WPPI 2014

Holy guacamole I feel like I just got out of college/ the academy awards all crammed in 4 days. It was my first time attending WPPI and I finally feel normal again after lots of processing, and cuddling with a blanket sleeping on and off all day yesterday. ( If that doesn’t make me sound like a crazy I’m not sure what will….)

This was the first day we got to WPPI…

And THIS was heading home….


Wrecked me. Mentally and physically haha. The front of this shirt says ” pro tographer” and I’m pretty sure I had to earn it.

I spent a long time deciding what classes to attend, looked up all of the speakers, read their class descriptions in detail and made sure I was going to learn subjects that I couldn’t learn online.

Being a photographer is a very self serve profession. There isn’t a cookie cutter school that you can attend to “do everything right”, there isn’t a correct way to approach anything. So when people are successful in the business it’s a big deal because they are usually very original, and had to fight long and hard to get there!
I was so excited to see these successes speak publicly!

I was also happy to find out that the photographers I saw ( and had been internet stalking for YEARS) were genuine, hard working, and so so nice!


The first class we attended was Kevin Kubota’s 

( side note, first day I was there I saw a lady carting around huge boxes from one of my favorite printing companies, and I asked if she had gotten a deal by delivering them here…. she said no they were for her booth….. and I said ” oh what booth?” and she said Asuka Books… I almost gasped… I was speaking with Kevin’s wife Clare…. like it was no big deal.. haha..well people IT WAS A BIG DEAL… to me….)

His class was called  How 10 Photographers Changed Their World (and how you can too) In fall 2013, 10 photographers took an amazing journey to Kenya, Africa, to put their photographic skills to use in support of a local hospital serving the poor in the area. Kevin Kubota will share the stories of these 10 photographers share the impact this experience had on their lives, as well as the lives of the people they served. They will also share experiences and tips on how to make an adventure like this your own reality—technically, logistically, and emotionally. If you’ve always wanted to do something bigger with your photography, you won’t want to miss this unique and inspirational program.

The main bullets I jotted down that really touched my heart were
“If we don’t tell the story, no one will”
” don’t be scared that you aren’t doing anything”
“Lead with your heart not your camera”
“Capture the little things”
“Capture the helpers”
“You are there to give”
“Communicate a glimmered hope”

” Face your fears, get on the plane, put yourself in dangerous situations, challenge yourself to do greater things”

So often as photographers we get caught up in the ” how can I make more money?” or ” how do I climb my way to the top?” but when you can stop and think ” how can I use my skill to HELP someone?” you start to feel scared, inadequate, and silly. What this class taught me is that, although I may not be a doctor, a physical therapist, a counselor, or protecting in the military. I can capture the helpers helping, making it beautiful to inspire others to do the same. I can share the stories of the broken hearted, the hurt, and the ones considered ‘different’ so that others can see them, connect with them, and feel the need to reach out and donate time, money, or their ability to share the story with others. We CAN make a difference, we just have to be dedicated to find out how.  Here is one way how, visit this website and check out just how awesome these people are! http://workshopswithpurpose.com

We got to meet Kevin after the class in the photo shown above, and he was so nice and interested in my future story of the camp I volunteer at bringing special needs individuals on a Costa Rica jungle adventure ( this is happening in 8 days… like… just wait for the awesomeness….)

I also won this bag ! How cool is that?!

All of this… was just day 1.

Day two we attend the Justin and Mary Marantz class, ” A business built on why”

oh! and HOLY COOL I just swat this while grabbing the link.. that I made a blog photo of theirs… that’s Jessica and I standing and clapping our hands ( this little girl’s goal is to stop human trafficking and free child slaves through her lemonade stand and she has already done a bang up job! She’s 9!!)

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 11.18.08 AM


This class rocked my world as well. The bullet notes I took were

So often we get caught up in the check list of someone else’s dream

 Time goes one, moments after moments pass, but as photographers we get to say, no, this one, this one stays

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

History of families, it all started with love

Once the people are gone, the pictures remain

Be authenic.

Take images that tell a story, AND are beautiful.

Tell a story without becoming too much a part of it.

get the images that guests see, but they can’t capture.

would this happen if the photographer wasn’t there?

What do real people in love do?

I see love, because I have known love

the most ordinary things are what is so beautiful about love

She also had lots of technical and business information that I love loved. This class rocked my world, because I forget that I am at events and taking portraits to capture history, not just take pretty pictures. I am always so afraid that the pictures aren’t pretty enough, and I forget that the people in them enjoy that they are pretty images, but enjoy that it’s who they love that is within the frame even more.

