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Destinations

A Love Affair with Château Élan

By | Chateau Elan, Destinations, Event Industry | No Comments

Many of the recent events we’ve covered in the last several months kept taking us back to the wonderful Château Élan Winery and Resort. Each time we experienced a different facet of this gorgeous venue that we couldn’t help but fall in love with it over and over again!

We covered a diversity of events on separate occasions: driving, golf, business meeting, wine tasting, cooking and (of course) a string of parties, which were held in many of the indoor and outdoor spaces on the property. It’s easy to see how flexible this venue is, and how convenient it would be to work things out, should any changes in plans occur during an event.

If we must say, it would be an event organizers dream location. Listen, this is important. We’re not saying this just because of the picturesque views, variety of rooms, and the many activities and amenities available, but also because of the professionalism and pleasant Southern hospitality of the staff, who are truly happy to serve. Let’s just say, if you want to feel what it’s like to be treated as royalty, whether you’re a party of two or your party can fill two grand ballrooms, this is the place to be. You could say, in Château Élan  guests enjoy the convenience of having everything they would need in luxury, and get more than they expect at a resort, whether on vacation or on business. Château Élan does not disappoint, like a smitten suitor that knows what to do to make you smile. 🙂

We’ve seen that it is indeed North Atlanta’s Premier Resort and Conference Destination for a reason. So, when planning an event here, remember to warn guests to be prepared to be awed by the magnificent scenery of acres of lush vineyards, handsome French country architecture, luxurious rooms and suites, fully-equipped conference rooms, and gracious staff.

Take a look for yourself —

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

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PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

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PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

 

Value of Photography: Why Do People Pay for Photographers?

By | Corporate Events, Destinations, Event Industry | No Comments

Sitting here on a plane returning from Spain and Portugal. No personal vacation – it was a shoot. Friends, guests of the events we capture, and most anyone unfamiliar with the ‘events industry’ are often shocked to find out we are paid for these trips… almost as shocked as I am that they would think a 40 year old man with a wife + kids + a pro photographer as a profession would do it non-stop for six days for free?

Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Them: Been anywhere cool with your photography lately??

Me: Yup. We have had some travel lately – was in Nevis/Cali/Portugal/Paris/London last week. (pick one you like – I have captured events in all of those amazing places.)

Them: WOW! Cool. So, does your client pay for you to go?

[I like to roll my eyes for effect]

Me: Yup.

Them: Wait, like they pay for your hotel?

Me: Yup.

Them: What about air?

Me: Yup. And I also get paid for my bags to travel, meals, expenses, and my regular hourly shooting rate. IF it is somewhere far away and exotic I will also ask for a travel fee.

Them: A what?

Me: A travel fee to cover my time – because that is time I can’t shoot elsewhere.

Usually wide eyes are looking at me with an open mouth at this point.

And it always makes me ponder – why do they react this way? Only logical answer is because so few people understand what we photographers do, SO I am writing this to help you understand a little more about what happens behind the scenes… and the value of our corporate event photography business in general.

First, some background. We specialize in corporate events of all kinds and my studio’s going rate is around $200/hr. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. On average we book 100 hours of shooting per month with a two or three hour minimum per event. Our average shoot length is 4 hours and I am personally the first to be booked. As I get older [coughs “bullsh*t!”], I am getting less and less interested in leaving the studio for less than a four hour shoot. I have a list of awesome photographers on the ready whom can usually cover events of any length when I am already booked or just feeling a little pressure not to leave my in-office workload. If I do the shorter event, it is usually for a handful of clients whom have been with me for a while, or it is for the promise of some amazing decor… which, BTW, I LOVE shooting. Could care less if I never see another award winner cross a stage, but give me a high creativity/design visually stunning event and I am a kid in a candy store!

So, back to the point – why do people pay for photographers at their events – seems kinda expensive and pointless, right??

Here are a few reasons:

1. Guest Experience

People think it cool to have their “picture made” professionally at events. (My great grandmother, Gran, always used that term, BTW- was a big deal to get your “picture made” by a real pro – like having a painting made… just quicker). Sometimes the guests look pretty – the only time they do between folks dying and getting hitched! Maybe it is people doing something unusual, or meeting someone unusual. The photo depicts the experience and translates to positive memories which supports the overall spend on the event.

