2016 Phoenix Awards at Flourish

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For over 10 years, the MPI Georgia Chapter has been celebrating chapter volunteers, members and sponsors who have contributed to the success of the chapter with The Phoenix Awards. A Legendary Event generously welcomed guests, as venue sponsors, to Flourish; and the theme for the this year’s awards ceremony and celebration was “The Speakeasy”.

Attendees were invited to step through the telephone booth into The Speakeasy, and were greeted with cocktails and a photo opportunity in front of the MPI Georgia backdrop with the lovely flapper girls from Absolute Entertainment.

Moving through the space at Flourish one can’t help but be in awe at the detail! The cocktail area is flanked by two elegant bar spaces. The damask-patterned backdrops add a sense of drama; and the crystal chandeliers add elegance with a purpose. Fabulously functional.

The names had been chosen, envelopes sealed, rehearsals completed, and the stage was set for awardees! Patrick and Matthew Clouser from Active Production and Design were charged with announcing Hayley Burch, of The Ridges Resort & Marina, as Committee of the Year award; and Steven Schumacher, of Emory Conference Center and Hotel, as the Rising Star of the Year award.

After all of the awards were given, awardees and attendees poured into the cocktail area; and were greeted with a live Jazz band, bar service, and dessert. Button It Up was onsite with time period-themed green screen photo booth, and captured all of the excitement of the evening!


Venues We Love : Ventanas

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Ahhhh, Ventanas! We love this venue SOOOOOO hard. Why? “Night and day, you are the one…” venue that offers the option of a helipad, floor-to-ceiling windows to let in the amazing view, and sweeping 180º views of the Atlanta skyline both indoors and out.

The rooftop deck is certainly something to behold…and an event designer’s dream space! Guests at Ventanas are sure to enjoy the relaxing lounge spaces, fire pit, and the view! Take a look at that VIEW!

Did we mention the helipad? Yeah, that’s certainly something your guests will remember! <<insert>>PWP Studio pitch to remind readers that we offer onsite printing – the PERFECT takeaway when you’re offering helicopter rides at your event. /salespitch

Inside, Ventanas offers ample space to accommodate up to 550 guests and is a blank slate perfect for a branded event, corporate soirée, or celebration!


Decor Event Spotlight : Your Event Solution

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Your Event Solution transformed the Infinite Energy Center into a vision of romance for a social event for the ages; and PWP Studio was onsite to capture the magic of the decor! Held in 10,000 square feet of space (plus the cocktail area), the results were EPIC!

A lavish display of luxurious gold drapery, delicate white orchids accented with iridescent beads partitioned off the cocktail area from the entrance of the Grand Ballroom. In traditional Southern style, the lounge area featured a monogram display customized to integrate into the overall ambiance of the decor.

The cocktail area opened up to the Grand Ballroom, which was dressed to the nines in shimmering golds, romantic candlelight, accents of sparkling glass, and towering floral centerpieces of white tulips, hydrangeas, and garden roses. Every detail was thoughtfully arranged to accent the geometric mirrored ceiling, and the results were nothing short of stunning!


Venues We Love : Georgia Aquarium

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PWP Studio has been a preferred photographer at the Georgia Aquarium since 2oo7. Since then, our team has photographed dozens of spectacular events in this unique venue. Offering seven premier event space options that include ballrooms, gallery space, and access to the exhibits, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your event.

Why do we love this venue so much? Let’s let the photos do the talking…

Offering 23,000 square feet of flexible event space, the Oceans Ballroom is a veritable chameleon and can be dressed in any color scheme. Also, with flexible pre-function and event space, the Oceans Ballroom offers spectacular views of the beluga whale and Ocean Voyager exhibits – a feature your guests are sure to swoon over.

Topping the swoon-worthy Oceans Ballroom is the 1,800+ seat Dolphin Theater! Impress your guests with a private viewing of “Dolphin Celebration” after your presentation.

The spaces are spectacular, but the customer service experience provided by the Georgia Aquarium events team is second-to-none. Each team member is attentive and extremely knowledgeable about all things regarding the venue, catering, and ocean life.

