The past few weeks have had me all David After Dentist, "Is this real life?!??!", starting with Las Vegas and WPPI. My first trip to both. Heaven help me.
I’m not going to lie, WPPI was cray. Super fun, super cray. A wholeeeee lot of walking, planning which speakers to attend, begging friends to hand over their Jose Villa tickets (SCORE!), and meeting amazing friends both old and new. Nothing quite beats connecting a name to a face! For my first time at the Wedding and Portrait Photographer’s conference, I would venture to say it was unusually cray cray. Naturally because of the people I was with (Ashley Barnett, her new HUSBAND Jeremey Mitchell, Nick Godsell, Jen Jar, and Carly Arnwine) but more importantly because we all took advantage of our opportunities and put ourselves OUT THERE! If it weren’t for being in the moment, Jen wouldn’t have answered Stillmotion’s “Twitter Call” looking for WPPI newbies to film, which lead to us meeting our FAVORITE cinematographers and the hilarious and fun crew behind the cameras (Amanda & Quenna, I LOVE YALL!). Which also most likely wouldn’t have led to Jeremy proposing in the super awesome fashion and marrying Ashley a few days later in VEGAS (because Patrick of Stillmotion totally encouraged it. Best. Decision. Ever.) And if Ashley and Jeremy hadn’t of been models for Justin and Mary’s shootout at WPPI last year, then they possibly wouldn’t have harbored a friendship that made the fantastic duo more inclined to be the Vegas Wedding photographers. Carly even met a gentlemen on her plane ride over that invited her to Muhammad Ali’s birthday party where she met all SORTS of celebrities!
And where does that leave me? Other than tagging along with my favorite friends, I ran into several online acquaintances and turned them into real life friends! Like Dana Laymon, Latasha & Isaiah Haynes, Lacey Rabalais, Kandise Brown (who I was lucky to run into several times!), Chrissy Henry, Gladys Jem Allen (helllooooo cutie!!), and several others! (Thanks for hollerin' if you said hey!) I left with a notebook full of information, and the encouragement to STOP DREAMING and START DOING. Because, if I have learned anything from my friends, it’s that any of us are capable of greatness. Of meeting people, of crazy new experiences, and of making connections that will last a life time. All we have to do is seize the opportunity and always make the best of it. Always.
Next year when I attend WPPI, I hope to not be as overwhelmed and plan to do the following:
-Bring broken in flats. My feet are covered in blisters. They aren’t kidding when they say you walk. A lot.
-Wake up earlier. Not easy when you are in Vegas, but I wish I had of woken up earlier and taken advantage of more speakers.
-Planned my time. Okay, maybe not really. Because it’s VEGAS! It was nice to not be on so much of a schedule, but there are several speakers I missed I would have loved to have heard like Jeremy Cowart and Jerry Ghionis. It’s impossible to hear them all, so next time.
-Gone to the tradeshow with a plan. You have to know what it is you are looking for in there, like new album options or photobooth backdrops, otherwise your head will be spinning. Since my interior design days, I know how to work a tradeshow, so I should have known better and could have prepared!
-Packed more mini bottles. Self explanatory.
-Set aside time for shoots. The light in Vegas is incredible! All those white buildings as natural reflectors! I planned to put my gorgeous friends in front of my film camera while there, but we were so all over the place that time escaped us. This is my biggest regret from WPPI. Not making time to photograph my friends
-Set aside “Vegas” time. I got to see some of the sites in between (like the Bellagio fountain dancing to Michael Jackson, SO COOL!) but I wished I had a day to wander more. And the NEON BONEYARD! Okay, it’s official. I’m going a day early next year. If I can handle it.
Some Smilebooth photos from the Airplanes and Blazers party (highly recommended!) and the Smilebooth Tradeshow Set-up. My feet had started to hurt at this point. This city girl turned island girl isn't used to wearing high heels anymore! That crazy cool redhead is Kiera Faye of JAKfoto films.
Patrick and his fancy RED camera filming Jen & the group for the way cool WPPI promo video (see below).