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2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

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2. Recognition

People work hard and get things done. Whether they have sold the most on the team, closed the big deal of the decade, or finished a merit-worthy project, a photographer is almost always invited to catch the moment they are recognized so their recognition can go beyond the eyes in the room.

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

2013 PWP Studio

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

3. Documentation of People

Guess what happens when the leaders of Coca Cola’s business units from all over the globe are having a meeting? All of those fine folks in one place at one time for the only time this year usually means a group photo will be made. Guess who takes that photo?

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

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4. Documentation of Branding

When big money is spent to brand an event (think custom EVERYTHING, from branded drinking cups to 20′ wall treatments and structures), we spend time making sure it is documented. “Decor, production, and details” are key when the home office five states away needs to see where the money went, or when the venue wants to show the brands with whom they have worked. “Interaction” shots are requested when the production company wants to prove to their client that people were actively engaged with the brand.

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

5. Documentation for Portfolio

You show what you want to sell and many planners need images to understand what can be done with a space, a type of light, or food set-ups. My industry hires us to capture WOW! shots of WOW! set-ups so those set-ups can be sold again, used for promotion when the mags/blogs want to feature an event, images for award entries, or when any of the vendors might want to have catalog or ‘portfolio’ images of what they can do.

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2013 PWP Studio - Corporate Event Photographers

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2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

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4. Luxury Service

I have toted a camera in some amazing places just so guests of the event didn’t have to lift a finger to do it themselves. Don’t carry that heavy old 4oz whiz bang point and shoot you just spent $1000 on – that is what I am here to do for you!! We will capture that bird, that boat, and anything else you want – just ask! We have provided those images on a USB, an online gallery, or even in print form DURING and after the event. Usually these experiences are for high-rollers, and that is what the Spain + Portugal trip was. While in Portugal and Spain, my team of three captured thousands of images, led private photo tours, cleaned the cameras of the guests, and provided everyone prints at the end of each day to include in their branded photo albums provided by the host.

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

PWP Studio 2013 Corporate Event Photographers

Now, you may think that a photographer is a photographer and anyone with a camera, lens, and a flash can do it – so why spend the potentially thousands of dollars we demand when you have 10 friends willing to do it for FREE? First off, despite the fact your photog friend can take an amazing photo of his daughter in the garden out back and has a great camera and lens – photography ‘on demand’ in ever-changing indoor/outdoor environments would likely blow their mind. It is NOT easy. I could spend the rest of my life shooting and never know it all! Photography on the fly is, well, a great way to make most shooters cry; the shot/weather/moment happens whether you are ready or not. On this trip we captured people dancing in a dark theater, touring a cave, on a kayak tour, posed on a cliff, backlit over the ocean at noon, backlit at sunset, in a big group photo assembled in the ruins of an ancient theater, and we had a fun group captured in pitch black at midnight – none of it came with more than a moment’s notice. We dealt with more reflective brass and mirrored walls than I would EVER like to see again!! The technical aspect is crucial – we are paid because we are expected to get the shot… every time without exception.

And on that ‘on the fly’ topic – let’s talk the correlation between pressure and value. Often we are dealing with executives, leaders, political figures, celebs, and their handlers…. no pressure when the person standing in front of you makes more in the tick of a second on the clock than you do in a day!! No pressure to get multiple good shots the first time because waiting around for you to fiddle with settings and cuss your batteries WILL be a big deal! We are trusted to get the shot in ANY environment, and get it QUICKLY.

Events are like fireflies – they pop up, shine bright, and then stop shining to fly out of sight. My images drive revenue for my industry because I capture events and guests during that split second they are shining bright!

It is what we do.

 

We found the Fountain of Youth…in Puerto Rico!

