Working remotely allows flexibility and the luxury to work from anywhere. The negative side? You typically don’t see your coworkers… except through a zoom screen.
But this year’s Boudoir Live 2022 Conference was different. To the team’s surprise, Manager Vivian announced that the whole team was invited to accompany Humberto, Jenn, and the Photography To Profits (P2P) management team to Las Vegas for Boudoir Live. There may have been some convincing from the newest addition to the team, me, Katy Dano. I really wanted to go to Vegas, but I also really wanted to know the faces behind the screen and maybe party a little with them as well. Even though we did have a lot of fun, the trip was a true learning experience. I learned about the inner workings of not only Photography to Profits and High Rollers Club, but also the stories and success of the various photographers that participated in the conference. The team was beyond excited and quickly booked their flights and packed their bags for Las Vegas City.
The team stayed for about five days and experienced professional photoshoots in the desert, an educational boudoir conference from High Rollers Club, gambling, and maybe just maybe some dancing on top of bars.
Five members of P2P as well as myself traveled from all different parts of the country just to be in Las Vegas for Boudoir Live 2022. There are more members to P2P as well as The Digital Marketing Studio, but sadly not everyone could make it out. The company originated in Miami, Florida, where three of the team flew from: Humberto, Vivian (who has been at the company since the beginning and is a manager), and Joelle (Graphic Design Lead). Ali (manager) flew from Kentucky; Kade (Senior Copywriter) flew from Alabama; and I (Marketing Lead) flew from Wisconsin.
Humberto flew out early. Vivian and Joelle had to fly at 6:00 a.m on Thursday! They definitely got to Vegas the earliest and took advantage by walking the strip. Their lack of sleep did not stop them from going out to the bars that night.
Ali flew in Thursday afternoon from Kentucky and was only delayed an hour. I was so happy she waited for me at baggage claim, because I had never been to Vegas before. This was honestly one of the first times I flew by myself and on top of that I flew in from a blizzard. So I was very happy to be in Las Vegas. A lot of us haven’t met in person so when I saw Ali at the airport I like awkwardly stared at her wondering if it was her, until she finally said my name. Joelle and Vivian were very excited to see us when we arrived to the hotel.
Kade’s trip was riddled with problems and cancellations. They were supposed to fly out Thursday morning and it got canceled. Luckily, Vivian rescheduled their flight for the next day. After four hours of sleep, they flew from Alabama to a layover in Atlanta. Unfortunately, their luck was still bad, when their connecting flight to Las Vegas was delayed early in the morning. We were very worried that Kade wouldn’t make it, but they made it just in time to go to the desert for the boudoir photoshoot.
After the day of hectic travel on Thursday, Humberto took the team for a well-deserved dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant. (Seriously the ravioli was one of the best I’ve ever had). This was also my first time meeting the boss in person and it was extremely intimidating. That fear did fade away when I convinced him to get us all shots of limoncello.
There were models from Cirque de Soleil, Magic Mike show performers, and models from all over the United States. The tall mountains and yellow sand created a special environment for the models and photographers. People set up chairs and beds for the models to use. There was a special hung chain for the Cirque de Soleil performers to use. The photo opportunities were endless.
After the P2P team checked everyone in, the photographers wasted no time. Ali and Vivian knew a lot of them from last year’s Vegas Trip. I was very intimidated, but I loved watching each photographer at work. Each photographer was armed with a camera and numerous lenses to use. Some even extra items, like a portable light generator and a small crystallized glass to create illusions through images. The photographers ranged in age and experience, but each one was extremely eager to take pictures. Jenn was among them trying to take every perfect shot and helping others throughout the day.
Every model had different body types and outfits. Some wore ballet shoes; another wore a wedding dress, and one even hung by mounted chains by their teeth. They had perfect model poses during the pictures, but they were definitely cold in the windy desert. I felt pretty bad, especially when the models posed for naked portraits. The wind must have felt awful. On the other hand, it was sunny and 55 degrees, which is a spring day in Wisconsin. So I was personally living it up in the mountains.
Swarms of photographers gathered around each model to snap every pose. The photographers weren’t afraid to ask the models to try new poses. You’d hear them say “arch your back” or “look to the left and smile.”
