This is SO crazy to think about, but this year was our EIGHTH time speaking at WPPI (and 9th time attending)!! For those of you who don’t know, WPPI is the LARGEST photo conference all year for wedding & portrait photographers, with something like 16,000 people heading to Las Vegas every year to attend! I can still remember our very first year going….this was back in the day when it was still held at Bally’s & Paris. We were SO lost! Literally…when everyone else was going up the escalators, we were going down! We didn’t know anyone…and at the same time we knew everyone. Every face we passed in the hall was a photographer we had looked up to SO much, but didn’t have the courage to say hi to. We felt like one very small fish in a HUGE ocean. And it was so easy to feel like what we were doing didn’t matter.
Fast forward one year to our first time speaking, and they put us in one of the really SMALL rooms (as they totally should have because we were babies and had no idea what we were doing!) and I remember being SO excited and jumping up & down in our hotel room afterwards when we packed out the smallest room at WPPI! You have to celebrate ALL the victories along the way, friends! But I also remember right after we spoke going to another Platform in the really, really, REALLY BIG room at WPPI. Well, it’s actually THREE rooms combined into one, Rooms 313-316, and it is massive. I remember sitting in the very back of that room with the speaker looking tiny on stage, and me feeling even smaller in my seat, and thinking to myself: we aren’t cut out for the REALLY BIG room. And we never will be.
Well, fast forward another seven years or so (good things are worth waiting for and worth WORKING for) and not only did we get put into the really, really, REALLY BIG room….but when we walked down an hour before to set up, there was one of those huge, long, wrap around lines that went all the way down the hallway like we had only ever seen for other speakers all those years before. Never in a MILLION years did I expect this to happen you guys, but once they started letting people in…by the time they were done it was standing room only in that crazy big room!! What the WHAT?!! Now I don’t tell you this to tell you how awesome WE are. I really don’t. I only tell you all this to encourage you of three things:
1) Don’t ever convince yourself that you aren’t cut out for BIG things or that you are destined to spend your life playing small. God has SUCH BIGGER things planned for you than you could ever imagine right now. Be willing to let the whole story play out.
2) Good things are worth waiting for and worth working for. But also remember to open your hands and let God take the reigns. For seven years we STRIVED to get into that really big room and did everything in our power to force it to happen. It never did. This was the first year when we just threw open our hands & said “Whatever you have for us God, just help us to go up there & change lives,,, however many that may be.” And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this was the year that it happened, or that the whole time we had such a PEACE about how it was going to go. God gets ALL the glory for that.
3) And here’s the big one. We have been the people sitting in the very back of the room feeling so small or the people in the hallway who felt like no one knew our name. And, we have also been the ones at the front of the room on the stage. And what I can tell you is this. What you are doing here matters. It has nothing to do with how many people know your name…if you are one of many or the one on the stage. Absolutely nothing. What you are doing here MATTERS because you are the one shining a spotlight on others. You are telling their stories. Helping them create a legacy. Mattering in this industry and this world never had anything to do with how many people are looking at you. It has everything to do with how you see other people.
So here’s to every small victory along the way. Celebrating it. And then getting right back to work.
**A thank you to all the folks who posted on Instagram, we shared some of them below! And a HUGE thank you to our new friend Easton Reynolds of Lurey Photography who was SO kind to grab some amazing shots of us in action at both our Platform & at the Profoto booth (all of his shots are marked below!). He also included us in an article he wrote for SLR lounge that you can check out HERE!
Ahhhhh this was the view when we first walked in! Echooooo, echoooo! That was a LOT of empty seats staring back at us!