My first time going to WPPI was in 2007. It's crazy to think how much has changed since then. I was young, relatively inexperienced and pretty “green” in our industry. I sat in the crowds, in awe of the teachers up on stage and wrote down all that I could in my notebook, trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible.
I distinctly remember telling myself “one day, I'll be up there”, and in fact, I recall making notes in the left margin of my notebook during each class I attended with observations I liked or didn't like about how each teacher presented up on stage. I made notes about body language, intonation, presentation style, use of visuals, flow, length, and so on. I did this because I knew one day I would be up there.
One thing you may have come to realize about me is that I work hard for what I want, and I am not a quitter.
This past year in Las Vegas at WPPI marks the first time I had the privilege of attending the convention as a speaker. My Master Class on Pricing for Profit sold out before the show even started. My dreams became a reality. You may recall Rob's recent article about “thinking big”, and that notion is directly applicable here.
What's even more exciting for me is the great feedback I received from all the photographers who took my class.
[highlightcenter]Making an impact is a huge motivation for me, and showing photographers how to become sustainable through sound business practices is why I do what I do.[/highlightcenter]
Many of the attendees to my WPPI 2015 Master Class told me that it was the best class they attended at WPPI this year, which is mind-blowing for me to hear considering the caliber of the other speakers at WPPI! I certainly don't want to take that title, because I believe there were way too many incredible classes to assign that kind of label to anyone, but I'll take it as a piece of positive feedback.
I put this little graphic together for you to show you some of the kind words that a few of my attendees gave me. I have a lot more feedback, but for the consideration of space, I thought I'd share these three for now.
The point of this post is simple; I wanted to share this milestone with you, because I believe it's important to dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams. I believe you can do the same.
I'm really looking forward to going back to speak at WPPI next year, as well as a few other speaking engagements I have coming up this year – Shutterfest in April and Canada Photo Convention in October. Hope to see you there!
Photo-credits above of me speaking are thanks to Robert Nowell and Valerie Durant. Valerie was at WPPI as the photo-documentarian to capture images during speaker's classes. She said she was taking photos in my class (and the other Master Classes happening at the same time) but was so interested in my presentation that she ended up staying for the entire class to learn! Afterwards, she told me in an email that she had taken 9 pages of notes and that she'll be completely re-structuring her wedding packages. She also said this, which completely made my day:
[highlightcenter]”Thank you for being such a helpful and inspirational industry leader, teacher and human being.”[/highlightcenter]
There is literally not enough room to thank everyone who's helped me in my career as a professional photographer and educator. You know who you are – thank you for everything.
Allow me to divulge in a few specific thank-you's here though. Thank you to my good friend Skip Cohen, who has been an incredible mentor, friend and colleague to me over the last year and a half. Thank you to David Williams who has encouraged me to continue improving and to keep reaching farther and higher. Thank you to my business partner in Sprout, Rob Nowell, who has always been there to support me. Thank you to Jason Groupp and Jodi Rosenblum from WPPI who have given me this opportunity. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, thank you to my family who has been so supportive, understanding and encouraging with everything I do, not only this past year and a half with Sprout Studio, but everything I've done over the last 10 years in my career as a professional photographer.
And to you, dear reader … thank you for your support. Thank you for your loyalty and your commitment to what we've built here at SproutingPhotographer.com. You inspire me, and as long as you stay hungry, I'll stay teaching. Thank you.