Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Blog has moved!

Hello blog readers! My blog has officially moved to

Please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds!

Woo hoo, off to the pretty new blog!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

WPPI: The Experience Part 4

Wednesday was crazy! I helped out at the Shootsac booth again and they had just received a new shipment of covers so the booth was seriously packed! Don't get in the way of photographers and Shootsac covers!

Las Vegas - WPPI - shootsac booth

Las Vegas - WPPI - ShootSac Booth
This is just a little snippet of what the ShootSac booth was like. Nuts! Plus, they were giving out some super chic tote bags with the damask pattern on it. That bag is so sweet, it fit all my carry on stuff into it, INCLUDING my messenger bag, since I could only have 2 carry-on items. LOVE the bag!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Jessica Claire

In the midst of the frenzy, I was able to get a quick shot with Jessica Claire before she had to dash off to her presentation "Top 10".

Las Vegas - WPPI - Becker

After getting that funny pic of [b]ecker with his pimp cup at the [b] party, I realized I didn't have one with [b]. So here it is. Check out Becker's blog and see if you can find my photo! Hint: it has the [b]-dazzled cup that Gene Higa made!

Las Vegas - WPPI - Christine Tremoulet

Here's one of Christine Tremoulet, fab boudoir and wedding photographer based in Houston, and fellow "Single Ladies" parody fan! She is also an editor for the Photo Love Cat Blog, a fantastic resource for the photography business!
Let me just say that I was totally slacking on the picture taking. There were so many people who I didn't get a picture with. Next year that will be a priority! How much was I slacking? I didn't even get a pic with my super fantastic WPPI roomie, Alyssa Lang!

Wednesday night I also went shooting (with a camera of course) with my friends, Lisa Whalen and fantastic lighting assistant/husband, Andy Mark. We hired the stunning model, Jessica, who was also at the [b] school Neon Graveyard shoot. I'm still processing those, so that shoot will get it's very own dedicated post!

Final recap coming next!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Year Ago Today...

I can't believe that we have been engaged for a year now. It was one year ago that Cent got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. And I said, "YES!" It's amazing that we've been through all this planning, preparations, and the big day will be here very soon. I can't believe that 12 months past so quickly. I thought that with 16 months to plan it would be plenty of time. I'm glad that I had all that time, but now time is ticking down! Happy Engaged-a-versary!

Save the Date
Photo by Travis Hoehne

Friday, February 27, 2009

WPPI: The Experience Part 3

Tuesday. How was Tuesday? Well, just as exciting as the first two days. Since this was my very first WPPI experience, most of my time was just spent absorbing everything, quite possibly through osmosis.

Tuesday morning, I somehow crawled out of bed, got ready, and looked mostly presentable for my photo shoot with Jeffrey Neal of JNP Studios. Jeff had put an announcement on the [b] school calling for anyone who was interested in doing a photo shoot. The first five to contact him would get some shooting time. Well, apparently I've got the trigger finger, and was the first to reply! I had a blast with Jeffrey, even bright and early after the [b] party!

Here's a little sneak peek Jeff sent to me:

JNP Studios Shoot

JNP Studios Shoot

JNP Studios Shoot

Afterwards, I volunteered to help at the Shootsac booth. Now I had only seen a Shootsac online until going to WPPI, where I had the full run down on the Shootsac and the brand new HipSlip. I met tons of photographers and answered their questions about the HipSlip. Who knew?! It also helped that I was standing right across from Keats Elliot the entire time, so in the event that I blanked on part of the spiel, I just had to listen to her, and I was covered.

Let me just say that while WPPI felt like going to school, it was ten times more fun and my day job just doesn't compare. While I had already heard Dane Sanders give his presentation "Photographer by Design" on his recent stop at the San Francisco PUG meeting, I wanted to see him present again. Dane is just the most genuine person who is truly interested in advancing the businesses of others. Well, Dane rocked it! He rocked it so hard that he was asked to give his talk again the next day! Dane also signed my copy of his book (I had forgotten to bring it with me in SF!).

