A few years ago I decided I was not going to hesitate on decisions that I believed would make my life fuller. As much as the simple details matter, it’s also the amazing experiences we create for ourselves and those around us. This includes my decision to leave teaching last year, which in turn led to me purchasing a ticket to Las Vegas to attend the WPPI Conference and Expo for the first time. I was lucky enough to have three other amazing, professional women travel with me: Ashlee Hamon, Sophan Theam and Cat Pennenga. I don’t think there is a smarter way to approach any big trip than to share expenses and experiences with a group of good friends. I cannot thank them enough for not only helping, but enhancing my first time in Las Vegas. “Life is like traffic. You just have to be stuck in it with the right person.” I said this a while ago and it bleeds true. As long as you have the right people in your life, your experiences will be rich.

While the thrill of spontaneity is butterfly-inducing, there was definitely a learning curve for all of us. Ashlee pointed out many of these items in her blog post you can read here. It’s extremely informative and since she has written it so well, I am going to try not to be repetitive. I will say that it was incredible and memorable. I think any trip you take, especially one for your career, should leave you with much to ponder, improve on, be inspired by and hopefully the knowledge to do so. I learned from some of my most beloved photographers such as Sam Hurd, Jeff Newson and Dylan & Sara. One huge takeaway is this: break rules and do what inspires you.

A very inspiring part of our time there was the mini-shoot in the desert at Red Rock Canyon. It was hard enough going from a subtropical climate to a city surrounded by a desert, but then actually going to the desert where the temperature dropped so much that we had sleet was insane! This was easily the best part of my time there, which led me to realize I should be exploring, traveling and shooting WAY more often.

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How can you not be inspired by this type of beauty?  We were awestruck.Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-25_blogThen this beauty, Sophan. All 3 of these ladies are stunning, as you will see in the subsequent images.Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-27_blog Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-30_blog Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-35_blog Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-31_blog Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-33_blog Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-39_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-18_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-8_blog

This is Ashlee in all her neon glory.
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This gorgeous ginger is Cat.
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The sun came out to play, too, and it played well with Cat’s hair!Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-70_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-71_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-74_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-75_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-79_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-91_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-92_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-95_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-99_blogRed-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-102_blog

We were freezing… or beyond freezing. However, we still managed to get out the speedlights and Westcott Rapid Box.Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-104_blog Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-106_blog Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-112_blog Red-Rock-Canyon-Las-Vegas-WPPI-2015-Desert-Portraits-113_blog

My advice: try WPPI at least once, if you’re ever in Las Vegas definitely go to a desert to shoot and in general just take time to shoot what you love and what inspires you. Thank you again to Ashlee, Sophan and Cat for being my wonderful mates during an unforgettable week. If you’d like to see some other photos from the trip or of mine in general (some taken with my phone) follow me on Instagram @regina_as_the_photographer or click the icon at the bottom of this page.