Imaging USA 2018: Nashville

Last month I travelled to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Imaging USA which is Professional Photographers of America’s annual convention. It was my first time attending Imaging USA and it was a wonderful experience. Everyone was surprised that I hadn’t been before because I have been an active member of PPA for many years. I’ve just had pregnancies and nursing babies and other excuses not to go in the past. This year I made it happen. I went to some amazing classes and I am so excited for some new things I am going to be rolling out in the next couple of weeks. I am already excited for next years conference in Atlanta.

I was particularly excited to go to Imaging this year since it was in Nashville. I’ve always wanted to go to Tennessee. My grandparents went on a mission there when I was in junior high and other relatives have been there over the years. Mostly it was great for me to get away and do something for myself. As a mom of young children I feel like I am always chasing after something. I’m so busy taking care of kids and my family and running my business that time for myself gets pushed to the bottom. So this trip was a lifesaver. Not only was the conference excellent, I went to a concert, visited a historic house and got a massage. Super dad was home taking care of the girls and it felt good to only be doing things that I wanted to do. I also didn’t have to watch Peppa Pig or Daniel Tiger once! Brrr it was was cold though! Who would have though there would have been more snow in Nashville than in Utah.

Here are some thoughts and highlights from my trip:

The Opryland Hotel is fantastic. This was where all my classes and evening parties were.

These ladies are part of my photo family. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive group of photographer friends.

The first night a small group of us went to The Grand Ole Opry show at the historic Ryman Auditorium. (They only do the show there during the winter.) What a thrill! That makes two bucket list items checked! This was where Bluegrass music was invented y’all. I went back later for a tour and the history of this theater is super impressive.

Visited the home of Andrew Jackson. I am a history nerd and love antiques so this was a win.

We had one afternoon to wander around downtown. It was 17 degrees outside. Brrr.

I’m going to get a little real here. One of my biggest takeaways didn’t come from any of the actual classes but from the Opry show on my first night. I go to a lot of business seminars and lately there has been a lot of talk about being authentic especially in marketing and client communications. Instructors are always telling us that we should be “authentic” but in a classroom setting it is discussed in an abstract way. Authentic is another way to describe being “real” and not “fake” and being more vulnerable. And while I don’t feel I have been fake in any of my posts or client communications I haven’t been sharing my whole heart either. I try so hard to make everything polished, maybe too polished. Sitting in that historic theater I think I fully understood what truly being authentic means.

Part of the nature of the Grand Ole Opry lends itself to authenticity. There is usually around 10 artists who each only play two songs. To even be invited to play at the Grand Old Opry you have to be an established artist of some reputation. We had two hours of wonderful music from super talented artists. I thought I was a fan or country music before but I realized that what is on the radio is just a small part of a bigger musical picture. It was brilliant! All sorts of artists — bluegrass, 60s and 70s artists, some up-and-comers were represented. How had I never heard of Whispering Bill Anderson before? He was amazing and so charming. There wasn’t pressure on any of the artists to play their greatest hits like at a typical concert, they were trying out new material and playing stuff they enjoyed. So fun.

The headliner of the night was Vince Gill. He came out with just him and his guitar. He didn’t bring his band. He didn’t play and of his hits. He came out and talked about how much he loved his family. His daughter had a baby the night before and he showed us pictures on his cell phone. It was so touching. Then he played a song he wrote when his daughter was a little girl and then a cover of a song by the Everly Brothers. (The new granddaughters name is Everly.) This is a guy who is super famous and has won every musical award out there multiple times — and he was so very real.

When I came home I found one of the songs he sang on You Tube. The song reminded me of my little girl because she likes trains too. It must have been a popular song at the time since it was covered seven times (all in the 1990s) by people like John Denver and Mary Chapin Carpenter. However I don’t think there could have been a more authentic performance of this song than on that night at the Opry, with the man who wrote it talking about his love for his daughter and grandkids.

Which bring me to my promise. This year I promise to more real with y’all and share more about what is in my heart. When I share about my products and my photography know it is because I really believe in what I am doing. I love history — especially family history. I believe in printing your photos and hanging them on your walls. I believe that all couples need a heirloom wedding album to pass on to their grandchildren. I believe different phases of your life should be documented in this way. I plan to share more about all of this so stay tuned.


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  • Kris Doman

    Amen! It was a fantastic week with you and I love your take-away. Keep the Faith, sister!

  • I have always wanted to go to Nashville!! And it sounds like it was definitely worth the trip.