or in my case, you learn a million things in about 72 hours…
I spent this past week out in Las Vegas with about 14,000 other photographers at the annual WPPI conference. Being a member of WPPI has so many advantages, but having full access to this conference is definitely the best! It’s a great place to connect with other photographers, learn SO much about this ever changing industry, and its guaranteed that you will walk away inspired. I had the privilege to hear from so many talented photographers and attend seminars where they got up and shared all their deepest darkest secrets for two hours. Okay, so maybe not their DEEPEST secrets, but they were so open with all the little things they do in their business that has helped them be a better photographer. There’s no way to adequately recap this past week in full, but I did want to share some of the biggest things I learned or realized about myself during my time at WPPI.
First and foremost, I absolutely LOVE this industry! I can’t think of any other group of people so willing to give back and share all the things t hat helped them be unique and different in an industry where it is all to easy to compare one photographer to the next. They are a group of people who WANT to connect and who want to help others be successful and for that I’m so thankful! These speakers put so much time and attention into their presentations, then got up and spoke for over two hours to a room full of hundreds (or in some cases thousands!) of other photographers. They’re generous with their time, talent, and information. I so thankful to be in an industry of people willing to help others!
Every session I do helps define me as a photographer. The pictures I take, the ones I choose to keep, how I edit them.. and I learned after listening to Amber Holritz and Jesh de Rox how much I crave capturing real, authentic moments. It’s so easy to pose a couple and get a beautiful picture, but it can take so much more effort to pull the emotion out of them and allow them to connect and be themselves in front of the camera. It just makes sense to ask a child to look at you and smile and be happy with the image that comes from that, but how much more genuine and timeless are the moments where your snuggling in bed in the morning, reading a book before bed time, or laughing at the soap bubbles on your babies head. That’s what I want for my clients, is a way to remember how your family acted or how your relationship looked, not just a snapshot of your physical appearance at the time, as beautiful as that is. There HAS to be emotion in the images. So thank you Amber and Jesh for helping to pull out and define what it is I love about the fact that I get to capture people in love, whether its with their new husband or wife or with their new son or daughter.
I’m thankful that Virginia is far away from the Las Vegas strip, and the fact that you can’t smoke anywhere you darn well please here :0) My lungs are grateful to be back in VA :0)
I’ve always been thankful for my clients and the people that have trusted me with their most precious memories, and the fact that they are the driving force behind this little business of mine. Jasmine Star said once before on her blog and reiterated it again during her seminar that she would rather have 10 fanatics than 100 fans. People that are excited about HER and will promote her business in casual day to day conversation because they’re excited about what she’s doing. That’s what I desire for my business, that I would connect with my clients on such a personal level that they want all of their friends to have the same experience. Thank you, thank you, THANK you from the bottom of my heart for those people who shamelessly tell their friends to check the blog, look at their new pictures, or become a fan on facebook, or whatever else it is you’re doing to put my name out there. You have no idea how thankful I am for you and what a difference you make!
At the end of the day, when the camera is put away, the pictures are edited, and prints have been purchased.. this business is all about relationships. I had the joy of meeting so many photographers this week that I feel like I already knew because of how often I check their blogs, but it was so great to be able to meet them face to face and hug them and spend time getting to know them a little bit. I already can’t wait for next year just so I can see them again! Its all about relationships. Capturing them with my camera, maintaining them with past clients, and building new ones that will last for years to come. Other photographers are one of the most valuable parts of this industry, and I’m so excited I got to meet and connect with so many of you this week! Thanks for sharing your hearts with me this week. One such photographer I was so excited to meet was Stephanie Fay! She agreed to hang out with a bunch of other photographers for an hour or so and just let us pick her brain and ask any and all questions, and I loved getting to hear more about her and her husband Stephen and how they have grown their business together over the past few years. Steph, I can’t wait to see you again, thanks again for being willing to open up and hang out with us! :0) Here’s a picture that Stephanie took at the end of her little q&a session of the whole group: I was even more excited with just about the whole group from Stephanie’s little meet and greet showed up to Photographer UNITE Wednesday morning! Unite is a group of Christians who also just happen to be photographers, and they organized a great time or worship and fellowship Wednesday morning. It was awesome to meet other people with the same vision and heart for people and the Lord. It was so overwhelming at times to walk into a seminar with 1,000+ other photographers and try and figure out where you fit in among the masses, so I was so appreciative of a time during the week to break things down to a smaller, more intimate level and bring the focus back to what really matters.
Have I overwhelmed you yet? Oh man and that’s just the beginning! Keep an eye out for some new ideas and concepts for sessions coming soon as a result from this past week that I’m REALLY excited about!
Happy Saturday! :0)