wppi 2012 {year one in review!}

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."
-- Bill Cosby

I was secretly terrified.

From the moment I booked my ticket to WPPI, I became this really weird mixture of terror and nerves and excitement and a whole bunch of other feelings that I don't even think have names.

I think the part that scared me the most, is that I knew I'd never be the same. I've read countless posts from other photographers about their first experience at WPPI, and every single one of them came home changed. Or rather...inspired.

{ Day One }

It was an absolutely wonderful travel day, from the moment Beans dropped me off at the airport, to my layover in Detroit, Memphis, my shuttle from the airport, and the elevator ride up to the 13th floor of the MGM Grand.

Oh, and if you've ever wondered what a chocolate chip muffin looks like after a flight to Detroit, you need not wonder any longer:

After I got to my room, I chucked my clothes in a cupboard, slipped on my TOMS and set out for the strip. Looking back, I took the STUPIDEST way of getting there and it took me like 20 minutes. I was absolutely in awe of the street. The people. The lights...I mean, Vegas is everywhere...TV shows, movies, advertisements, everywhere...but it doesn't prepare you for actually seeing it in person.

One other thing to note, I was walking around in capris, flip flops, and a tank top. Guaranteed everyone knew I just flew in from Canada.

I decided to keep a journal of my trip, all the way from the Ottawa airport, to the classes at WPPI, back home to Ottawa. I wanted to highlight a couple things that I wrote down for each day, so...

Notes from Day One:

I'm so glad I became the kind of person who reads,
and just in time for this trip.

Why was I afraid of travelling alone? I'm a traveller...I'm intuitive...
and airport staff are probably used to dealing with the most idiotic people...

I'm straight up sitting beside Crocodile Dundee right now.

{ Day Two }

The next morning, I ventured out at 6am with my camera and took a bunch of photos, weaving in and out of all the major hotels as I went. Cosmopolitan, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, Bally's...it was really beautiful. The Cosmopolitan was by far my favourite casino.

I also purchased a ticket for Absinthe at Caesar's Palace and made my way over there for 9:00pm to line up for the show. I figured I should at least see ONE show while in Vegas, and I was pleased that I could get tickets for a really good deal.

The show was very Cirque du Soleil meets Moulin Rouge meets Borat. Well...the Borat part was just because the host was a dead ringer for him. If you're heading to Las Vegas anytime soon, I would SERIOUSLY reccommend this one, it's a gem.
Notes from Day Two:

The sunrise out on the mountains is stunning, I can't wait to get outside and start taking photos!

Okay...the 6am crowd on the Vegas Strip is a bunch of weirdos. Legit.

I've gone in and out of maybe 9 different exits of the MGM Grand...
how is that even possible?

{ Day Three }

I think I'm officially on Las Vegas time now, because I went to bed around midnight and got up at 8:30am, which is pretty darn close to my Ottawa schedule :)

I got myself registered at WPPI and attended something they call the print competition. It's kindof a weird concept, but basically a panel of pretty VIP photographers sit down at a table, and score each photo entry on a scale from 60-100. Sometimes they are asked to discuss why they picked the score they picked, and what that photographer could do better.

But here's the best part, I met a fellow Showiteer by the name of Isaiah Haynes (gotta love that he was on the Showiteer facebook group on his iPad and that's how I knew!), and we chattered to each other about the show, and grabbed some lunch afterwards.

In the evening, my roomie, Jessica Brown, arrived! After a long trip into Vegas, I wasn't surprised when she decided to stick around in the room, and that worked out perfectly for me :)

Notes from Day Three:

I am really excited to eat something that you can't buy in a Walgreens.

I couldn't have said it better than Isaiah:
"This feels like a pro golf tournament...all I hear is whispers then clapping."

I talked to Beans today! He was surprised to hear from me.
I really miss him.

I've been in Vegas for 50-something hours now, and I'm still stone. cold. sober. Something is wrong with this picture.

{ Day Four }

For some reason, I'm having a hard time changing any of my clocks to Vegas time...I feel like looking at my iPhone and seeing the Ottawa time is keeping me in touch with back home (if that makes any sense...) but I forgot about that when I set my alarm for 7:00am.

I had a really nice treat of being woken up at 4:00am Vegas time, but was pretty excited when I realized that I got to sleep for another 3 hours :)

I went for a lovely pancake breakfast with Sarah Bardo and headed up to the conference center to wait in line for Zach and Jody's class, "Engage with the Engaged." The class was....AMAZING. I learned a ton and was so happy to find out that the class was mainly about how to take care of your wedding clients, and lay out the red carpet for them at EVERY opportunity.

I made some amazing friends while waiting for the class to start, and Shayna snapped a pic of me with Zach himself :)

After class, I went back to the room and got ready to meet some amazing people for a workshop that I signed up for with Jacilyn M

We had the most BEAUTIFUL suite at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, up on the 50th floor; it felt so VIP for our little group of eight. One of my favourite parts of the workshop was the photoshoot with models Sam and Reid (because really...they are out of control adorable).

Here's the teeniest teaser (& I mean it when I say there are lots more where that came from!):

After the workshop, we ventured down to a buffet in the Cosmopolitan called the Wicked Spoon and got to meet all of the other Showit photographers who were in Las Vegas for the week. I left that dinner knowing soooo many amazing photographers.

