Every February/March the world of photography converges in Vegas at a conference called WPPI (Weddings and Portrait Photographers International). Photographers, vendors, industry leaders, trend setters and market voices stand on podiums, walk the halls, hug familiar faces, wave to familiar fans (and even those not familiar), vouch for their favorite products, attest to their current equipment and speak boldly about failures and successes over the years. It is a place where proficiency is honored and a few prodigies are identified.
WHY WE CAME
This year I, Laura - LKM owner and exec. photographer, am returning with three ladies who are the current #LKM&CO team. Megan Lange, Makayla McGarvey and Miranda Rico are walkin' the halls as a team--representing LKM with vigor, class and an affirming sense of trust in myself as their boss/leader/trainer/mentor. Attending this conference is something we've been preparing for for months. The girls have gotten used to my invasive questions. They've even started to anticipate them and when they catch me approaching another gut-kicking/self-awareness-challenging question they often say, "uh oh, it's a laura question." #suchasatisfyingthingtobeknownfor
I came this year for these ladies. I wanted them to get dunked into the industry and hear voices other than my own. I wanted to hear different value systems, different strategies, different histories and "how i made it work" stories. I wanted them to observe the variety of personalities and dynamics; assess what organically attracts them to other photographers/other work and what might confuse them. I wanted them to get training in areas that are not my fortes while hearing an echo of things that are the lifeblood of the LKM brand--i.e. LOVE PEOPLE, CAPTURE REAL STORIES, YOUR WORTH IS NOT DEFINED BY YOUR PRICE TAG BUT YOUR PRICE TAG SHOULD REFLECT THE WORTH OF WHAT YOU DO, etc etc etc. (I have several soap boxes that I get very feisty about so i'll have self-control for the moment.)
DAY 1 - SATURDAY - PRINT HANGING / CONFERENCE PREP
First stage of the whole experience was working alongside Jerry Ghionis & his Print Competition Crew and fearless "hangers" leader Garret Winslow. We worked in shifts all day. Below are highlights from our time watching a bit of the print judging and hanging the winners on the floor in the expo hall! I very much consider the experience a VIP pass and "sneak peak" to the competition's results. It was a sweet dunk into the deep end of competitive quality for the girls too. Immersing ourselves into international standards of excellence across a variety of genres in photography was healthy and challenging and inspiring. I especially caught a lump in my throat when 5 internationally renowned judges bantered back and forth fighting the score and integrity of a particularly journalistic image. It was 1 single image and they were peering at it intensely--discussing every gnitty gritty detail that went into a perfect picture--the convergence of old school, new school and just standard rules of storytelling and composition and color grading. I felt myself sobered to think of how FAST i approach pictures and don't always slow down for the perfect elements or patiently comprise something that is one step more refined or thoughtful or patiently precise. I was challenged to be more patient--respectful and engaged with my role a storyteller as well as an artist as well as people person.
once done we hung out and fleshed out the classes and instructor and vendors we wanted to connect with
to be continued...