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Hello blank page! There can’t be a better title after the second WUN.

Inspired. Committed. Now What?

Last week I and my great friends went to the second Way Up North Europe’s Wedding Photography Conference in Rome.  Great architecture and art, coffee and ice cream. Fashionable people, mini Fiats and Vespas, Rome is a gorgeous city! It is possible to get inspired by just being in Rome. I definately hope to return there (hopefully for some weddings :))

colosseum wedding photographer

colosseum wedding photographer

Latvian Wedding Photographers

Latvian Wedding Photographers

Photo by Liene Petersone


I like to travel, but this time it was for learning. Thanks to Jackob and Cole from Nordica for making this happen. What is Way Up North? It is the best place for wedding and actually any kind of commercial photographers to learn from the best in the industry. 10 speakers and 10 stories how to be one of the top players in this field. This is a great possibility to meet your photography friends from different countries :) (ther you can read my nots after the first WUN event in Stockholm)


Inspiration is an easy part…be open, listen and smile, sometimes cry, because you never know what kind of emotions the  presentations will bring out from you.

Daniel Aguilar

WUN in Rome

If I could take only one thing from him, it would be the smile and being easygoing. Daniel jumped on the speakers list only 2 days before the event (the rest of speakers had around 4-6 months to prepare their speech) and he did it with a kind smile and good energy.


Lelia Scarfiotti

way up north in Rome

One of my favorite speakers. Those deep and calm waters, moody and quiet pictures. Like poems, songs. In her opinion the photographer and the couple are a team for a great wedding day and good pictures.

  • Moments in between, it’s kind of the best way to describe her photography. Nice, calm and moody images
  • “I’m never satisfied with what i do” – so true for me, too. A small relief not be lonely on this.
  • When you find out what you are looking for, you will see it anywhere – be patient!


Davina + Daniel

way up north 2016

Lovely photographers couple from Canada. They are working together and it works good for them. Having two photographers gives more creative freedom on a wedding day. And if you have a good team, everybody knows their tasks. Some takeaways:

  • Setting goals, show many destination wedding pictures in your portfolio (if your goal is to be a destination wedding photographer)
  • Day after wedding session for destination weddings, a better option to get epic shots
  • Personal projects – almost every speaker mentions this as a key element in their creative work


Brian Morrow // Shark Pig

way up north 2016


Definitely one of the highlights from this event. It is impossible to put this presentation in short sentences. It was a show, like stand-up comedy but with a deep content. It is one of those times, when how is equally important as what – you should see his performance because it is impossible to retell.

  • Every morning you wake up to shoot a wedding or just any morning do appreciate that you are alive. You can move and do things.
  • Sit down and work, the myth of muse, your individuality is equity
  • Collaborate with others and create things

It sounds a bit boring when written down in those sentences. The show was part of the learning. I would like to see it one more time. Entertaining and helpful at the same time.

way up north sharkpig

You can see small glimpse of Brian’s personality here – a serious interview


Ryan Muirhead

way up north ryan muirhead

A bit sad and more quiet presentation. A lot of unseen work and a lot of sadness. In a good way (can it be in a good way?). During his speech I was a bit afraid that he was going to have  kind of a mental breakdown or an emotional explosion. All was good, he sat in his chair and told his story.

  • “Those conferences won’t fix me” – I can relate to this, there can be a misunderstanding that events could help, but much of your work should be done in your own place and time
  • “Connection to humanity” – all photographic practice (if there are people involved) is based on relationships. Sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to this
  • Photography as a way to leave a mark in this world, as a proof you were there and there was a bigger reason for this. Beeing me, not running away.

Ryan was the last speaker of the first day. Presentation day ended on a quiet and bit sad note. Sunny weather cheered us up. If you have never been in Rome, go there, it is one of the musts. More wow moments than ever before in my city trip experiences.
Good thing that many thoughts from these presentations work for any kind of creative work.

way up north 2016

street photographers in Rome

contemporary art wedding photographer in rome

street photographers in Rome

street photographers in Rome photo by Liene Petersone

Photo by Liene Petersone


way up north in Rome

Second day.


Sam Hurd

sam hurd way up north

“I can’t do this, but I’m doing it anyway” – he started his speech. It is hard to be on the big stage. “I am Craftsmen. Not a storyteller” – huh this was a surprise. Nowadays a lot of photographers are trying to present themselves as storytellers. I guess that a good craftsmen can tell a story, too.

