Monday, March 3rd at WPPI: The Wedding and Portrait "It" List of the Day

by Jessica Gordon and Jacqueline Tobin

March 03, 2014

Jonas Peterson

With stripped-down, sun-washed imagery shot in gorgeous locations—from Bali to Sweden to New Hampshire—Melbourne, Australia-based Jonas Peterson’s photography is instantly recognizable for its editorial quality and impeccable beauty.


© Jonas Peterson

Named “Best Wedding Photographer in the World” by the Framed Network at its inaugural [F] Awards in Las Vegas (2013) and one of the Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World by American Photo (2011), the former advertising writer spends half the year shooting destination weddings. When asked what influences his style, Peterson’s answer is rather Zen: “I try to be quiet and listen, reacting to the world around me instead of speaking loudly to bend the world into place,” he says. “For me, the camera is just a tool to capture [how I see the world], the same way a writer uses a typewriter to collect words and create stories.”


© Jonas Peterson

Peterson also spends part of the year teaching workshops, as he will this month in the WPPI seminars “A Photographer’s Guide to Storytelling” and “The Business of Being You.” For photographers looking to cultivate their own style, Peterson’s advice is to “go out and take inspiration from as much as you can. Fill that brain of yours with amazing art and gradually your taste will be more refined.” —Jessica Gordon

Padraic & Sonia Deasy

An Irish husband-and-wife team (with five children!), Sonia and Padraic Deasy run Deasy Photographic, a boutique portrait studio established in 1981 by Padraic’s family that is now carried on by the couple. Known for their defined style of photography (classic, black-and-white portraits), the Deasys have a unique business model of “sell first, shoot later.”


© Deasy Photographic

In other words, clients make the decision about what to purchase up front, streamlining the photography and sales process, and alleviating confusion in studio. “I don’t have to waste time shooting a square image if the customer is going to buy a panoramic image,” says Padraic. “It all ties back to making our decisions up front and working toward that decision.” The model has worked: Deasy Photographic has been awarded titles including “European Portrait Photographers of the Year,” and for Padraic, “Irish Photographer of the Year 2011.”

© Deasy Photographic

As a result, the Deasys speak internationally about their business strategy, as they will in the WPPI Platform, “Reinterpret Your Portrait Studio.” “The secret to our studio’s longevity is consistency,” says Sonia, who serves as the studio’s director. “Also, a strong work ethic and a focus on the area of photography that we love most. For us, this is studio portrait photography and, most importantly, having a clearly defined photographic style and business model.”

Sonia says the biggest difference between Ireland and Las Vegas is one thing: “Sheep! No seriously, we have a lot of sheep in Ireland, particularly where we come from! The weather, too—in Ireland we get a lot of rain, everything here is green and lush, so there will be a huge contrast in the landscape. “ —JG

Jessica Lark

“Boudoir has been equated with sexuality, and that is the biggest myth prohibiting a lot of photographers from creating truly stellar work,” says Jessica Lark. “It is not about the sexuality, it’s about the intimacy—something that people can have with a cup of coffee in a crowded room; it isn’t about inciting lust, but captivation, a sort of wordless enchantment.”


© Jessica Lark

Lark is opinionated about her craft, and with good reason. Originally a visual artist, she has built her Limerick, Pennsylvania, studio—Couture Manor—into a humming business during the past five years and is happily teaching other photographers how they can do the same. Her first-time seminar at WPPI says it all: “Artistic Seductions: Light, Pose & Design an Experience So Enticing You Make $3,500 a Session, Without Ever Having to Advertise or Sell Again.”


© Jessica Lark

“My very first class I attended as a student was by Dane Sanders; he inscribed his book to me with two simple words—‘Lead us,’—and it amazed me that someone could offer such a small simple verbiage, and it could so affect my motivation and faith within myself,” Lark says. “I am certainly filled with as much excitement to fulfill the role of teacher as I am to attend classes of both the new and those I return to for continued inspiration and wisdom.” —JG

Ryan Schembri

At age 20, Ryan Schembri was named one of the youngest Masters of Photography of AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) ever. In 2012 he received AIPP’s Photographer of the Year award, and he’s also a three-time winner of the NSW AIPP Wedding Photographer of the Year titles.


© Ryan Schembri

So what is it about his images that makes them so award-winning? “I’d like to think that I bring a sense of drama and story to my images,” Schembri explains, “brought together through the lighting and positioning of the frame, as well as conveying to the viewer the story that was either happening or embellished on through the posing of, or my direction to, the couple.”


© Ryan Schembri

Schembri, who grew up in a photographic family, took over the family wedding and portrait studio; he’s speaking on “Luscious Lighting” at WPPI, as well as “From Camera to Cover” with fellow photographer Rocco Ancora. “There is something about knowing in the back of your mind that you’ll only ever have one chance to get [an image] right for your client,” Schembri says. “You have to be the best at many things on a wedding day: a great listener, have the most patience in testing times, a friend, an entertainer, and most of all, be able to see the beauty in everything in front of you.” —Jacqueline Tobin

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