Well, I'm back home from ImagingUSA in New Orleans and let me tell you, it was an AWESOME experience. My brain is so full I think I may explode. I'm just itching to sit down, go through my notes, and figure out a plan of action for how I'm going to use everything I've learned.
Here's my Mom and I in front of the converence center on a particularly windy day. Did I mention it was 75 degrees in New Orleans? Yeah, I'm about to freeze to death back here in Tennessee. My Mom grew up in Louisiana and Mississippi, so it was lots of fun to see New Orleans through her eyes. We went to a couple plantations and walked around Jackson Square (be watching for pictures to come!). We even got to drink Cafe Au Lait and eat beignets at Cafe Du Monde together. Something I've always heard her talk about. Since it's the beginning of Mardi Gras season, we picked up a King Cake to bring home to the family and share. She used to bake our family one every year. Oh, and my cousings live in NOLA, so we met up for some crawfish au gratin and live music. It was VERY yummy. That was my favorite at least. I tried fried crawfish, fried oyster, crawfish etouffee, and crawfish balls. It was all good, but nothing like the crawfish au gratin. Yum!
We didn't have a lot of time for sight seeing, though. The conference schedule was jam packed!
Here are some of my favorite speakers (In no particular order):
Zach and Jody Gray (http://www.grayphotograph.com/) - This couple is a wedding photography team in Nashville. They are all about turning their business into a unique experience that each new client just couldn't possible make it through their wedding day without. Great speakers. Extremely personable. Very cool images.
John and Cheryl Ridgeway (http://www.ridgewayportraitdesign.com/) - I was blown away by all the practical tips this couple had for newborn photography. I've have so much more information and so many more ideas, so send those newborns my way:)
Lindsay Adler (http://www.lindsayadlerphotography.com/) - GREAT resource about social networking tips and best practices, as well as resources for search engine optimization. She was by far one of my favorites. I would recommend you check out her books and classes if you own a business and want to grow it through social networking.
Suzette Allen (http://www.suzetteallen.com/) - awesome Photoshop resource.
Oscar Lozoya (http://www.lozoya.com/) - He is a great resource for lighting. He explains all the studio set ups, terms, and how to use. Awesome fine art images - I especially love his character studies.
Blair Phillips (http://www.blairphillipsphotography.com/) - Last but not least. We finished off the conference with this bundle of energy. He specializes in Seniors and has lots of eclectic backgrounds. I too love using different and unique backgrounds with each photo shoot, so love his work!
Since there aren't many pics on this blog, I just wanted to end with the only image I've edited from the trip so far. This is Lake Pontchartrain at sunset. If you look really closely, you can see the causeway way out on the lake. This bridge is 24 miles long. 24. It's pretty awesome to drive over water for 24 miles straight.
You should definitely check out the conference if you've ever considered starting your own photography business. Website is here: http://imagingusa.org/