Just when you thought events at the Georgia Aquarium couldn’t possibly get any better, catering by Wolfgang Puck is sure to send your guests over the moon! Each menu item is carefully prepared by world-class chefs in a state-of-the-art kosher kitchen; and using only the freshest seasonal ingredients makes each event menu unique depending on the time of year.

Unique spaces to choose from, extraordinary event staffing with extensive knowledge about everything Georgia Aquarium, and Wolfgang Puck catering – what’s not to love? Pairing the amazing experiences offered by this unique venue with the “All About the Experience” photography team at PWP Studio, and you’ve got an event your guests will be talking about for days, weeks, months, and years to come!

GaMPI Tech Summit : Breakout Review

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I enjoyed speaking to you at MPI Georgia’s Tech Summit, my industry peeps. What excites me the most is hearing about your adventures as you start dipping your big toe into the online labor pool as a result of the information from my outsourcing presentations! I absolutely love that, because I absolutely believe in having a support team.

As event professionals, we get thrown to the wolves on a regular basis: last-minute client decisions, on-the-fly changes dictated by a ‘feeling’ from one of the C-levels, and the ever popular, “we’ve been doing it all ourselves, but I think we need some help this year” followed by a list of unreasonable expectations. I want to help you succeed. I want to help you scale. I want to help you welcome the thought of a lunch or coffee invite – instead of dreading it because you just don’t have the time.

So here I am, sitting here thinking about you…and what you said to me. Something I keep hearing from you is how daunting it is start online hiring and accomplish big ‘projects’ like building a website and creating a marketing program for your business.

Between us, starting out online by tackling a project like building a website or developing a multi platform marketing program that covers blogging, social, and email is kind of like trying to plan a 100 person multi-day executive retreat by yourself…as your very first planning experience! You can be smart and devoted and young and work ALLLLL the hours of the day, but there is just too much that you don’t have the proper resources and background knowledge to pull it off successfully. You lack experience in this realm, and that’s okay.

The best piece of advice I can give you about hiring online is the same advice you would give to someone starting out as a planner: you need to slow down, start smaller and gain a little bit of experience with the individual pieces of the program before you can bite off the whole thing!

It is that simple. Take a few baby steps by hiring out relatively specific small tasks. If you want a website, think about the ‘building blocks’ (tasks) of your project first; break down your big project into its most basic pieces; and start by creating a series of fixed price small contracts and have your new labor pool work on those basic pieces first. Here are a few examples of how to hire for the building block tasks:

  • Hire someone for a few dollars to help you create your site map.
  • Spend a few more dollars to get advice on thinning out your inspiration board by eliminating the dated examples in your collection that don’t have the most “modern” platform functionality (like buttons versus drop-downs).
  • Someone familiar with building websites should be helping you find website templates online that will satisfy those modern functionality technical requirements as well as your brand’s visual requirements.

If you are working on your marketing program, find contractors to work on specific things like creatively writing a blog post or text for an email, creating an html email template in Mailchimp, or researching (data mining) some good information sources online that will support a topic you want to write about.

I know it still sounds daunting to make all of those small hires, but trust me, what you are doing is actually insanely helpful for you on a multitude of levels! For example:

  • It builds your credibility online. When you have a series of contracts (even small fixed price contracts), you become more attractive to potential contractors than if you just have one contract for a large project, or are
    in the middle of a large project. Believe me when I say you want the best contractors out there (who wouldn’t!), and there are getting to be enough jobs out there that great contractors – even in the most battered economies – can be somewhat selective. Just like an experienced client probably won’t choose the contractor with zero experience, the experienced contractor probably won’t trust their online reputation to a client with no online hiring experience!
  • They say ‘experience’ is what you get when you don’t get what you want, and there is a lot of experience to be had in hiring online contractors! Part of it might be them, and part of it will certainly be all on you! The first time you hire a highly rated contractor in a different country at a great value, spend two or three minutes giving them direction on your task, and. If you get back something totally different than what you had in mind, you are going to intimately understand the value of spending an extra two minutes in the “giving them direction” part of the transaction! You will become more efficient at delegating simple tasks because you will understand better how to explain a task.
  • Wait…holy crap, you do realize you just explained a task in #2, right? That means you can copy and paste that text from your chat screen or email message into a Word doc called “Operations” or “Ops Manual” or “HOW WE DO WHAT WE DO WHEN WE DO WHAT WE DO” and you have flat out documented something!! When it comes to getting more efficient and getting your life back, documenting what you do on a daily basis is HUGE! Why? Well, it means you don’t ever have to spend another moment doing it or saying it out loud to train someone on it ever again. Documenting how to do a task in your business means when one person stops doing it, you can send that document to someone else for them to learn, and then have the new person do it.