Tuesday afternoon, my friend Elana had to take off. She had to return to reality. After a quick goodbye (I saw her later that weekend), I traipsed back up to the room to get some rest before the next party. While I'm definitely not the party animal anymore, I saw parties in Vegas as opportunities to meet new people. I've made so many "virtual" friends through the [b] school, OSP, Facebook, and Twitter, that it was great meeting these friends in person. Better!

Tuesday evening I ventured out to the Bellagio hotel for the Photo Lovecat Giveaway Gala. I hadn't had the chance to connect with anyone else who was headed that way, so I took a cab by myself. Actually not as bad as I thought. In the lobby I met two other photographers who looked a little lost, so I took a chance and asked if they were headed to the party. Yes! So we looked lost together until we found Caramel.

There I met Lara Casey, the FABULOUS Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings Magazine! I recently won second place in their Flippin for a Flip contest. It was great meeting her in person, finally!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Lara Casey

I met some cool Houston photographers including Akil Bennett and Joe Cogliandro. I also met Christine Tremoulet who I initially "met" through Twitter and connected over the awesome Justin Timberlake and Beyonce Single Ladies parody from SNL! If you haven't seen it, again, your life is incomplete. It STILL cracks me up!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Lara Casey, Christine Tremoulet

I met international photographer John Mateos Ong, all the way from the Philippines. We played "Rock, Paper, Scissors" aka Roshambo for one of the giveaways, and John ended up winning the prize! He went all the way! I ran into Ed and Monica Pingol from Vallejo, Bay Area represent!

Las Vegas - WPPI - Ed & Monica Pingol

I hung out with my San Diego Facebook and Twitter friends Melissa McClure, Jamie Lawler, and Charise Proctor. They are so fun! I ended up sharing a cab with them back to the MGM. However, they were staying at the Signature, and I was in the main hotel, so after we got out of the taxi, I had to hike back to the room. It wasn't that bad though!

Las Vegas - WPPI Melissa McClure & Jamie Lawler

Part 4 up next!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

WPPI: The Experience Part 2

Monday. Oh Monday.

I've come up with a couple of analogies for WPPI. #1, WPPI is like camp, with photographers as the campers, separated after a long season of shooting weddings, portraits, commercial, etc, and reunited during a week of nonstop fun. #2, the tradeshow is like the candy store, with some very, very, very expensive goodies.

Monday morning, I started out bright and early, dragging myself out of be at the early hour of 6:45, trying to get myself to look mostly presentable for David Jay and Ron Dawson's talk about video. I hustled out of the hotel room thinking I could stop by Starbucks for a "quick" bite and drink. Well, after the 1/3 mile trek through the casino, I quickly noticed that the line was like 5 miles long itself. So no coffee. Instead, pure adrenaline.

I found Studio B, which was luckily not all the way down the escalator, through the tunnel, and up the escalator, but merely a brisk walk past Starbucks. I checked my phone (aka my version of a watch) and noticed it was 8:02. Crap. I'm late. I crack open the door, phew, they haven't started. At first I take a seat towards the back of the room. But then I remembered some photographer somewhere online had suggested sitting towards the front of the room. So before the program started, I made my way through the labyrinth of chairs and plopped down.

Then I saw a very familiar back of a head. A "Star" couple, if you catch my drift. Yep, Jasmine Star and JD! Jasmine Star introduced DJ before the presentation began. I always enjoy listening to DJ ever since first seeing him at the Free to Succeed Tour last summer. He's sincere and honest and all around likeable guy. He talked about the benefits of using video in your marketing and leverage several really good points on how video can free up your time.