Let’s just say there were lots of tears in the room! IMG_0423

Jessica and I enjoyed the expo, and I will get into all of the new products I love soon, but what was so funny is that it was snowing and 30 degrees in Oklahoma….. and THIS is what we were doing



The next class we attend was Elizabeth Messina’s, if you have never seen her work. Just click this link in another browser and do it right this instant. http://www.elizabethmessina.com

Her work is stunning, I was so excited, it was a packed room, and we got second row.

Holy moly.

First of all she was playing this really soulful music, like Indie Arie. So get yourself in the mood, because this totally changed my point of view about Elizabeth.

Play this video while you look at her website.

Soul. All Soul. Get your mind right people. Elizabeth is married to a black man and has mixed race kiddos. It’s so easy to imagine people being certain ways, but when I found this out about her, I just absolutely fell in love.

Here are some random bullets from her class

Don’t be afraid to clear a room to get to mood you need

Focus on the energy in the room while you shoot

If you don’t wow your ‘right now’ client, it doesn’t matter how many accolades you have.

be present and make sure what you are capturing is the best it can be in that moment

Do you know what your image is trying to say? Can you FEEL it?

Your photos need to speak to you and others.

The best way to cultivate creativity is to shoot personal projects

just keep photographing. 

be educated about the shoot you are about to attend.

be half creative and half professional 

I didn’t take a photo of ,or with Elizabeth, she’s very private and there were also a bajillion people there making a weird mob around her… haha but thank you Shannon for telling me to hear what she had to say. I felt motivated to be me, to capture beauty and not force it, to stay in love with photography, to start a personal project, and to shoot film…. or at least play with it sometimes ; )

Thennnnnn there was Katelyn James 

More tears! Katelyn spoke about creating community instead of customers. About being a part of something bigger, about how the way to treat your clients creates more value than gaining more and more clients. She also said to be who YOU are so you attract clients who you enjoy and bring you more clients you genuinely enjoy. Them my favorite…instead of spending money on ads and marketing, spend money on your spoiling your clients!

In all honesty I took SO SO much from this class. She even had a little packet with pre notes you could fill out, like church! How precious is that?! Katelyn and her husband Michael work so hard and give so much to the photography community and their clients. I absolutely fell in love with their business model, and took it to heart so much.

AND, we got lucky and showed up super early and snagged this photo with them : )



Then we attended a class that finally didn’t make us cry, but challenge us to work harder to spend more time with our families!

It was called 2.5 in camera workflow by Zach and Jody 

I took lots of technical notes. Their purpose is to make you a better photographer so you spend less time editing and more time with the ones you love! There were so many ‘nuggets’ of info! Love Loved it.

The last class we attend was Jonas Peterson

called ‘The business of being you’

He spoke a lot about telling stories in your photographs rather than just capturing shots.

The two things he said that hit me hard were

” don’t have your clients look at their photos and think Oh that’s when they photographer made us do this that day but rather capture their day exactly how it was”

and “if someone asks you, are we going to photograph the dress hanging in the window now? I ask them, do you have photos of your other clothing hanging in windows? no? well lets photograph what’s really going on then”

He was very much so about being real, and not creating fake moments. I really enjoyed it!

Next week I will post about the expo and the products I fell in love with along with tips and tricks on how to survive and thrive at WPPI.

I will end on this note.

WPPI inspired me, wore me out, made me better friends with Jessica : ) ( honestly, if someone can put up with me being exhausted, hungry, overwhelmed, inspired, overly goofy, annoying, and frustrated. and STILL want to be my friend. I just love you for who you are Jessica, and wouldn’t have wanted this experience with anyone else! Thank you SO  much for being my friend and putting up with me. )

and has made me a better photographer/person.

I am so happy I attended, and hope to continue to do so.


love love.




One thought on “WPPI 2014

  1. Well you had me on the brink of tears looking back to this amazing week and everything we have learned and been inspired by….your last note let the tears flow ;)….. but you know it’s super easy to make me cry right now! haha. I love you girl and will say it again that I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with ANYONE else. Not only have I been inspired by those awesome speakers but I’ve also been inspired by you. Inspired by your drive, your openness and just your overall personality. I see you going places…. I wasn’t kidding when I said I think that’ll be you one day. I really do…

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