My trip to San Antonio, Texas for Imaging USA this year was amazing! The city is beautiful, the weather was (decent XD), and it was so much fun networking and taking photography classes! If you've never been to Imaging USA, I should probably start by telling you it's HUGE. There is so much to do and learn that you can forget to eat half the time.
Classes start in the early AM so by the time you finally get to bed after the closing parties in the evenings (Or wandering around town enjoying the view), you have barely any time to sleep! They cram so much information into each hour and a half class that you really have to take a notebook or you are sure to forget everything you learn. The trade show is so big, three days is really not enough time to walk through it and thoroughly get to talk to all the vendors. (And as I learned, High Heels are not your friend on the carpet of the trade show floor.) I remember my first year, I brought home so many flyers, catalogs, and information that I almost mailed everything home because I was afraid my suitcase would be overweight!
So lets start at the beginning, sort of! Dave and I arrived at the Philadelphia airport and did not have to go through x-rays or pat-downs (yay!) for some odd reason. That started the trail of happiness for my trip because I had been stressing over that. We get through and head towards our waiting area and who do we see but none other than "Bobby G." Bob Golding, one of my professors from college and a friend! We find out we are taking the same plane and have the same lay over! In Houston we decided to go get lunch at this little sit down diner in the airport that made amazing Milkshakes. Dave was randomly pulled to have his bags checked (he must just have one of those faces =X). It was my first time riding with Southwest airlines, and I am so glad I chose them. The hostess were pleasant and very amusing telling jokes and singing all the information we needed to know about the plane instead of the boring monotone blabbering that I usually sleep to.
We arrive in Texas and Bob Wood (another professor) and a couple of the members of SPS, (Student Photographic Society - an organization I was the Antonelli Institute Chapter's Vice President of during college) had already arrived earlier that day! After checking into our rooms we headed out for Dinner and to check out the Alamo for the first time!
So anyway! Fast forward a day and my first class was with John Hartman, "How to become a better Speaker." Followed by meeting the rest of the Gen Next program and going over details, seeing the room for the first time, and then a short speaker meeting with the other speakers! After that I think I just went out to dinner with Dave and relaxed the rest of the night. (If you call practicing my program over and over relaxing. I had to tear my 1 1/2 hr program "Through the Looking Glass into another Realm, Using Fashion, Fine Art, and Fantasy to go from Mundane to Avante Garde" apart down into 11 minutes plus an opening video and get the timing perfect.)
I'm still waiting on Dave to give me photos of this super cute Scarlet Fairy outfit I put together from Imaging! The top, Waist cincher, and Top hat all made by my company!
The following day was our Gen Next program! I got to walk through the trade show for a little bit and then thought I was late due to the time change and ran to the rehearsal for the GenNext program. Needless to say, I got there early and just spent some time hanging out and seeing everything pull together. They had 5 foot by 7 foot canvases made up of our images, courtesy of Simply Canvas http://www.simplycanvas.com/
Every speaker's program was about something different and brought something new to the table. The goal from my part of the program was to teach photographers how to take their work from the every day photograph to something completely different and unique by showing what I use for inspiration and thinking about their own! To take a fresh look at what you are shooting and how you can bring "you" into it!
I have always been an artist and my style of fashion speaks for itself in my work. I take inspiration from just about everything, but I have always loved things a little on the darker sexier side. The outfit my company made for this performance was a little more Victorian/Burlesque inspired! (Thank you Lauren! for the image below!) This was me right before going on stage all excited and pumped! Kawaii no?
I was able to meet and talk with Emotion Media that made my amazing HD media video of my images for the opening of my GenNext program. They are an amazing company, if you are a professional photographer, you can find them here: http://www.emotionmedia.com/. I also met with a new vendor called "Song Freedom" that provides music for videos and such! http://songfreedom.com/!
I got to visit my lab, Millers http://www.millerslab.com/, and see all the new products they've been making in person. I've decided I love them even more since they actually listened and took notes on some changes and new products I would like to see in the future!! If all goes well, I might be offering some new products soon!
I also met up with Lisa Larkins of the album company, GraphiStudio that I use. I have talked with her several times before and she has been wonderful helping me with my album orders! We might have some stuff bubbling in the cauldron, but I'm not going to say anything else until I have some definite facts! http://www.graphistudio.com/.
I got to meet Tana of Wild Sorbet face to face -- I adore their brightly colored whimsical frames! https://wildsorbet.com/ The list just kind of keeps going and going so I'll probably cut if off there, but it was an amazing tradeshow and I found a lot of awesome new vendors to check out ;)!
That night I went out to dinner with all of Antonelli and SPS! I forget what the restaurant was called, but they specialized in BBQ =)! The meals were HUGE and the drinks were like the size of a bottle, haha. Everyone had a fun time.
(I love my Scarlet Fairy tiny top hats!) And then spent the rest of the night out and about around the Riverwalk. It was lots of fun, but apparently between walking the convention and everything I pinched the nerves in my feet! Still icing the silly things, hehe!
The plane ride home the following day was a trip. Most of my friends from SPS had all booked a separate flight home. Dave and I get to the airport to find everyone waiting to board the plane.. apparently they had overbooked their flight and they were offered another flight home + bonuses... Long story short, we somehow all ended up on the same flight after our next layover to fly home! Fun trip =)!
All in all, it was such a great experience, as Imaging USA has always been for me over the years. I hope to keep seeing new faces as I continue to travel, learn, and speak!
So Next year, Same time -- New Orleans!!! I hope everyone is excited, I know I am!!!