Power of Passion 2011 tour: A review

Fellow Colorado photographer Sandy Puc’ joined Jedi forces with Jerry Ghionis in Denver yesterday as the kick-off tour of 32 cities across the US.

Among the topics addressed, Sandy and Jerry stressed the importance of marketing and understanding wedding photography essentials… told from a perspective you won’t read about in a book or magazine. Stories of breast cancer survivors and a divorce were shared alongside inspirational MacGuyver lighting secrets backed with stunning imagery. We got hooked quickly. While the five-hour experience touched on the harsh economy, more importantly it reminded me of the importance empathy plays in embracing the human experience many call love.

Sandy and Jerry kicked off their Power of Passion tour around the county last night in Denver while touring the country and visiting 32 cities in the US. Click here to see their tour schedule. SPT11 coupon code got me a $79 rate.

Passionate educators, as well as photographer, both Sandy and Jerry speak from the heart with accolades to boot. A duo of aces, they showcase distinct strengths along with quirks. “Hide the weakness, amplify the greatness,” as Jerry states… a theme in the duo’s pleasantly contrasting personas.

At times, Sandy’s speedtalk and Jerry’s ego, well, annoys. Regardless, they are both comfortable in their own skin, they make it work, and deliver an important message: Be yourself and be passionate. They have mastered that art.

They both shared:

  1. Golden nuggets of info from expertise in their niche. This is stuff that takes decades of experience that money can’t buy. Sandy rocks marketing and Jerry knows how to make anyone feel and look beautiful. Both are fine arts to behold and learn from.
  2. A refined stage presence, poised and polished. They practiced and refined their messages from years of experience. They know not only what they are talking about, but how to deliver. They had models on stage, had the lights set up, stellar visuals, great stories, and lots of humor and emotion to keep us going.
  3. Incredible, inspirational stories. Jerry and Sandy speak from the heart and it is good to see their leadership and charity work extending beyond the photography industry. At the end of the evening I left with knowledge making me not only a better photographer, but a better person. There is much to say about that. Tears and laughter were shared during the five hour experience. They reminded me there is no better time or importance to be a photographer. Us pros need to hear that, despite the economy!
  4. A home-run value. My $79 tuition was far cheaper than the attending WPPI in Las Vegas. It was also better than an expensive Saturday dinner and movie for my creative soul. It is a budget alternative for those who don’t want to shell out $1,000 for costs associated with attending a large trade show conference with 14,000 people. I was stoked to have an uninterrupted conversation for 10-minutes with Jerry (he’s a popular guy) and he offered to critique of two images on my iPhone that I had recently entered in a print competition. I thank him for his time.

They both need to:

  1. Challenge more. Tells us more about what we need to hear and not what we want to hear. When I attend a photographer workshop or seminar, I want to be challenged with emphasis placed on moving outside the comfort zone… especially in the age of Uncle Bob wedding photography. “Safety risks” from yesterday WILL become “norm” tomorrow. Let’s hear more specifics about the source of creativity.
  2. Stop selling product. Not all attendees like to be sold on more “stuff” to buy. To paraphrase what I heard on stage: “Everything I know about photography is contained within this packet which can be bought for….”. Yikes! We attend a U2 concert to hear the music, not be sold on their next album. We are already fans.
  3. Encourage more participation. Crowds of adults are the hardest to not only entertain, but educate. I would like to have seen greater audience engagement by involving them in open dialogs, forums, questions, challenges. At times, there were 30+ minute speaking segments where there wasn’t a pause for an audience pulse. Although, I didn’t see anyone fall asleep.
  4. Talk more about art. Last time I looked in the halls of academia, photography still stands in the “fine art” department, as depicted in the Museum of Fine Art. When did photography seminars become 90% about marketing/services and 10% art? It should be at least 50/50.

Being sold online forums, business templates, or instructional DVDs from a trusted speaker/mentor/teacher… that’s a hard pill to swallow as a student. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever been prompted to purchase product from a high school, college, or grad school instructor. Granted, I paid my price of admission called tuition. But upselling in class? Really??? Kinda makes me want to hock a Breakfast Club spit ball to the principal after I hand in my 1,000 word detention essay.

I dreaded the collective 25 minutes in prize giveaways… this coming from someone who never wins prizes. I would rather quality time hearing from Q&A panel which would benefit more than just a few lucky winners.

My overall impressions:

  1. Humor and stage presence with Sandy’s concrete take away messages and Jerry’s inspiration score a rocking awesome value for $79.
  2. Great takeaways message that I can directly apply to my buisness came golden nugget moments, freebee PDF downloads, and creative inspiration to last for a few weeks.
  3. The most poignant moment, personally for me, was the final moments where Jerry Ghionis shares his divorce experience. Having recently gone through one myself, I will say I would much rather here Jerry speak for $79 than pay thousands in attorney fees… of which we both feel the burden. Learn from those who have gone before you.

I learn best by “doing.” The Power of Passion tour, while not a shooting workshop or college class, served it’s to purpose to inspire and invigorate. And if you attend one of Jerry Ghionis’s five-day workshops, check out my tips of getting the most out of your next shooting workshop.

11 Responses to “Power of Passion 2011 tour: A review”

  1. Jackie — February 13, 2011 @ 12:37 pm (#)

    Thanks for your honesty here RJ. A bold and excellent review.

  2. Jim — February 13, 2011 @ 1:37 pm (#)

    A very fair, meaning honest review. I too was dismayed when I heard it was not going to be a infomercial, then a second later we are pitched products that were being sold. I felt Jerry singing a full length song at the end was too long to endure after sitting for over five hours. I like Jerry’s illustration that we all must stretch our limits, (something you do easily.) I recall reading Inner Skiing at age 21 and learning a great phrase. ‘know your limits and then exceed them.’ Power of Passion is well worth the reasonable cost.

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  4. Brooke — February 18, 2011 @ 8:42 am (#)

    Great review! I’m sorry to hear about your divorce, it’s never easy. Good luck!

  5. Sachin — March 30, 2011 @ 8:06 am (#)

    Excellent review.. and very honest! .. very much appreciated 😉

  6. Sachin — March 30, 2011 @ 8:30 am (#)

    I have to say I have gone through other bits of your website and I really admire the way your write and express yourself.. Thanks for being so open!!


  7. REB6studios — May 2, 2011 @ 7:27 pm (#)

    Im already your fan!
    I also went to Jerry and Sandy’s workshop.(even though Im a videographer).
    #1 and #3 might not work very well together all the time. The way you want to be challenged or things you need to hear might be different than the guy sitting beside you. So, when the #3 comes in where you want open dialogues, you lose it sometimes. specially for someone that already knows a lot.
    for example, there was this one attendee who asked nikon or canon question…sometimes it is good if questions are addressed so that everyone(regardless) will learn from it. (comeon, canon vs nikon? that easily on google right?)

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