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Every year, PPA strives to bring education on the latest photography and business techniques to Imaging USA. We believe that there's great education for any type of photographer at Imaging USA--from wedding to commercial photography, the class tracks cover it all!

 

If you've got a certain photographic specialty you know you want to learn more in, you can easily sort the Imaging USA schedule by class track to be sure not to miss anything during the convention. It's a great way to plan your education schedule for Imaging USA 2014 in Phoenix. 

 

One such track is the aforementioned Wedding track. True to its name, this track is built specially for wedding photographers and will continue to advance your knowledge in these areas. 

 

The first available wedding class is the pre-convention Business Basics Workshop for Wedding Photographers. In this intimate, two-day setting, you'll assess the competitive wedding landscape and acquire those necessary, but too often avoided, business skills. Instructors , CPP, and , CPA, will walk you through the financial, tax and legal requirements of running your business, so that you are confident and legally compliant. It's a great way to kick-start the convention as well as your business in 2014.

 

Then, once the convention officially starts on Sunday, you can start your day by learning the art of capturing a moment from acclaimed wedding photographer, Ross Oscar Knight. In Moments Not Poses, Ross will teach you the three key components to document candid moments.

 

The rest of Sunday is open for you to explore other areas or the EXPO floor, but three wedding classes are on tap for Monday. Start your morning with a live demo class with . In Helping Others See, you'll learn the tried and true techniques from one of the world's top wedding photographers.

 

Next, you can learn tactics to establish a consistent workflow in Discovering Your Personal Vision with . Then finish-off your day with award-winning wedding photographer Roberto Valenzuela's Expand Your Vision by Gaining Control of Any Situation or Challenge.

 

On Tuesday, you'll be faced with the difficult decision of starting your day between two 8 a.m. wedding sessions.  will teach you how to Transform Your Studio and Unleash Your Greatest Potential while Carrie Wildes, CPP, offers the wide-spanning Build Relationships, Book Weddings, Get Published. Cap everything off with Photo Video Fusion from Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams.

 

Remember, these are just a few of the great classes you'll find at Imaging USA--there are so many more if you want to broaden your scope! Be sure to check the entire Imaging USA schedule and download the mobile app to customize your schedule. If you haven't registered yet, view all the Imaging USA registration options and pick the one that's right for you.

 

Read more about Imaging USA:

 

IUSA14 Class Track: School, Sports & Events

Your Tracks to Success at Imaging USA

#IUSA14 - 10 Things To Do in Phoenix

Someone Said Attending Imaging USA Is A No Brainer... Why? - Here are Ten Reasons to Attend

#IUSA14 - Hotels, Travel and Registration

Looking Ahead and Becoming Full-on Pro with Steve Kozak at Imaging USA

Be More Educated with #IUSA14 Pre-Con Classes

Pro Tips for Imaging USA

#IUSA14 Phoenix Overview Video

 

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Written by guest blogger, Danielle Brooks of St. Augustine, Florida as posted on theLoop.

The moment I booked my hotel it all set in. I was going to Imaging USA in Phoenix, Arizona. What in the world was I thinking!? How am I supposed to navigate a city I've never been to? I'm going to a conference where I know no one, and I'm pretty certain I will be the most inexperienced person ever to attend Imaging USA. Ok, maybe the last part isn't true, but it is definitely an overwhelming feeling to know I'll be in the company of some of the most experienced professionals in the field. 

You know how there are 5 stages of grief? Well I have officially run the gamut of emotions to know there are 5 stages of attending the Imaging USA conference. Here is my list of stages and what I did to overcome/prepare for them. 

1. Enthusiastically Overjoyed- As I said before, it wasn't until I booked my hotel that it set in that I was really going to the Imaging USA conference. A huge dorky smile spread across my face and I started jumping up and down. AHHHHHH!!!! I'M REALLY GOING! This is just what I need. This is just what my business needs! I cannot believe I'm going to have the chance to learn from the biggest and best names in photography!

2. Self-doubt/Nausea- It has set in. I am going to Imaging USA. Am I really prepared for this? I have never been to a photography conference before. How will I know where to go? What to do? Who to meet? I'm not qualified to go to this big of a conference. I live in the small city of St. Augustine, Florida (and proud of it) what am I doing flying across the country for a conference? My business isn't big enough for something like this. What was I thinking? I can't do this. When I looked at all the speakers and their accomplishments I felt deflated. I've never won any awards for my work. No one knows my name outside of Florida. These thoughts become so oppressive I felt like a little kid being pulverized by bullies. I finally grew a pair and said, "No more." I will not be limited by my doubts and fears. It is scary as hell for a photographer to fly across the country and attend their first conference. Money and time is on the line. They are the most expensive thing you can gamble with. I will not waste this time. I started feeding myself positive thoughts. I can do this. I am just as worthy as any other photographer to attend this conference. And slowly I rose from the ash of self-doubt and the nausea subsided. 

