International

WPPI 2018 | Highlights & Behind the Scenes

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

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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... 

Hard Rock Riviera Playa | Cancun, Mexico Destination Wedding Photography

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Tim & Jenna's Destination Wedding at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya in Cancun, Mexico was a bit other-worldly and rich with color and crazy. When we first got Jenna's inquiry a year prior to her wedding she described her vision to be defined by 3 things she cared most about: the people, the party, and the purpose. The whole year leading up to the wedding, i was most impressed with Jenna's intense attention to detail and desire to really make it as smooth and enjoyable as possible for everyone. She was ON TOP OF the details -- and the team she built to help with travel details and communication were ON PAR. Note: Travel Agent Ketti Menne from Paradise Weddings was highly regarded. In Jenna's words, "that chic orchestrated transcontinental flights for over 120 people! WHAT?!" Both Tim & Jenna were true hosts and their words of gratitude at their reception only further delivered that priority! 

Here are some sweet highlights from this couple's amazing destination wedding in Mexico. Opportunities to shoot love stories and destination weddings like this -- tropics and iguanas and week long escapades with the beech breeze at our backs and world famous cenotes in our backyards -- it was the stuff of dreams! We were honored to be trusted as the Wallace's storytellers! Enjoy!

P.S.  Be sure to catch and note the vendor list in case you are considering a destination wedding in Cancun. The idea of travel can be daunting but Jenna and Tim sure did hand pick a swell team of reliable peeps to deliver an epic party and experience. 

// VENDORS //

Wedding Venue: Hard Rock Riviera Maya- Arpa Terrace & Maya Ballroom // Wedding Coordinator: Liliana Perez Garcia (Works at HRRM Wedding Department) // Wedding Dress: La Bella Bridal // Bridesmaid Dresses: The Wedding Accessory Superstore // Flower Girl Dresses: Dillards // Groomsmen Outfits: Nick's Menswear // Hair Stylist:  Sothy Chau at Rumors Salon in Phoenix // Florist: Tulipania (HRRM Internal Vendor) // Musicians:  DJ Disco Movil (Ricardo de Pavia I) // Videographer: Katy Jo Caringer // Travel Agent- Ketti Menne from Paradise Weddings and Travel // Eyebrows: Ann Reed , Scottsdale, AZ // Airbrush Tan: Phoenix Glow // Officiant: Kevin Skinner with Aldea Spiritual Community // Cake Topper: Cake Topper Bliss

The first look was precious -- i mean his FACE when he saw her!!! -- and both had prepared a surprise gift for the other. (note the peanut gallery spying on them in the balcony above :D)

while the rest of the wedding party got ready, we had arranged enough time to just be alone with the couple and capture the diversity of Hard Rock's incredible property...first they OWNED that beach...

then we waited for the wedding party in the jungle in the heart of the resort

Wedding party meandered over and strut their stuff...

Family pictures were relaxed and pleasant -- the special attention to love one's closest to the bride and groom was appreciated. The Tim and his brothers and dad were able to nail an epic "album cover", parents were adequately honored and kissed and thanked for their crazy investment in the whole week, siblings were hugged, kids were relaxed and the prelude before the wedding began to build with excitement :)

Jenna whispered a request to have her parents captured before she and Tim stole away one last time before the ceremony began. 

and then the vows

and then the party

Real Life Feedback from bride and groom received several days post-wedding:

Laura and Lawson,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for everything you did for us. To be honest, I was hoping to write this email to you yesterday, but I was still on such a wedding high that I didn’t want to open my computer…I just wanted to relish in that feeling and dream about it all day!

Photography is a big wedding expense, and I had to fight for that spend in the budget, but after last week, no one was questioning me anymore! My mom, dad, and Tim all pulled me aside to say how good they felt in your hands and how grateful they were that you were there. Not to mention, I was extremely relieved to have you at rehearsal dinner! At first, I didn’t quite recognize how much I needed you there, but then after I got to watch you in action for a bit, this feeling of “fewf” waved over me. Just having another person helping with the timeline, insisting that we run rehearsal once more, and being able to share ideas before the big day…those little things made such a big difference in my state of mine.

I can’t tell you how many people came up to me last week to tell me how great you and your husband were. Regular wedding guests were raving about how they caught both of you using all your toys and lighting devices to capture the best image, how you two seemed so passionate about the job, or how fun it was to watch you get really excited or worked up about a particular lighting or photo op. My videographer Katie was raving about your work and how much she learned from you to strangers in the bar. At one point, Lawson was bringing me water and holding my purse. Another person noticed him laying on the ballroom floor with our rings trying to capture a moment. My bridesmaids were laughing about all your quirky verbal directions and reminiscing about it the next day on the beach. Even participating in “red light, green light” with the kiddos was fun! What a beautiful idea to think that my wedding guests felt loved and important just by watching you do your job!

Then Timmy told me about your pep talk to him before we had our first look and it melted my heart. What other photographers give pep talks like that?! I told you that day that I was unusually relaxed and calm…which is a bit odd for me, especially since I have this inner “event planner” who doesn’t know when to let go sometimes. But that wasn’t the case on my wedding day. It was all so easy and smooth. “The bride should have no sense of time,” is what you told me over the phone. I would say we definitely accomplished that! I took out my phone once for a selfie with my husband, but other than that, I didn’t respond to any text messages, and instead just breathed in the memories. I can’t help but think you and Lawson had a lot to do with that.

You two went above and beyond the duties of photographer. I genuinely felt like I had families members not photographers with me on my special day, and I can’t thank you enough for being by my side for both the wedding and rehearsal dinner. You are truly an artist, and I can’t wait to share your creations!!!  Love, Jenna  (bride)

You just can't beat that kind of rock solid affirmation.... Tim & Jenna, It was an honor to be trusted with your wedding day!! BLESSINGS!!! | LKM

// VENDORS //

Wedding Venue: Hard Rock Riviera Maya- Arpa Terrace & Maya Ballroom // Wedding Coordinator: Liliana Perez Garcia (Works at HRRM Wedding Department) // Wedding Dress: La Bella Bridal // Bridesmaid Dresses: The Wedding Accessory Superstore // Flower Girl Dresses: Dillards // Groomsmen Outfits: Nick's Menswear // Hair Stylist:  Sothy Chau at Rumors Salon in Phoenix // Florist: Tulipania (HRRM Internal Vendor) // Musicians:  DJ Disco Movil (Ricardo de Pavia I) // Videographer: Katy Jo Caringer // Travel Agent- Ketti Menne from Paradise Weddings and Travel // Eyebrows: Ann Reed , Scottsdale, AZ // Airbrush Tan: Phoenix Glow // Officiant: Kevin Skinner with Aldea Spiritual Community // Cake Topper: Cake Topper Bliss // 

P.S. OOOO - one last note! Check out the baller highlight reel that the bride's friend, Katy Jo Caringer, put together of the whole escapade. Such a fun storytelling piece!! 

LKM is in the Philippines!

so this is happening today....

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