Photo Training Overseas Cuba February 2017

30th Anniversary at Hotel Playa Pesquaro – Holguin, Cuba

Delegates were stunned when at the 29th Anniversary PTO trip in Lanzarotte when told the 30th Anniversary would be held in Cuba in February 2017. And so George and Glenys Dawber jetted along with 100 delegates to the fabulous Holguin Cuba resort hotel Playa Pesquaro.

I was one of the lucky delegates to join this wonderful training trip with a two week option. One week of intensive training followed by a week of leisure and seeing the sights enabling the training programme to kick into practice.

George Dawber Hon FIPP  FMPA Master SWPP and many other accolades with wife Glenys are the owners and organisers of PTO.  They flew straight from the SWPP show in London  having been awarded yet another accolade “Lifetime Service to Industry” . With their able team of helpers Simon Jones who on PTO acts as personal assistant to the Dawbers, son Howard.  Faye Collyer  who has a thriving Brighton studio and Nicola Rolls looked after all the AV and slide and video presentations for the week. John   Burgess   who took all the official event photographs. And of course the sponsors and models who all flew out to support the team. George and Glenys and Howard and wife Laura in their private life  are Foster Carers and in their lifetimes have looked after several hundred young and vulnerable children.

In week one we were in the hands of some world famous tutors and sponsors. Marian Sterea and his wife Daniela from Bucharest held separate workshops for the wedding and  new born photographers in the group. Marian demonstrated his amazing skill using under exposure with camera techniques and strong lighting to give a wonderful surreal effect to quite ordinary poses. Guy Gowan showed us how to stop “wanging” the Photoshop sliders and use his incredible self found technique to enhance shadow and highlights. John Miskelly from Ireland who shoots masterpiece landscapes gave on the spot location tuition using the amazing beaches and views of Holguin. Richard Walton (Ritchie) youngest ever photographer to achieve FSWPP  Fellowship status of the Societies took us to a market place for practical street photography. His enthusiasm and energy left me breathless. From Cuba Ritchie flew to Los Angeles where he had a booked shoot. Simon Burfoot and Brian Collier of The Flash Centre…. the  “Ant and Dec” of the photo industry demonstrated  with great skill and amusing presentations latest lighting techniqes showing us how to make good shots “GREAT”  and they loaned lots of equipment to delegates so we could carry on the tuition in our own time.  Their excess baggage must have been extraordinary. Jenny Johnston from 3XM Solutions and Photo Value stunned the audience with her seminar on Facebook marketing. She demonstrated how we all use Facebook but few of us know how to market and promote our businesses properly using it.

One of the things that amaze me is the total mix of delegates who attend PTO. There is a  Doctor, a Surgeon, several  CEO of companies and  a smattering of very keen amateurs who want to up their game; together with the full time professional photographers . All mixed and mingled well and  delegates were split into several different  small and manageable groups we were all able  to get very hands on training and one to one contact with the speakers. All of whom were available for  discussions and help in the bar time and when socialising around the hotel.  Once the main sessions were over we could book a SUPER class with very one to one advanced training and discussion for those who wanted to add even more knowledge to their already overflowing abilities. Models were available for some sessions and they could be hired for practice shooting.

The week was topped out with  a presentations night. Before we left UK we were invited to enter photographs in different categories. The final selection being printed by sponsors  Loxley Colour and displayed at the venue with 20in x 16 stunning prints which were given to the entrants. There were also on site competitions for photographs shot in Cuba. Sponsors  from the trade included Loxley Colour, The Societies,3XM, Fuji, Photo Value, The Flash Centre, Epson and Graphistudio. All of whom were onsite to discuss their products from their exhibition tables and in the free time. Faye and Nicola Rolls Collier ably handled all the slideshows and presentations.

Awards as Follows:

PTO Photographer of the Year – Liz Roberts (this is the third time Liz has captured this award) Prizes: Epson Colour Printer/Wallo Product of the winner’s choice & vouchers for £250 from Loxley Colour plus Trophy from The Societies.

Winner wedding photography: Alex Durasow (first time attended PTO) Won wedding album value £200 Plus £150 vouchers from Loxley Colour plus Trophy from The Societies

Runner Up wedding photography: Ozzie Malik A wedding book of the winner’s choice Value £100 plus £100 lab credit

Winner Portraits: Liz Roberts. An album of choice value £200 plus lab credit for £150 from Loxley Colour & Trophy from The Societies

Runner up Portraits: Hazel Irvine A book of choice value £100 plus £100 lab credit and a trophy from The Societies

Winner Open Category: Dave Jagger. An album of choice value £200 plus £150 lab credit from Loxley Colour plus Trophy from The Societies

Runner Up Open Category: Liz Roberts. A book of choice value £100 plus £100 lab credit from Loxley Colour and Trophy from The Societies

Then week two. With excursions available to  an Island Paradise by Catamaran, swimming with dolphins, Jeep excursions, Cigar factory and market visits, Santiago by day and even a few days to Havanna  for the adventurous.   Or just lazing by the several acre pool complex .Trying out the dozen or more restaurants and discussing the previous week’s activities.

And next year ?   29th January 2018 – 5th February 2018  in  Madeira.  Who to  contact ?  George and Glenys Dawber  Phone 0161 483 3114 e mail info@pto-uk.com or Simon Jones on Facebook or you could visit the new PTO website which will be up and running by 1st March. These training trips are action packed, informative brimming with new ideas and great value for money. There is no way you could get such high level training together with great company at so good a venue. So phone and e mail today for information. Any one with a keen interest in upping their photography game should apply. Keen amateur and full time professional photographers are welcome.

Bill Bowman.
Hon Fellow  and past Chairman Professional Photo Lab Association and past President Association of Photo labs and past owner and publisher Panorama and Photo Electronics and Marking magazines. Managing Director of The Home Counties Group of professional laboratories, which include HCCS in Luton; Avoncolour in Bristol and Cheshire Colour in Manchester.

Cuba 2017 Group Shot

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Some images from the week…