Notes from Day Four:

I have been in Vegas for 60-something hours now and I've been stone cold sober the entire time. Something is weird about this picture...

Right now I'm overwhelmed. But I'm sure it will go away soon.

If I could have 3 things right now, they would be:
more classes.
to cuddle with Beans.

{ Day Five }

Another early morning class! I went to see Sarah Petty speak about business and marketing, and although her methods of selling only prints and canvases doesn't mesh well with me at all, I definitely picked up a few valuable things along the way.

After class, I stopped by the trade show and picked up a Shootsac for myself! It was my only real purchase in Vegas, other than a very fabulous pair of running shoes at the Addidas outlet.

I attended the kick-off to the first ever Showit United conference, and saw David Jay (the man behind the magic at Showit) do an amazing speech called "Unique. United. Free."

The best part of my day was sitting in Jasmine Star's platform class. I had a serious moment where I realized that I was in the same room with my photographic idol. She spoke all about "lips and clicks" and how to get the RIGHT kind of people talking about you and your business in the RIGHT kind of way. Super, super informative and I was SO happy to have been there to hear her speak.

Monday night was the infamous (to photographers lol, I keep forgetting we live in a different world over here) party, Airplanes & Blazers. A group of 12 or 13 of us ended up hopping in a stretch limo for the trip from the MGM Grand to Planet Hollywood.

It was kinda cool to party like a rockstar in Vegas, I must admit.

Notes from Day Five:

The only TV that's on in Vegas is 16 & Pregnant and Khloe & Lamar.


Maybe I'll wait until tomorrow morning to talk about my night.
Seeing as how I just stole french fries off a room service cart
on my way home from the party.

{ Day Six }

I woke up the next morning bright and early, and made my way to the convention center for Jim Garner's class. It kindof made me a little bit angry at one point when he started talking about how emotional imagery is made using fake skies and exaggerated photoshop...but hey, that's just not my style.

Cut to...my favourite part of day six: THE PHOTOSHOOT!!!!

My roommate happens to be a fabulous photographer in Alabama, and her business goes by the name of MOONbelle Photography. I am so lucky to have her pointing the camera at me for awhile :)

Here's a sneak peak, more coming on this in a bit!

Anyway, back to the subject of classes, I much preferred Jessica Claire's class called "REFOCUS: The Business of Change and How to Keep Up." She talked about how to embrace new technology, and make sure your business is on the cutting edge, rather than chasing behind the trends. It's times like this that I'm glad to be doing this so young, when it's still super easy to adapt to everything new.

Later that night, Jessica and I went back out to the strip to do some sight-seeing on our last night:

Obviously we tried on every ridiculous hat at the souvenir shop...

I was trying to explain to Beans that the streets of Las Vegas are very R-rated...the only way I could think of it was by taking a photo:

My fave part of these photos...neither of us gambled a cent for the whole trip :)

Notes from Day Six:

I've been star struck by too many people today, it's exhausting.

Somehow I think the WPPI classes where I DON'T agree
with the speaker are more informative. Before today I didn't know
I held such strong opinions on these things.

I'm excited to get my Cupid Shuffle on.
{ Day Seven }

Aww...the last day.

When I woke up I couldn't believe I was already packing up to go home. But at the same time, I was super excited to see Beans, and Dash, and get home to Nutgrove Avenue ♥

BUT, before all that, I had the most amazing experience ever. It involved a little bit of role play, a really good mash-up, and at least 100 cameras and a crowd of people cheering.

We called it: The Showiteer Flash Mob.

(There are a couple pics and videos circulating, but I'm waiting to see the official video, so I'll throw that on the blog when it surfaces!)

It was honestly one of my favourite experiences of the trip!! Definitely a bucket list item that got checked off :) It was the most wonderful way to end the week, and I couldn't stop smiling for at least a couple hours after it.

The trip home was pretty quick, pretty uneventful, and it really was amazing to get home and crash into bed. I slept for 14 hours and it hardly felt like enough.

Bottom line...

It was everything I thought it would be, and more. I came home a different person, and I really do believe a better photographer. I made a ton of friends who are so dear to my heart, and we are already counting down the days until we see each other next year ♥

So peace WPPI, you rocked my world.


  1. Love this post! The casino shots cracked me up!!!

  2. hahaha...yeah we had a good time pretending we were winners, people around us even stopped to see what was going on ;)

  3. Love everything about this! Especially your morning shots of Vegas and your perspective. I go to Vegas so often that it hardly seems pretty to me. by looking at your photos I actually want to go back...and also, i have been one of the people out at 6 a.m. in full clubbing attire...whether or not my heels were on at that point is a secret i'll keep till my grave. So glad you had a great trip and i'm so excited for how this has inspired you

  4. Hahahaha SO FUNNY!! I love the shots of us at A&B- hilarious! I'm so glad we got to hang out and next time I will definitely not be standing you up for lunch! In fact- we should room together! hahaha

  5. LOL those A&B pics kill me. PS I'm holding that lunch date slash roomie thing to ya!! :)


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