On the documenting your work topic: multiple tasks that repeat make processes. Processes provide the support for projects. Projects build the business. I know there is a management book out there somewhere that has fancier names and an infographic for those steps, but the bottom line is the same.

  • You are building your team. The nice lady who helped you create your site map should easily be able to do it again for your new side project next year. That college student who advised you on technical requirements might actually know how to find a template you can quickly add to your site to satisfy a need from your client when you are on-site. That person who helped you do some creative writing might want to help you do more for your blog on an ongoing basis, and that retired editor who helped you with 40 new tweets to promote your e-book might want to do it again….and again. Some of my online contractors work for me three or four days a week; and some work for me three or four days a year, but they are almost always there when I need them!
  • Just as important as the previous step, you are NOT building a team. Some people are not supposed to work together. You know this because you’ve had a job at some point and worked every single day with some whiny smelly jackass that you really truly in your heart of hearts wish you would have never even met; but he needed to stay because he had skills the manager couldn’t find in someone else. Maybe you hired your neighbor’s kid? They didn’t quite work out…gee, that’s awkward now. Unlike Mr. Smelly Skills and your new collection of dirty looks at the mailbox, the online world is gracefully impersonal when it comes to letting the bad eggs go – they will be gone ‘like a fart in the wind’ at the press of a button.
  • Hiring small jobs/tasks means you can move a little bit faster because there isn’t a huge amount of money or time involved. When you move faster through multiple contracts, you will gain familiarity with the process – learning about the functionality of hiring portals as platforms, how to quickly review the key points on prospective contractors’ online profiles; and how to successfully engage and disengage from contractors and contracts. Because I have had a lot of practice with this, I am comfortable going from ‘idea in my head’ to hiring an online contractor to try my idea out in less than an hour. If you were in one of my presentations, you know that I had an idea to outsource the creation of a one hour presentation, hired four different contractors, reviewed all their work, requested revisions, and only spent a total of three hours. You get better as you go!

You learn to crawl, then to walk, and then you start to run. Once you are running, you will find that you’ve built a support system. You will find yourself looking around at all of the things that happen in your business – realizing how many of them you can break down into tasks – and it will change your entire perspective on how easy it is to make headway on your projects. I have to admit, it is kind of fun to see an idea come to fruition because you had the resources available to follow through with it – there really is no stopping YOU!!

And the Allie goes to…

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On March 6, wedding and event professionals gathered at the Georgia Aquarium for the 2016 Allie Awards – a celebration for Atlanta’s most talented event professionals in the areas of event design, floral, A/V production, catering, entertainment, collaboration, philanthropy, and photography. The theme for the evening was “Xperience the Elements” and was a thrill for the senses! The Aquarium’s various event spaces transported guests through “Earth, Water, and Fire” with decor, entertainment, and lighting color schemes to match.

First up, “Earth” : guests entered the cocktail area and were greeted with a lighting and decor color scheme of ambers, greens, and browns, and entertainers costumed in Earthy attire. After libations and light bites, all were primed and ready to enter into the Oceans Ballroom for dinner and award announcements.

Next up, “Water” : with a lighting and color scheme of blues, greens, and teals, the awards-ceremony and dining portion of the Oceans Ballroom simulated an underwater experience. Awards were engraved, envelopes stuffed with winning names, presenters and speakers were ready, and the stage was set for an evening of awards!

Having been nominated three-years running, Patrick and Angel were in attendance in the hopes of taking home the trophy for the event he photographed in Seattle this past Fall. Cheering on vendor partners and friends as they accepted their Allie Award in their respective categories, the anticipation built for the PWP Studio team as they waited for the announcement for the “Best Event Photography” category.