By | Destinations, East Coast Entertainment | No Comments

At PWP Studio we’re known for our love of travel, so when our pals at East Coast Entertainment offered us a chance to photograph an incentive trip to Puerto Rico– we were on board! For three days we were spoiled at the El San Juan Resort and Casino, the site of some of the most dazzling beaches in PR, and hottest nightclubs! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

To introduce their award winning hospitality and welcome the guests, the El San Juan Resort set up a tantalizing welcome dinner, complete with entertaining steel drum performances.

During the next day, guests were given an opportunity to play volleyball in a tournament staged on the beach.

 

Of course, because this was an incentive trip, we had to celebrate employee performances– and what better way than with an awards dinner? Not only does El San Juan Resort have the perfect ambiance for the event, but they entertain, as well! The “Gentleman Thief” was too much fun.

Of course, relaxation is one of the main reasons to vacation in Puerto Rico. The resort is surrounded by 15 lush acres of rain forest, and on our hike we learned some spa history, for instance: when the Spanish Conquistadors landed there, the native Taino people told them about the healing properties of the hot springs…in other words, the famed fountain of youth! So we made like Ponce de Leon, and explored our way through (and up!) the trees toward the Yokahu Tower observation point.

 

 

 

 

 

Our trip came to end with a beachfront farewell dinner, complete with local bands and dancers in full costume. San Juan really knows how to have a good time! In fact, the El San Juan Resort and Casino is host to Club BRAVA and Ultra Lounge— the premiere nightclub in Puerto Rico! On the weekends (starting Thursday) even the lobby is packed with club-goers looking for a place to simultaneously chill out and dance the night away.

 

 

 

 

Big thanks to East Coast Entertainment for having us as part of their team. And if you’re interested in the white sand beaches of Puerto Rico, you can “like” El San Juan Resort on Facebook for up-to-date information on their events and specials!

 

Today’s Version of the “Virtual Office”….

By | Destinations, Incentive Travel | No Comments

As a corporate event photographer, I get to visit some pretty places…it is true. Some days we ‘win the lottery’ and get to enjoy our leisure time and sometimes the most fun we have is finding the coolest place available to “virtual office”. Hey, it is peak time in the events industry and we are crazy busy, so this day is an office day!

Thanks to ‘the cloud’ and all the web app tools we implemented in the past 14 months, heading into the studio  – as a completely functional remote “office” – requires three things: relative quiet (distant waterfalls are ok –  helicopters not so much), WiFi, and a power outlet…and that is all. Let me repeat, “that is all” so you can let that sink in. No walls. Table optional. Screw the printer.  Coffee is a bonus…as is a beach umbrella.

Today, my office is set up at “Humu’s” – an iconic Maui restaurant on property here at the Grand Wailea Resort. I am the only one here as they are only open for dinner (or for our incentive group breakfast), so I have the WHOLE place to myself…solid WiFi…everything I need is available, and the best part?

Check out the wallpaper in my “office” today….

A Successful 16th at St. Regis Atlanta

By | Charity, Destinations | No Comments

The 16th Annual Gala of the GACC South or German-American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. was another wonderful success. The evening was complete with everything expected from the event: dining, dancing and networking, plus a silent auction featuring more than 90 items donated by GACC South affiliates.

It was not just about the getting together, nor the food and the dancing, it was also about giving. This year’s fundraiser, with Mercedes Benz as the display sponsor, aimed to help rebuild the areas in Alabama that were devastated by the tornadoes last spring.  The 2011 Gala patron was the German Federal State of Bremen. BLG Logistics, the 2011 Gala partner, sponsored the event with them.

The 2011 Gala was held in the stylish St. Regis Atlanta, a AAA Five Diamond boutique hotel, which was a very fitting venue for this prestigious event.

St. Regis has the ambiance of an elegant and laid back country resort even if it is just a short drive from Atlanta’s favorite hotspots like the Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta’s business and entertainment districts. It has 151 guestrooms, 31 of which are top-rated suites. Each room has luxurious furnishings and is adorned with original art pieces. What more, signature butler service is available for each room. You can expect nothing less of the crowning jewel of Buckhead’s luxury hotels!

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

PWP Studio Captures the 16th GACC Annual Gala at the St. Regis Buckhead

 

 

“You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name… La, la….”

