I apologize in advance… this is looooong. Happy Friday!
A couple weeks ago I went to Las Vegas for a huge photography convention called WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International). It was a crazy, fun, hectic week of hanging out with friends, making new ones, learning a ton of awesome stuff, and having a bit of fun- Vegas style.A HUGE thanks to George, Arlene, Kate and everyone else for putting together such a rockin’ convention.
I roomed with 3 amazing ladies who I really respect and adore. Leann Neal, Brittany Dawson & Tara Mauldin. You girls are so fun, beautiful and inspiring and I am so blessed to call you my friends! They are also very patient ladies- to deal with a nutty roomie like me. I am messy, unorganized and a little bit all over the place- running around like a crazy person and constantly asking “Ummm… these shoes, or these?” “This dress, or this one??” I brought kind of a lot of clothes and hogged the closet too… so thanks girls for putting up with my wildness.
A couple of my favorite speakers were Kenny Kim & Roberto Valenzuela. These guys are my favorite photographers/people ever and I feel very lucky to call them my friends. I met Kenny and Roberto at Skip’s Summer School last August and they instantly took me under their wing and have been a huge help and inspiration in my life. A month after I met Kenny, I got to fly to Chicago and shoot an amazing wedding with him! He was super kind and patient with me and taught me so many new things. I was out of breath the whole day because the boy doesn’t stop running, but it was an awesome day.Every time I go to California, I call up Roberto and he is always down to go grab some food and talk about photography, life and anything else! We have had some fun times, great talks and some really good food!They both have such huge, giving hearts and more people need to be like them. They inspire me to give more and not expect anything in return, practice photography and do what you love, and just be better people by giving back. Thank you guys so much for all you’ve done for me and everyone else. You guys are amazing and I really cherish our friendship!
Now for my favorite memory of WPPI! I started using Pictage and ShootQ a while ago after hearing endless good things about these companies and the wonderful people that run them. I finally jumped in after hearing it will help be be more organized and save me lots of time… I needed some sanity back in my life.It took me a while to set up, but once I did… Oh gosh. It was amaaazing. I love it so much and it is definitely making my life easier! I went to Pictage’s Partnercon Convention in New Orleans last November and I am soooo glad I went! I already loved Pictage and ShootQ, but once I went to Partnercon and hung out with the awesome Pictage/ShootQ family I fell in love with them on a whole new level. They have such big hearts and are a super fun, crazy, loving family. They do so much to help out the community and are always giving back. The whole room was balling when they showed this incredibly inspiring video of a brave girl named Ashley who was diagnosed with cancer and is fighting hard to beat it. We have all kept track of her journey and it touched my heart and everyone else’s on a very deep level. Thanks so much to Ron Dawson for shooting this amazing video!!
Another incredible thing I am so grateful I got to be a part of was the Lens & Learn event at the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas. Pictage gets a group of photographers and takes them to the Boys & Girls Club so we can teach the kids about photography and actually give them DSLR cameras to use on their own & snap some pictures. Jim Collins (CEO at Pictage) started the day off by talking to the kids about dreams, photography and life. He told the kids that photography is our job, it’s how we support our families, and they can do it too. They were all so excited to be there and eager to learn. We then split into classroom groups and talked to our kiddos all about photography and being a photographer. I got teamed up with Leann Neal & Justin & Mary Marantz. I have known Leann for almost a year now and she is my total “Photo BFF”. A Photo BFF is another photographer who supports you and loves you 100% and is always there for you! Leann has been such a great friend to me since the beginning and I am so glad I met her!
And Justin & Mary- you guys are SO sweet and I am so glad I met you while I was in Vegas. You were so great with the kiddos and you are such amazingly talented photographers. I felt so honored to be involved in this project with you guys and all the other wonderful photographers and people that helped out.
Okay… obviously I haven’t blogged in a while, because I have waaayyyy too much to say! I’ll shush and just show you some pictures of how amazing the day went at the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas. I totally fell in love with these kids and was teary when we had to leave. They had so much fun and I hope they never forget that day… I know I never will!
