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to vegas and beyond :: travels and thoughts from wppi 2012

There are some events in the photography world that are just too big for words... and when those events are in Vegas, they are super too big for words.  Welcome to WPPI.

WPPI was the "someday" event for me.  I drooled when people talked about it, dreamed of sitting among the thousands of photographers that descended upon the desert every February, but actually attending?  It just wasn't in the cards. 

Until an email showed up in my inbox.  Only a few sentences long, but holding such an adventure for me.  I had won a free pass to WPPI.  After much freaking out, talking it over with Ronald, and freaking out some more, I started packing my bags.

I cannot possibly sum up this experience in anything short of a novel, but I am going to try in the pics and blurbs below.  Scroll through for all kinds of images and take-aways from the trip...

^^^ Sometimes getting lost pays off.  A wrong turn down a back staircase landed me smack in the middle of Tamara Lackey taping her Redefine show and the creativeLIVE crew watching and hanging out with Mark Wallace

And that Mark Wallace, nicest guy EVER!  Not even kidding.  I was a stammering mess, bumping into them, asking for a photo, and he was friendly and charming and refused to treat me like the starstruck newbie I was.  And then, he asked me come grab lunch with them!  Amazing.  It really is a testament for being nice.  I am now his biggest fan because he went a little out of his way to be friendly and approachable.

^^^ Grabbing a shot of Jeremy Cowart paparazzi style and meeting Jesh de Rox (eeek!). 

Me and my Florida girls, Erika Hopkins and Lexia Frank vvv

^^^ My awesome roommate, Hannah D, and I hanging at the Hard Rock with Erika and Jamie Y.

If there is one thing you will learn at WPPI, it is to be authentic and get out of your comfort zone.  The best and most successful photographers live out these words, and in almost every single class I went to, it was this idea that they preached.

As beautiful as it sounds in theory, it is not exactly a natural strong suit of mine.  So I spent the week trying to push myself, to get the most out of my WPPI experience, to meet people, make friends, and share ideas, to be authentic and me in everything I did.  It changed my life.  Seriously, changed. my. life.

^^^ That's right, Vegas flash mob.  I so ♥ photographers.

Ingrid Michaelson in concert!  She played a private concert for the event, and I snagged two tickets for me and the roomie!  I was a bit of a mastermind when it came to finagling free stuff in Vegas, so if you go to WPPI and need tips, come find me! vvv

Let's talk about some of the most inspirational and amazing people I have ever heard speak.  Even when I look at these photos, I am taken back to that moment, sitting in the crowd, listening to them talk about passion and business and how to bridge the two.

Above (^^^) is Me Ra Koh, and below (vvv) is Dane Sanders and Colleen Wainwright.  Definitely cried in all three of their sessions.  What I learned from all that good talking...

  • Take action.  Just freakin' do it.
  • Every dream can be broken down into a list of achievable goals.
  • Authenticity is everything!
  • Engage, create anticipation, and overdeliver.
  • Experience is everything!
  • Get control of your brain and see reality for the possibilities instead of a twisted list of can'ts.
  • Be amazing.
  • Be amazing.
  • Be amazing.

P.S. There is absolutely no way to sum up this trip into a simple blog post.  It changed my mindset, and it is changing my business.  I told you that 2012 is going to be my year, and if I ever start complaining that I was wrong, just remind me that I got to go on this adventure.

P.P.S. Questions about WPPI?  Wanna hang out and talk photography?  I'm here :)