Educate. Inspire. Create.

Connecticut Professional Photographers Association

Log in

2021 Un-Convention Main Event Speakers

Arthur Rainville, M. Photog, Cr., CPP, API

Keynote Opening Night Speaker  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 6:30-9:00pm  "Romancing Your Soul"

About Arthur:

Arthur Levi Rainville, M.Photog., Cr, CPP, API,
has been creating stunning photographs drenched in atmosphere, drowned in romanticism, for over 50 years. With his life’s work being displayed in museums on three continents; he has been touted as, “the Poet Lauréate of Photography, one of the most sensitive, artists of our time.”
He is widely known for his muted, granular color work. Refinements of this life’s passion led to his lyrical, quixotic Mansuesco style. Defying a definable formula, Mansuesco, much like Impressionism, is a plurality of looks. At its essence, a sentimental subject, ambiguity of spirit, wrapped in subtle intrigue. An innate quality of light coupled with a compositional choreography is akin to his intimate signature style.
In a one-man show at the French Cultural Center, his work was astutely referred to by a critic/connoisseur as “... a synthesis of observation and imagination blended with a palette of gauzy colors.”
Arthur has devoted a lifetime to teaching portraiture, inspiring image maker artists to look inward to Art and Heart as they face their blank canvas.
Former Portrait Depart Chair and Academic Director of the New England School of Photography in Boston, Arthur has lectured across the country at Universities and Fine Art Museums from Boston to New York, Minneapolis, Dallas, throughout California and across Canada. Arthur has taught Art of Life Workshops around the world - Athens, Paris, Venice…from Trinidad and Tobago to the Hawaiian Islands.
Besides being a noted touring lecturer, he is a prolific author with copious writings and four published books on the Creative Spirit and Living an Artful Life. As photography’s resident ‘Sage,’ Arthur continues to spread the word that private, personal vision matters.
Arthur served as Vice President, Creative Development at Lifetouch Inc., the world’s largest portrait corporation, where he coached the originative workings of 35,000 photographers.
He has been honored with the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) degrees of: Master of Photography, Photographic Craftsman, Certified Professional Photographer and Instructor.
He is the 2019 recipient of the PPA International Helen K Yancy Lifetime Achievement Accolade, only the twelfth such award bestowed by PPA in its 150-year history. From a membership of 30,000 in 64 countries, the honor is presented to an individual who by their gracious sharing of talents has bequeathed to the art of photography an achievement of distinguished service of far-reaching value.
His time is devoted and divided between private portrait commissions via Artisan Trusts, photographic consultancy and teachings, private mentoring,
independent curatorial work and his experiential fine art studies and gallery oeuvre.

Bryan Welsh, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, API. EA-ASP, FP-OR, HFP-OR 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 5:00pm-9:00 pm   Board Training

Wednesday February 17, 2021 10:30am-5:30 pm    Pre-Conference Workshop (PPA CEC class)

Saturday, February 20, 2021   3:30-6:00 pm   Environmental Business Portraits-Beyond the Headshot

About Bryan:

Both his clients and peers recognize Bryan Welsh, a second-generation photographer, for his creative stylized photography.   He has received numerous merits and awards in image competitions on both a local and national level that include - PPA Loan Collections, Fuji MASTERPIECE awards, Kodak Gallery awards and the ASP State Elite award. His images and articles have appeared in Studio Photography and Professional Photographer magazine(s) as well as used in Nikon's National advertising.  
Bryan has the Master of Photography Degree & Photographic Craftsman Degree from Professional Photographers of America. He is a PPA Certified Professional Photographer and has both the Fellow of Photography Degree and Honorary Fellow of Photography Degree from the Oregon Professional Photographers Association. He also holds the Educational Associate Degree from the American Society of Photographers. Bryan is a national speaker with over 200 PPA Speaker Merits and is a PPA Approved International Juror. Additional honors include the PPA National Award and the PPA 2020 Directors Award.

