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WPPI 2010

Every year it seems to take me longer and longer to get a post up about our WPPI experience… One year I took so long that Nathan had to take matters into his own hands and post for me! One of the reasons that it takes so long is because we rarely keep a camera with us (this year we didn’t even take anything but our iPhones!), so when time comes to blog, we have to scavenge to find images from facebook and friends. We usually end up with an interesting mix of images from all kinds of different places, but at least it gets the job done! There’s always SO much to share, and it feels difficult to sum it all up into a few words (particularly with so few images to help me out!)

It’s pretty fun to look back at some of our past Vegas posts… in 2007, we had the opportunity to be in Vegas on my birthday (and I LOVE my birthday!) so I was able to experience my birthday while surrounded by a ton of my favorite people from all over the country. It was awesome! Nathan took over the blogging in 2008… and then I got my act back together in time to blog last year. 2009 was my first opportunity to speak at WPPI… I did a Masterclass, and it was terrifying and simultaneously awesome :) This year I had the opportunity to present in a Platform class (a much larger setting than last year’s Masterclass) and in the days leading up to the convention I just had to avoid thinking about it… because the idea of presenting to a 300 person room was overwhelmingly frightening!

Okay, so that was a lot of typing to not say anything :) Without further chit-chat, let me highlight for you the wonder that was WPPI 2010!

One of the things I love the most about WPPI is the traveling. Nathan and I don’t get to travel together very often… just for the occasional destination wedding and 1 or maybe 2 conferences a year. So I really cherish the opportunity to meander around an airport or two with my husband at my side. I love flying, I love airports, I love watching people… and I really love doing it with my husband in tow. Even if we’re merely camped on the floor in the Charlotte airport, me working on my presentation and him working on blogging from his iPhone, it’s nice to have him there. (Plus, when I get sleepy on the plane, I have an automatic pillow! :) )

I grabbed a few fun images with my iPhone (the Hipstamatic ap was my tool of choice for these shots) while we were laid-over in the Charlotte airport. The light was amazing, and made the travelers look super cool.

I wasn’t expecting Nathan to cross in front of me, but I was SO excited that he did. He’s the quintessential traveler…

After we arrived in Vegas, we waited in the airport to meet up with Rich and Heather and Garrett and Joy. Rich and Heather’s workshop client/friend, Leslie, (Nathan and I also had the opportunity of getting to know her and spending a couple of days sharing with her, she’s awesome!) was attending WPPI for the first time this year, but it was NOT her first time in Vegas :) She’s a Vegas pro, and runs around the city in style. She offered to have her limo come and pick up Rich and Heather from the airport, and when we found out that all the Chattanooga crowd was getting in at similar times, we all kinda crashed the party. It was so fun to meet up with some of our closest friends the moment we arrived, and to be transported to the hotel in style :) Thanks so much to Rich and Heather for extending the invitation, and to Leslie for her amazing generosity! (Sadly, no one took any pictures of this at all!)

Sunday was a relaxed day… we roamed around a bit, spent some time getting registered, and catching up with various people. We quickly realized that the MGM Grand is a black hole for the iPhone network (possibly because it was jammed with thousands of photographers trying to use theirs), and this made it difficult to find people! (I felt like I was constantly searching for someone, and just as I would get to where they were supposed to be, I’d get a text that they had actually left that location 20 minutes ago! It was a bit frustrating!)

Sunday evening, we headed to a couple of parties… the first one was a VIP reception with Pictage,  which then transformed into a party sponsored by the GoBee bag team. We arrived at around 7:30 or so, and I think I finally left around 2:00am! It was a super fun night, and was one of the main opportunities I had to see a LOT of the people I love in the industry (fun times with awesome people including Pictage Jim, Kevin & ShaunRobert , Tim , Frances, Jay, the GoBee girls, and the shock of my week… Amy Nave). The not-so-cool part of the night was when I slammed my toe into a corner… I knew at the time that I had probably broken my toe.. It hurt SO bad! (What I found out after I got back home the next week was that it was not my toe that was broken. I had actually fractured a small bone in my foot… in three places! No wonder it hurt so bad!). I’d say it was a fair trade off… I got to spend some time with people I love in the midst of a crazy packed week. I’ll take the broken foot.

Sara France and Lauren are the masterminds behind the GoBee bag and the hosts of this awesome party… I blame them for the good times AND for my broken foot ;)

Monday… well, Monday is a blur. I’m pretty sure I did some stuff, went to a class or two,  and saw some people… but I was mostly just trying to figure out how I was going to survive the rest of the week (and all of the insane walking that is involved at WPPI and the MGM Grand) on my insanely painful broken foot. I do know that in the afternoon, Nathan met with his Thirst Relief mentor while I drug myself upstairs to the Showit Suites to hang out with Dawn Davis for a bit. Then, I managed to fight my way into Jasmine Star’s platform class while Nathan attended Jana Candler‘s class. All three of these awesome ladies are amazing Photographer’s Edit clients… and I am so excited to watch the business that Nathan created making a huge impact on people’s businesses.

