Happy happy Thursday!
I’m attempting, at the moment, to pretend like everything is fine. For anyone that is not friends with me on Facebook, you might not know the backstory. I had all four wisdom teeth pulled three weeks ago, and have had numerous problems since, resulting in having the skin reopened (read: sliced apart again) and bones scraped and all sorts of fun stuff. So I have been in a LOT of pain, and trying to deal with it and still do everything that I need to do. Because I’m so flippin’ healthy (Thank GOD!) 99.9% of the time, being down because of something like this is REALLY killing me. The pain meds make me loopy and nauseous, so I have to lie down. So my options are, be in crazy amounts of pain, or be out for the count. Neither of which is a good option! So at the moment, I’m trying to pretend like I’m not in pain and everything is fine. ;) Mind over matter right? At least that’s what I’m trying.
So I haven’t blogged yet this week. I guess in the grand scheme of things, I’m not THAT behind, but I really hate not blogging until Thursday. Maybe I need to cut myself a break, I dunno. Anywho, as promised, the final installment of the WPPI posts, and my favorite part of WPPI – the people. And again, the point and shoot strikes again, so my apologies for so-so photos. But, the best camera is the one that you HAVE ON YOU, right Chase? ;) And that is what I had on me. When you’re at WPPI, you have a TON to carry around with you because of all of the STUFF that everyone gives you. A camera was really the last thing that I wanted to carry around, so I settled for the little one.
I am a people person. On overload. I don’t just love people, I love hearing their stories. Learning what makes them tick. Learning about their backgrounds, their triumphs, their struggles, and everything in between. Being a photographer feeds this love, as I get to be a part of peoples’ lives for a small moment. I love to hear why my clients are taking photos, I want to hear the story. Sometimes there is a big huge story associated with it, and sometimes it’s just because they are feeling kind of crappy and want something to make them feel better. We all have crappy days, right?
Being at WPPI definitely fed my love for people. I met so many people that I have followed for years, which was a little surreal. I’ve blogged before about my celebrity excitement when it comes to certain photographers, but this time it was different. I wanted to meet them, and was excited to meet them… but it was, different. I will explain more after some photos. :)
I don’t know WHAT the heck was going on with this photo, it looks kind of psychadelic. The first day we were there, we couldn’t get into our room just yet, so we wandered over to the convention center to check in. We had no clue where we were going, and as we were wondering where to go, we ran into Bob & Dawn Davis. Disagreeing on which way to go – awesome, right? Dawn didn’t want to mess up her hair in the wind, I was totally with her, but Tom and Bob wanted to go the most direct way. Men vs. Women – it never ends, even with “celebrities!” We found our way to the convention center, and ran smack into Justin and Mary, how exciting, right? But here’s what’s funny… I was super excited about meeting them for the first time, even though it felt like I knew them – and then, it wasn’t a big deal. Not in a bad way, because meeting them was still a big deal, but we talked, like normal people. Like friends sitting around, just chatting. Not celebrities and fans, but just four regular people. And it was AWESOME!
These photos are going to be completely out of order for the sake of the story, so stay with me here.
That evening we had a dinner for Showit United, and ran into a couple in the elevator as my husband and I were discussing the legalities of taking a beer with us in the cab. The couple was laughing at us, and as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I should be offended. I guess it’s too late now. We are pretty comical sometimes, what can I say, we like to have fun. This couple happened to be Mike & Samantha from Samantha Smith Photography, and since we were all lost looking for the buffet for dinner, we enjoyed our time lost together. And then, there were shoes. SHOES. Not just SHOES, but HUGE SHOES. And Samantha and I needed a photo. I don’t know her other than knowing that she is gorgeous and seems really sweet, but we bonded over shoes and our need for a ridiculously silly photo in a gigantic shoe.
We headed over to the GraphiStudio booth the next day to see the Boudoir Divas. Again, a set of photographers that I have followed for years. When we were in San Diego a couple of years ago, I actually went to the studio to pick up a book. They were out of town though, so I didn’t get to meet them. This was the first time I’ve met them, and they were super sweet. And again, I was excited. And then not. Because it was normal, just three chicks talking. But of course, I wanted a photo!
We watched their talk at the booth, until we had to leave a little early to make it to another class.
We went to dinner for the second time at the Wicked Spoon with some amazing boudoir photographers, one of them is local to me, and the other is in Canada. This was definitely a favorite evening, it was laid back and no rush, just chatting with some awesome food! Lynn of Lynn Clark Photography, and Kim of Kim Mallory Studios are so sweet, and it was nice to have a laid back meal with them. Tom enjoyed chatting with Kim’s husband too, I think they got entirely too excited about stories of wild animals.
