Viva Las Vegas!

As some of you probably read on my Facebook page, I was in Vegas last week at the WPPI convention. WPPI stands for Wedding & Portrait Photographers International. This event is where professional photographers from all over the world gather, network and learn from the best in the industry. There’s also a trade show highlighting the best in photographic equipment and business solutions for photographers.

This was my first time to attend WPPI, so after jumping through hoops to get my kids taken care of while I was away for 5 days during the school week, I was determined to soak it up and get everything I could out of it! I was in seminars and at the trade show all day from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. so unfortunately there was very little time for sight seeing. I would have loved an entire day to go in all of the hotels and shoot away. Imagine that! Being at a photographers’ convention and actually having time to pick up my camera!

I packed workout clothes, books, magazines and had high hopes of living the dream (that one that a mom lives when she is away) of exercising without worrying that my kids are in the nursery too long, kicking my feet up at night in the bed and watching what I wanted to watch on tv and getting caught up on some reading. Ha! All that just ended up being extra suitcase weight that caused me to have to tote more carry-on so I didn’t have to pay the extra $50 cause my bag was over 50 lbs. Maybe one day I will listen to my hubby and learn to travel light! I did however, not spend one single day at Publix! That in and of itself is a vacation.

I titled this blog post Viva Las Vegas because I hope the inspiration from this experience will live long in my mind, in my emotions and come through in my images. I was inspired and challenged artistically by the presenters, while at the same time reminded to remain true to my own style which is not lots of props and setups, but rather lifestyle photographs of children on location or in their homes, capturing the connections they make and the stories that unfold within families.

Oh, I know that the changes to my business I want to implement cannot happen overnight. I know this because I came back from this convention still a full-time wife and mom, which are my most important jobs. As eager as I was to upload images from my trip and start working on an event I shot before I left; instead, I spent the day after I got home keeping my son home from preschool because I hadn’t seen him for a week and the days are quickly passing til next year when he will be in kindergarten every single day. I also spent it going to Bible Club at my daughter’s school and then taking her for group pictures in her jazz recital costume. That’s life and that’s how I want to live it. Those are the things that make my soul sing. I was encouraged to hear presenters, who are also moms struggling with juggling their work and being a mom too, sharing tips on how they handle their time management and workflow so we can all create our art, but live and love to the fullest while doing it.

One of the highlights of my trip was being able to hang out and go to dinner with other Birmingham photographers. Some were already friends and some I met for the first time, but felt as if I had known for years. There really is a lot of amazing talent in this great city of ours and that talent has great people behind it too!

Here are some of the few shots I was able to click off from the window of the plane and while walking to dinner…

The Hoover Dam taken with my iPhone through the airplane window
Night skyline with roller coaster on the roof of the buildings

I want to go back in the summer and stay at the Cosmopolitan Hotel just to lay around this rooftop pool!

I peeked in this casino area of the Cosmopolitan Hotel and when I saw all of the curves and angles I just had to shoot it.

Thought my kids would like to see this one.
I was captured by these Storm Troopers, but the force was with me and I made it to dinner! I showed this photo to my 4 year old and he thought I was super cool!
My favorite Vegas experience was watching the fountains at The Bellagio. I could have stayed for hours.

Nigel Barker from America's Next Top Model did a presentation at the Sony Fashion Show.

Nigel Barker talked us through shooting a runway fashion show...excuse the cheesy wedding gown, but this was typical Vegas.
Some of the best women photographers in the business held a panel discussion.
The view from the airplane window as I headed home

Speaking of the plane, I saw more iPads while traveling than I did laptops. And of all the iPads that were given away at WPPI, I still left iPad-less. I had high hopes of winning one, but it wasn’t in the cards. Better luck next time…

One thought on “Viva Las Vegas!

  1. Great story, Heather! Sounds like a fun and valuable trip. I bought an iPad when I was in B’ham with my Christmas money + some. Maybe I should have put it towards a camera gadget instead. I’ve enjoyed it though!

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