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.
Last week I headed to New Orleans for a wedding with Morgan in tow to assist, and we got there a day early to settle in, which really translated to having a whole day to frolic around in the city. Morgan had never been to New Orleans and I’d been a few years back for the Sugar Bowl but hadn’t had much time to wander. My best friend Stacy lives in New Orleans and I could kick myself for not getting any shots of or with her while we were there, but I couldn’t convince her to take the rest of the day off for a big floppy hat photoshoot, so I’ll just have to go back. As with all of my travels and wedding trips this year it still feels so surreal, walking around New Orleans pretending it is somehow equivalent to Paris (hence the stripes, eating at a place called Cafe Amelie, the French Market, and shopping at French Connection). Morgan and I are so rarely the subject of photographs being photographers ourselves that we both understand the need for such vanities and also so desperately want someone to be our models when we are in someplace lovely. So, here are a lot of photos of Morgan, and if you visit her blog, you’ll find a lot of photos of me. Looking like the most stereotypical French wanna-bes ever. Much more wedding to come, and hopefully a lot more personal soon, but for now, enjoy the French Quarter with me.
I love that Cafe du Monde only serves coffee and beignets. It reminds me of Garrett reminiscing about how Dreamland used to only serve ribs, white bread, and Mountain Dew. I also love that beignets taste exactly like funnel cake only more of a big pouf of it, and equally if not more messy. Since we were there on a weekday (during Hurricane season which is probably not the busiest season for NOLA), a lot of the staff would just hang around talking with their paper hats, waiting for more tourists (I love the woman with the fan in the black and white shot a few up).
The one on the left (above) was shot through my sunhat, which I kind of want to take with me on all shoots to get that diffused light and texture.
I tried to get Morgan to buy her own hat but she wouldn’t, even though she looks adorable in this one. Also, I photographed every aqua and red thing I could find, since New Orleans is full of them, and they are my self proclaimed business colors.
This car on the side of the street covered in pin-up tattoo style graphics for Sailor Jerry’s rum was amazing. I’m planning to never ever even consider a tattoo, but if I did or if someone I knew was going to, I would definitely support a pin-up style (preferably by Kat Von D) above all else.
In November of last year I got an email from a girl who had recently moved here (to Birmingham, AL) from Salt Lake City, and was restarting her photography business from scratch in a new place, much like I started just a year before. I haven’t always had luck with other photographers I’ve met (which is true of anyone you meet really), and friendships are a huge emotional investment, a time commitment, and a risk. But after a few emails and our first lunch at Cafe de Paris, it was clear that we had a lot of the same goals and interests, and we’ve been lucky enough to find ways to work together since then!
Our biggest adventure began with the Hi-Fi Weddings Fest in Huntsville this January, which is where I took the following photos (you can see the images Morgan took of me here). Afterwards we decided to take on the project of a local wedding resource for Birmingham girls, called Bham Bride (near and dear to my heart as an internet addict who planned a wedding here just after moving from NC and finding that everything was much more offline and word of mouth).
I’m sure there will be much more to say in the future about Morgan, and mostly she’s an amazing friend and the only reason I didn’t kill myself over my open house last week. She’s very DIY crafty, loves the colors aqua and lime green (if you ever come across her or any of her possessions you will be made aware), she loves Kate Spade, and she has a sparkling personality. We live very similar lives but mine is a little less color coordinated. Our husbands have become friends and we’ve replaced our dreams of husband and wife photography teams with a girl friend team aspiration. I hope you enjoy these images, and if you haven’t checked her work out already, please do, she’s awesome, and I’m lucky to know her!