What could possibly cause one to wake up before 5 a.m. on a coooold Saturday morning in January? Not much, that’s for sure! It takes something pretty exciting and special — and that’s just what Imaging USA was! While my husband lay sleeping, all snuggled deep inside our down comforter, I was excitedly scurrying around, trying to quietly finish packing the last of the items I needed and get out the door to make my 7 a.m. flight to Nashville.
Other than the crying baby and the much-too-chatty-at-7am woman [who was very sweet] sitting next to me on the flight to Charlotte (in addition to the life stories of her four grown daughters and very young grandchildren, I learned she was on her way to Jamaica for her first Caribbean vacation – hope she had a blast!), both legs of my flight to Nashville were uneventful and smooth. I thought it was cold in Raleigh when I left but wow! It was about 9 degrees and snowing when I landed in Nashville. It was nice to get to the Opryland Hotel and have the rest of the day to thaw out, relax and wait on some of my photographer friends to arrive. We all talked nonstop about our plans for the conference and for our businesses in 2010 over a great dinner that night.
Having never attended a photography conference before, I didn’t know what to expect out of Imaging. I had a few thoughts, but really had no idea what I was about to experience. I’m not sure the few words I can write here can even do it justice. I’m not sure how PPA could ever top the itinerary or the platform speakers they arranged this year. The speakers were nothing short of amazing – they were so personable, down to earth and willing to share that knowledge, and not merely during their presentations when they were “on” either. They were all so willing to talk in the hallways, the expo and anywhere else I ran into them during the week.
I learned so much from each session I attended, but I have to specifically mention two that were the highlight of the conference for me. Probably my favorite session – and the one that got me super-excited to come home and try out some new things with my clients – was a 7 a.m. session with Steve and Jennifer Bebb. Yes, you read that right. A 7 a.m. session — that I was excited about! They were so completely engaging and their passion for what they do is just infectious. Honestly, an hour and a half session was not long enough with them – the 1500+ other photographers in that session and I could have listened to them all day! Seriously! I’m not sure how anyone could sit in that room with them and not leave so completely energized and ready to take on the photographic world! They blew me away and I can’t wait to use some of the ideas I took from that presentation in my upcoming client sessions.
My other favorite session of the week was with Jose Villa. I was excited to see his name on the schedule and knew immediately that I wanted to attend that session – not just for what tips he might share but also just to be in his presence. I know that sounds a little teenager-ish, but I’ve been following his work for several years and, as one of the top photographers in the world, he is one of the few I truly admire. Since I can’t actually BE Jose Villa when I grow up, I am hoping to attend one of his amazing workshops and at least study with him (one of my goals for 2010).
As if days packed with informative sessions weren’t enough, Imaging also boasted the largest photographic expo around. I talked to so many amazing vendors and walked away with so many great ideas to take my photography to the next level and so many great products that you all are just going to love!
The few days I spent at Imaging were some of the longest and most exhausting since – well, probably since college. But they were also the most worthwhile and rewarding! New friendships. New lessons. New challenges. New inspiration. And new goals and dreams. I am glad to be home [yes, i actually miss my husband when we’re apart] and am still on a bit of brain overload, but am determined and committed to see all of these goals become a reality in 2010! Many, many thanks to PPA for this experience! I am looking forward to San Antonio and Imaging USA 2011!
Inside the Opryland Hotel, our host hotel:
Waterfall in the Cascades
Orchids were everywhere and were gorgeous!
Ristorante Volare – the yummy Italian restaurant we dined at a couple of nights. It was just like eating al fresca — minus the 20-degree weather in Nashville!
Gal pals Courtney Trembler, Bobbie Bush and Tessa Swarthout – ready for San Antonio in 2011!