  • Everybody is a photographer now – you have a monopoly of you
  • Prisming, “ring of fire”, creative crafts to get the best image in a boring location
  • 5x L = Light, Lines, Look, Layers, Luck


Oli Sansom

A European wedding photography event

Oli is a clever man. So much good and helpful information in one glimpse of time. Maybe even too much to get it all the first time listening.

  • It’s less about what you do, but more about way and how you do it.
  • Don’t run after all frames, there is no way to get them all. Work out those shots.
  • Great source for challenging yourself –

Hope there will be another chance to hear Oli’s talk, now I am having a feeling that I got only small bits of this.


Citlalli Rico

Citlalli Rico Way up North

One of the best talks from this event. Good balance of helpful, thoughtful information in a nice presentation. Good vibes and slides.

  • Success is a lot of mistakes
  • 3 backups (woohoo, somebody said this out loud)
  • Connecting with our clients, they are humans like you!
  • Stop shooting for the contests, those epic shots ar not the key for the couple after 10 years.


Tonhya Kae

european wedding conference

I don’t know where to start with Tonhya – a lot of good advice, but these stood out more for me

  • “Serious is cool. Smiles are forever” – in contemporary wedding photography often people are so serious, it is kind of a trend in almost every genre of photography. It’s good to remember to give space for smiles, too. Wedding is happy day after all :)
  • Your own style, your own voice – it sounds so simple, bet can be so hard. But why, we all have our own voice while speaking, own unique handwriting. Why it is harder to develop your own photography style?
  • “Not every couple is for you” – this is hard to learn. Sometimes it seems even rude to say No to couples. I believe it is right way to do this, but not an easy one.


Jonas Peterson

Jonas Peterson Europes Wedding Photography Conference in Rome

Legendary Jonas. Last 12 months I have met Jonas for 3 times. And for this time his lecture was the 3rd repetition for me. (1. How I met Jonas Peterson, 2. Way Up North in Stockholm)  I have heard something new this time, too. “Repetition is the mother of learning”

  • If you fail loving yourself, nobody will fix you
  • Deliver emotions, what is not expected
  • Show real stories for real people

These all are not the best or the main things, those are the ones which stood out for me now. I need some time to get more understanding from these presentations. Rethink what had been said and let those ideas grow in me.

Inspiration is easy part, as this quote says…

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work” (Chuck Close)



There comes an important part. How to put this all in good perspective, how to get the best of these lectures. I could divide two kind of outcomes.

First – Use this inspiration to improve your work. To appreciate more past happy clients and deliver the best service for already existing couples. As Brian mentioned – be happy, you’re alive and there is Love (there won’t be a wedding without love :))

Second – “If not lifting it up, it’s bringing you down” – the second outcome is to improve to become a better professional. We all have our strong parts but as a human beings we have weak parts, too. And the most important thing is to improve weak sides of your craft.

My go to goal in this wedding season will be improving posing, show people in the best forms and shapes as it could be done. Talk more to connect deeper with wedding couples and be more patient in postprocessing. Develop my visual style. I know, sounds a lot for one wedding season, there is always room for improvement.


Now What?

way up north in Rome


It is impossible to summarise this event in just a few paragraphs, much of this information and feelings stay inside and will grow from inside out in due time. It was helpful to rethink and revisit my notes. I hope there was at least one person, who found reading this helpful.

In two weeks I will be photographing the first wedding this season and afterwards 6 quite busy months await ahead. Then at the end of the season I am planning to go to next WUN in Stockholm.

If you were one of the 400+ listeners at this conference, then you are already in a good spot.


If you are in Rome – 4 tips for great holidays in this gorgeous city

  • Tiramisu – one of the best, try this place – Trattoria Luzzi
  • Spring is a good time because it is not that hot
  • Visit Vatican in the evening one hour before closing (the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica was a wow)
  • By coffee to go, price can be 3 euros if you drink at the table, but it can be 1,4 euros if you take away and drink it nearby in great park with birds singing. Twice as much coffee and pleasure.

street photographers in Rome

vatican wedding photographer

st.peter s basilica wedding photographer

st.peter s basilica wedding

st.peter s basilica photographer

best food in rome italy near colosseum

best tiramisu in rome italy

Photo by Liene Petersone - Girts Ragelis

Thanks for photos – Liene Petersone

Destination Wedding Photographer Rome

Thanks for photos – Liene Petersone

rome wedding photography


One more thing – for inspiration

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.