Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wppi 2014 class review

Wppi class review 
So, in 2009 when I came to wppi, I went to any and all classes I could go to, and just wanted all the info I could get. I wasn't too particular- I wasn't specialized at the time, and most of the info was new to me.

This year, 5 years later, was quite a bit different. First, I have had 5 years to tweak my business and , I guess you could say, find myself (business speaking- personally, this ADD girl is a lost cause for settling down and "finding herself".)

Second, I've had five years to watch workshops, read articles, and also attend Imaging USA in New Orleans, which means I've had time to curate who my favorite photography industry educators are. My years of experience helped me chill out from fretting over class content, and focus more on people. 

So, my class choices at wppi 2014 were based on a few things. First, who the speaker is, second, the subject matter, and third, how new the concept is. 

For example, my first class that I attended was Zack Arias's class on simply using one off-camera flash to achieve awesome results. I've been doing this for years-- based on Zack's OneLight DVD that I purchased in 2006. But, Zack was the first guy (through his DVD) to introduce me to this off-camera lighting that has differentiated and created my brand and my look for nearly eight years now. If I had to pay educational commission, Zack Arias would have made gobs of money off of me! so, I didn't care WHAT he talked about- I wasn't missing the chance to hear him speak in person.

On the other hand, other photographers who I had never heard of spoke on some pretty relevant topics to where I am in my business. Regardless of who the teacher was, I wanted to know more about that subject.

Then, other classes educated is on some new-to-me concepts- trends I haven't seen or been introduced to yet, most likely because of my Deep South and more eastern location. I chose a few classes on these subjects just to see what was going on with some new trends, and see if they might work for me. Unfortunately, it seemed everyone else had the same idea too, so I didn't get in to those classes.

So, here are my awards for the classes I attended- drumroll please :

Speaker who could have talked about photographing dog poop and I still would have attended- Zack Arias

My favorite speaker who I didn't know of, but would like to follow more- Katelynn James. She speaks and markets straight from the heart. I can't wait to continue following her and being a part of her community, just to see where she goes in life and also to keep myself in check of how transparent and connected I am staying. Her speech jerked at MY emotions (which is hard to do) and made my mascara run. Darn you, Katelynn. You got me emotionally connected. :)

The best class that I chose based on the class content- this class provided me with more than I was expecting, and I was happy about that: Jen Hillega's successful senior two-part seminar. I truly expected these talks to be basic, 2010 talks about running the senior model program- the one that doesn't work for me. But instead, Jen showed her class, (in her energetic, bold, and very ADD personality) how she has tweaked and changed the senior rep program to actually work in the digital age, with street-smart, curating seniors. I was pleasantly surprised. And, I loved how she said "squirrel" so often- I can relate.

The unknown-to-me celebrity who I'm thankful I attended her class- Jen Basford, one of the founders of seniors ignite. Jen had some powerful suggestions about my senior portrait side of my business, and I didn't realize who she was-
I simply chose the class because it was in the senior realm. Jen also won the best dressed award in my book. Her dark grey dress was so fabuloso, and I had decided that before she mentioned her obsession with fashion.
The class I chose just because I was star-stuck: Chuck Arlund's light hacking class. I'm amazed (ok, obsessed) with his fashion work, and have been for a long time. In my wildest dreams, I would spend a day working as a light holder for Chuck on a shoot. This class was somewhat close to that dream. Chuck's personality is as wild as his work, but he has a strong desire to share and teach all those things in his head to others. He wore a ratty t-shirt. His slideshow diagrams were scratchy drawings photographed from his chalkboard. He jumped around on the stage. He waved his hair around. He nearly tore his softbox up on purpose in front of us, just to show how you don't have to follow the rules. 
As a matter of fact, Chuck Arlund pretty much broke all of the unspoken "professional photographer speaker at wppi" rules within 1.5 hours. I can relate to and admire that rebel spirit.

A lot changed in my business and in the industry in five years of being absent from the wppi conference. As much as I would like to attend and network every year, I feel like going every 5 years is plenty for me to stay up-to- date on trends. Next time, who knows what I will use to choose my classes...


Tara Morris
Tara Marie Photography, St Francisville, Louisiana 
IG: @taramariephoto


Unknown said...

That might be the coolest, sweetest thing that anyone has ever said about me. I'm blushing. Thank you for watching. May I share this on Facebook?
You can come hang out anytime.

PS, Thanks for writing reviews, it helps newer photographers get acquainted with what WPPI and conventions are all about.

taramariephotography said...

Absolutely- share away. I meant every word.

1 09 10