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.
This Sunday Morgan and I are heading out to Las Vegas for WPPI, which is basically a huge networking party for wedding and portrait photographers. Whoever decided to designate Las Vegas as the convention capital of the world was genius. Last year was my first trip out and like the terrible blogger I am I am just now posting the photos. But that’s just a testament to how awesome last year was, I was so starstruck and excited that I couldn’t have been bothered with blogging about it.
Last year I went with fellow Birmingham wedding photographer Emily Kicklighter and every part of the trip was exciting. From hotel room photo shoots to meeting a leather clothing designer to parties to meeting the faces of Leather Craftsmen (Hi David and Howard!), hearing Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina speak and almost missing our return flight because we’d forgotten to gamble during the whole trip and the hotel had slots…it was so inspiring and fun. Emily has been such an awesome mentor and friend to me in Birmingham and I know I wouldn’t have had half as much fun without her there! (And if she’s reading this she should book a ticket to Vegas stat.)
One of our first nights there we happened to pop in for the Sony fashion show and Nigel Barker was hosting! If you follow my blog at all you know that I am obsessed with the novelty of fame. As a child I cherished my Greg Fishel and Muddy the Mudcat autographs (our local weatherman on WRAL and our local minor league baseball team’s mascot). I get excited when I see Frank Stitt at one of his restaurants in Birmingham and once in Chapel Hill I squealed when I saw Mama Dip at Mama Dip’s. Imagine if I lived somewhere like Nashville or Hollywood where real famous people live.
Bobbi and Mike.
Emily modeling one of Kippy’s leather coats. While we were looking at the coats the designer, Kippy, came over and made us try them on! I would post a photo of me in the one with the orange fur collar but I can’t let you convince me I need it so I won’t. But I do need it. And how amazing that the designer was in town?
At the tradeshow The Boudoir Divas had a studio lighting and backdrop set-up you could try out. I’m pretty sure I asked this girl what celebrity she looked like and then decided on Natalie Portman (if you want to debate me you can look at the rest of my photos from WPPI on my proofing site and weigh in).
Pinhole Pro, The professional side of Pinhole Press, was one of my favorite booths just because it’s so important to see products in person and this company offers products to consumers with incentives for photographers. Guestbooks, softcover books, notepads, calendars… The paper feels good. The design is clean. This is what I recommend to clients that want to order their own goodies. I have two Pinhole Press sample albums in my office right now. True fact.
Emily and I both volunteered to model during New York photographer’s Jason Groupp’s lighting seminar.
After feeling inspired my shoes needed a photoshoot.
Arkansas photographers Matt and Meghan aka Aus10 Photoartists after a dinner hangout with Nate and Becka Robinson and their friend’s with PadProof.
Emily spotted Becker the day after we heard him speak and asked if he was doing photographer headshots (something he’d mentioned during his talk), and Emily coaxed him into using my camera to snap a few headshots. He quickly switched to party mode and we ended up with at least a hundred rapid fire shots. Bringing someone extroverted who is not afraid to ask the biggest photographers to take your photo is helpful really.
And what I’m most looking forward to this year… Airplanes and Blazers. If this event was the only event at WPPI I’d still try to justify going. Ever since stalking photos from the Airhorns and Lasers party in 2010 I’d wanted to go and it was so much fun that I stayed until we were pretty much kicked out of the party!
So psyched to call these folks dance partners, Nate and Becka Robinson, Angie and Matt Sloan, Mark of Mark Brooke Photographers, and Ken Liu from Renaissance Albums!
And a little bit of Bham representing. Brandon and Stacey Gresham and Steven DeVries showed up too.
In light of all of the memes about what I really do, remember that this is only my glamorous life for three days of the year. If you’re going (most especially to the Airplanes and Blazers 2 party!) let me know! And if you’re considering going next year I’d be happy to convince you…