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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pictage Partner Conference in Chicago, Day 1

Mom and I set off on our journey to Chicago for the conference on Monday afternoon.

Our flight left on time, arrived early, we got our car and made it to our hotel without any trouble! Once we were all checked in and had dropped off our stuff, we went straight to Giordanos for some stuffed pizza. Stuffed is kind of an understatement. I think the leftovers in the box we brought back to the hotel might have weighed 10 pounds. It was a little ridiculous and extremely delicious.

I had to be up and out for a meeting at 8AM with the other speakers at the conference. I had the chance to get my computer situated and make sure my power point slides were working with the projector (thanks Nathan for the help). We went upstairs to the opening session, which was followed by some time to shop in the vendor booths. If there's one thing to know about Mom and I when we travel, it is that there will be some shopping time included!

I have had my eye on a SHOOTSAC since they were announced, and I was super excited to walk into the vendor area and see these pink flamingos, indicating that the booth was nearby!

We got one! I am thrilled to get it in in a few more weeks. Mom used the flamingo as a wrist prop while working on her laptop in the room!

I went to several workshops that I enjoyed, but here's a shot from Nathan & Amber Holritz's workshop about Relational Affluence. I loved it. I also love them dearly.

I don't have any pictures of my workshop since I was busy speaking...but I am hoping that some will surface and I can add one or two here. I am pleased to say that my nerves diminished once I got started with the presentation, and I got some great feedback from it. I hope a lot of you have set up your Bloglines reader and that you are now reading this because you are notified of an update instead of checking it through a bookmark.

Whitney & Peter Carlson didn't come to my workshop because they live in Nashville and can hear me ramble any time. But they did stop by and give me a thumbs up right after it. I am thankful for encouraging friends!

Here's a great shot I caught of Amber making faces at me. This is different than her usual photo-face.

Of course it wouldn't be a conference without a picture of me & Amber together.

We met Heather Owens and Pam Long (her website isn't up just yet) during the vendor reception and were amazed at the great conversation we were able to engage in so quickly. We ended up all going to dinner together, and Whitney & Peter came along. My husband Brad recommended the Weber Grill so we went there and dinner did not disappoint us. It rocked. Pam was so funny - she just jumped up on this pole, and told Whitney to blow on her to keep her up there!

Whitney was intrigued, so she tried it herself. This was extremely funny, as you can see by her happy smiling face!

She got about 3 inches off the ground...well, maybe 6 inches.

Pam decided to help her out and get her legs up for her. She wanted us to photoshop her out of it, but I like it better with her in there! All Whitney needed was a cape! ;)

After dinner we came back to our room and crashed. I barely even looked at my computer. I got my pj's on, and started our Sleep CD provided by our hotel, and went to sleep before I ever finished the first track.

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Pictage Partner Conference in Chicago, Day 2

I started Day Two of the conference in a Millie Holloman's session about networking with vendors. It was really helpful and informative. It was Millie's first time to present at a photography conference too - so we were nervous together and I am thankful for her encouragement this week!

Here's Millie, Pepper Nix and me, sharing a laugh at lunch. Pepper's workshop was at the same time as mine, so I didn't get to hear her wonderful talk this year. She's so great.

Mom & me after we finished our lunch.

Kitty Maer watching Ollie Grazier, son of Enna & Matt Grazier, stuff turkey in his mouth by the handful.

This is Will Grazier, son of Enna & Matt Grazier, sacked out in his stroller under the flamingo.

Pam Long and Heather Owens are getting a lesson in processing in Adobe Bridge from Mike Clark - all three from Maryland. Note that I included this picture because of the random guy in the background...I don't know your name but you cracked me up!

Heather Owens and Pam Long (of Maryland) and Mom!

Amber Holritz and Shyla Dalirfar... Shyla was the event photographer for the conference and she was EVERYWHERE!

Joan Evans and Terry Resha of Clarksville, TN. Love this picture! :)

Whitney Carlson of Nashville, TN.

Lisa Allen, who put together this conference...she rocked the house!

This cracked me up. Mike Colon, one of the most sought after photographers today, taking Jeff Jochum's picture with his camera phone. Nice posing, Jeff!

Here's beautiful Danielle Adams of Murfreesboro, TN.