This is “M”- One of my favorite kids of the day! We joked all about Justin Bieber and he made me smile and laugh all day.Danny showing “A” the picture he just took of him. The kiddo’s loved Danny! I do to because he totally helped me keep all the bouncy boys in check!Then Simon comes in the room and teaches the kids some crazy dance/chant thing and they loved it! I have no idea how it went… but it made us all laugh!Leann helping all the kids get a chance to surf on Simon… we nicknamed him “tree” because the kids were climbing all over him the entire day! They loved him!One of my favorite girls ever: Rachel (from ShootQ) doing a hand picture with her iPhone:Funny story about this picture below: I lay down next to “M” who is taking a group shot picture and while I am laying there, one of the girls from my group randomly says “Umm… do you know what lice is?” Everyone stopped and stared at her and I’m still laying on the ground and finally respond “Uhhhh… Yes I do know what lice is… why?” She says “Well you can get it by laying on that carpet.” HAHAHA Oh man, one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. Smart girl.Â Jody Gray and one of her girls from last year. Zach and Jody are some of the kindest, funnest, most stylish people I know!
So glad to have gotten to know them a bit on this trip.Â Love seeing all their beautiful innocent smiles!!Misti Miotto is SUCH an incredible person! I met here in New Orleans at the Partnercon Convention in November and instantly fell in love with this girl. She is such a giver, and is so great with kids. I tried to get my kids inside for a bathroom and water break and it took 20 minutes and they were running all over the place! I am sitting there next to the drinking fountain totally out of breath from chasing my kids around and here comes Misti with like 20 kids all in a perfect little train holding each other singing a song and no one is running away. Friiken brilliant. She is an amazing person and photographer and everyone should know her!This was a little boy from my group and I had so much fun with him. One of my other boys took this picture of him!
They stole my camera all day and couldn’t take enough pictures! Look how great this is though! I am so proud.One of the kiddos laying on the pitchers mound taking a picture of Rachel and I!Â Danny making all the kids happy by pushing them on the swing. I had swing duty for a while… then happily passed it onto Danny.Leann played invisible baseball with the kids for like an hour! It was so fun watching her laugh and smile and have a blast with these kids. She is so wonderful with them and they LOVED her so much!Â This is Simon (CMO at Pictage), and it was so fun watching him with the kids too. He’s got a huge heart for these little ones and let them jump and climb all over him… allll day! I don’t know how he didn’t tire out by the end! The kids love him so much and he made them smile and laugh like crazy.
They all loved his voice (he’s got an Australian accent) and when he left our classroom they go,
“Ummm… where did the guy with the cool voice go?? We want to hear him talk more!”Â Jim wrapping up the day and giving out the certificates to all the kids. Jim has got such a ginormous heart (as does his amazing wife, Angela) and like I’ve already said, I feel SO lucky to be a part of this amazing family. This day brought so much joy and happiness to my heart and I hope I get to do it again someday! Thank you to Jim and everyone else who put this together! I love you all and so do all the kids!!My favorite boys!!The kids were SO proud of their certificates they earned!Thank you to all the amazing people involved: (Sorry if your name is not here… this is by memory, and I don’t have the best!)
Jim Collins, Angela Collins, Simon Anderson, Rachel Lecour Niesen, Andrew Niesen, Elizabeth Villa, Emily Engle, Danny Faccini, Kevin Rubin
Misty Miotto, Justine Ungaro, Jared Platt, Justin & Mary Marantz,Â Jeff & Erin Youngren, Leann Neal, Zach & Jody Gray, Chelsea Nicole & Rene Tate
Adorama- Adorama is the best and this wouldn’t ofÂ have happened without their very generous donation! I am a full supporter of them because they support awesome things like this!! Oh, and because of Joel of course. Everyone should know Joel (aka lovecat!).
If you read all of this… that is amazing. And thank you.
Now go enjoy your weekend!!