By | Conventions, Destinations | No Comments

One of the highlights of this year’s UTA or Used Truck Association convention was an off-road Jeep tour of the Sonoran Desert, which might have been the same desert that helped inspire the imagery in the song “A Horse With No Name” (America). Unlike the tone of the song, though, the tour was an absolutely awesome experience with real cowboys driving the Jeeps! The tour was organized by Wild West Jeep Tours.

It has been 24 years since the first organizational meeting in Chicago with the Blue Book Advisory Board, and 23 years since it was chartered on May 16, 1988, when it was then known as the Used Truck Sales Network (USTN). The name was changed to NUTA or National Used Truck Association in 1993, and shortened to UTA in 1994.

For 8 consecutive years PWP Studio has captured the UTA Annual Convention, making it the longest running event we’ve been covering. Every year there is a different destination with the same old wonderful people! Last November 2-5, 2011 it was held in the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Another highlight of the convention was the keynote speaker, who was no less than Tom Flick. Known for delivering speeches that make an impact on everyone in the organization, his message at the convention was very motivational. I especially enjoyed his description and definition of the difference between leadership versus management. We would definitely recommend him as a guest speaker for any group.

Aside from the Jeep tour, the UTA members and guests also enjoyed a Golf Scramble at the Talking Stick Golf Club, a Taliesin West Insight Tour at the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, the River Float which involved a cool ride down the Salt River with a beautiful view of the Arizona desert, and casino lessons from an expert which meant using the complimentary casino chips!

PWP Studio Captures the UTA Annual Convention 2011 at the Talking Stick Resort

PWP Studio Captures the UTA Annual Convention 2011 at the Talking Stick Resort

PWP Studio Captures the UTA Annual Convention 2011 at the Talking Stick Resort

PWP Studio Captures the UTA Annual Convention 2011 at the Talking Stick Resort

PWP Studio Captures the UTA Annual Convention 2011 at the Talking Stick Resort

PWP Studio Captures the UTA Annual Convention 2011 at the Talking Stick Resort

PWP Studio Captures the UTA Annual Convention 2011 at the Talking Stick Resort

 

 

The Sky is the Limit at the Glenn SkyLounge

By | Destinations, Event Industry | No Comments

Already a unique boutique hotel in Downtown Atlanta, Glenn Hotel adds more to its personality with the addition of an awesome awning on its rooftop! Now the party is taken to another level with ALL YEAR ROUND cocktail receptions, meet and greets, and after hours fabulous-ness at their rooftop bar. Yes, you got that right, party at the SkyLounge and enjoy the views from the height even during winter!

Note: ABC.com voted Glenn Skylounge in the Top 23 Rooftop Bars in the World! It is also the first rooftop bar in Atlanta, allowing locals and tourists to take in the amazing city skyline views with tasty handcrafted cocktails. This includes sipping a $5 specialty drink that is different everyday, while listening to their house DJ set the mood with some cool music.

Glenn hotel is located in 110 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, Georgia. Its right next to Philips Arena, and across the street from the Centennial Olympic Park and the CNN Atlanta Studio. Within walking distance from the Glenn are the World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, Georgia World Congress Center, museums and the MARTA transportation line.

Thanks to Todd for covering this event for PWP Studio.

Since the Glenn Hotel is a historical building, a former office building built in 1923, the awning was built according to the code of the Historic Society. The owners have entered the design for some architectural awards.

 

 

October 6th was no ordinary Thursday…

By | Destinations, River West Associates

We were at the Denver Hyatt Regency and captured an amazing series of events in Denver for our friends at River West Associates out of Chicago. What may have started out as an ordinary day for us and the guests certainly didn’t end that way.

As the evening started to set in we found ourselves back at the Downtown Tavern, where we captured the Microsoft MGX Conference a few months back. The guests surely had a blast with the Dueling Pianos of Colorado who rocked the house when they played the piano, guitar, harmonica and drums. They made us all LOL and ROFL with their impersonations of Michael Jackson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Al Green, to name some. The perfect combination of remarkable entertainment at a top-rated venue was the perfect end to that day’s event.