Hannah Munroe

Thursday, February 18, 2021 12:00pm-3:00 pm Pre-Conference Workshop 

Sunday, February 21, 2021 9:30 am-11:00 am "Inspiration, Reality and the Surreal"

Monday, February 22, 2021 12:00 pm-3:00 pm Post Conference Workshop

About Hannah:

Hannah Munroe is a conceptual artist and speaker. Her images are the product of the interchange between her private life and imaginative world. She utilizes the camera to capture her imagination by digitally merging multiple pictures together to create dynamic scenes that tell passionate and poignant tales. Munroe began photography in 2014. She is self-taught and has been an active award-winning member with Flagpole Photographers in Newtown, CT since October 2016. Her image “The Paper Dress” received 2nd place at New England Camera Club Council, Winter 2020 Competition. In March 2020, she was the recipient of five nominee awards from the 6th Fine Art Photography Awards.
Born in Massachusetts, she currently lives in Bethel, CT with her two school-age children.

Eric Francis

Thursday, February 18, 2021 9:00 am-12:00 pm Pre-Conference Workshop 

Saturday, February 20, 2021  10:00 am-12:00 pm "Purpose and Passion"

About Eric:

Based out of Omaha, Nebraska for near 30 years. Freelance documentary, editorial and commercial photographer serving local, regional, national, and international clients ranging from the Fortune 500 to Mom and Pop around the corner. I hear a lot of people talking about “style” and how to find yours. For me, I’ve always bristled a little bit at the idea of having a style. By having a style, I think you run the risk of shoe horning or boxing yourself into a particular type of image. I prefer to have clear approach rather than style.  By having an approach versus a style, it allows me to adapt to a much wider range of situations and clients. What is my approach or goal when I pick up my cameras?  The first leg is honesty. Am I being honest and accurate to the situation, person, emotions and environment? It is important to me that my imagery allows the viewer to feel like they were there. Rather than walking into a situation and figuring out what I can create, I seek to find the beauty that already exists. There is always something. Sometimes it’s the light, or color, or environment, people, or interactions/emotions. It may be as simple as an unexpected moment of tenderness. Also, and very important, it is most important, that what I show them is something they could have seen if they were standing next to me. It may be a fleeting moment, but was there. The second leg is K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid. Granted, occasionally a client needs something dynamic and splashy. But more often than not, simple is a much better play. This also ties into the first leg of honesty. Sometimes it’s just a little patience and a cell phone light on your subjects.  The third leg is communication. Whether an editorial, commercial or corporate client, it’s important that everyone is on the same page with the goals and visual message we are trying to achieve. This may require some to put their ego aside and do what is necessary for the client rather than what you want. Even with your personal work, be clear on the message you want to communicate. That covers all the things about me as a photographer. But if you’re still reading this, let’s get real. I’m a father, husband, friend, coach and a man who enjoys the simple, every day things in life. Watching my wife read a book to the little one. Taking the family camping on the spur of the moment. Hearing the kids laugh at something funny on their own. Coaching baseball and watching the boys work, learn, and realize the strength and success they never know they had. There is beauty in all of the little daily moments that I fear most people miss searching for the big moments.

Jason Groupp

Thursday, February 18, 2021  4:00pm- 6:00 pm    "Building a Clientele from Zero"

About Jason:

If you've ever met Jason Groupp, it was most likely a life-changing experience. You won’t forget his GQ ready outfit, with the perfectly balanced bow tie. Hailing from NYC, he shot lots of weddings around the globe and is the founding member of IHNY. Jason ran the halls of WPPI for a few years, then moved to St. Louis to study the fine art of brisket bbq rub. After a 6 year hiatus as an entrepreneur, he's decided working for others isn't for him. With the camera back in hand and a new venture to help photographers he’s back in his happy place helping to keep the industry he loves so much stronger than ever.

Matthew Jordan Smith

Thursday February 18, 2021 7:00 pm-9:00 pm  "How to Find your Light"

About Matthew:

Matthew Jordan Smith is an American photographer with three decades of experience working in entertainment, fashion and beauty. He is known for his portraits of Hollywood A-list celebrities, actors, singers and models. He has photographed hundreds of celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin and Zendaya. He is a Nikon Ambassador, and part of the SanDisk Extreme team. Some of his commercial clients include international beauty brands Pantene, Revlon and Olay. He has appeared numerous times on the hit TV show America’s Next Top Model as a guest judge and featured photographer. He is the recipient of the Microsoft Icon of Imaging Award, the George Eastman Power of Image Award and the WPPI Vision Award. He is the author of three books, Sepia Dreams, published by St. Martin’s Press, a collection of photographs and wise words from fifty celebrities who speak candidly about the motivations and qualities they believe made and kept them successful. His second book Lost and Found, sponsored by the Microsoft Corporation and endorsed by The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, features moving portraits of families dealing with the loss of a child. Smith’s third book, Future American President, features portraits of 100 children sharing their dream for the future of America. On September 1, 2020, Smith will debut Fluid, a new visual art form at the Kyoto Museum of Photography. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Smith lives in Japan, working between New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.

