2 weeks ago I sat at the dinner table with my family stumbling over words. My dad looked at me and teased, “What’s wrong with you!?” “I’m too excited about ShowitUnited!” I stuttered. My sister looked at me and said, “You’d better tape your business card to your head so people know who you are, because by tomorrow you won’t even be able to talk at all.” lol!
Yes, I was that excited about going to WPPI and ShowitUnited! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the Wedding and Portrait Photographer’s International convention where over 16,000 photographers from around the world come together to learn and meet each other.
ShowitUnited was a sub conference of WPPI with about 300 people, but they bring in many of the same great speakers. It’s much more intimate and exactly what I needed to make friends!! Plus I’m part of the showit facebook group so I’ve gotten to know many of these amazing people online for the last year. It really felt like a reunion instead of a first meeting!
On to the photos!!
I’ve always loved flying and the sense of adventure in the airports!
On our flight the guy sitting in front of me was a very tough looking 20 something; earrings, hoodie, low waisted jeans, but terrified of flying! The poor guy pulled up his hood and gripped the seat with white knuckles, literally shaking. Once we were up he had a bit of liquid courage and seemed fine until we approached Vegas, then the hood came back up and the shaking started again. I felt bad for the guy! Personally I was enjoying myself!
Our flight was about 10 minutes late and by the time we ran through the huge airport we were 45 minutes behind schedule. The friend I had arranged to pick me up wasn’t at the pick up location and I started feeling really bad for making her wait so long. I tried to text her but my phone wasn’t finding her number (I was SURE I had it!), after a mini panic I finally found her number and called her. She was at the hotel waiting for me to call before she came to pick me up. By that time the Showit bus was at the airport picking people up so she suggested I take that instead. Whew! All that confusion but that’s what adventures are for right?! It makes life more interesting when you have to improvise.
We were met at the showit bus by Andrew – the amazing ginger headed showit crew member who is often on the daily showit live webcast. It was the weirdest thing to see him in person, in real life! Hugs all around welcomed us onto the bus. That’s how showiteers roll, hugs and smiles, welcoming and comfortable. It’s awesome!
My first view of the city outside the bus window:
Once we checked into the hotel room we literally had to speed walk across town to get to the Cosmopolitan hotel where the Wicked Spoon Buffet had set aside a room for the first official Showiteer Dinner (thanks Trevor Dayley for arranging it and putting your credit card on the line for us!). We were a little late but it was the perfect start to a fabulous week! Everyone visited with the people at their tables, then we each stood up to introduce ourselves. Trevor joked around teasing people.
We milled around hugging and laughing. “Oh you don’t look like your profile photo” or “You look JUST like your profile photo” were common words that night.
It was so fun to introduce yourself to someone and have them break out into a huge smile, say “Oh YES!!!!” and then get a big bear hug. I don’t think I’ve ever been around a group of people who were so welcoming to each other.
When the dinner ended at 9PM I rounded up a few people who wanted to do a quick grocery run since our rooms had mini kitchenettes. Josh Smith had a car so we all piled in and took a tour of the city as we drove to Whole Foods. Josh was an awesome tour guide since his dad used to live in Vegas! He knew all these cool facts about the city (did you know the light from the Luxor hotel in Vegas can be seen in space!) After our grocery run we drove right passed the famous Vegas sign so of course we stopped for a group photo. Thanks Josh for taking it (and stopping there for us tourists!).
Monday our classes started. We had great classes to choose from and the crazy part was that even though we got tickets some people were not showing up to their class, so I got to slip into a lot more than I signed up for. Each one was so interesting, motivating and inspiring. Seriously my head is so full of new information I’m still processing it.
But as much as I loved the info I REALLY LOVED the people! I was proud of myself for talking with photographers that I’d been following (ie: stalking) online for years! It was like a photographers Hollywood. I’d walk down the tunnel and there was Gerry Ghionis. Or Kenny Kim. Or Dawn Davis. or Tim King. I would strike up conversations and chat with each one. Everyone was incredibly easy to visit with! I came back loving them even more!
In the afternoon Zach Gray gave a coffee demonstration just for the fun of it (and because he’s a little obsessed with coffee – seriously). Totally enjoyed taking a break from the photography talk, and getting to visit with him for 20 minutes afterwards about his passion for coffee was so cool!!
Trevor Dayley was one of my “Targets” for the week. Seriously if you are a photographer you need to follow his work. Not only is his work killer, but his heart for his clients, wife, and 5 kids, has challenged my business thinking over and over. Love you Trevor!!
The photo below shows the mood of the whole week. All about relationships!
Jody Gray was so sweet and easy to approach! Must be the homeschooler connection. ; )
I’ve tried for half an hour to get the video to embed into the blog post – no luck. However you can click here to see it!! Thank you Chach for making the fantastic video for us!! It’s such a great memory!
I probably would’t have enjoyed Vegas as much if I didn’t have awesome friends and a reason to be there, but it was pretty spectacular place to look at architecture and glitz.The whole plane ride home I kept thinking about all the business ideas I’d like to improve on, and questions I needed to ask myself, and of course smiling over all the new friends I’d made! Seriously can’t wait until next year to hug everyone again!!
Whew, if you stayed with me for this whole blog post you either were there with me and want to relive it, or you deserve a prize. ; )
In short I could have written this whole post in three words: it was awesome!
Now to start saving up for next year!