This was during the closing session. Pictage Exec Jeff Jochum gave us the inside track on strategic plans for the company. There are exciting things for photographers and for our clients in the works. I can't wait to share it all with you in due time!

After we said a gazillion goodbyes, we headed out for some shopping at a nearby mall until it was time to return our rental car and go to the airport. This is the poster that was up on an easel at the entrance to my workshop, and of course, Mom wanted to bring it home. So imagine how funny it was to walk through the airport next to someone carrying a large poster with your face on it. Here's Mom and my poster riding on the shuttle to the airport together. Thanks again to Anne Ruthmann for the head shot of me...she wasn't able to attend the conference because she just became an Aunt! Congratulations!

And here we are on the flight home. We have been "auditioning" airlines, and have pretty much decided that we are going to stick with United for our air travel. We have had the best experiences by far on their airline. We had a great trip. We also decided that the only thing missing from this trip was Steph. Next time, right?!?

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We're in the workshop!

We're doing a demo during our conference - A Step by Step tutorial on how to post a picture to your blog!

PHOTO: Group shot after dinner following our Nashville PUG Meeting in May.

**EDIT** This was a test post during my presentation at the conference. The title was "Blogging; (insert clever subtitle here)" and I walked folks through the process of blogging from start to finish. As soon as I figure out how to upload the slides from my presentation, I will do that so you can download the whole thing and read it for yourself. It applies to many many other businesses - not just for photographers!

Thanks for all of your support. I will add some pictures from today later on this evening!

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Monday, May 07, 2007

On my way to Chicago

We're headed out to Chicago today for the Pictage Partner Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday. You might remember me mentioning this trip on the blog about a month ago.

Here's the schedule for the first day. It blows me away that I am presenting at a conference where other photographers who are the leaders in our industry are also speaking. Denis Reggie, who has photographed 20 Kennedy family weddings since 1980, will be speaking during the first time block. You already know his work - remember this image of John Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette exiting the church where he is kissing her hand - it was a LIFE magazine photo of the year and is always shown on the news whenever they are mentioned - that is Denis's work. Mike Colon is up during the second block. He is also a photographer whose work I really enjoy. He photographs many runway shows and has had the cover of Grace Ormonde's Wedding Style Magazine more times than I can count. I am thankful not to have been scheduled opposite their time blocks - or no one would come to my session!!!

Click on the picture to see the complete schedule and then click on the photographer names to read all about them and their areas of expertise!

I'll be doing a live blog post during my presentation tomorrow to demonstrate how easy it is to become a blogger! Check back tomorrow afternoon to see the results!

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

April Pictage User Group Meeting in Nashville

Our April TN Pictage User Group (PUG) meeting was tonight in Nashville and we had a great time. Mirna Campos was our special guest speaker, joining us from Pictage to demo the Album Design 3.0 application. She did an excellent job and we learned a LOT! Thanks Mirna!

After the meeting, and our usual hour of standing around chatting, a bunch of us headed to the Cheesecake Factory in Green Hills for some dinner. I had the best chicken salad sandwich I think I have ever eaten!

Here's Amber and me...

Our whole group that hung out for dinner...

Mindy & Phil, Danielle, Mirna and me...

I wish Erin had shown her beautiful face here, instead of just her fun pink purse. I am shown here with my slightly sad and kind of amused face...

Joey & Amy and Whitney & Peter

This is such a great group of photographers and I am blessed to know all of you!!! Thanks to everyone else who came to the meeting tonight - we had 25 people - a high attendance for the last several months!

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blog-Love is so nice...

Below is a picture that I grabbed of my dear friend Stephanie Edens' blog today. She was so kind to give me a little "blog-love" today. I am honored because every single person in her town reads her blog several times a day, and to be featured on there is a big deal to me! :)

The reason for the blog-love is because I have been selected as a presenter at the upcoming Pictage Partner Conference in Chicago in May. My presentation will be "Blogging; Insert Clever Subtitle Here" and it will discuss in depth how I believe that a blog is an essential tool for a photographer to maintain relationships with clients (and to create future clients). If you're reading this, you are proof that it works! :)

Steph is also proof that it works, and she and her business (that is not even a year old yet) are going to be featured in my presentation. She doesn't even have a website - just her blog - and she does not have one open session or one free day until JULY. I mean...if that doesn't tell you something about her and also about the power of the blog, I don't know what does.

