WPPI & Showit United 2012 ~ Chicago Wedding Photographer

As all of you (I’m assuming) know – I just returned back from Las Vegas where I joined 15,000 other wedding and portrait photographers for WPPI. Along with that I also attended some amazing classes and discussions at Showit United. I am still trying to wrap my head around all the things I learned and all the wonderful people I met! I have plenty of notes to review and a few new things I definitely want to implement into my business this coming year. It was such a refreshing and inspiring 4 days, I really don’t even know how to tell you about it other than – you had to be there!

I roomed with 3 other amazing, intelligent, and hilarious women that are also sponsors for A Practical WeddingKatie, Emily, and Allison. This was the first time I met any of them in person, and it was So. Much. Fun. I don’t know the next time I’ll see these ladies and it bums me out! Especially since Katie was such a gracious bed-mate and didn’t even kick me awake and tell me to move over when I decided to sleep diagonally in bed the first night! ha ha 🙂

I also spent lots of time with the lovely Emilia, Amanda, and Lauren. Thankfully these ladies live in Chicago as well – so we can get together again soon (hopefully)!! 🙂

I attended classes and workshops that I loved from the following absolutely amazing photographers and business people (that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already): Justin & MaryGabriel Ryan, Troy & Aimee Grover, Zach & Jody, Jose Villa, and Jasmine Star. Some of these lovely people are featured in my photos, but sadly – not all! To be honest, I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t take more photos on this trip, but I was SO busy running from class to class and event to event that I only pulled out my camera a few times when I remembered.

Anyway – here’s a little summary of my trip in photos! Enjoy! 🙂


As soon as my roommates and I arrived, we headed to Whole Foods where we stocked up on breakfast/lunch/snack food for the trip!

Emily and Allison wanted to pose/model the food. Little did they know – their faces were in the photos! 😉

Met up with my girl, Lauren, the first night we arrived. Love her! 🙂

Roommate picture! We tried to do a serious Vanity Fair-esque photo, but it just didn’t work (trust me)… so we smiled instead. 🙂

After dinner that first night we put on our walking shoes and headed out for a little photo safari!

Emily and Allison helped these guys check off something on their photo scavenger hunt! ha ha

Katie is pondering how New York New York definitely doesn’t live up to the real New York… 😉

Oh yeah… then we made a friend on the elevator ride back up to our room. Lucky for my roommates I was the only one aware enough to realize we were chatting with TONY DANZA (!!!) and kindly asked him for a photo with us while we were walking back to our rooms (he was on our floor). He was such a gentlemen and so kind! And dare I say – he clearly seems to think we are funny – right?! Oh Tony Danza…. 🙂

Then I didn’t take my camera out for quite a while. It is best that my 2nd night in Vegas was not documented well (other than on Lauren’s snappy-happy camera, and those photos will be burned… haha).  Anyway – this is Monday night – where all of the former attendees and models for Justin & Mary’s workshop met up for a mixer! It was so great reconnecting with everybody!

(On the left is Lauren & Amanda; in the right photo is myself with Jana & Justin.)

The totally adorable and sweetest people you’ll meet – Justin & Mary! 🙂

Some of the ladies! (Jana, me, Katie, Lauren, Mary, & Amanda)

Our Chicago crew… the gorgeous Emilia in the left photo, then myself, Amanda & Lauren. 🙂

I looooove me some Katie Jane! 🙂

Every so often they turned the music way up and this bartender got up there and danced his butt off! It was pretty amazing. Naturally, I had to document it.

He clearly liked the attention – look at him smiling at me! haha 🙂

My last day in Vegas I saw Jasmine Star speak at Showit United. I will admit it – I was really holding back tears early on in her presentation. I’ve never said this before – but finding her blog back in July of 2010 is what gave me the inspiration I needed to realize I could run my own photography business and that I could make it happen if I just put in the work. I actually wrote this post about it the day after I found her blog (and obsessively read basically ALL of it in one day). After that point I started posting to my blog 5 days a week and my business took off faster than I could have ever imagined. I never would have thought at that time that 14 months later I would be quitting my day job and going full-time with my business. Cra-zy. So, seeing her speak on Tuesday brought me back to that time in my life and it was so humbling to recall (and nearly had me a sobbing mess when I thought of how far I’ve come, in a big part – thanks to her inspiration back in July 2010).

We spent a good chunk of the remainder of that day exhausted and burned out – and since it was FINALLY nice out in Vegas (yay!) we sat outside in the sun, and got ‘sun drunk’ (as we like to call it)…. really we were just running on NO sleep & totally delirious. We literally were nuts – laughing harder than I have in a really long time about the silliest things! Also – I love when groups of people come together in a new place! I had my APW roommates with me, and my Chicago ladies – all in one place! I loved it!

Here’s a shot of all the APW ladies (minus Kandise, who was up in her room resting)… we are silly. 🙂

Love these girls! 🙂

The last image is from that morning I went to Justin & Mary’s Sunrise Shoot-Out… more photos to come from that workshop tomorrow! 🙂

It was such an amazing trip – and even more so than the things I learned – I was moved and inspired by the people I met! Thanks so everybody who was a part of my trip in some way! 🙂 xo!


check out OUR VERY



chicago & worldwide

Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!