Ron Dawson presented practical tips for implementing video, qualities of a good promo video, suggesting and Vimeo for hosting, and using Facebook to do some free marketing for you! After the presentation, I went to meet Ron. I was honored to win a free Triple Scoop Music song from The Longest Day series. And if you don't know about F-Stop Beyond: The Experience, check it out now! Be inspired! He's recently relocated to Atlanta by way of the Silicon Valley and is launching his new business: Dare Dreamer Media, although you may just know him as the video guru extradordinaire!

Las Vegas - WPPI - Ron Dawson

After having a rushed brunch with my lovely friend Elana, (who was a major trooper, coming along for the Vegas ride), I hurried over to the Showit Suite up at the MGM Signature, which is another 5 mile hike. I ended up going up the wrong tower and looking totally confused. Luckily, I spotted some familiar WPPI badges and asked for directions. Finally finding the correct tower, Jason of the Showit Team, escorted me up to the correct suite.

It was so great meeting the Showit Team. I was able to see just how much they care about their customers' satisfaction as they do their product. They are constantly working on making it better, and it's by far the most intuitive and easiest website building program I've ever seen. And you can change it in just a few clicks. So awesome! We discussed the Showit Sites product, what we like, don't like, what we'd like to see, and it was so refreshing to see genuine interest in the customer's perspective. Thanks guys!

Las Vegas - WPPI - David Jay

JD is also a part of the Showit Team!
Las Vegas - WPPI - JD

Finally, I hit up the tradeshow. Talk about ginormous. Huge. Larger than life. The only trade show that I have been to is one for work...for Statistics. Not nearly as exciting as this Trade Show. This is the place to see and feel all the products you'd ever be interested in using. I don't think three days is enough to check everything out!

While on the tradeshow floor, Scarlett Lillian said "Hi!" to me, she beat me to the punch. Reason #1 to put a picture of yourself on the online forums and website and blogs and social media. Scarlett is a fabulous photographer out of Jacksonville, Florida. Look we match!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Scarlett Lillian

So when I said the Trade Show was huge, I wasn't kidding. It was held in TWO large ballrooms. TWO. I guess it's probably better that way in some respects. Imagine 8,000 to 10,000 people in one ballroom. Insanity. Two ballrooms gives a little more wiggle room. Well, while I was on the way to the other ballroom where the Canon and Nikon booths were, I ran into Jasmine* and I had to get a photo! With the prior night's swift run-in, I knew I couldn't leave Vegas without a little documentation!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Jasmine Star

For dinner, I met up with Araxi, Nicky of eight20, and Jen Berry at Sushi Roku at Caesar's. Later that night was the [b] party! And it was held at the Real World Las Vegas Suite at the Palms. I remember watching that season the Real World while in college, and I think that was the season where they really started to extra friendly with each other...if you know what I mean. Anyway, the party was a hit! Some [b] schoolers volunteered to take candid photos as well as work it in the Photobooth in one of the rooms. I met Jack Ratana, Chris & Allie Bartelski, Mike & Julie Colon, Cathy & David Bock, and many other [b] school friends! I snapped this pic of Becker with his crunk cup that Gene Higa bedazzled himself!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Becker & crunk cup

Last but not least, I got a quick shot with my San Francisco based photography heroes, Ann Hamilton, who specializes in fabulous dog portraits, and Gene Higa, who has has traveled the world shooting destination weddings.
Las Vegas - WPPI - Gene Higa & Ann Hamilton

I didn't stay out too late because I had a shoot with Jeffrey of JNP Studios the next morning!

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's my birthday and I'll eat cake if I want to.

First of all, social networking has totally revolutionized the birthday experience, if you put in your real birthday of course. I've never seen such an amazing outpouring of texts, tweets, and wall posts. Let me just take a second to say THANK YOU SO MUCH!

While I had to go to work today, thanks to the power of social networking, I was granted the afternoon off. How's that? Well, my manager's wife used to work at the same company and we are now friends on Facebook. She left me a wall post wishing me a "Happy Birthday" and hoping that I would have a great day and get to leave early. So I wrote her back, saying "Thanks!" and jokingly asked her to suggest to her other half of letting me leave early. I was totally kidding. Next thing I know, my wish is granted. Crazy, huh? What a great birthday gift from work!

