We’ve listed our favorite parts of the Maui Photo Festival along with some things that can be improved.
- Location! Perfect for outdoor photo shoots and workshops. The beaches here are amazing and perfect for sunsets. you can’t ask for a better area to shoot at.
- Warm, Strong Community. This is different from any other photography convention we’ve been to. It’s not as huge as some of the mainland conventions, which brings people together more to meet and learn from each other. These things are fantastic for networking and learning from other professionals and enthusiasts. It’s a less intimidating environment allowing everyone time to speak to the pros and mingle.
- Off-site Workshops. There are plenty of opportunities to shoot with the expert speakers away from the hotel. There’s a trip to Haleakala Crater for sunrise, doors-off helicopter rides, and much more.
- Studio Lighting. For a few hours they set up studio lighting for anyone to use. They also had some models there to give everyone a chance to shoot.
- Contests and Prizes. Each year there are multiple contests for photos taken during the week of the festival. Awards are given on the last day and prizes are exceptional. Some prizes this year included: Wacom Tablets, CS5 Photoshop, camera backpacks, and many more. See some of last year’s best photos.
- Student Scholarships. We love that the Maui Photo Festival sponsors aspiring photographers from local high schools. These kids are truly gifted and have a bright future in photo.
- Magazine Staff. We liked that staff from popular magazines came and spoke to us about how to submit photos to their magazines and what they’re looking for. People from The Knot and from Maui No Ka Oi Magazine came and spoke.
- Live Models. Beautiful models are brought in to allow us opportunities to hone our craft. There was studio shoots, outdoor shoots, hula dancers, bikini models shoots, etc…
- Great Speakers and Experts from all Over. World renowned experts and local legends include:
Jim DiVitale – I’m in awe of this man. Unfortunately, most of the teachers I’ve had over the years for any technical matter offer too slow a pace. Jim, on the otherhand, moves at times too fast. He’s perpetually on a serious caffeine high and blows through material. He’s incredible. I’ve tried to go to all of his workshops the last 2 years, and I gain so much from each one. he is a Photoshop wizard.
Randy Jay Braun – Randy is a local artist that is gifted in bringing the culture of Hawaii to the masses through beautiful images. He’s proven to be one of the more successful photographer artists in Hawaii, and just happens to be one of the nicest guys you’ll meet.
Some of the Other Speakers include: Jim Tierney, Michael Sweet, Douglas Peebles, Judy Host, Stacy Pearsal, Andy Dunaway, Eddie Tap, Jack Reznicki, Randy Hufford, Lou Freeman, Lewis Carlyle, Rebecca Crumley, Frederick Van Johnson, and Mike Sidney.
- The Rooms are Too Cold. Air conditioning needs to be cut down a bit. This is an easy fix that I think they can have set up better next year. Bring a sweatshirt just in case though.
- Parking. Many times we’ve gotten lucky, but the Hyatt isn’t great for parking. If you get there too late, you’ll have to valet. It’s $18 to valet, but you can get it validated if you eat at one of the restaurants. Umalu is reasonable and good, but the new restaurant Japengo is outrageously expensive.
- Offer More Broad Classes, other than Photo: It would be nice if we could have some classes on business, marketing, branding, advertising, website design, networking, etc… I know that’s kind of a lot, but if there was time and an extra room, it’d be nice to offer some of these workshops.
- Mixers to Mingle. It would be great to have a different local restaurant/bar help sponsor a different night for every night of the fest. This would be a great way for our photographers to get to know eachother away from the classrooms and help build lasting relationships in an even more casual setting. Sponsor host restaurant/bars could offer 1 free drink to each paid attendee and all other drinks are cash bar. I’m sure plenty of locations would be interested in the exposure if Maui Photo Festival were to add some advertising for them.
- Breakout Sessions. We’d love to see a few hours each day dedicated to sign up sessions to have pros interact one on one with attendees. Photoshop or shooting, it’d be nice to have a few hours where our experts stick around a classroom and meet with each person to discuss their questions one on one. Not sure if this is possible, but it’d be cool.
Learn more at the Maui Photo Festival.