PPA's Imaging USA Conference

Two little ol' gals born and bred in North Carolina rebranded a business together

and decided a good next step would be

continuing their education in the field of photography.

Who better to learn from than world-renowned

Professional Photographers of America

experst and vendors?!?!?

So off to Lu-AH-vul they went!

Kimberly Joye

Joye drove from her home in Knoxville, TN to Louisville - this girl loves a road trip and REFUSES to take the highways - it's all back roads for her because she loves a good landscape! Of course she found some beautiful places along the way for some good shots.


The drive was a little far for this one who's a touch bougie, so she hopped on a Southwest flight and was picked up by her bestie at the Louisville airport. Of course this social butterfly has a story about meeting a famous person on her RDU-ATL flight - see the end of this post!

Reunited and it feels so good!!

(Of course, Debby took this selfie with a piece of gum in her mouth - a photographer's PET PEEVE during photo sessions!!

Can you see why?!?!?!?!?!?

Imagine trying to edit THAT out!!??

Pro Tip: No gum at photo sessions!!

Downtown Louisville

These two are famous for thoroughly checking out a city they've never explored before,

and Louisville KY was no exception...

they put some miles on those Chucks!

You know from their social media posts they love a good church,

so this beauty did not disappoint.

And every artist appreciates another artist's work...murals paint the streets of Louisville.

First Night

Our introduction to our business's inaugural photography conference

was a terrific Keynote Address by Victoria Labalme -

her Risk Forward® talk set us on the path of inspiration we needed!

Imaging USA App

PPA put together a very comprehensive app for us to use prior to our trip,

during our classes (to take notes and find locations of classes)

and to refer back to after we got home to retain knowledge.

We relied on it BIG TIME to keep us on track for classes and to find vendors in the Exhibit Hall.

It also allowed us to connect with other people and add them to our Network!


There was no way to capture EVERYthing at the trade show

but we did take pics while we enjoyed these photo albums and the Skylab site for help with photo editing.

We also visited many other printing labs' tables, falling in love with the metal prints we found.

We saw so much camera equipment as well as backdrops and clothing closet and prop ideas.

All around us models stood at different exhibits - some dressed to the nines, some as brides, some boudoir, and some at the sports exhibits, hitting or throwing balls for the camera.

Classes..classes...and MORE classes...

This is why we came, right?

Being the little planners we are, we'd picked out classes ahead of time.

And we stuck mostly to them.

Except for when we'd accidentally end up in the wrong building's conference room!

Some were held away from the convention center in a nearby hotel and this tripped us up a couple of times!

Some of our favorite classes were:

  1. Light as Language - Joe McNally
  2. Connection through Content Creation - Erin Hernandez-Reisner
  3. "The Umbrella Academy: Create Unique Portraits Using Umbrellas" - Cris Duncan
  4. 5 Ways to WOW your Client Experience with your Processes - LaJune King
  5. You're an Entrepreneur: Own it! - David Trust
  6. Bridging the Gap classes and Q&As after in the Bridging the Gap Lounge

2024 International Photographic Competition

We did not enter THIS YEAR,

but so many photographers DID enter their work into the varied categories.

There were so many like Portrait, Family, Boudoir, Sports, etc.

but this was our absolute favorite image...

the same woman shot in all her different looks, a self-portrait perhaps, since she's in the middle holding her camera.

Free Time

We took ALL the photo opportunities!

At the "I heart PPA" and the "L'Ville" signs in the Lobby,

and with the Derby horse with roses and the PPA shrubbery wall

during our Meet and Greet session.

Debby mostly selfied on her way to (or in) classes...

and we had to get the one at lunch in the Old Spaghetti Factory (yummm!)

All good conferences must come to an end...

But this was such a great learning experience for the two of us!

We brought back some very practical ideas to put into practice

as well as having been uplifted by some of the more inspiring concepts

shared about our industry and being entrepreneurs.

We came back with a renewed optimism about our abilities and worth as women in business.



A few other things about our trip:

Debby got to meet the actual Peter Noone's Herman's Hermits band members on her RDU-ATL flight,

most notably Vance Brescia who chatted her up on the flight

then very humbly and sweetly allowed a selfie.

As he walked away, he gave her the most sage advice:

"Stay Groovy!"

We ate at the Omni Hotel's restaurant because we were STARVING our first night

but because we didn't have a reservation, we sat in the bar.

We had a super nice waiter and were surrounded by a HUGE group of very well dressed folks there for a fundraiser.

As we tried to watch the college b-ball games on the TV through their heads, we encountered the largest carrot we've ever seen!

Pictures don't do it justice!!

As Joye drove herself home (no short drive, may we add),

Deb got comfy in the Louisville airport for a few hours,

people-watching and occasionally napping.

Both of us made it home safely and started planning how to use this amazing information to better our business!

See you next Post!