In my usual fashion, I will be celebrating my birthday for not just one day or one week for that matter, but four weeks! Celebration number one was kicked off this past Friday with a little family gathering. We usually have "Family Night" where we get together every Friday and eat and chat and watch movies. Unfortunately half the family didn't make it due to illness. Never fear, we're going to have a re-do celebration this coming Friday! But my parents still bought me some Red Velvet Ice Cream Cake. If you don't know what Red Velvet cake is, your life is incomplete.

Don't mind me, I'm in my "Friday work-from-home-don't-have-to-look-cute" mode. Ha.
Fam night

Fam night

After (don't worry I finished it!):
Fam night

Saturday I had a fabulous dinner at Garcon in the Mission district of San Francisco. Truly French. But not stuffy as the moniker "French restaurant" suggests. Delicious food. If you are in the city and looking for a cozy French restaurant without any air of pretention, definitely hit up Garcon. We had a leisurely dinner and stayed until they were almost ready to kick us out...just kidding. You may have seen some of these faces on the blog before.

Birthday Dinner at Garcon

Birthday Dinner at Garcon

Birthday Dinner at Garcon

WPPI Recap resumes tomorrow! Thanks everyone for making my 26th birthday such a fun day!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

WPPI: The Experience Part 1

Oh man. I don't know that I've ever been this exhausted in my life. EVER. But it's the good kind of tired. My headed is totally swimming with information, vendor overload, and walking. A LOT of walking.

I think the coolest part of this experience has been meeting so many people. And the trippiest thing has been people recognizing me. ME. Like, "Who am I to get recognized?!" It's cool, but weird, but fun, but still tripping me out.

Sunday, Elana and I arrived at MGM and were ready to hang out Vegas style. We went to pick up my badge and it was like hiking three miles to the registration desk. We hit up the Margarita bar and indulged in $11 mango margaritas!

Las Vegas - WPPI

Las Vegas - WPPI

Then we tried to go to a party. A photographer party. In Vegas. What an experience.

We weren't sure how we were going to get there, so we got gussied up and went down to the taxi stand. On our way, we ran into Kenny Kim, who happened to be going to the same party with another group of people. I figured we might just share a couple of cabs, until Bob Davis swept through and led the pack towards a limo. An Expedition-size limo. So we followed. We figured the worse that could happen is that we'd be turned away. I had a game plan with the intention of saying I was with Kenny's group. Well, next thing we knew, we were boarding the limo. No way. True story.

Las Vegas - WPPI - the expedition limo!

We arrived at the GoBee Bag/Photography Mentor suite that was rented out in the Luxor and it was surreal. I remember thinking to myself, ready to pinch my arm, "Am I really here, doing this?" I am living out all the things that I thought I might do while in Vegas. There were a TON of people there. It reminded me of a college party. It was hot, sweaty, and loud. I recognized some faces as we tried to slither through the crowd towards the photobooth and danceroom.

While I would have liked to hang around for a little while longer, it was just too much. So instead, we headed down to the lobby to hang out with my UCSD homies, Daniel and Vaness Galang! Plus I met Jasmine Marie and her hubby, Adam.

Las Vegas - WPPI - Daniel & Vaness
Daniel and Vaness, cute as always!

While we were just chatting in the hallway, out strolls Jasmine Star and hubby JD. And she recognizes me by name, says "Hi, Catie!" and gives ME a hug! Holy moly. I'm Star Struck. Cliche? Sure. Do I mind? Heck no! It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling as she's one of my biggest photography inspirations. Definitely check out her blog, it'll change your life.

After parting ways with Daniel and Vaness and Jasmine and Adam, Elana and I ventured back to the MGM. We decided to walk. It wasn't that cold or that far, especially by Vegas standards. What a fun night!

Las Vegas - WPPI