We didn’t get a chance to see Zach and Jody’s platform class, but we have seen them speak several times and have followed their courses on CreativeLive. When we were in the same area as their class, we stopped by for a photo with them too! I was shocked that Zach actually remembered me, maybe I don’t want to know why. The crazy lady from Denver, perhaps?
And then, the person that so many photographers go gaga over. Yes, she is pretty awesome. She is so sweet and laid back, and just REAL, and I love that about her. Her energy is palpable. We didn’t want to fight the crowds at her platform class, but I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the Showit United presentation, and man it was PACKED. Getting a photo with the beautiful Jasmine Star after her talk was no easy feat!
By the way, she is TEENY. I feel like Sasquatch when I’m around her, and the photos do nothing to make me feel better. For some reason, every photo I have with her makes me look really funky. ;)
And the last story… which actually happened on my first day there, but allow me to explain why it’s last. First, the story.
The first day we were there, we hung out in the lobby of the hotel a LOT. We weren’t allowed to go into our room yet, and we weren’t the only ones in that boat, so we hung out in the lobby, chatting with other Showiteers and photographers that were also waiting. Kaden was playing his basketball championship game that day, and my mother was texting me score updates. What she failed to include though, was which team had which score. So every time my phone would go off, everyone around me would ask “what’s the score?” and I would tell them – but WE NEVER KNEW WHO WAS WINNING. It was maddening, and we all laughed every time the phone went off. When the final text came in that Kaden had won the championship game, I jumped up and yelled “hey everyone, my son just won the basketball championship!!” There were cheers, Tom hugged me, we were all celebrating. There was a guy sitting on one of the couches, that started asking me about it. We talked about kids, how old is your son, does he play other sports, oh I have kids too… basically a conversation that had nothing whatsoever to do with photography. Just life. Kids, family, and everyday life. As the conversation was ending, I looked at him, thinking that he looked strangely familiar to me, and said “I’m so sorry, I didn’t catch your name.” He responded with “I’m Mike Colon.”
I. COULDN’T. TALK.
I felt like such a dumbass. Seriously, I’ve been talking to Mike Colon, with no idea who he was, and then he tells me his name and all of the sudden I can’t put two coherent words together. WHAT THE HECK. He looked at me kind of funny, I think he was wondering if I was okay, and I managed to pull myself together enough to somewhat finish the conversation. He was off to do a desert shoot, so we said our goodbyes, but I had to get a photo first. Of course – would you expect anything less?
So why was this encounter such a crazy one for me? I have admired Mike’s work and watched what he publishes for awhile. I don’t know him, I don’t know near as much about him as I do Justin and Mary, or Zach and Jody. But even now, writing this, this experience knocks me over.
WE TALKED LIKE TWO NORMAL PEOPLE.
Some of you might be like, yeah, so? You are two people. I think that sometimes in the photography industry we get so wrapped up in what everyone else is doing that we forget that we are all just human beings. Some people work harder than others, some people are more likable than others, some have reached photographer celebrity status, but in the end we are all just people. And here I was, talking to an amazing photographer about a subject dear to my heart – my son – while he did the same.
This experience, and the others above, really changed my viewpoint on my business. If you have never been to WPPI, I highly recommend going. Don’t get wrapped up in the must do things, the should do things, blah blah blah. Meet people. Talk to people. Really take an interest in people, GENUINELY. There is a quote from Dale Carnegie that I love:
You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you. – Dale Carnegie
My experiences with these “celebrities” aren’t going to close any business for me. Mike Colon isn’t going to start hiring me for destination weddings – he’s a busy man and has a ton to do. But for five minutes, we talked as equals about our lives. Our families, our loves. I was genuinely interested in what he had to say – not because of what he could do for me, or what I would get out of it, but because I was having a conversation with another parent about those little terrors that hold our hearts.
Now please don’t jump on me, saying that OF COURSE IT WOULD BE EXCITING TO MEET THESE PEOPLE. I’m not saying that it wasn’t exciting. I wanted to meet them, I wanted the photos with them, I was definitely starstruck. But this experience definitely changed my perspective on that. I’m not saying that in the future I won’t want to talk with them again, or take photos with them, but it’s just different. It’s still exiting, it’s still cool to meet people you admire, but you don’t have to be a celebrity to be successful. Could you be the next Jasmine Star? Sure, it’s possible. But not probable. She is herself, she is unique. Be YOURself. Be unique. Work your ass off. And be genuine. Care about people. These “celebrities” are just people, like you and I. When I realized that, I realized the possibilities in front of me. The very REAL, very ATTAINABLE things that I could accomplish.
Stop worrying about everyone else, do what you need to do to have your own version of success, and work your ass off. Love people and serve along the way, and you will likely get there.