Speaker Spotlight: Kara Mercer

“For me, photography was a dance that I felt the steps to before I even knew the choreography. It was a simple choice to pick up the camera and find my way through the process.”

- Kara Mercer


Kara Mercer is a commercial and editorial photographer and art director based in Seattle, Washington. She specializes in developing content for fashion, travel, and lifestyle brands. Her work has been featured in several magazines, including Huffpost, Buzzfeed, FujiFilm, and more. Get to know Kara before seeing her speak at our 2019 Pixel Photo Fest.

Why she shoots

Kara has been behind the lens for over a decade now. She views photography as a creative outlet designed to express feelings, ideas, and concepts that resonate not only with her, but with those around her. For her, photography is the best medium to share one’s voice and story.

Her specialties

Kara specializes in content creation for brands, as she’s gained notoriety for her eye for creative direction and aesthetic. She believes every image should stand strongly on its own while also contributing a unique yet complementary voice when serving as part of a collection.

Kara is also known for her work with light. As she says, “light is your hero.” It can spoil a photo, sure, but when used properly it can add elements like softness, shadows, or contrast.


Her work is influenced as much by minimalism and thought-provoking conversations as it is by contemporary studies in human psychology and the emotive, sometimes ethereal feel of romanticism. With these influences, she seamlessly combines playful narratives with a timeless aesthetic for commercial media campaigns (print and digital) and editorial work.


Equipment of choice

Kara uses a Fujifilm X-T2 & Xpro2. Her toolkit consists of three camera bodies, several prime lenses (23, 56, 35, 90), 16-55 zoom lens. And of course, she carries several pieces of lighting equipment with her. She also never leaves home without a camera, so she never misses a moment she wants to capture. 

Pixel Photo Fest Classes

Creating Modern Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Workshop

Fashion & Lifestyle portraiture is all about creating a space and scene for your subjects. Kara will open your eyes to a new way of creating modern portraits, capturing your own images on travels, and honing your shooting style. Bring your gear and come ready to ask all the questions and dive right in as she uncovers all the tips and tricks to modern portraits and lifestyle imagery. 

See her work:

WEBSITE: karamercer.com

INSTAGRAM: @_karamercer

TWITTER: @_KaraMercer

Hear and learn from Kara and other award-winning photographers at this year’s Pixel Photo Fest September 13-15 at Cleveland State University! Grab your tickets here.

Speaker Spotlight: Miguel Quiles

“Each new day presents another opportunity to create something that’s uniquely yours. The world awaits your results.” - Miguel Quiles


Miguel Quiles is a New Jersey-based commercial wedding and portrait photographer. Miguel spoke at last year’s Pixel Photo Fest, and the response was so positive that we had to bring him back for a second year! Get to know Miguel before seeing him speak at our 2019 Pixel Photo Fest.

Miguel has been involved in the industry for over 15 years. He started off as a salesman at a local camera store and taught himself photography through trial and error. Since then, Miguel has been refining his skills and pushing the limits of his creative abilities. 

As a self-taught photographer, Miguel hopes to share his experience and knowledge with new and upcoming photographers who wish to take their work to the next level.

Miguel is a leading voice as a blogger and contributor for RangeFinder Magazine & SLR Lounge. However, he’s more well known as a Profoto Legend of Light and a Sony Artisan.

Miguel’s classes:

One Light is Alright! 

In this session, Miguel will show the power of lighting portraits using only one light. Learning this exercise early in his career set him up for a lifetime of successful photo shoots. This is a can’t-miss session for photographers interested in off-camera lighting.

Offsite Engagement Session Workshop

Miguel will share tips and tricks for getting dramatic, powerful portraits of couple! This workshop will give you the knowledge and confidence to take your next engagement session like a pro with years of experience!

Simple Studio Lighting

Miguel will walk through some basic setups you can utilize no matter how big or small a space you have. These are the time-tested techniques that he’s used as he transitioned from his small, living room studio to his professional studio in New Jersey. You’ll learn the easiest and best ways to set up your lights, along with some clever tips on posing, camera settings, and more.

See his work:

INSTAGRAM: @miguelquilesjr

FACEBOOK: @miguelquilesphotography

Hear and learn from Miguel and other award-winning photographers at this year’s Pixel Photo Fest September 13-15 at Cleveland State University! 

Grab your Pixel Photo Fest tickets here:

Top Ten Reasons to Attend Pixel Photo Fest 2019


Thinking about going to Pixel Photo Fest this year, but still on the fence? We might be biased, but there are SO many reasons why this year’s event is one that can’t be missed for creatives of all levels.

To help you make your decision, we’ve compiled our top ten reasons to attend this year’s festival. Check it out!

1. Hands-on Classes

The majority of our wide selection of sessions (link to sessions page) will allow for hands-on work so you can apply what you’ve learned. These aren’t just lectures or presentations. Attendees are encouraged to bring their camera equipment and join in on the action!