If you want to read Steph's ridiculously long and gushy but sincerely appreciated post, click the picture or click HERE. And if you are a photographer and want help with starting a blog of your own, I suggest you get registered for that Conference and my workshop today!

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Woo Hoo - Pictage 2 for 1 Prints!

You have one week to get 2 for 1 prints from your recent event on Pictage. I went back and re-released some events from the Summer and Fall so that you can take advantage of the promotion. Don't wait - it only lasts until March 8.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Pictage User Group Meeting, Take Two

I told you that Amber would have better photos to share from the PUG meeting yesterday, and she did not disappoint! Fun times. More on her BLOG.

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February Pictage User Group Meeting in Nashville

In the photography world, it is tempting to spend all of your time with your face buried in your computer. I am constantly working on editing images, or blogging (like right now) or viewing art to get inspired, etc. etc. etc. Yesterday I was able to break out of that a little bit and spend some time connecting with other people who love to do what I do - but we actually hung out in person! Brilliant concept!

Nathan & Amber came over from Chattanooga for the Pictage User Group Meeting (PUG) in Nashville last night. We caught some lunch at Judge Beans with J. and Tricia from LiveBooks. They were our guest speakers at the PUG Meeting, and they shared a lot with us about how getting images in front of our clients quickly is a major asset to our businesses. LiveBooks is expanding their website sales into the wedding photograher market, and from what they showed us last night, I think they will be very successful!

Since we were a little chilly, we stopped off at Provence for a hot chocolate (thanks Nathan) and to see some prints on display by our friend John Bamber. They are beautiful prints from some of his travels in France and they are on display and can be purchased at the Provence in Hillsboro Village.

Then we headed to the PUG Meeting, which was wonderful as well. We had several new faces and I was SO glad everyone came out. In addition to our regulars (Peter Carlson, Mindy & Phil Thornton, Joan Evans, Danielle Adams), joining us for the first time were Ray Allen, Dennis Minix, David Wright, Erica Erck, Kelly Lee Flora and Joey & Amy Pippin. Thanks so much to everyone for all of your input during the LiveBooks presentation! It was great to hear your ideas.

We grabbed dinner out together (most of us) after the meeting and then headed our separate ways. I am waiting for Amber to blog some more photos and then I will add photos were taken with a little point and shoot, but she had her big camera out all day long...I know she'll have some great shots to share!

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New Pictage Home Page

Have you visited Pictage's home page lately? I was so excited to click on it to begin uploading a new event and see the smooth new interface. If you haven't looked at your gallery in a little while, you may be pleasantly surprised with some updates to the look, feel and ease of use to organize and order pictures from your session.

What do you think? Did you notice it already? Any comments?


Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Bride Guarantee

One of the best features of Pictage from the Bride's perspective is the Happy Bride Guarantee. In a nutshell, this means that if you are entirely unsatisfied with your wedding coverage when you view it online, you can receive a 100% refund. I think this in itself is a reason to book a photographer who uses Pictage, because you get a promise that you'll be happy. Check it out.

Another feature is the Pictage Directory and Bridal Recommendations. After each wedding, Pictage sends the Bride a feedback form and she can leave comments about the photographer's work AND whether or not she recommends them to future brides. These comments are then published to our directory listing, so brides can see what other brides are saying. If you go to Pictage and go through the "Find a Photographer" searches, in Tennessee you'll see that there are only a handfull of photographers that are not 100% recommended. This tells me that photographers who use Pictage are working hard to make their clients happy, and I love that.

Just this morning I received a new Bridal Recommendation from Carmen Mabry, whose beautiful picture you're looking at here. Here's what she had to say - "Alison is incredible! She really is a talented photographer. She makes you feel comfortable & really listens to what you want while giving great suggestions you trust! I wouldn't think twice to hire her for any event."

I really appreciate Carmen's comments. Her wedding was gorgeous - awesome colors and unique touches everywhere. Carmen is also a makeup artist and she does a fabulous job for weddings - so if you're in the market for wedding makeup, let me know and I can hook you up with her!

Have a great day!

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