20 February 2012

WPPI and Some New Directions

"When you’re finished changing, you’re finished." 
- Benjamin Franklin

Model, Viki Vegas
This past week has been the start of WPPI, (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International). Its quite a big event and is being held at the MGM Convention Center. In spite of my current condition, I decided I'd attend WPPI University, or WPPI U at the MGM Grand Convention Center here in Vegas. It was 2 days of workshops, seminars, and lectures dealing with photography and its related issues. Some of it was motivational and some instructional, but we had the benefit of 13 speakers who are leaders in their trade come talk to about 400 attendees. I think without a doubt, Joe Buissink was my favorite. He was informative and inspiring, as well as a great speaker. Sue Bryce was also a talented host and speaker. The thing that seemed to be a common denominator between several of these speakers is the notion that they came from nothing special and built themselves into million-dollar studios. They all faced challenges and had to overcome obstacles, but they weren't given any advantages that made them any more special than the rest of us. So if there was any one message that I think they were trying to say collectively is that if they can do it the rest of us can too.

Model, Wonderhussy

My challenges were just in the attending. I decided at the last minute to be there after I read about some of the course schedules. My main focus was on day two, where a few speakers were discussing some of the business aspects of photography which is my main focus right now. Just getting from my car to the convention center was my biggest challenge. Then I realized I had to depend on the kindness of strangers to help me just get a simple cup of water back to may seat. I met a few people who sat around me that proved helpful as well as good company. The bathroom wasn't that near when you're on crutches. I woke up this morning with sore palms from carrying my weight so much on the handles of the crutches. Day two was incredibly exhausting. It was 12 hours of class time and when I got home, I was beat. I got to bed about 1am and woke up around 5am. But somewhere right before I was getting ready to make myself some waffles, I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew my phone was ringing and it woke me up around 3 in the afternoon! I have no idea how I got back in bed, nor do I recall even falling asleep. I was due back up at WPPI that afternoon to meet with some of my NILMDTS cohorts at 2pm. I totally missed it.

Model, Wonderhussy
Taxes and accounting best practices, branding, back-up protection, etc., are some of the WPPI U topics I had an interested in. I have a MBA. I know management, marketing. I can do a lot of this on my own. But WANTING to do it is something else. I hate taxes and record-keeping. I don't want to concern myself with branding. I'd much rather have someone else do that for me. I've been rereading and reevaluating my business plan to see what has changed. Several aspects of my focus is indeed going in a different direction. My initial back-up solution is going to be different from what I initially outlined. The website will be changed and eventually another blog will be put in place. While Photo Anthems will be the primary domain name, I've recently registered some more. I picked up a speaker Craig Heidermann's Legal and Business Forms for Wedding and Portrait Photographers. He's has two careers as a full time attorney and a full-time photographer. I want to review all my current contracts after he pointed out a few things I hadn't considered in my own.

Model, Brittany V
Julieanne Kost, from Adobe, has got to be one of the most entertaining lecturers on nerd-related topics. She's a Photoshop wizard/guru/freak/nut. I'm telling you this woman can work layers like nobody's business. Check out her blog and get educated. She did a presentation on Adobe Lightroom and I now believe I'll start using it. She outlined some benefits I think I can actually use whereas before, I couldn't see how I was missing anything by using Bridge. All the other speakers where motivational or dealt with lighting and posing techniques. While informative, it wasn't where my interests currently lie. Some of the advice they gave I had to totally dismiss because it just wasn't my style. I identified most with Joe Buissink because his shooting style was closer to my own. Some of the people sitting next to me where surprised by his approach to photography while I just smiled, feeling validated to some degree.

The rest of this year is going to be way different from anything I had initially imagined last year. My goals have changed and my priorities have altered. I just need to heal so I can get started on it all.

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