2. Photography/videography vendors

Our trade show floor will have representatives from leading photo and video brands, including Canon, Sony, Panasonic Lumix, Sigma, Fujifilm, Tamron, Profoto, Westcott, RODE, and many more!

3. Networking opportunities

The day ends when you decide it does! We’ve organized plenty of off-site excursions, meetups, photo walks, and more. We already have photographers and videographers coming from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, and more. With such a wide variety of attendees, you have the opportunity to create relationships and connections that last beyond Pixel Photo Fest. 

4. All access passes

Your tickets aren’t just for entry to Pixel Photo Fest. They’re good for everything - and we mean everything! The three-day pass gives you unlimited access to all classes, workshops, and photo walks. And we will not limit you from packing your schedule. 

5. Models on demand

Our Model Bank program provides 30+ diverse models available for you to shoot. You can apply what you learned during a workshop with their help or “rent” a model to take out for your own themed shoot.

6. Learn from professionals

Never fear - PPF classes will not be sales pitches disguised as workshops! We have selected educators who specialize in offering some of the best learning experiences you will ever receive in the world of photography.

7. Speakers

Our speaker lineup is packed to the gills with award-winning speakers from across the country. We’ve brought together the best of the best in one location for three full days to help you create your greatest work yet!

8. Trade Show

The PPF trade show floor will be jam packed with vendors, shooting bays, models, giveaways, speaker meet and greets, and more. You can easily get lost in just the trade show floor for a full day!

9. Free Loaner equipment

We’re giving you the opportunity to try out that new camera or lens you’ve been eyeing! Your PPF pass gives you access to a wide selection of equipment you can borrow free of charge - including the latest and greatest models from top manufacturers.

10. Pixel Connection

PPF is brought to you by Pixel Connection, and we take great pride in our work providing an excellent, unique experience to our attendees.  Pixel Connection will be on hand at the trade show as the exclusive vendor of PPF. We’ll be offering all our items at prices so low we can’t even advertise them before the event 👀

You can’t put a price on the freedom to immerse yourself in a creative space for three full days! Let your right brain roam free with new equipment and information to fuel your work. 

Get your Pixel Photo Fest 2019 tickets before they sell out!

Speaker Spotlight: Scott Robert Lim


We’re pleased and excited to announce wedding photography master and award-winning speaker Scott Robert Lim will teach at Pixel Photo Fest!

Scott Robert is a Sony Artisan whose work has been published in books and magazines and distributed to millions of readers internationally. He has taught and mentored many professional photographers around the world. 

He received the prestigious Kodak Award in 2009 and earned his Photographic Craftsman degree from PPA, the world’s largest professional photography organization.

A certified educator

With more than a decade of teaching experience and a charismatic speaking style, Scott Robert is an industry leader in photography education.

He has over 70 awards to his name, including World’s Top Ten Wedding Photographers, Top 10 Most Influential Photographers and Top 100 Most Socially Influential Photographers

He has been a judge at many international photography competitions and is a popular speaker on Creative Live. 

Pixel Photo Fest Workshops 

We’re especially excited to announce Scott Robert has agreed to share his photography expertise with Pixel Photo Fest attendees! He will be teaching one class, two hands-on workshops, and one photowalk. All sessions are included in the festival ticket price, but spots are limited and first-come-first-served.

Scott Robert will be leading:

Making Money with Wedding Photography

Scott Robert will unveil his secrets to booking luxury weddings and share his techniques on lighting, posing, composition and gear. Learn how to monetize a modern approach to wedding imagery with one of the world’s foremost wedding photographers. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro, this class is designed to take your wedding photography to the next level. 

Flow Posing (Posing with Couples)

Learn how to pose couples with ease and get consistent results with every session. Scott Robert will show you base techniques and how to best combine them to create unlimited variations. This course will also cover lens selection and lighting tips to enhance your posing compositions.

How to WOW with Light

Learn amazing off-camera lighting techniques! Scott Robert will teach his simple methods using available light and portable strobes. This gear allows the photographer to create amazing images on location and almost anywhere within minutes. Learn how to shoot in extreme bright sun and in low-light situations, always finding the best light in the area. Discover how to maximize shooting time to create a variety of stylized images.

Photowalk with Models

Learn to put Scott Robert’s techniques into action! Participants will create amazing on-location shots in just a few minutes, choosing the correct lighting, composition and posing choices for maximum impact. This is a chance to see Scott Robert work his magic as he turns an ordinary situation into photos with impact and WOW. 

Learn to put Scott Robert’s techniques into action! Participants will create amazing on-location shots in just a few minutes, choosing the correct lighting, composition and posing choices for maximum impact. This is a chance to see Scott Robert work his magic as he turns an ordinary situation into photos with impact and WOW.  


WEBSITE: http://www.scottrobertgallery.com/ 

INSTAGRAM: @scottrobertlim

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/scottrobertlim

Hear and learn from Scott Robert and other award-winning photographers at this year’s Pixel Photo Fest September 13-15 at Cleveland State University!

Grab your tickets here:

Why is Pixel Photo Fest Taking Place in Cleveland?

