Hey there party people! ;)
I know it’s been over a week since I’ve posted, I’ve been crazy busy. I promise! I will show you. :)
Tom and I had the opportunity to go to WPPI 2012 – our first year attending! For any non-photogs out there, WPPI stands for Wedding & Portrait Photographers International. Basically, to further my education and skills, I’m a part of several organizations. WPPI is one of many, and they have a HUGE conference every February in Las Vegas. Last year they reported about 16,000 photographers from all over the world. I’m convinced that this year it was about 2 million. Haha… probably not, probably about 16,000 – 17,000. It seemed like millions though, there were SO many people!
Because there was SO much to take in, see, and do, I have decided to split my WPPI posts into four separate posts. I have 38 photos chosen to share (not including the ones of Excalibur that I took for my son) so breaking it up will mean not scrolling as much. You’re welcome. It will also keep you on the EDGE OF YOUR SEAT waiting to see what I say next. Because I’m an edge of your seat kind of girl. Right? Right. SO! The four posts will be Classes, Parties, Showit, and Awesome People. Some of them will overlap of course – because pretty much everyone in Showit is awesome, and the classes were awesome too, but I had to split it somehow.
Onto the awesomeness!
While we were in Las Vegas, not only did we attend WPPI, but we also attended Showit United. Yes, yes, I know this isn’t the Showit post. But I have to explain that because there were classes that were a part of Showit United as well, that weren’t a part of WPPI. I will explain more about Showit United on the Showit day. Tom went to a total of FIVE WPPI platform classes (go Tom!) and I went to three. There was a little confusion about our hotel on the first day, so I missed the Boudoir Divas. I did have a chance to meet them though, even better! We had decided not to carry around the big cameras with us because there was already so much to carry, so I had my little point and shoot. And let me tell you – for a conference full of photographers, these rooms are REALLY horribly lit. What’s up with that, WPPI? LoL! My apologies for the horrible quality, they were taken with my point and shoot in really bad lighting.
The first platform class I attended was with Salvatore Cincotta. Before I finalized ANY of my classes, I did my homework. I didn’t want to go and listen to someone try to sell me some presets for two hours. I have a low tolerance for that kind of thing, and quite frankly, I probably would have walked out. And yes, Sal did have things to sell. But his class was PACKED full of information. And digs to anyone using Nikon instead of Canon. ;)
When he started, he perched in front of his laptop and wanted to show us a slideshow. Okay, cool – relevant for a photographer, right? Although the audio wasn’t working properly. He was trying to play the Sweater Song from Ingrid Michaelson, unsuccessfully. He appeared to be a little frustrated and said he was having issues with the audio, and two women walked on stage, one holding a guitar. Did you guess correctly? Ingrid Michaelson stepped on stage to SING THE SONG LIVE. For us. Just our little platform class, a live performance. How flippin’ awesome is that?!
She sang her song, and by the way – she was awesome live, not just a studio artist – and he announced there were free tickets for her concert under our seats. Good start, right? He had a TON of giveaways – good ones too – but even more importantly, he had a ton of information to share. I had asked for friends’ opinions before choosing classes, and was told that he is a “straight shooter.” That is the nice way of saying it. I’m a very blunt person, I say what I think while trying to be kind, but I’m open and just kind of put myself out there. He is the same way, and I learned SO much from him. I like people that just tell it like it is. He would share something and say this is why I run my business this way… and it made TOTAL sense to me.
The next class I had the opportunity to attend was Mike Colon‘s low lighting class. Holy MOLY this place was PACKED! I actually have a funny story about him for the “people” post but I loved watching him work. His class wasn’t really just talking, but was more about DOING. And digs to anyone using Canon instead of Nikon LoL! He had two models, and was shooting with different options available to photographers in low light reception situations. Pros and cons of different tools available, and how one situation can be so different from another and yet the same techniques will work. One thing I loved about him is that he also was very straight forward. And with a dry sense of humor – right up our alley, right? Unfortunately, I started feeling kind of sick towards the end, so I had to leave a little early. Tom stayed though, and we both enjoyed the class.
So out of the three, the first (Sal) was more business oriented, the second (Mike) was about shooting and lighting, and the third was about… well, dreaming.
Mary Marantz made me cry. Not just once, but at least four times. And I think – although he won’t admit it – that she made Tom cry too.
Justin & Mary Marantz had a platform class – and this one was super packed too. They were videotaping the class, I’m not entirely sure why, but if you have the chance to watch it, it is a MUST see! And it’s not just about photography. It’s about the WHY. Why do you do what you do? Are you doing what you love? I’m getting ahead of myself. First, and most importantly, THEY GAVE OUT PLAYDOUGH ON THE WAY IN. Personally handed it to us. And when I opened it and saw the stamp, I told Justin that it made me not want to play with it. He said he could restamp it, and I forgot to ask. PLAYDOUGH people – they GAVE ME A TOY. LOVE them! ;)
We got our playdough and sat down in the second row. And prepared to hear about dreaming. Simple enough, right? I was ready for this, I read their blog. Umm… no. I cried. And cried some more. And cried some more. Here are a few quotes that I tweeted throughout the presentation:
- No one is going to ever come and give you permission to chase your dreams
- What is your number, the number of people that will tell you no before you give in?
- What is one thing you can do to PLUS ONE an opportunity or shot you have?
- Tell a story that connects people.
- What if the world is waiting on you to shine?
Can you SEE the issue with wearing mascara to this class now?! That was the tip of the iceberg. She shared stories about her past, where she came from. Her grandmother. A cancer survivor that is now fighting for her life all over again. Just as we were finishing our sniffling from one story, she touched us again. And lemme tell ya… I’m a crier – so it was bad. But when I say bad, I mean bad for my mascara. Great for my heart, and my soul. The entire presentation was a reminder of why I do what I do, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
This class is the reason that I have one day this week set aside entirely to dream. To plan, to think big, and to not even THINK about the people who say I can’t do it. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people who say quite the opposite, but life is too precious to be satisfied with mediocre. There is a Bible verse that I came across recently that says the same thing: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
At the beginning of the class, Mary kept saying “This is the moment. The time is now.” I felt like she was shaking me and talking directly to me.
It’s funny, I feel like the three classes that I was able to take in the WPPI realm were directed specifically at me. Mary told me to dream big, believe I can do it… Sal told me to get off my ass and do something about it… and Mike told me and this is how you do one of the harder parts, LEARN it. I know they didn’t all plan that. Mary didn’t call Sal ahead of time and tell him “so I’m going to tell Brooke to dream, but you have to be the one to really tell her to get busy”… but it sure seemed that way. It’s funny how God uses other people in our lives, right?
I don’t know that any of them will read this – but if you do, Sal, Mike and Mary – thank you. Thank you so much for your message. It was received loud and clear, in my own way.