code SMPP11 on the registration page. After seeing the show that first night, I have encouraged every photographer I know to get out and see it. You can register for the event by going HERE.

To view more photos from the Power of Passion Tour, check out the gallery here.

First ‘Bus Show’ in the books

Our first “bus show” is officially now in the books!

Canon the Mascot takes a break from loading the trailer before heading off to Oklahoma City.

As we all start to get used to life on the road, I’m pleased to report that our first “bus show” could not have been more fun. The energy and passion the attendees brought was exceptional. If the rest of the stops are anything like they were last night, we’re in for quite the next two months!

Don't even try to go in Sandy's room without getting approval first from Canon.

We cant wait to start the pirate bus wars…Our crew already has some dastardly plots dreamed up. You see, we have had years of experience pirating on a bus while those “Powder Monkeys” (pirate term for a newbie) on bus number 2 won’t have a clue what hit them!

Now, Oklahoma City may not sound like the most entertaining city in the world, but you’d be surprised just how fun it really is. (Fun little fact: OKC is actually the second-largest city geographically in the continental U.S.)

After our show, the crew went to Bricktown for some live music, while I headed back to the bus to catch up on my endless flood of emails (our internet connection was out all the way from Kansas to Oklahoma, so currently my inbox is completely overwhelming!).

Don’t worry though, I found plenty of time to take in the local sights and sounds, taking a stroll along the Bricktown Canal with Canon before treating myself to some blackened talapia from Jazmoz, my favorite restaurant!

A look inside our first of many stops at Walmart.

Bus call was at 3 a.m., and thankfully this time we weren’t forced to leave anyone behind. But like I tell my kids, I don’t want to, but if I have to…

Then came the 3 and ½ hour trip south to Dallas, where we found another luscious parking lot for Canon to enjoy.

Can’t wait for tonight’s show!

First 'Bus Show' in the books

Our first “bus show” is officially now in the books!

Canon the Mascot takes a break from loading the trailer before heading off to Oklahoma City.

As we all start to get used to life on the road, I’m pleased to report that our first “bus show” could not have been more fun. The energy and passion the attendees brought was exceptional. If the rest of the stops are anything like they were last night, we’re in for quite the next two months!

Don't even try to go in Sandy's room without getting approval first from Canon.

We cant wait to start the pirate bus wars…Our crew already has some dastardly plots dreamed up. You see, we have had years of experience pirating on a bus while those “Powder Monkeys” (pirate term for a newbie) on bus number 2 won’t have a clue what hit them!

Now, Oklahoma City may not sound like the most entertaining city in the world, but you’d be surprised just how fun it really is. (Fun little fact: OKC is actually the second-largest city geographically in the continental U.S.)

After our show, the crew went to Bricktown for some live music, while I headed back to the bus to catch up on my endless flood of emails (our internet connection was out all the way from Kansas to Oklahoma, so currently my inbox is completely overwhelming!).

Don’t worry though, I found plenty of time to take in the local sights and sounds, taking a stroll along the Bricktown Canal with Canon before treating myself to some blackened talapia from Jazmoz, my favorite restaurant!

A look inside our first of many stops at Walmart.

Bus call was at 3 a.m., and thankfully this time we weren’t forced to leave anyone behind. But like I tell my kids, I don’t want to, but if I have to…

Then came the 3 and ½ hour trip south to Dallas, where we found another luscious parking lot for Canon to enjoy.

Can’t wait for tonight’s show!

Jerry Ghionis’ i.c.e. Society Seminar Starts Today

Some very exciting news to pass along today!

The immensely talented and incredibly inspirational Jerry Ghionis, one of the world’s best wedding photographers, arrived at the studio today to kick off his i.c.e. Society workshop!

After the weeklong workshop, Jerry and I will be starting our 2011 Power of Passion Tour Saturday Feb. 12 at the Sheraton Denver Tech Center Hotel. I’m so excited to get back on the road! Remember, if you still haven’t bought tickets, you can save $20 using the promotional code “SAN11.”

Speaking of the tour, prior to starting his workshop, Jerry and I stopped by a sound studio today to record some captivating audio bites for some promotional tour material. (Sorry for the grainy photos. They were taken with a camera phone.)

If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing Jerry speak, then you’re honestly doing yourself a disservice. His energy is through the roof, and of course, his knowledge is endless. Our studio is truly fortunate to host such a passionate display of photography.

You can really feel the electric vibe in the studio today. What a fantastic way to start the week!

This week’s workshop is extremely intimate, with a limited number students allowed in order to create the ideal learning atmosphere. Photographers from as far as Alaska made the trip here, as the seminar has been known to change a photographer’s world, according to previous attendees.

Today (Monday) Jerry began the seminar by critiquing each photographer’s work, providing helpful feedback on everything from lighting to posing to cropping.

Throughout the seminar, students will get to see Jerry in action during a live shoot at the studio, as well as one-on-one private mentor sessions with “The MacGyver” of photography.

I can’t say it enough how great it is to be in the presence of such a talented and motivated photographer. Sharing ideas with Jerry truly makes me want to push myself ever harder.