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Category: Blog

Mystic Seminars: the conference that everyone’s raving about

At first glance, one gets the impression that Mystic Seminars is not your average photography seminar, and it’s probably no coincidence that it’s held in the city of Portland, Oregon, where “Keep Portland Weird” is a popular saying amongst long-time locals. Mystic Seminars is one of our favorite seminars to attend, and that’s not just because it’s held in our lovely city.

It’s not every day that you can come across a seminar where you can have a drink and go bowling with the speakers at a photography conference. Mystic Seminars not only allows it – they encourage it. They want speakers to be very accessible to the attendees at Mystic, so that the relationships are more friend-to-friend rather than speaker-to-attendee.

Mystic is set up for people to have fun and to foster meaningful connections while doing so. Instead of hosting several speakers at once, Mystic offers one at a time so that everyone can attend and feel a stronger sense of community. Speakers are also encouraged to attend the other speaking sessions and meet the attendees.  It’s also made clear that speakers, attendees, and sponsors are meant to interact on the same level. For example, everyone is invited to attend nightly events like a bowling party, a private tour of the local hangouts, or a huge closing dance party.

By doing all of this, speakers can not only share their “wisdom” from an experienced photographer’s perspective, but they can also learn from the very people they’re teaching. In return, Mystic attendees inspire speakers with their fresh look on photography and the industry as a whole.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out what Kelly + Sergio had to say about it:

You know how it feels when your cool cousins that live far away and you don’t see often enough invite you for a staycation? I have 47 cousins and 1 of them is very cool so I totally know how it feels. Like this: they welcome you into their home, they make sure you have a great place to sleep, they feed you well, they drink with you, laugh with you and make it so you don’t wanna leave. That’s how we feel when we come to Mystic, Walter + Angela are those cousins and Mystic is a great pad to crash.

We just came back from this year’s seminar, and it was a blast. One speaker duo, in particular, has caught our eye: wedding photographers Jos and Tree, from JOS Studios. This husband-and-wife team focuses on an artistic and authentic portrayal of wedding and lifestyle stories. They have photographed weddings all across all over the world, and they have been given accolades by ISPWP, Fearless Photographers, and WPPI.

Jos gives Tree an unexpected surprise

This year, Tree and Jos gave a presentation on “Keeping it Real“. The emotion that they capture in their images is so tangible that you can feel it with just a glance.  They stress the importance of creating meaningful relationships with every client to capture more authentic images. They were also honest about their journey to becoming a successful team, which isn’t always easy. One of our favorite moments was when they surprised one of their real-life couples on stage with a wedding album, only to be followed by a surprise album given to Tree by Jos himself! More than a few people were teary-eyed. It’s clear that their real and honest approach helps both photographer and couple feel fulfilled after the wedding photos have been delivered.

Needless to say, we can’t wait for next year’s Mystic Seminars, and we hope to see you there on the dance floor!

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