3. Acceptance- This stage was the shortest and simplest for me. I'm really going. Now what?

4. Prepare/ Nesting- Nesting is usually a term applied to women getting ready to have a child. And I guess going to Imaging USA is like having a kid. You are spending all this time and money to go to a conference, you don't want to waste your time and money. For me this meant research. I quickly found the Imaging USA Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts and followed/liked all of them. Next I started googling for reviews of the conference. What was the best thing that happened last year? What cool off beat things were there to do? What kind of swag did they get? The best way to prepare is to learn from others who have gone before you and to glean their gems of wisdom. I learned I should bring my own water bottle, it saves a ton of money instead of buying your own. I read a great blog that called the reader to analyze what they wanted/needed for their business before they stepped foot in the expo center. The reason for this is that you are walking into the biggest toy box of your life and you need a game plan or else you'll spend way too much money. For me, my plan is to find a printing company and to start offering print packages to clients. I also learned to bring a notebook and write down what I liked/disliked about each company. I will get so many flyers and information that by the time I get to my hotel room I will have a hard time remembering the little details about a company. 

5. Anticipation- I am bouncing back and forth between this stage and Stage 4. I am so looking forward to the conference. I am nervous/excited/expectant/overwhelmed. I am most excited about the adventurous possibilities a new town/conference will bring me. I am also eager to learn more about photography and business and how to apply that to my situation. I am glad this is happening at the beginning of the year. That way I can set new goals for myself and my business and have a whole year to implement them. I am 100% sure this will revolutionize the way my business operates. Most of all I am certain it will give me the confidence I need to follow through on everything I learn. 

Hopefully if you are a first timer to the Imaging USA conference this blog will help you to know you are not alone. It's ok to be scared, but do not allow that fear to paralyze you. Also, I'm sure you, like me are looking for a buddy to hang out with. Feel free to comment or connect with me. I would love to meet new friends. If you have gone to Imaging USA or any other conference for that matter, don't be an elitist. Take us under your wing. Introduce us to your friends. Pass on your knowledge to the next generation. Encourage us newbies. You are who we are really hoping to connect with. We would love to get a drink with you and learn from your experience. After all you were in our shoes at some point.
First things first! Register for Imaging USA 2014! Done? Okay, keep reading.

Gearing up for the desert heat yet? Well no need! We're going in January so it will be pleasantly in the low 70s--comfortable enough for you to explore Phoenix and the surrounding area. We recently sent a few staff out to Phoenix to sniff out some of the best local sights, sounds and snacks and will have a video coming soon with what they found.

But for now, here are a few options for your precious spare time at Imaging USA 2014. Keep reading to find some of the more fun and unique Phoenix-offerings.

1.) Be a Zookeeper for a Day

Zoos are pretty rad, but they're all pretty much the same, right? Well, the Phoenix Zoo is a pretty hip place. They host cool events like Rock 'n' Brew and even got their animals in on their version of the Harlem Shake. Plus, they're a non-profit just like PPA!

Also, we know you've walked around and seen someone feeding a baby penguin and thought, dang, what a cool job! Well apparently, at the Phoenix Zoo, you can do that (not the penguin part, but fingers crossed). No information is currently available on their website, but here's to hoping they bring it back!

2.)  Take a Hike!

Ditch the valley for a bit and climb around the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The Phoenix Mountain's offer enjoyable day hikes without even having to leave the city limits.

First there's Papago Park. The park features the aforementioned zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden, giant saguaro cacti, ponds, and geological formations like the Hole in the Rock.

There's South Mountain Park, the largest city park in the U.S., which features Mount Suppoa and Dobbins Lookout and houses an impressive chuckwalla population.

If you're looking for more of a challenge, give Camelback Mountain a try. Two trails over a mile long ascend 1,280 feet to the peak of the mountain, the highest in the region. Give yourselves a good 2-3 hours for this one.

Lastly, there's Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Mountain. The second-highest mountain in the range takes its name from SPC Lori Piestewa, the first woman to be killed during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the first-ever Native American woman in history to die while serving in the U.S. military. Take in views of the Phoenix valley and the surrounding mountains from the peak.

3.)  Shoot From Above

As photographers, you've probably all had days where you struggle to find a higher vantage point to shoot from. And if you're trying to shoot something as expansive as the Sonoran Desert, you'll want to get nice and high. But don't try to climb a cactus, we're talking higher. Like hot air balloon high.

