Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, WPPI, held their annual international convention at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This year was bigger and better than ever. 12,189 photographers from some 35 countries gathers for several days of learning, networking, inspiration, and of course, partying. This was my 6th WPPI and my 5th year speaking there. I've been fortunate enough to have developed friendships from all over the globe. What a blast!
There's never enough time to really do all the things we set out to do once we're there. I was asked by WPPI to teach a PLUS class- a pre convention seminar the Thursday and Friday before the convention began. These 25 students were an absolute pleasure to hang with, and I thank each and every one for making it a great class. Teaching a PLUS class is always an honor, and I was proud to have been included with the top names in our industry in teaching one.
It's always a highlight for me to speak at the Nikon Tradeshow booth. Mon-Wed, I gave a talk on choosing the right Nikkor Lenses to achieve the right look on the wedding day. Myself, along with Joe McNally, Brian Marcus and Jon Solano, Cherie Steinberg Cote, and Tony Corbell gave our presentations to some terrific crowds. Also, on Monday evening Nikon hosted a Big Event that was capped off with a concert by Blues Traveler. A great time was had by all who attended.
My platform presentation was on Tuesday. That's always a blast. I really enjoy the energy of speaking to that many people at one time. I hope my message went over well- Hone your skills first, then you can develop your style. A huge thanks to Nikon USA for sponsoring this event.
Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of WPPI is the friendships that are established. I met my best friend, Susan Stripling, because of WPPI several years ago. This year, we had a blast with our friends from all over. You all know who you are!
The WPPI 16x20 awards of exellence print competition was also held during this week. It's perhaps the most coveted print comp in the industry. I was fortunate enough to win first place in the wedding photojournalism category, and the Grand award for Photojournalism. I couldn't be more proud if this accomplishment.
I've been asked by many about the winning image. I've posted it here on the blog in the past. My amazing clients, Bob and Amy Tigani, upon recessing after their ceremony in Wilmington DE, grabbed some flowers and walked out the back door the their church, St. Joseph's on the Brandywine. Now, I had no idea what to expect. I had my D3 with a 70-200 on it and I just followed them out the door, down a path, across a street, and into a cemetery. They stopped and shared one of the most moving moments I've ever witnessed.. Bob's grandparents, with whom he was extremely close to, were buried in that cemetery behind the church. Bob and Amy paid their respects, and I did my best to capture that moment from a distance. I was moved beyond belief, but realized I had made a very special image for them. It just happened to win the WPPI Grand Award for Photojournalism for 2009.
As I stated when I accepted this award, we're only as good as our clients. Thank you, Bobby and Amy, once again for allowing me into your world and letting me document this moment in your lives.
Here's the imageA huge thanks to master printmaker, Jonathan Penney, for his brilliant printwork and mounting. Give him a try!