I honestly dont even know where to begin. I’m sitting on the plane on my way home from Vegas, and my mind is racing! I need to get home so I can put all these new and crazy ideas into motion. What I think I might do, is break my WPPI experience up into a few several blog posts. So here goes…
When I first thought about attending WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photography International) in Las Vegas, I was excited about the mere fact that I was going to be getting off of Oahu. Not to mention, there are no beaches in Vegas….double bonus! Not that beaches and living in Hawaii is bad. Infact, enviable would be more the word most people would use. But living in Hawaii can become just like anywhere else…you need a change every once in a while.
Needless to say, I was excited to photograph something different. Something I couldn’t get in Hawaii. So I planned. And, I planned. I knew I wanted to attend some of the Showit United classes being offered as well. Trust me, planning needed to happen! Two major photography meetups, in two major hotels happening simultaneously, in the same city….HUGE!
I will admit, I was intimidated. By so many things. Just trying to figure out who I wanted to listen to speak alone was mind-boggling. Amazing photographers flying in from not just the US, but from all over the world. Sue Bryce from Australia, Ajaton Joki from Norway…the choices were endless.
Although I had no idea going into this how much it would change my life, I knew something was about to happen. I could feel it. You know that gut feeling you have when you just know that you know? Well, that was me. I had no idea WHAT was going to happen, but I knew something was going to happen.
One area I tend to be ridiculously shy in (believe it or not) is talking, or social networking with fellow photographers. I want to meet them. I want to learn from them. I want to become their Facebook token Aussie, but I instantly go to the place of “They wouldn’t want to be friends with me. What do I have to offer them?” So a few months ago I decided to sign up for a workshop with Trevor Dayley and Jennifer Rozenbaum. Why? Honestly, to put myself out there and be vulnerable. I knew I would learn something…way too much even, but most of all, I did it to be uncomfortable.
I’m learning that being uncomfortable is a good thing. It makes you do something about where you’re at. It makes you get up and move. Change something. Create. It makes you grow.
Another thing about this workshop…two things I’ve never done before…boudoir and off camera lighting! Why on earth did I do this to myself?
As the time got closer to my workshop, I started to recluse into my usual pattern of quiet. I know some of you reading this won’t believe I am ever quiet, but I promise you, it happens in these circumstances. I had befriended all of the members from our small group on Facebook, so faces looked familiar. Conversations had been had. I had even met a few of them the day before in the hotel lobby of the Signature, where we were staying. They weren’t scary or anything. Nice, sweet, people. Quiet, chatty, happy, normal people. Yet they intimidated me.
During introductions, it was made clear that we would each be in charge for about 5 minutes to direct a certain part of the shoot. And then it happened. My heart began to race and if I wasn’t sitting the furtherest from the door, I would have probably tried to slip out quietly. But that was the best thing that could have ever happened. I was stuck. And I was uncomfortable. So, my choice was to sit there and remain uncomfortable or, do something about it. So I did.
I offered to be the first to try the off camera lighting. It scared the daylights out of me. Being in front of the other photographers who probably already knew how to use the lights, and me, with no idea what I was doing. I am a quick learner though. I am a hands on learner. So I NEED to manually try things in order to remember and learn. Trevor was great. A lighting guru of sorts! So knowledgeable and yet patient enough to teach.
After about an hour, we switched up groups and I entered the world of boudoir! I have to say, this was probably my most fun part. When I first signed up for the workshop, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do this. In my head, I was just going to work with the off camera lighting. But again, I put myself in that familiar, yet ugly place of uncomfortable. And the only thing to do was jump right in.
I LOVE making woman feel beautiful about themselves. And what better way to do that than through boudoir? Jen was fantastic to work with. She taught me so much, both about photography, and about myself. I’m tempted to fly her out to Hawaii to do my photos! Or maybe I will just go visit her in New York? Talk about putting yourself in an uncomfortable place!
This was probably the single most fun I had for my whole trip…well, maybe not, but it was definitely up there. The 2 couples we shot were amazing and the photos came out gorgeous.
At the end of the night (and I mean literally, 12am!) I headed back to my room to try and absorb everything that I’d learned that day. It wasn’t going to happen. First of all, I knew I would need to get my hands on some lighting equipment and simply play in order for this to become second nature to me. Secondly, of course I HAD to download my photos and edit a few to see what I had. And finally, as soon as I changed into my pajamas and climbed into bed, I was joined by approximately 20 of my “closest” friends…no sleep for me…not for a while anyway.
Here’s to being uncomfortable!