Wow. What a whirlwind week at WPPI!
I am happy to report that my Master Class on branding was a fantastic success. 40 enthusiastic wedding, portrait and pet photographers contributed to a lively and fun session on branding. I wasn't sure that I'd be able to fill 2 hours of talking, but I think we could have continued for a few more!
I've already received some fantastic feedback from student Dana Pugh in Calgary: "Thank you so much for your concise and well thought out presentation. It was the best of the master classes I attended. Worth every single penny and thensome. I now feel that I have the tools to take my branding to the next level."
Congratulations to student Jessica Kamm who won $1700 towards a liveBooks website in a raffle to help brand her business! And many thanks to Christine at Simply Canvas for giving each student $50 toward a canvas gallery wrap (Simply Canvas also supports my Roots Workshop). And to Roy at Triple Scoop Music for raffling off royalty-free songs for web and slideshow use (the slideshows on my website have been updated with these beautiful, legal tunes).
WPPI was held at the MGM Grand this year (it was at Paris/Bally's in previous years), the largest hotel in the world. After having stayed there for 5 days, I'm still not sure I know the fastest way to maneuver the casino floor (but am very thankful for friends on Twitter to follow where folks were).
(I am so grateful for having packed a pair of flats. :) I wore them almost everywhere! I wouldn't have survived without these cute orange French Sole's).
A few months ago I was asked to participate in a mentoring auction to benefit the charity Thirst Relief (providing fresh, clean water to those in need). I met with my auction's winner Melissa Kelsey from Salt Lake City for a leisurely (and much needed) coffee break to talk about Melissa's business, pricing strategies and marketing. Melissa also received a partial scholarship to my Roots Workshop this summer, and my fingers are crossed that she'll be able to attend so we can spend more time together. Thanks, Melissa (excuse the crazy red eye of my point & shoot!).
Seeing my dear friends Jenn Domenick (center) and Mary Gardella-Hester (right) of Love Life Images in Columbia, MD, is always a highlight of the week. Jenn and I worked together at the Washington Post before getting into weddings. And she's a mentor at my Roots Workshop each July. Since we only see each other twice a year, we spend as much time together as we can.
I had resolved to treat myself to a spa day in January while in the height of my busy season last summer. It didn't happen in January but Jenn, Mary and I spent one morning this week relaxing at Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace. What a treat indeed! Luxurious roman baths, a steam room, a sauna and an ice room (felt like Maine in there!) supplemented traditional massage treatments. I opted for a full body scrub treatment called Morning Dew. I will likely be daydreaming about that experience for the rest of these cold, raw, dry winter months!
When I wasn't prepping for my presentation (which was on the last day of the conference, like a lingering final exam), I was tasting some delicious food (I had the vegetable chopped salad from Wolfgang Puck's three days in a row), shaking it at one of the many parties scheduled each night throughout the conference (a live Blues Traveler concert for just WPPI participants was definitely the best, tho Pictage's dancefest at Studio 54 was a close second), and roaming the tradeshow floor (J amazingly did not lose his voice at the liveBooks booth this year).
WPPI is a perfect mid-winter business energy boost. I am so grateful for having participated, and am looking forward to the next opportunity to gather with such fun, talented photographers!