Get carried away with Hot Air Balloon Expeditions, America's best and largest hot air balloon tour operation. We recommend taking a sunrise or sunset ride. Make it as romantic as you like, but, you know, bring your camera.

4.)  Bring Out Your Inner Cowboy

Are you after a true Wild West experience? Look no further than Western Destinations, located north of Phoenix at Canyon Creek Ranch. You can go horseback riding, stroll an authentic old western town, try the tomahawk toss and even duel the Governor for his daughter. No, seriously.

Just read this excerpt from their website:

At Western Destinations we represent a time when people were free, self-reliant and connected to nature. A time when the brave and adventurous left the humdrum of life in settled society behind and set off for the unexplored western frontier. As our guest, you too can experience the thrill of nature and the rugged beauty of the Sonoran Southwest the same way the original cowboys did.


Yep, we're in!

5.)  Take a Desert Tour...Day or Night...in a Hummer


So maybe hiking or horseback riding isn't your thing. All good. You can still ride around the desert like a boss in a military vehicle at Desert Storm Hummer Tours.

Once voted one of the Top 100 Adventure Tours in America by National Georgraphic, DSHT have provided exciting off-road tours through the Sonoran Desert since 1995. There are several different options to explore the desert. Daytime tours can include shooting off some AK-47 rounds or even a stop at Four Peaks Brewery to wash down the dust. Actually, you can even ditch the hummers and go straight for the guns and beer!

But for the REALLY adventurous, there's the Night Storm Tour. That's right, ride out and experience the desert at twilight with night vision goggles. Don't forget, most of desert wildlife is nocturnal! Sorry, no assault rifles or beer after dark.

6.)  Relax in a Pool & Spa...in the Outfield

By the time January rolls around, the Arizona Diamondbacks season will be long over whether they make the playoffs or not. But you can still experience Chase Field in a way no other baseball park can offer--in the pool.

No, you won't get to catch a home run ball, but the pool is available for rent year-round, it's the perfect way to cool-off after a long day at Imaging.

7.) Attend a Phoenix Coyotes Game

Did you watch this year's playoffs?! They were insane! No sport can match the intensity of hockey, a game in which players willingly lay their body in front of 100 mph slap shots, break their leg, and FINISH THE PLAY, have names as cool as Cal Clutterbuck and oh yeah, occasionally drop the gloves and fight.

The Phoenix Coyotes (yes, there's hockey in the desert) narrowly missed the playoffs this year, but boast one of the NHL's most exciting young rosters, led by all-star defenseman Keith Yandle. The Coyotes play at Jobing.com arena in nearby Glendale. The 2013-14 NHL schedule hasn't been released yet, but if the Coyotes are in town during Imaging, try to head on over for a game.

8.)  Find a New Instrument or Two, or 15,000

Museums are cool to see and all, but Phoenix has the most extraordinary museum you'll ever hear™. The Musical Instrument Museum is a bright and open space and home to 15,000+ instruments from around the world. Since photographers and musicians go together like peas and carrots, it's the perfect place to find some added inspiration while on your Imaging journey.

Obviously, music isn't just a visual experience, so you can hear them all too! But before you get a headache thinking about that many instruments playing at once, luckily that's not the case. The museum will provide you with a wireless headset (or you can bring your own) to take in the sounds of the museum. As you approach an instrument, you will enter a wireless hotspot which plays a solo or ensemble loop of music from that instrument accompanied with video.

It creates a unique experience that's personal and shared at the same time. So learn the history of the instruments you already love, educate yourself in the musical culture of other countries and who knows, maybe even find a new instrument that moves you. And yes, you can bang the gong.

9.)  Downtown Starts Here


Shop, eat, laugh, drink, dance, heck even bowl your way through CityScape Phoenix--the central hub of downtown.

There's Copper Blues rock pub & kitchen, heave your best gutter ball at Lucky Strike, work on your abs at Stand Up Live and grab some sushi at Squid Ink. Plus there are about 20 shops and restaurants to pick your way through. Best of all? It's right down the road from the Convention Center! Just use your feet.

10.)  Wherever You Go, Take 007 With You

Listen, we're big fans of everything listed above, but there's always a way to make it a bit better. And what better way than to take 007 himself, James Bond, out on the town with you?

You might recognize Dennis Keogh, and that's because he holds a striking resemblance to actor, Sean Connery. So much so in fact, that Keogh has made a career of impersonating Connery in his most famous role, as James Bond. You can hire him to bring some class to your evening, maybe even play a round of celebrity jeopardy.  

Just make sure the martini is shaken and not stirred.

So there it is, our little preview of some of Phoenix's hidden and not-so-hidden gems. Make sure you make the best of your spare time, and whenever you can, use the Light Rail to get around. It's quick, easy, and cheap!

See you at Imaging USA 2014! 


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