Jessica Holden Photography » My Photo Journal

Masthead header

WPPI 2013—My First Photography Convention!

Last week, I attended WPPI for my first time. In fact it was my first ever photography convention! Before that, I hadn’t been to Vegas in 25 years, so a lot has changed. It was FUN! My friend Alli and I met there. We stayed at the Bellagio (which is a gorgeous hotel!), and traipsed back and forth to the conference which was held at the MGM. I was so glad my friend Dawn showed me her Fitbit before we came, as that was definitely added incentive for me to walk as much as we did on that trip with a little less complaining—LOL! I took hundreds of photos, but I narrowed that down a lot when I got home as street photography is not my forte. Not a ton pf people pictures in here, but I loved the architecture and details in Vegas. I can’t wait to go back with Tom and Emily!

Our room and its view (Alli probably thought I was nuts when, on the last night, I leaped out of bed in the dark because I realized I hadn’t yet seen the view at night (since the maids shut the windows when they did turn-down and it hadn’t occurred to me to open them!); but since she is a photographer too, she understood…):


The Bellagio is absolutely beautiful, and felt far less smoky and full of drunken partiers (one of whom was impressed enough with Alli and I to show us both his skipping finesse AND his cartwheels—LOL!) than the other casino/lobbies we visited. The lobby ceiling was a glorious display of sparkling Chihuly glass, and the conservatory was a fun, eclectic combination of a beautiful springtime garden and greenhouse dotted with kitschy decorations that reminded me of parade floats. There was even a butterfly house! There was also a gorgeous bakery that held the distinction of housing the world’s largest chocolate fountain and some of the most beautiful cakes and desserts I’d ever seen! Next time I want to spend more time exploring the shops in the Bellagio.




Our days consisted of lots and lots of walking and cabbing from place to place, lots and lots of sightseeing both indoors and out, and lots and lots of photography information. And we managed to meet a number of ClickinMoms too, which was such fun! There were even a few more that I’d hoped to meet up with but we never managed to sync our schedules…







Night life in Vegas is, of course, amazing. We got to see Love, the Beatles Cirque du Soliel show, and though we hadn’t even meant to go (it ended up being an add-on to our Expedia deal that we couldn’t eliminate), it was definitely a highlight of the trip! And the Bellagio’s fountain show is just breathtaking, night or day…




Other highlights were the Candy Bar at the Canon party (Emily would have loved it!), seeing my image on the slideshow at the CM booth, having lunch and frozen hot chocolate with fellow CMers at Serendipity, the TVs in the restroom at the MGM (which Emily also would have gotten a kick out of), and hearing Elizabeth Messina speak at the best class ever. I have been a fan of her work for such a long time, and it was so gratifying to know that she seems to be just as wonderfully beautiful a person as her work implies. And she left me feeling truly inspired and like I am on the right track in my own work, which was tremendously comforting as I have been in such a creative slump lately that has left me feeling quite insecure about my work and unsure about where to go from here.


We spent our last night treating ourselves to a wonderful dinner at Olives at the Bellagio (thanks again to Dawn, both for her recommendation of the restaurant and for her suggestion to get a Cable Car—my new favorite drink that I am determined to make at home!), and I even did a little gambling—and won a whopping $32.24 on a bet of $1.20 (which I promptly lost, but still the momentary high was worth it!).


On our final morning we again had to get up early to check out and get to class, and by then we were both tired and ready to get away from Vegas and back home. But we had a wonderful trip, and I am so glad I went! I’m also looking forward to returning and doing it at a slower pace with my little family. We didn’t get to see Caesar’s or the Venetian, and there are more restaurants I’d love to try and shows I want to see. Vegas has so much to see and do!




  • Allison Jacobs - March 17, 2013 - 8:00 pm

    Gorgeous images! Love the starburst in the last one!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Potter - March 17, 2013 - 8:15 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! I’ve been once and it was truly an experienceReplyCancel

  • Allison - March 17, 2013 - 9:58 pm

    So gorgeous! That end one with the waiting car and driver looks like an ad for the hotel!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle DeMoss - March 17, 2013 - 10:18 pm

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time in Vegas. I’ve never been myself, but after seeing all of your lovely pictures, I know it’s a place my camera and I will love!ReplyCancel

  • Carla - March 18, 2013 - 8:29 am

    LOVE the pictures!! Amazing!!ReplyCancel

  • Tracey - March 18, 2013 - 10:53 am

    Ummm, WOW! Looks like you had plenty of inspiration in Vegas. You make it look so fantastic, I am inspired to go visit (never been!). Congrats on your first photog convention! I recognize the snow flake photo in one of the overhead pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Carey - March 18, 2013 - 2:57 pm

    So jealous and happy for you all at the same time. Truly gorgeous pictures!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Franny Rogers - March 18, 2013 - 9:57 pm

    You’ve inspired me!! I live here, and really don’t take advantage of all there is to see and do. I really need to get out more! I found you via Clickin moms, and really admire your work. How did you capture the Bellagio lights picture, what camera and settings? Beautiful pictures!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Holden Photography - March 19, 2013 - 3:27 pm

    Franny, thank you so much; that means a lot! Do you mean the Bellagio fountain show? If so, the settings were ISO 4000, f/5.6, and SS 1/20. I braced the camera on the railing in front of me to add stability since my shutterspeed was so low. If I answered about the wrong image, let me know; I’m happy to help! Oh–I was using the 5D Mark III.ReplyCancel

  • angela king - April 7, 2013 - 5:42 am

    these are absolutely amazing! i went to vegas for the first time last year and it is quite the experience. sensory overload but in the best of ways. looks like you had a great time!ReplyCancel

  • stephanie faust - April 12, 2013 - 10:38 am

    So beautiful!!! I just found you today on Clickin Moms and love your work! I shoot with Nikon but would love to learn some of your secrets.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Holden Photography - April 12, 2013 - 12:28 pm

    Hi Stephanie! Thank you so much for your kind words; it means a lot to me! I am happy to help; PM me on CM or Contact me through my blog any time!ReplyCancel

  • stephanie - April 15, 2013 - 6:46 pm

    Hi again! Do you a speedlight at all? Or do you just bump up your iso? If you do, what’s your diffuser of choice?
    Once again…beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Holden Photography - April 16, 2013 - 11:38 pm

    Hi again, Stephanie! No, I don’t use a speedlight. I intend to learn, but as of now I’m still all natural light. I do bump up my ISO–sometimes as high as 12,800, though I try REALLY hard to avoid going that high as the noise can get bad. I’m not sure what you mean by diffuser in relation to low-light photography? I use one for portraits on occasion to diffuse harsh sun. I’m not sure of the brand name but it’s a small one–36″. I really only bring it for portrait sessions, though–never for travel.ReplyCancel