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WPPI Top Ten {2014 WPPI Wedding and Portrait Photography Conference and Expo}

WPPI Top Ten {2014 WPPI Wedding and Portrait Photography Conference and Expo}

Registration is officially open for WPPI Members for WPPI 2014! If you aren’t already a member, and you are planning on attending next year, I recommend joining before you register. You get some amazing perks and a great discount on your WPPI Conference Pass! In the past, I did a post on the Top Ten things I learned from WPPI on my photography website, and everyone loved it. I believe all of these themes are still relevant today, so I wanted to share it again here for all of you to enjoy! Here is my WPPI Top Ten…

1.  share what you learn – i thought it was only appropriate to start with this one!  Becker started the day off by giving us 10 tips for getting the most out of these kinds of workshops, and this was one of them.  i love this because i think it’s SO important for photographers to share what they learn with each other.  it helps us to understand and remember.  it opens the door for us to learn more.  some of the photographers that i look up to most all have the same thing in common that draws me to them (aside from them being amazing photographers!)…their openness and genuine giving spirits.  they aren’t competing, but rather helping others to succeed, and this is exactly who i aim to be.

2. be deliberate about blog titles – Jules Bianchi and Joy Bianchi Brown did an amazing job of explaining the world of social networking and how it relates to our businesses!  they spoke for a while on blogging and gave tips to increase search engine optimization.  the one that really stood out, that i hadn’t personally thought of, was being deliberate with blog titles and image titles and tags.  they make it a point to always include locations in the blog and image titles, in addition to the blog tags.  so instead of “Kim + Jeff Wedding Sneak Peek” she recommends putting something like “Falkner Winery Wedding Photography Sneak Peek”.  that way, when people search for “Falkner Winery” or “Falkner Winery weddings”, guess whose website will probably show up in the search?  that’s right, yours 🙂

3.  the heart of social networking is real life networking – Jules and Joy couldn’t say it enough…blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all great tools for showcasing you and your work, but it can’t stop there.  what we do is a very personal job.  we are being invited to be a part of very intimate moments of people’s lives.  this is what i love about what i do!  but it also means that we have a responsibility to get out and be social in real life.  they talked about taking someone to lunch at least once a week, going to workshops, starting your own “shoot-out” group, etc.  they even have a DVD that they sell with creative event marketing ideas and templates that have been successful for them.  and i bought it!  just like everything else in life, i believe it’s all about balance.  Facebook “friends” and “fans” are great, but real life relationships will go much farther.

4.  only 3 things are permanent in RAW – Rick Miller from Adobe had all of us oohing and aahing with his Lightroom and Photoshop tips.  however, he started by reminding us that only 3 things are permanent when shooting in RAW: ISO, Aperture & Shutter speed.  he added that it’s really important that we don’t underexpose images, though, because by doing so we throw out 1/2 of all the tonal info of the image!  he teaches “shooting to the right of the histogram”, which i have personally found extremely helpful!

5.  “there’s no such thing as a perfect image, only a perfect moment” – Joe Buissink literally knocked my socks off!  yes, i’m going with the old-fashioned “knock my socks off” because i don’t know how else to describe it.  i had a similar emotional experience with his presentation that i had the weekend at Me Ra’s workshop when i knew that photography was what i wanted to do for the rest of my life.  he just drew us in and took us on a journey that i will never forget.  i was laughing one minute and fighting back tears the next.  he reminded us that the client is our final judge.  he showed an image that received horrible scores in a Rangefinder photo contest, but it was one of the bride’s favorites because of the emotions that moment brought back.  if you guys ever have an opportunity to hear him speak, i highly recommend it!  i would have to say that most of what i took away from this day was from Joe, so i’m going to share a few more from him…

6.  “the most important part about photography is who you are” – we need to remember that we are not pitching our work, we are pitching ourselves to our clients.  Me Ra Koh and Jasmine Star are a perfect example of this!  being that he comes from a psychology background, Joe shared a new perspective of the art of photography.  he challenged us to go home, pour a glass of wine, turn on some music, and sit in bed and earnestly study our favorite images that we’ve taken.  in them, he believes we will not only find our style, but ourselves.  he shared his own experience with this exercise, and that was the 1st time i cried…haha.

7.  shoot for the moment between moments – everyone knows the key moments at a wedding: the bride walking down the aisle, her father giving her away, the bride & groom’s first kiss as husband & wife…but what about those moments in between.  Joe talked about the importance of capturing those details.  some of my favorite photos from my own wedding are the ones of me and my dad as we are up at the top of the hill at the winery, waiting to walk down the aisle.  my dad started crying, which made me start crying, and i told him “i can’t cry yet, i’m not even walking down the aisle!”  so he started making stupid inside jokes and just being silly, which caused me to start laughing, of course.  and there is a series of photographs of this exchange between me and my dad.  it was one of the highlights of my day, and my photographer captured it.  the moment between moments 🙂

8.  you are either a service, a commodity, or an experience – another piece of wisdom from Joe! you’re a service if you take photos and hand the client digital images.  you’re a commodity if you offer other items, such as canvases, albums, etc.  but you’re an experience if you create an adventure that your client will never forget.  from the first contact the client has with you til the moment you deliver their final images.  you want them to be talking about their experience with you, their photographer, whether it’s a portrait session or a wedding.  i don’t know about you, but i want to be an experience!

9.  create a mission statement for your business…post it! – The Boudoir Divas spoke about their journey & how they started as wedding photographers and got into boudoir.  i really liked how they talked about their mission to make women feel beautiful.  before they created their business plan, they made sure they had a solid mission statement.  and they have it hanging in their studio to remind them everyday!  i think we all need a daily reminder like this, something that motivates us when all the “noise” gets in the way.  it’s so easy to get discouraged or distracted, so i think we should all write a mission statement or purpose for our businesses and post it somewhere where we will see it everyday!

10.  momentum = the key to success – i could not agree with this more!  i have seen it first hand in various endeavors throughout my life so far.  this was one of the main reasons why i knew i personally had to quit my job if i wanted to be successful as a photographer.  if i didn’t start capitalizing on the momentum of my business, i was afraid that it would just be another haphazard endeavor or an expensive hobby.  i encourage each of you to prepare yourselves for the craziness as you jump in and pursue your passion and dream…and do everything in your power to capitalize on the momentum that ensues!

Have a wonderful day and hope to see you at WPPI next year!

xo

jess

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