So much has changed since my first WPPI 3 years ago. I am no longer that doe-eyed little red-head who practically felt like crying in every class because she knew there was no way she could possibly figure out how to make this work. I no longer agonize over which album company I like the best (FINAO) or what print house is right for me (WHCC) - my notes are more about passion, authenticity, and creativity instead of f-stops and depths of fields. I have a clear vision of who my client is and who I am as an artist. I no longer try to convince myself that this is temporary- that in a few years I'll get my fashion portfolio together, start selling fine art, start getting "serious." I struggled early on with the voices of my college professors, "You should only shoot weddings if you absolutely have to." I've embraced the truth that I simply love being a part of love stories- real ones- and that working with real love has touched me in ways that editorial and fine art just couldn't. I've learned that what I do is editorial- that it is art and that I love it. I walk through the trade show, not like a lost lamb, but with confidence. I see big welcoming smiles on familiar faces, followed by, "Hi!!!! It's so good to see you!!!" Friends! I have friends here now. I am no longer timid- no longer intimidated by meeting new people. I am walking with my arms wide open, welcoming as many new relationships as I can handle. I am so happy and am realizing just how blessed I am and just how amazing our industry is.
I still sit in on the speakers that particularly touch my heart, like Elizabeth Messina, and still listen to pertinent business advice like how to not work 24/7?!?!? ("I am closed Mondays." - wait, really? When you have your own business you can tell your clients you're closed??? How does THAT work??") So much has changed since my first WPPI. So, if this was your first year there- and you've returned w/ a notebook full of to-dos and must-haves that send you diving under the covers and praying for a magical fairy who will build your portfolio/business/blog-site/manage your twitter account/facebook for you/etc. etc. .etc .... know this: it gets easier. It gets less over-whelming. But it stays just as fun. Next year you'll know more people; you'll have more questions but find you'll need less answers.
There is turbulence on this plane as I write this, which doesn't feel right since my heart is so calm. Maybe it's a reminder that there are always storms ahead- that nothing will always sail smoothly. But you know? For now, I am just going to sit back and enjoy the ride with a huge goofy drunk-happy grin on my face.
To those of you I met: HI!!! I am so excited to be friends :)
To those of you I missed: Can we be friends anyways?
To those of you I will meet next year: CAN'T WAIT!
Off to shoot Lex and Lee's destination wedding in Costa Rica tomorrow. It's my first official international wedding and I am going to be honest: I'm freaking out. All I know is that I am carrying on all my equipment and if my body and my gear are the only two things that make it there- I'll channel this smile I am loving right now and make it work! I am so excited to take on this new challenge and feel incredibly blessed to be heading to paradise for work. I mean, pinch!! Right? This time next week I'll be hopefully relaxing on the beach, waves crashing, skin warming, tropical drink in my hand, and my future husband by my side.
Life is good.