Huzzah! PWP Studio for the WIN!
“It was an honor to be nominated, and it was truly a humbling experience to win the Allie Award for “Best Event Photography”! It was particularly exciting to accept the award at the Georgia Aquarium, the venue partner that opened the door for PWP Studio to thrive in the event industry! Without the support of my family, my team, and vendor partners, this win wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you!” ~Patrick

Dinner was served, all of the trophies were awarded, and it was now time to celebrate! Nominees, awardees, and guests exited the underwater awards area and were greeted a fresh theme of “Fire”. Bright, saturated reds, pinks, oranges, and yellows filled the reception area of the ballroom. Dessert, dancing, chatting, and laughing with fellow industry professionals lasted the duration of the evening, and was enjoyed by all.

After such an exciting win at the 2016 Allie Awards, it’s only fitting that we pay homage to the spectacular corporate event curated and executed by the CRG Events team in Seattle. Here’s just a snippet of some of the awesomeness that was captured:

A very special “Thank You” goes out to the CRG Events team. Their fantastic team executed this event flawlessly,
and entrusted us to capture every detail of their vision. It was one of the highlights of 2015 to fly out to Seattle to work alongside their mega-talented team to capture this event, and certainly one of the highlights for 2016 is winning an award for the work we did at that amazing Seattle event!!

Social Media Etiquette 101: Event Industry

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In a culture hungry for regular interaction on social media, maintaining profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has never been more vital to your event business. Following a simple set of etiquette rules ensures that your fellow vendors share in the social media love, and that your followers also see the incredible work of your vendor partners. When social media all works together as it should, your business sees the benefit, your SEO sees the benefit, and even your clients see the benefits as their eyes are opened to the wonderfully talented company you keep!

When you are posting to social media platforms, here are some simple steps to make certain you are getting the MOST exposure possible for your business and the business of your partners.

Step 1:  Look up their website and review whether they’re connected to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.; once you’ve found them on social media, make sure you Like or follow their pages if you haven’t already. This is especially useful because – once you follow them – it is more likely that their CORRECT name will auto-populate if you tag (mention) them in a social media post you create!

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Step 2: When you’re writing your post, be sure to share the love by tagging/mentioning the correct account for your vendor partner. It doesn’t really help much to ‘guess’, pick a random similar name, or just write out a name; try your best to find their actual account. If their name doesn’t come up as ‘linked’ or ‘tagged’ (usually noted by a different color), they might not see your post or know you mentioned them.

Step 3: When possible, include the vendor partner’s website link so viewers can easily jump to their website.
Step 4: Share blog posts and content directly from your vendor partners’ websites and social media feeds – it helps their SEO, too!
Step 5: Creating a post (a.k.a. content) for your own social media is the hard part. A best practice for easy content: once you’ve created a new post, copy it, change up the text in your post slightly, and schedule that post again for a few months out… and do it again for a few months after that. Chances are, with all that is going on the social world, no one will remember you mentioned that same fab party six months prior!

Fun side effects you will see the longer you do this “create, publish, tweak, and publish again later” routine:

  1. Less stress comes a few months down the road because you already have a few posts ready to launch – because you scheduled them today!
  2. Your future new fans and followers will see more great original content from older events on your social media assets that they would have otherwise missed!

When you follow these few simple steps, you and your vendor partners are sure to enjoy greater follower visibility on social media, more potential collaboration with your favorite partners from clients, and maybe even some better search rankings along the way!

Looking Back to Look Forward…

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We’re already a month into a new year, and already 2016 is shaping up to be the best year ever! Looking into the future often requires looking at the past to figure out what didn’t work, what worked, and why. The PWP Studio team had big dreams for last year, set lofty and attainable goals, and came together to make 2015 a rockin’ year!

After a year of traveling the country and beyond in 2014, goal #1 was to remind the Atlanta event market that PWP Studio is the premier photography team to reach out to for their imaging needs. The best way to keep your business top-of-mind is to attend networking events regularly, and put faces to the names in emails. Patrick and Cortni hit the ground running, and attended the vast majority of scheduled networking events with Georgia MPI. On top of that, PWP Studio sponsored all of those events. If that’s not top-of-mind, we aren’t sure what is!


