AfterDark – Saint Louis

AfterDark. Lots of things happen after dark. This week lots of very creative thinking was happening in Saint Louis. AfterDark has been a creative force in the photography industry since 2009. A dozen times since 2009 some of the most creative, innovative artists in the photography industry have gotten together and mentored THOUSANDs of their fellow photographers and artisans. Fire-breathing, pink-haired, bull-in-the-china-shop mentors have taught everything from newborns to weddings... underwater to seniors... and maybe most importantly - they weren't just teaching numbers and buttons. They were inspiring. They were teaching how to think. They were mentoring. Risa 4th Floor_0207 Model: Risa Scott I've been to a small handful of photography conventions. Really big ones and pretty small ones. AfterDark was NOTHING like any of them. Small[ish] groups in a very interactive and intimate setting were able to sit and chat and work through ideas and processes to help create beautiful imagery and maybe most important sustain a viable photography business.


Model: Dayvion Garnet I chose to attend AfterDark as an mentor's assistant. EXCELLENT choice. It was lots of work, schlepping light stands and cords and bags and backgrounds. BUT a mentor's assistant  works one on one with the mentors to trouble shoot problems during live demonstrations as well as to set lights and background pieces. You can't help but feel a bonus connection with your mentor when you just scrambled to replace broken cords or dragged an entire model's wardrobe through a convention center to expedite their next clothing change.

makenzie risa

Model: Makenzie Morrison Very little sleep. Lots of work. Worth every vacation day I burned. Sadly though, AfterDark is now over and done with. The creative force behind it will probably create a new and better educational experience... setting the industry standard again for how to impact the most people in a very short and intensive manner - wherever it is... I'll do my best to be there schlepping gear and being inspired by some of the very best artists in the industry.

Elizabeth Keagan

Model: Keegan & Elizabeth Hensley Obviously it wasn't ALL work.. and especially if you love what you're doing and learning it still doesn't feel much like work.. except for the exhaustion at the end of a day that reminds you - work was indeed done. Lots of really talented models and goofy folks made the 3 day convention plus 2 setup/tear down days wonderfully enjoyable. One of our late nights we were treated to a fire spinning demonstration by the Saint Louis fire spinning troupe: VENUSinFLAMES! How cool!?

VENUSinFLAMES from Doug Howell on Vimeo. Finally my regrets. I regret I didn't study the mentor lineup before arriving to KNOW them before I arrived. I regret I didn't hand out a zillion more cards to folks I wanted to stay in touch with. I regret not meeting one on one and giving a hug to every hair and makeup artist that were responsible for crafting and designing the scores of models flawlessly. Thanks to my good friend Barb and Steph for making me want to go. Dave Junion and Jim Pierson and Dan Rowe [and others I sadly don't even know] for creating and driving this monster through Saint Louis.... you done good.