It was refreshing to see the skills and effort of each photographer in a prime environment. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging. Everyone was constantly moving and striving to get the perfect shot. One of the photographers of the event was me and it was exciting.
Being around established photographers who have made their living taking beautiful portraits can be intimidating to someone whose experience with photography was working with a camera for a single summer internship. With the help of boudoir extraordinaire Jenn Bruno Smith and her new lens, I got to feel what it was like to be a top-end photographer.
Before the Boudoir Photoshoot, I wasn’t accustomed to photographing people. My experience with photography was mostly with nature and objects. I’d never really photographed people before. It was completely nerve-wracking. What if I stepped in front of someone’s shot? What if I got the lighting all wrong? I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing.
Jenn was such a help to me. She made me feel so good about the pictures I was taking and offered advice when she could. She even made jokes to Humberto that I was going to be the ‘next big boudoir photographer.’ I think she was just being nice, but it did make me feel very good.
What I learned from the experience is that hard work pays off. This may sound like a cliche, but it’s true. Jenn even set it herself: ‘to be a photographer you need a good camera lens and a drive to do it.’
I also learned that you just need to try. I watched the photographers lay in the sand just to get the perfect shot. During a couples’ session, I witnessed them manipulate the model’s bodies into extraordinary shots. It might not have worked, but they tried anyway. They were not afraid to try and fail. It spoke volumes about their creativity and drive. It was truly inspiring and I would hope my work can compare to at least half of what they can do.’
Boudoir Live Conference
The beginning of the trip was full of excitement, but Saturday would bring a long day of learning about photography and boudoir.
The P2P team greeted each student and photographer bright and early at 8 a.m at the Mandalay Bay Resort Conference Room. Everyone stayed till almost 5 p.m. to hear the impeccable speeches of some of the top photographers and businessmen and women in the country.
Randy Smith mc’d the event and kicked it off by introducing and praising his legendary wife, Jenn.
Jenn’s amazing speech was followed by Katelyn Feinstein, Liz Hansen, Marco Ibanez, Humberto Garcia, and Michael Sasser. Each speaker spoke with eloquence and poise as they explained their perspective with their business as well as advised the students and photographers.
What was really interesting about the speakers is how different their stories were.
Liz Hansen started as a photographer in 2012 and her business boomed over the years to the point where she can just shoot the photos and has employees that handle marketing, booking, etc. Her success with her business truly boomed after she joined THRC.
Michael Sasser used to have models cancel on him constantly and now he works one week a month. It’s amazing how life can turn out.
These are role models in the industry and it was a privilege to have them at the Boudoir Live Conference.
One key takeaway from the conference that was the best advice came from Jenn at the very end. She talked about if you have the drive and passion and focus for something, you can achieve anything.
Most of the team is from Miami. So a lot of the team hadn’t met each other before the Las Vegas Trip, as many are from all over the United States. As Covid-19 changed the way of life, the team worked from home, which caused more employees to work outside Florida.
One might think this would have led to an awkward trip, but it was the opposite. The five P2P crew as well as THRC’s members, Kenny, Dalia, and Jose connected instantly, hanging out the entire trip. They would also connect with the rest of the High Rollers Club or the MeetNikki team and it seemed like they never got sick of each other.
Whether it was walking towards the Bellagio Fountains or arguing about the best sandwich shop, there was never a dull moment. It was an enriching experience to meet the people behind the zoom cameras.
The Boudoir Live Conference 2022 inspired the lives of photographers, students, and P2P members alike. It was a long weekend of absorbing photography information, gambling, and meeting and greeting. The connections we made will never be forgotten and the information learned will be utilized to make greater portraits and better human beings. If you’re looking for a great place to grow your business, The High Rollers Club and Photography To Profits are the places to go.
Humberto Garcia is the world’s leading photography business growth expert.
Founder of Photography to Profits and high-performance coach to multiple 6-figure photography businesses. Humberto coaches photographers from his special operations military experience and photography sales and marketing experience. After years of high performance in Marine Special Operations and building businesses, he knows what works.