Tips + Techniques

A WPPI Journey of Inspiration + High-Fashion Maternity Tips  

November 2, 2023

By Barkha Agarwal

WPPI is a gathering of some of the world’s most passionate photographers, held in the stunning backdrop of ‘The Mirage’ hotel in Las Vegas. In 2023, I had the incredible honor of being a speaker. It was an experience that left me inspired and eager to share the magic with you. 

The Electric Atmosphere at WPPI

From the very first step onto the show floor, I was engulfed in an electrifying energy that defined WPPI 2023. The entire conference buzzed with creativity, hosting the crème de la crème of global photography talent, from seasoned creators to enthusiastic students, and showcasing the finest camera gear in existence. 

Barkha Agarwal’s welcome to WPPI. © Sanchit Singhal

Living the Dream at WPPI

My journey to WPPI 2023 began with a challenging 26-hour flight from India alongside my husband and our 20-month-old daughter. Jetlagged but undeterred, we arrived a day early to prepare. As my session day approached, my amazing husband took charge of our little one, allowing me to fully embrace my dream of teaching at WPPI as a speaker. 

Barkha Agarwal shows how to use of crystals to a full house session. © Sanchit Singhal

Top Three Lessons from My Session on ‘High Fashion Maternity’ 

In my session entitled ‘High Fashion Maternity,’ I shared three motivational lessons: 

Fusion of Fashion and Maternity: We explored the art of merging fashion and maternity photography to create contemporary high-fashion maternity images. By integrating fashion-inspired posing, lighting, and creative elements, we unlocked the potential to infuse high-fashion style into maternity photography. We explored how the use of different modifiers transformed a simple image to a high-fashion image. For example, harsh light directly from a bare bulb can be used to incorporate shadows in the image, making it look more dramatic. On the other hand, we can use an optical spot to create an abstract-looking image. 

A high-fashion image captured during Barkha Agarwal’s workshop. © Barkha Agarwal

Creative Transformation: We learned the significance of creative elements, discovering how choices in fabrics, crystals, and props can elevate a simple maternity shoot into a dazzling high-fashion masterpiece. A simple process of shooting through something was explored. We discussed how shooting through simple crystals, a prism, or even a lacey fabric gives a different look to images.  

An image shot through crystal from the workshop. © Barkha Agarwal

Mastering the Play of Light: I emphasized the pivotal role of lighting in achieving a high-fashion impact. I unveiled the secrets of manipulating light to accentuate the beauty of maternity subjects, resulting in visually striking and emotionally resonant images. We used different forms of light – harsh light and soft light separately and then a combination of both and saw the effects that it brought to our images. A hard light created a bold look, whereas a soft light through a very large modifier gave an ethereal feel to the images.  

An image taken from the workshop demonstrating the use of light to create an ethereal image. © Barkha Agarwal

Beyond My Session: Inspirational Highlights 

WPPI 2023 offered a plethora of inspirational moments beyond my session. Organizers had planned everything very meticulously. Highlights included the dynamic event at the ‘B&H’ booth, with live modeling sessions and enlightening talks and discussions going all around with so many brands and speakers. 

“I could not stop clicking at so many beautiful booths set up by many different brands,” says Barkha Agarwal. © Sanchit Singhal

Interacting with legends such as Cliff Hausner and meeting esteemed speakers like Lindsay Adler was unforgettable. 

Barkha Agarwal had a fun and energetic catch up with Lindsay Adler. © Sanchit Singhal

In conclusion, WPPI 2023 was a transformative journey that reminded us all that dreams are attainable. Even as we bid adieu to ‘The Mirage’ and the enchanting city of Las Vegas, I knew the inspiration we received would keep our creative fires burning as we continued to capture the beauty of the world. 

Until we meet again on our photographic journeys, remember that every click of the shutter brings us one step closer to realizing our dreams. 

You can reach out to Barkha Agarwal on her website or through her Instagram. 

The Fashion Series
Artistic Lighting for Maternity Portraiture – by Lola Melani
The Art of Draping – by Lola Melani
The Art of Draping II – by Lola Melani
The Art of Draping Bundle