Neil Van Neikerk

Friday, February 19, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm  "How not to be *that* Guy"

About Neil:

Neil van Niekerk is a photographer based working in the New Jersey, concentrating on a diverse range of photography work -- weddings & portraits; commercial work and headshot & portrait photography, and timelapse photography. He also maintains an active website for photographers, Tangents. He teach workshops and seminars on photography and photography lighting. He has written five books on flash photography, of which the first have been translated into Polish, Portuguese and Chinese.  And he somehow also snagged an Emmy for timelapse photography along the way. 

Melissa Ghionis

Friday, February 19, 2021 8:00pm-9:30 pm 

About Melissa:

Melissa Ghionis has developed a reputation for her skills in creating and cultivating relationships and for her excellent customer service. A reputation she earned after more than 20 years of experience in the photography industry. After running a successful, award-winning studio in Boston, MA for over a decade she now manages two high-end studios in Melbourne, Australia, and in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband, Jerry. One of Melissa’s passions is the creation of her non-profit charitable organization named The Soul Society (, a charity she co-founded with Jerry. The Soul Society was created with the specific purpose of caring for poor, homeless, and orphaned children in third world countries, one soul at a time.

Roberto Valenzuela

Sunday, February 21, 2021 11:00am-1:00 pm "The Master Brewing Inside You"

About Roberto:

Roberto Valenzuela is a photographer, author, and educator based in Beverly Hills, CA. As a member of the prestigious Canon Explorers of Light group, Roberto is considered to be one of the most influential photographers in the world.
Roberto developed his unique teaching style by following the same rigorous regimen he developed as a professional concert classical guitarist and educator before becoming a photographer. Roberto believes that it is not talent but deliberate practice that is at the core of skill and achievement. He has traveled to every area of the world, motivating photographers to practice their craft as musicians practice their instruments before performing on stage.
Roberto Valenzuela is one of the most well-known photography authors globally. His book trilogy Picture Perfect Practice, Picture Perfect Posing, and Picture Perfect Lighting have become staples in the photography industry and in academic photography departments. The books have been translated into numerous languages, including German, Chinese, Indonesian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean. 
His new book series Wedding Storyteller Vol. 1 and 2 are the top selling wedding photography books in history. Roberto’s latest book titled “The Successful Professional Photographer” applies his college degree in Marketing, and Consumer Behavior to help photographers be recognized, hired, and maximize potential sales. Roberto Valenzuela has been nominated by his peers as one of the ten most influential photographers and educators in the world. He has photographed the major campaigns for Canon USA for the 5D Mark IV. Recently, Roberto was commissioned by Canon to photograph the global campaign for Canon’s top mirrorless cameras, the Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6.

Jerry Ghionis, M. Photog, Cr.

Sunday, February 21, 2021 1:30pm-3:00pm

About Jerry:

Widely regarded as one of best wedding and portrait photographers in the world, Jerry and his wife Melissa are based in Las Vegas, USA and Melbourne, Australia and travel frequently on international photography and speaking assignments.
Jerry is the most awarded photographer of the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International organization (WPPI) and became their first Grand Master. He was also included in their list of top five wedding photographers in the world. Jerry was also named by American Photo Magazine in their first list of top ten best wedding photographers in the world and was also given a United Nations Leadership Award by the International Photographic Council.
A Nikon Ambassador, Jerry was named the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Fashion Photographer of the Year and represented the wedding and fashion industries in the landmark Nikon D850 camera campaign. Named by PDN magazine as one of the top photography workshop instructors in the world, Jerry is also the inventor of the revolutionary Ice Light (a portable hand held LED light) and the world's first 15-in-1 reflector, the Omega Reflector. The Jerry Ghionis brand has become synonymous with excellence, mastery and innovation in the photography industry.

To learn more about Jerry Ghionis visit:

© Connecticut Professional Photographers Association | sitemap
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software