Imaging USA 2015
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Monday, March 16, 2015
By Heather
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It’s tough to convey what Imaging did for me.  It was awe inspiring, a bit intimidating and definitely a workout!  I think I walked an average of 8 miles a day (okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, but it was at least 5 miles).

I could bore you for hours talking about all the amazing things I learned, so I will stick to some of the highlights.  There were many.

First, to my travel buddy, Kyleen Olson Photography in Tracy MN, thank you for putting up with my parched palate, quirky personality, and for not snoring.  I had a ton of fun with you and cannot wait for our next photo adventure together!

This is the only image of us together at Imaging, compliments of PPA.

Let’s get down to business!

As a young girl, I annoyed my parents with my huge talk about how I was going to be a photographer for National Geographic.  Yep, I had BIG DREAMS!  I still do, but I am more realistic about them now.  I was so excited when the opportunity came to listen to Sam Abell during the conference.  Sam has worked for National Geographic since 1967.  He had so many personal and endearing lessons to share.  The words he spoke will forever be in my heart and mind.  Plus, he came across a case of one of his books, The Photographic Life, that is no longer available and had them available to purchase at the conference.  I literally got the last one available (there were about 50), and I felt really bad for the people in line behind me.  I have already sent a picture of myself with Sam, holding his book, off to the printers.  I really hope one day my children/grandchildren come across that book and find a personal note from myself and the picture and can treasure it after my passing.  You know, that random stuff you see on Antique’s Road Show!  Humbling experience!

Sam Abell and myself.  Thanks to Rob at Vantage Point Photography in Baltimore for snapping this image for me!

I also got the opportunity to run in the PPA’s First Annual Charity 5K event.  How cool is that?  This year I have been focusing on a lot of personal goals, and running is big on my priority list.  I was skeptical of running outside, in February (45degrees and rain), with only 3 weeks of training.  I am so proud of myself for pushing my physical limits (I don’t run outside in the cold, I am a sissy), and contributing to PPA’s affiliate Charity, Operation Smile! I do refuse to share an image of me running. 

Being a Natural Light Photographer, I did feel overwhelmed and out of my league.  It seemed like every person there was into complex or elaborate lighting systems, and so far, it’s just not been for me.  I am definitely inspired by them and hope to dabble in the world of lighting systems.  Even if I never use the technology for my clients, I love learning new things and having more knowledge.  My husband is not going to like this, lighting systems can get spendy, and I don’t have the room in my current in-home studio.  I am hoping that this next year brings me broader knowledge of all the tools available to me, as a photographer and artist.


I went out of my comfort zone on these images.  I have not dabbled in night photography, or live music, so I had to push myself.  I had a blast and all of the musicians were really good sports about it!

Thank you to Kyleen for this image of me "getting the shot".  This is what you do when you don't have a tri-pod!

The real mind blowing experience for me came from 2 different speakers.  Jared Platt and Bry Cox opened up the possibility of me becoming more efficient with my time in post processing. As a full time stay at home mom, my post processing editing time is key to time with my family and friends (along with getting the shot right in camera).  Since getting Lightroom 2 years ago, I knew it was the system I needed to be using, I just could not figure it out and was trying to find a nearby course I could attend, with no luck.  Who doesn’t want more time with family and friends?! 

The other speakers were awesome (Peter Hurley, Alex and Dan McClanahan, and Hanson Fong).  I took away some great knowledge from Imaging USA.  The best information I received was the support and respect for other photographer’s and artists.  We all start somewhere and all have dreams.  If someone is trying to better themselves in any aspect of their life, we should do everything possible to support and encourage them!  The world is full of Debbie downers and Negative Nellies, be greater than that.  Be a friend, a supporter, an encourager. Be an inspiration to others.

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can……..”Debbie Millman


Facts-The Imaging USA conference took place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville TN.  The building itself is 27 acres, boasts 12 restaurants, and offers many wonderful on-site amenities, like a spa, JR Olympic size pool, and several places for you to get lost (not speaking from experience of course).

Thank you PPA and Nashville for a wonderful time!

Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville TN

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