Along with Georgia MPI, Patrick made a triumphant return to membership with the Atlanta chapter of National Association for Catering and Events, and was invited to speak regarding the latest trends and state of photography within the industry.

As corporate sponsors of Georgia MPI, our team had a heavy presence at Eventeract – an industry tradeshow that combined education, innovation, and networking into one large event. Chris provided roaming coverage of keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Our booth was set up to be interactive, and included a headshot booth and an onsite printing demonstration. To top it off, Patrick spoke to a group of participants about the value of outsourcing.

We’re proud of the relationships we’ve built with our fellow industry partners throughout the years, and it’s only fitting that we show off a few of the most spectacular events of 2015. Let’s start with Destination South – who transformed Pemberton Place, the Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coke into a trifecta of event and entertainment spaces for the ages.

It’s always a special treat when Legendary Events calls on the PWP Studio photography team to capture one of their special soirées, and when we got the call that they needed us at Barnsley Resort, we were quick to respond. Day one transported guests back to the days of Speakeasies, jazz, and drop-waist dresses with a Gatsby-inspired evening out.

One-upping their own event from the previous evening, Legendary Events pulled out all the stops for a Havana-inspired get-together on day two – complete with roulette, maracas, and Fedoras.

Affairs to Remember  earned the privilege of being a preferred vendor at The Fox Theatre by bringing their A-game to every event, at any venue. And, with more and more movies filming in Georgia, it was only a matter of time that we found ourselves clicking the shutter for celebrities. The Fabulous Fox Theatre and Affairs to Remember hosted the premiere of 90 Minutes in Heaven. Our team of six PWP Studio photographers lined two sides of a step-and-repeat on the red carpet. Stars included Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth – we were starstruck.


Adding to the list of world-class vendors we love is Juice Studios. Their imaginative, and colorful, designs give us social media fodder galore; and their vivacious team of experts are super fun to work alongside!

Your Event Solution has been on FIRE with unforgettable events in the past few years – 2015 being no exception. Inspired by the design for The Phoenix Awards in 2013 that won the studio an Allie Award, The Georgia Aquarium was the setting for this Phoenix Awards-inspired corporate event.

The Bold American Events team got one of the first cracks at utilizing the new event space at Ponce City Market, and totally nailed it! This cool new space was divided into multiple lounge and entertainment spaces. Pop art and uplighting added that extra touch of fun and mood.

WM Events and PWP Studio have a long-standing relationship; and because of that relationship, we find ourselves continuously in awe at every event designed by this spectacular team of professionals. In 2015, The Swan House, Ventanas, and the Georgia Freight Depot were on the list of venues that got the royal treatment.

After photographing so many sensational events with WM Events in 2014, it was difficult to decide which to submit for the 2015 Allies. In the end, we were nominated for Allie Awards in two categories:
• Best Team Effort – Old South, New South
• Best Event Photography – Old South, New South

The Allie Awards was an evening full of celebrating our industry as a whole, and the team anxiously looks forward to the announcement of 2016 nominations! The submissions for nominations are certainly going to be stand-outs! A special “Thank you” to Flaunt Photography for the lovely photo booth photos!

Although the goal was to be in Atlanta as much a possible, being selective about travel certainly had its rewards; and it was a particularly exciting year for travel! Annual trips included travel to Las Vegas, Miami, and Orlando, to name a few. Patrick visited Whistler early in the year, where he found himself at the tail-end of a bobsled. Patrick and Peter ventured to Costa Rica for a corporate incentive retreat that included ATV trips, sailing, and zip-lining. Lauren and Chris headed to D.C. for HACR – a convention dedicated to developing mid and upper level Hispanic executives. Cortni and Peter road-tripped to New Jersey for Howlercon – a convention dedicated to the popular TV show, Teen Wolf.

