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 Blip.tv 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!
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!
JD is also a part of the Showit Team!
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!
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!
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!
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.
I didn't stay out too late because I had a shoot with Jeffrey of JNP Studios the next morning!