Birmingham, AL wedding & portrait photographer Kelly Cummings

WPPI 2012 :: Airplanes and Blazers 2 and lots of sleeping

Smilebooth, Jesh de Rox, Morgan photo-ing.

I love WPPI more than French Connection dresses. But this year I didn’t have to choose (while we were in Vegas we stumbled upon a 50% off sale items and I nabbed 2 dresses for $80 total).

Last year was my first year going to the convention, which takes place in Vegas every year (you might remember that I JUST blogged about it like last week?). Even before I went last year my excitement centered around Airplanes and Blazers, the follow up to 2010’s hippest party, Airhorns and Lasers, which I only lived through the blogposts and photos of the lucky ones who were cool enough to attend. Last year I bought my ticket as soon as I found out they were on sale and took a bus to the party by myself, with full confidence that even alone this would be the best thing ever (excluding getting married, that goes without saying). I’d met Angie & Matt Sloan the May before when they had come to Birmingham for my friend Joanna’s wedding (but I didn’t know good ol’ Jojo back then).  I ran into them at the party and as luck would have it they introduced me to their awesome friends who I’d also admired, the legendary Southern California crew.

Fast forward to 2012 (the best and last year of the world, if those Mayans are right), and I convinced Morgan Trinker to join me. Okay I think it didn’t take any convincing, it was more of a “We’re going this year” with nods and quick plane ticket purchasing. It’s all a blur. Morgan had been in 2010 but hadn’t been to Airhorns and Lasers, and so several weeks before we talked about the party and shopping and how we needed fancy party purses with long chains (my chain broke off within like 10 minutes and I couldn’t dance with it hitting my hip anyway). I bought 2 sequined dresses since Arden B had a buy one get one for a dollar sale and Morgan refused to pick one so that we could split the cost, so I win X2, and Morgan found a really cute colorful skirt at Forever 21 and then some dangerously high colorblocked heels. [We spent an hour before the party discussing walking strategy (barefoot through the casino and then heels outside? flats to walk there and carry our heels to put on for our entrance?), before I insisted we just take a cab for the .6 mile distance between our room at MGM and the Planet Hollywood where the party was.]

We arrived to Vegas Sunday night and ate at Diego in the MGM (and got to see my lovely friend Camille who I had the pleasure of 2nding for last September!), and slept up for Monday, On Monday we registered and hit up the trade show (I had strategically plotted out what booths to hit and it seems like the whole thing only took 30 minutes). I resisted going to the Nikon booth and touching the D800 or the D4, which was probably wise, but we did say hello to The Image is Found (Nate and Jaclyn) at the VSCO booth, saw Jill DeVries and Amanda Van Vels, and happen to sit in on Jesh De Rox’s Beloved demonstration (which we volunteered to be kids for, not a huge stretch for girls who are barely 5 feet tall and shop at GAP kids on occasion).

Jesh making everyone laugh and cry with his genuine emotion evoking techniques (amazing).

Instagram fun on the way to the Miracle Mile Mall which felt like a Miracle Marathon by the time we got there.

Morgan before Jesh’s demonstration, Jose Villa prints from his platform class, our feet.

After Jose Villa’s platform class we spent oh, I don’t know, 2 hours getting ready? Thank you 5 hour energy and Morgan’s MAC eyeshadow and $1 hairspray. No thank you to the cheap pantyhose that ended up making me look jaundiced and thus rendering my legs bare. Airplanes & Blazers 2 was mod 60s themed and my true feelings are that sequins are right for every decade. And that sheer dresses require a lot more underwear preparation. And the use of Smilebooth pins as safety pins.

At the party we met up with fellow Bham lovelies Breanna Fogg and Amy Carson (okay, watchers of Chuck, doesn’t Breanna look like Ellie? Morgan thinks she looks like Robin from How I met your mother but since I haven’t seen it I can’t yay or nay it)

End of the night, cool people, Nate & Jaclyn, and Matt Sloan

I’m assuming this gem of a face is in response to being kicked out at 2:30 or so in the morning…

The next day was useless. We skipped our classes, ate a few meals, and gave in and went to bed early so that we could actually be awake for Justin & Mary’s talk on Wednesday.

Okay we did go get frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. That redeemed the day.

On Wednesday morning we were Parisian and ate breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi. Eggs Benedict. Intelligensia coffee. Heated patio seating.

At Justin & Mary’s talk (phenomenal, feel good and tears, no more excuses, you are worth big dreams kind of class) my business card won me some V chocolates (Garrett is now obsessed, I let him have 2). I took so many notes and left feeling so good about being even better for my clients. YES! The far right is a collection of souvenirs, a mix cd that I found after Airplanes & Blazers (The Flashdance is amazing), Smilebooth pin, wristband from the party, and a photo with Birmingham beauty Melissa from Open Air Photobooths. (My speak no evil looks like I’m trying not to vomit sunshine, I love it).

And we said goodbye to Vegas on Thursday, happily, because like a really great religious high, nothing the rest of the week could live up to dancing and singing to the best music ever with thousands of other people for whom this is their wedding reception opportunity. Leaving my camera and checking my bag and shaking it to ” but you say he’s just a friend” and “California knows how to party.”

So, until next year. If you’re considering going for the first time I’d be glad to talk you into it. Your first year is so much different, it’s overwhelming to see so many booths and companies and famous photographers all in one place. You go to as many classes as you can and you learn so much and you might even burn out. For me the second year was this much needed boost, with a lot less focus on being a sponge and more focus on the people (and instagram). Connecting to someone. And dancing.

Thanks to Airplanes and Blazers, WPPI, Smilebooth (for the party pics), Las Vegas, The Flashdance, Ken from Renaissance Albums (for being the most fun vendor ever), Angie & Matt Sloan, Amelia & Justin Lyon (I’m going to these 4’s workshop next month!!!), Justin and Mary, Jesh de Rox, new friends, old friends, sequins and dresses and coffee and pizza and pain au chocolat…

Oh, and check out Morgan’s recap here.


6 responses

  1. Looks like you had a great time! Glad I got to meet you guys, hope we can hang next year 🙂

    February 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm

  2. Wow! It looks like you guys had a great time! I’ll be going for my first time next year (it WILL happen) along with another first-timer (strength in numbers). Thanks for a great recap!

    February 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm

  3. you girls are cuties! glad i got to meet ya 😉

    February 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm

  4. you were seriously rockin’ that sequin dress, girl.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

  5. I’m so glad I look high as a kite in at least half of these photos.

    But if being high is similar to not sleeping, then I guess I sorta was….

    March 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm

  6. 1 – You and Morgan are adorable + so fun! I love these photos you took. ❤
    2 – I really should have taken a snapshot of the two of you during Jesh's tradeshow demo! Sad, now, that I didn't.
    3 – We definitely have to meet up next year for A&B. Most awesome photog party EVER! =)

    PS – I definitely thought I left a comment on this post – but apparently I just never hit send when I first read it (eek!).

    March 2, 2012 at 9:04 am

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