Since 2014, Pixel Connection has been headquartered in Avon, about 20 miles west of Downtown Cleveland. 

The city’s beautiful skyline is small but mighty, tattooed on the biceps of numerous Clevelanders. At nearby Edgewater Beach, crowds gather to watch the sunset over the city, casting a shadow over the iconic Cleveland script sign. And every day thousands of people walk underneath a giant, electric chandelier towering over the second-largest theater district in the nation (only after Broadway!). 

Many people have asked us, “Why Cleveland?” but for a photography festival meant to bring creatives together, we believe there’s no place better than our city on the rise. We want people to feel inspired by their surroundings and show that photography lives and thrives in Cleveland. 


We chose Cleveland State University (CSU) specifically as our festival venue because it’s right in the heart of the action. Pixel Photo Fest (PPF) isn’t limited to indoor classes, scribbling down notes while a speaker delivers a PowerPoint presentation. Attendees will have the opportunity for hands-on sessions and photo walks outside of the hall.

In the immediate area, CSU has public art, cityscapes, art galleries, historic buildings, and modern architecture. In addition to awakening a creative mindset, CSU has the perfect set of amenities for a festival. The event hall is spacious and fantastic hotels and restaurants can be found within a short walking distance of campus.

This location also gives attendees a chance to enjoy Cleveland nightlife after the festival ends each day. Cleveland has a laundry list of high-quality restaurants and bars so you can continue networking and meeting fellow photographers long into the night. PPF will have organized meetups designed for this exact purpose.

Get ready to be inspired, thrive creatively, and shoot some of your best work in Cleveland. 

Pixel Photo Fest takes place September 13-15 at the Conference Pavilion at Wolstein Center, located on Cleveland State University’s campus at 2000 Prospect. Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44115. 

Don’t miss out - get your tickets today!

Speaker Spotlight: Bryan Minear


“The idea of capturing a unique moment in time has always been intriguing to me. Expanding on that simple concept is what continues to drive my work forward to this day.”

-Bryan Minear

Bryan Minear is a Midwest-based designer and fine art and landscape photographer. He’s also a father, Star Wars nerd, and self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur.

Get to know Bryan before seeing him speak at our 2019 Pixel Photo Fest.


He fell in love with the process and soon picked up a DSLR to supplement his design work. Before he knew it, he was teaching himself to use off-camera strobe lighting for portraits and building a business. After a couple of years, he realized his passion wasn’t in portrait photography, but in more creative pursuits.

What he shoots

In 2015 he decided to pursue fine art photography as a primary creative outlet. Before long, he started gaining some steam on Instagram and attracting clients large and small. Today, he shoots landscape, lifestyle, and commercial photography as a career while still working a full-time job as a Graphic Designer.


What he shoots with

Since picking up the original X100 in 2011, Fujifilm X Series cameras have transformed his style and technique, and have since become his gear of choice for all aspects of his work.

Why he shoots

Bryan’s goal is to portray atmosphere and emotion through his work. Whether shooting locally in the Midwest or traveling and teaching around the world, Bryan hopes to leave an impact on the world. His interests are broad, but can be best boiled down to a concentration in fine art and landscape photography.

From weddings and commercial work to his true passion landscape and cityscape photography, Bryan has been a part of the industry for over 10 years and is only just getting started traveling and teaching workshops.

What to expect from Bryan at Pixel Photo Fest

Join Bryan for a full day hands-on workshop. In the classroom he will walk you through the stories and setup behind some of his favorite shots.

He'll be explaining how to scout locations, walk you through how to choose a composition, and even demonstrate his process up until the finished edit. You'll also get a complete demonstration of his work flow and post processing techniques. Later in the day, Bryan will also demo some of his favorite gear. Join him on a sunset excursion in downtown Cleveland where he will further discuss his approach to capturing the city.


WEBSITE: www.bryanminear.com

INSTAGRAM: @bryanminear

FACEBOOK: bryanminear

TWITTER: @bryanminear

Hear and learn from Bryan and other award-winning photographers at this year’s Pixel Photo Fest September 13-15 at Cleveland State University!

Grab your tickets here:

Pixel Photo Fest 2019 Now Live!


Hey Everyone!

We just made Pixel Photo Fest 2019 live! We are incredibly excited to bring Cleveland this Photo Fest in mid September of 2019. Attendees can expect a wide range of classes and workshops that covers topics such as; wedding photography, portrait photography, editing, videography, family photography, landscape and travel, and so much more. That really only scratches the surface of what is Pixel Photo Fest 2019!

Our speaker list is growing and we’ll continue to add to it. So far we have signed on;

  • Scott Robert Lim

  • Bryan Minear

  • Griffin Hammond

  • Michele Celentano

  • Kara Mercer

  • Jim Koepnick

  • Sarah Beirne

  • Ryan White


The speakers and educators will be a holding a variety of classes. One day you can be on a full day wedding workshop with Scott Robert Lim and then next you could learn about audio intricacies for your next big film project.

We have a lot more to share with you so stay tuned!