We couldn’t leave out the most epic of trips for one of the most epic events, though! Patrick and Angel jetted off to Seattle to photograph decor shots for THE corporate event to end all corporate events. Soup to nuts, this event won our hearts, blew our minds, and melted our faces with gorgeousness. To top it all off, performances by acrobats and musicians are soon to become legendary in the event industry. CRG Events, we tip our hats to you for this most amazing event.

Putting the cherry on top of a spectacular year, the PWP Studio core team and their plus ones celebrated a year of successes with a carb-filled Italian dinner at Max’s Pizza. Directly following, the entire crew of core team and contract photographer all gathered for light bites and libations at Der Biergarten.

There were so many great and memorable events that we could have gone on and on with this blog post – each and every one was special; and we thank you, our partners, for trusting us to capture your vision! Cheers to all that 2016 has yet to unfold!

Hands on Atlanta – A Celebration of Service

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Hands on Atlanta, an affiliate of HandsOn Network, celebrated its 25th year connecting individuals, families, corporate, and community groups to service opportunities in Atlanta through non-profit organizations and schools. A casual soirée at Zoo Atlanta kicked of the 26th year of service in style.

Mercedes-Benz was a major sponsor of the day and we enjoyed capturing their newest vehicle models displayed throughout the attraction!

There was a very unique experience available for guests – onsite screen printing stations provided by our friends at Amusement Masters! Each guest had the opportunity to choose one of the four specially designed screens for their own custom T-shirt.

There was swag for all that included neon-colored “build your own” Wayfarer glasses, and a handy Mercedes-Benz branded tote bag. Volunteers were on hand to assist attendees in making their color choices, and to ensure that each guest received a bag.

Speaking of swag, Garrett Gourmet Popcorn offered up tasty popcorn concoctions in goodie bags. The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders promoted the awesomeness of this very special popcorn as well!

Along with popcorn promotion, The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders and Freddie Falcon were onsite to help guests celebrate by posing for photos in front of the step-and-repeat banner. Dancers, musicians, and entertainers filled mingling areas for a variety of amusement while guests enjoyed the sights and sounds of the surrounding zoo.

An event at Zoo Atlanta wouldn’t be an event at Zoo Atlanta without handlers showing off a few animals for the audience. Among the animals shown was a snake and armadillo.

Along with Wayfarers, Mercedes-Benz totes, and gourmet popcorn, caricature artists were commissioned to create very special, fun takeaways for guests.

What an amazing turnout for an event that celebrates service. Congratulations, Hands on Atlanta, and cheers to 25 more years!

90 Minutes in Heaven Movie Premier

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The state of Georgia offers significant tax incentives for movie industries to film in our great state; and with nearly 100 movies filmed here in 2014, Georgia has been fondly nicknamed “Y’allywood”. Aside from offering more frequent celebrity sightings, the movie industry has brought a boost in the economy by means of job creation. It’s a win/win for the industry and Georgia residents.

The PWP Studio team was thrilled to get in on a piece of the movie action by photographing the red carpet premier of 90 Minutes in Heaven – a film based on a man’s afterlife experience following a car accident. Along with a group of local foster children, movie enthusiasts, news outlets, photographers, crew and cast all gathered outside The Fox Theatre for a double-sided step-and-repeat meet and greet – complete with celebrity interviews.




The cast were paraded around the step-and-repeat banner for interviews from local and national news outlets. Atlanta news anchor, Monica Pearson, also made an appearance on the red carpet alongside the cast of 90 Minutes in Heaven. Having retired from WSB-TV in 2012, she and her husband, John, are often spotted around Atlanta at civic and community engagements.


Rick Jackson, the producer of 90 Minutes in Heaven, joined the cast on the red carpet; and shared details about the film and the purpose behind his production company, Giving Films. Giving Films pledged to donate all of the movie’s proceeds to local charities including Faithbridge Foster Care in Alpharetta.


A movie premier wouldn’t be complete without headlining celebrities, and the premier of 90 Minutes in Heaven was no exception. Hayden Christiansen and Kate Bosworth were standouts on the red carpet not only for their glamorous physical features, but also for their notable resumes. 90M_blog8

The PWP Studio photography team was out in full-force with six lining the step-and-repeat banner while Patrick and Ben provided roaming coverage.