It’s really hard to know what ORDER to do these posts in. So I’m just kind of choosing randomly. And again, I ask for your forgiveness for the horrible quality of my point and shoot LOL! I promise we took some amazing photos while in Las Vegas and I will be sharing them soon. The point and shoot photos are not the amazing ones though. ;)
I’ve talked about Showit before… actually several times. I started using Showit back in… umm I think 2009. Yes, September 2009. I think. Ha! I’m good at that, right? The truth is, that until I started using Showit, I was completely lost with web design. A few friends had tried to help me but I still wasn’t happy with my site. At the time, I was looking for a website solution. I saw Showit linked from Jasmine Star‘s blog, and I figured if it was good enough for her, I would like to try it too! And, at the time, that’s what it was for me – a website solution.
If I were to tell you this story and talk about Showit as it is NOW, instead of saying “I started using Showit” it would be something more like “I joined the Showiteers…”
Showit is so much more than a website solution. Yes, it’s fantastic. I’m designing my new website now, and that’s the awesome thing about it – I CAN DO IT MYSELF. I love designing. I realize that a lot of photographers don’t, but I do. I do not, however, love coding. I don’t want to write html, or work with Flash. I want to say hey, that looks awesome, and have it done. And that is what the software does. If you want to learn more about the web design software, let me know and I will talk with you more about it.
Because this post is about the community. AKA – The Showiteers.
So what the heck is a Showiteer? A person that uses Showit, really. But so much more than that. Right now, as I type this, there are 1,488 members in the Showiteer group. Probably about 100 that are truly active. Active, what the heck? Why would a person that uses a specific software need to be active in a group? Well, you don’t NEED to be. You GET to be. It is your PRIVILEGE to be. The Showiteer group is an amazing group of people, mainly photographers, that support, encourage, teach, and help each other. Why, do they get paid? No. They do it because of what I talked about yesterday – they do it to help, to love, and to serve others. You can ask any question in that group – even the stupidest question that you think everyone will laugh at – and it will be answered. You can get help with ANYTHING – from web design to what the heck is aperture to does my logo suck? The group is unbelievable, and is lead and piloted by Mr. David Jay. Yes, I have talked about him before. He is leading the way in changing the photography community from a backbiting, malicious, what’s in it for me type community into a service community of people who are willing to be your cheerleaders in following your dreams. And Showiteers are happily following, which results in a truly amazing group.
Sorry, long introduction, right? What does this have to do with WPPI? While in Las Vegas, in the Signature at MGM Grand, Showit had their OWN conference, called Showit United. Now, for anyone familiar with WPPI, you know that you pay a membership fee, and then you also pay to go to the conference. It works out to be a pretty good chunk of money. Yes, you get the platform classes for free. But if you’d like to take additional classes, you then pay another fee on top of that. So how much did Showit United cost? NOTHING. It was only open to Showiteers, and it cost them nothing to attend. And because some of the big names in photography are a part of this group, we had some pretty slick classes. Jasmine Star spoke to a crowd of (I think she said) 2,500 people in her platform class. Our group was 250. We all got to talk with her, and learn together.
Showit United wasn’t just about classes though. Yes, the classes were cool. They sold out in three minutes the day they went on sale! But Showit United, and really Showit in general, is more about relationships. It’s about building friendships that are filled with the meaty stuff – not just the glossed over, yeah your work is good kind of stuff. I’m sad to say that while I met a ton of Showiteers in Las Vegas, I feel like I didn’t really get a chance to spend a lot of time with most of them. My attention was divided and I was overwhelmed, and because of that I had too much to do in a short time. I’m now seeing photo shoots that took place among Showiteers and I’m amazed by what I see! Oh… and get this – Showit paid for a coach to pick up Showiteers at the airport and bring them to the hotel, between certain hours on the day that most people were arriving. The cost to the Showiteers? Nothing. Showit is constantly looking for ways to give back and support the people around them, and Showit United was all of that awesomeness concentrated into three days, and a few rooms!
The day we arrived, one of the Showiteers that drove to Vegas offered to pick us up at the airport. Again – he barely knew us, but because we are a part of this awesome group, we had an instant friend. Trevor Dayley picked us up at the airport (SO much appreciated, thank you Trevor!) and we were greeted by other Showiteers in the lobby. Umm hello welcome wagon! Tom went to his first class, and I got the room figured out. We relaxed for a few and got ready for our first Showit United event – the Welcome Dinner! It was orchestrated by Trevor and was at the Wicked Spoon buffet in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Let me just say this… on our last day in Vegas, everyone said that the Rio buffet was good, so we tried it. We should have known that when people told us that, they didn’t know that we had eaten at the Wicked Spoon twice so far, and the Rio was like eating McDonald’s when you’re used to prime rib. Literally. Dinner was FANTASTIC. But even better – was the chance to eat dinner with people that I’ve only seen online, and now, I was able to meet in person. Tom was a little overwhelmed, after all, he hadn’t been speaking with these people for a year. I was thrilled to be meeting all of the people that had sent me kind words over the year, or the people that I had helped and encouraged. It was again, awesomeness concentrated in one room in a hotel. The energy was incredible and on top of amazing food – what a great evening!
The other Showit United event that I had the chance to take part in was Jasmine Star’s keynote. Heck yeah! I was able to bless another Showiteer with a ticket too, because Tom wasn’t feeling great and wanted to sleep in. Again – what an amazing energy in that room! I will save the photos of me and Jasmine for the “people” post, but it was inspiring to hear her speak, and to meet her and actually talk to her.
Showit United was an event not to be missed. Several Showiteers didn’t even go to WPPI, they just did Showit United. I’m not sure what our plan is for next year in Vegas, but it might be that – Showit United instead of WPPI. Don’t get me wrong, I loved WPPI. But any pretentious attitudes, snooty remarks, and egos were left at the door for Showit United. They were everywhere in WPPI, and it just had a different vibe to it entirely. We will see what the future holds!
We are talking about a Showit cruise at the end of this year. That’s right, a cruise. Why? Because Showiteers enjoy each other’s company so much, and have made such strong friendships that they want to see each other again. How many professional organizations do you know that you can honestly say that about?