Tuesday was jam-packed. Broken foot or not, we had a lot to do. Nathan started off the morning with a breakfast with a few members of his Photographer’s Edit team, followed by spending an hour in the Thirst Relief booth on the trade show floor.  I met a dear friend, Jen Stewart, for lunch so we could celebrate her birthday. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time together… Plus, I think that was the first time I had eaten real food since arriving in Vegas! From there, I hobbled up to the Show-it Suites again, this time to hang out with Zach and Jody Gray…. Nashville’s most adorable photographic couple :) Straight from this session, I headed to hear Dane Sanders. I hadn’t heard him speak in a long time, and was inspired within minutes of arriving. I headed down to the trade show floor to see the ShootQ booth, the KISS booth, and the Pictage booth… and to hug my friends at those booths that I couldn’t catch up with any other way (due to the silly network and the restrictions brought on by a broken foot). At this point, Nathan had taken a break to ride the monorail around and catch up on some email correspondence, and we met back up that night at the Graphi Studio Party. We wanted to be there to support Garret, as he ventured into the world of modeling :) From there, finally, we were able to attend the party that we had looked forward to since the year previous… Pictage, along with KISS and Shootq had rented out Studio 54 and provided an amazing party for us to enjoy. It was awesome. (I swiped these pics from the Pictagerazzi, as well as from David Esquire’s  and Eric Farewell‘s Facebook)

It was a fun (but VERY late) night…

Wednesday was the big day. I woke up not nearly as nervous as I thought I would be… I was definitely nervous, but I wasn’t puking my guts up, so that’s certainly progress :) My biggest fear was that people would be too burnt out (it was the last day of the conference) to drag themselves to another class… and that as a result, my class would be empty. It’s funny… I was freaked out by the idea of speaking in front of 300 people… but I was possibly even more freaked out by the idea of speaking to a mostly empty 300 person room!

Huge thanks to my friends who came and provided moral support and friendly faces in the audience, and to my amazing sponsors (who I also count as some of my dearest friends) Kevin and Shaun at KISS, Roxanne and Curt at Pixel2Canvas, everyone at Pictage, and of course, my amazing husband at Photographer’s Edit.

Another huge thanks to Heather for documenting my very first WPPI platform class and for sharing those images with me.

I shouldn’t have worried about the class not filling up… I arrived about an hour early, and there was already a ton of people in the room! Soon the class was completely packed, and there was actually a line of people waiting for a spot to open up. I was blown away!

I make goofy faces when I speak… sigh :)

I was beyond excited when the presentation was over. 2 hours of talking while standing on a broken foot and then another hour of answering followup questions was completely exhausting. I was ready for a quiet dinner. Nathan and I joined Gary and Missy (and Allison and Brian) for dinner, and it was wonderful, entertaining, delicious, and.. well.. perfect. It was exactly what we needed.

Thursday is the day that most photographers are headed out. The best thing about this day is that most of the madness has died down, and you can often grab the opportunity to actually spend one-on-one time with people that you love and never get to see! Nathan and I had breakfast with Jen and Chris Stewart, lunch with Rachel and Andrew and Katie, caught a movie by ourselves, and then walked to Paris to have dinner at Mon Ami Gabi (best mac and cheese EVER!) before heading to the airport. At the airport, we caught up with Kevin and Rachel, for a few more minutes of catching up. I’m pretty sure Thursday ended up being my favorite day of the conference. I enjoyed the GoBee and Pictage parties, and the trade show floor is fun… but quiet lunches and dinners that really allow us to re-connect with people that we care about is just more meaningful to me. I think I’m going to make a concerted effort to make sure there is more “quiet” time next year (planned in advance, so I don’t miss so many people!).

Whew. I think I’m finished. That’s the 2010 WPPI recap. Tons and tons of family shoots to come soon… the blog’s gonna be busy :)

Photography friends… I miss you guys.



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  • March 22, 2010 - 10:11 pm

    Eric Farewell - SO glad you liked my photo :)
    Sorry we didn’t get to meet while we were there… Perhaps next year!

    (or the next time we’re in TN… I believe we have at least one wedding up there this summer)

  • March 23, 2010 - 2:32 am

    Jen Stewart - Chris and I were so happy to get a chance to see you and Nathan, and we agree, the quiet meals with friends I think was one of our favorite parts! I think I have a picture of the 4 of us from breakfast on Thursday morning… I guess I should download that from my point-n-shoot hu? ;-)

    Miss you!

  • March 24, 2010 - 12:44 pm

    Chris Stewart - Amber, Jen and I had a great time to just sit and chat in Vegas with you and Nathan. It was funny to think that was the very first time that we both got to spend some time with you both in the same place. You two are a amazing couple and being able to balance life with all that you both do, and involved in, you guys are amazing!! Hope that we can do that again sometime in the future. :D

  • March 25, 2010 - 5:53 pm

    malea - Loved Loved Loved your presentation at WPPI! You are so so talented, I want you to come take my family photos!!! You really do capture true lifestyle!

  • April 7, 2010 - 1:58 pm

    Sweet Baby Kaden » the lifestyle baby photographer - […] to be such an insane month?!? I guess I should’ve been slightly more prepared… with WPPI in Las Vegas, Addison’s 5th birthday, a trip to Richmond to photograph Baby Finley and Baby […]

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