WPPI with David Beckstead & Nik Pekridis
Wow, I had two days available during WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) expo in Las Vegas. Louisiana to Vegas, see everything and back to Louisiana in 48 hours? Could that be done? You don't know until you try and I am up for trying. Flight and Hotel booked using airmiles, ticket to the Expo....... Everything cost me less than $100! Thank goodness for airmiles. lol.
About two weeks before I was leaving I all of a sudden thought "This is too much" It usually takes a few hours to figure out the Expo, see where everything is and how it flows and just getting used to being there with so much going on. Then I read a post on Facebook from one of my favorite photographers, David Beckstead.
David was offering to walk one person around the Expo for a few hours, his years of experience of attending these Expos and his knowledge of vendors at companies was available to one lucky person. This was perfect! I needed this to help me from having an overload and my head exploding. I had to write to David and tell him why I felt he should walk me round. I told him about how I only had one day at the Expo and I wanted to see as much as possible and the thought of being there for the first time was a little overwhelming........... I admit I did beg a little too. lol.
I WON! I could not believe it that David had actually picked me. This is a photographer who I had admired for many years and I was actually going to get to spend time with him at the expo. I was pumped about it! We planned to meet at the Expo at 10:30am on the Monday, which was great as my flight got into Las Vegas at 9am and the Monte Carlo hotel is just across the road from the MGM where the expo is.
I landed on time, the cab driver took me straight to the hotel, they checked me in early............ Everything was going great until I realized how far away from the expo I actually was. My room was at the farthest end away from the MGM and the expo was at the farthest end away from the Monte Carlo. It was a 30 minute walk at a fast pace. lol. Anyway..... I ended up being a little late and about 6lbs lighter when I met up with David.
Let me just say I had a blast walking round with David, I loved listening to him talk about products and lighting and just his world in general. It is very easy to buy good photography equipment but education and inspiration are more important in my opinion and that is what I get from photographers like David. I really could write a whole blog just about him and what I got from him and I will write a blog on this topic very soon but I want to get on with the WPPI expo blog for now.
It was really fun to be introduced to so many people I have looked up to in the photography world who are all friends of David, I was shown products that he liked and just watching him mingle with everyone and anyone at the expo whether he knew them or not was a lot of fun. I shot this picture because a group of guys came over to speak to David and it was fun to see how excited they all were. They had come over from Asia and were all handing out there business cards, taking selfies and just bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm.
This first gift was from a company that I have used for some time now and it really is one of my favorite products that I use. Anyone who has seen me shoot would have seen my camera hanging from my waist. The Spider Holster is a fantastic product, I am able to secure my camera safely without having to have something around my neck or putting pressure on my shoulder that have been dislocated many times in the past. I no longer come home from shoots with a bad neck and even when the camera is in the holster without the lock in position I have never once thought my camera was not secure. This is the holster that I have used for about two years now and I love everything about it. The image is from www.spiderholster.com and I very much recommend you go and check them out.
Most of the time when you buy an innovative new product you have a "but" comment. "I like this, but I wish it had....." type of comment. Spider Holster take away the "but" part of that. They make it work for you. I like most photographers use more than one lens through a wedding and it's not always (almost never) practical to carry a bag around at a wedding so they have come up with a pouch that attaches to the Spider Holster belt. There are lots of pouches out there that attach to belts but this one takes the "but" off the product.
What you can't see about this pouch is that it has a couple of little extras that most pouches don't have. One is just a simple rain hood that quickly covers the top of your lens and the other is a tether for the rear lens cap which means no more searching for the cap which has fallen out somewhere when you just want to quickly switch lenses and carry on shooting. Honestly, these little things help lots. The guys at Spider Holster were good enough to give me one of these pouches and it will certainly get a lot of use.
The second product that I loved from these guys is the Spider Monkey. I love this for my flash as I like to have an additional flash close to hand. It's a clip with a simple button release, it's not complicated. It is a strong secure product that is easy and quick to use, that's all I want from this product and it delivers. Go and check out all the products from this company now.
The next gift I got was from another of my idols Jerry Ghionis. I've always loved Jerry's work and a few months ago I even drove 10 hours in one day to go to a 12 hour workshop of his in Houston and would happily do it again. So when I was given a year's membership to the Ice Society which is an online education website I can truly say I say very excited about it.
Top image is David and myself with the beauitful Melissa Ghionis and below we are with the Wescott Icelight 2. You'll see some shots of us using the Icelight 2 later on in the blog when I get to my Photo Walk with Nik Pekridis.
I spent some time with the amazing ladies at Amherst Media and had chance to look through some of the books they publish including David's book.
Check out the royalty free music company Triple Scoop Music who set me up with a gift card for some free music. I'm sure you all know that it is against the law to use artist's music without the correct licencing, but Triple Scoop Music sorts out all that for you. You just search for the perfect song to suit your website, slideshow.... etc and you just buy the song. It really is that simple.
Photo Flash Drive is already well known by any of my clients but it's always fun for me to try some new packaging and that's what i'll be doing with the gift card they gifted to me.
And finally I have to give a huge shout out to Album Epoca. David is an ambassador for them and I got to look through the beautiful and unique albums that they produce. They are not an ordinary album company, they truly are a piece of art before they are even printed with images in them. Just talking to all the people involved with the business was proof enough that they are going to produce work of the highest standard each and every time. One of the first things I did when I got home was sign up to use them as my new Album company, and with the gifts they gave me I can not wait to get some sample albums in ready to show my Brides this year.
I truly wish I could talk more and more about the fun I had at the Expo with David but it is really difficult to put into words how motivated and inspired I was from the few hours I spent with him. David, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to do this. I know I forgot to give you your bar of dark chocolate (I had to take David some dark chocolate as a thank you, but forgot to give it to him because of my marathon walk at the beginning. lol) I promise I will make it up to you.
Please check out the companies that were so great to me through my photo walk. There are links to each one any time you see their name and definitely go see David's work if you haven't yet, here is his business card to make it easy for you ;)
The Expo was lots of fun and I got to see everything I wanted to and met some great new people. As I was in Vegas alone for the night I decided to sign up for a Photo Walk. A photo walk is like a little workshop, a couple of hours hanging out with another amazing photographer and seeing what they see. There were lots of great photographers hosting photo walks that night, but once I saw Nik Pekridis was hosting, my mind was made up.
I'm not going to go on about this too much but if you are going to WPPI next year (and they do Photowalks again) then definitely sign up for one or even more. It was $69 well spent and I wish I could have done a few more on other days just so I could learn a little bit from many more photographers.
On the walk with Nik we stayed inside the MGM hotel and talked through some different scenarios and used different lighting and posing. We got to use the new Ice Light 2. Here are a couple of my images from the Nik Pekridis Photo Walk.
Model - Naomi Grace
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