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02.03.2014

What is WPPI?

Photographers, can you feel that excitement in the air? Do you see all the posts about it on social media? That’s right… WPPI is around the corner!!!

So what IS WPPI you ask? Here’s how it is described on their website:

About the Show

WPPI Conference+Expo is the premier industry event for photographers and filmmakers specializing in the creative and business aspects of wedding and portrait photography and filmmaking. Each year, nearly 13,000 professional and aspiring photographers and filmmakers attend WPPI to learn new techniques from industry leaders, build new relationships to grow their business, experience new products and solutions from major manufacturers to improve their productivity, and enjoy the many attractions in Las Vegas. WPPI is a week-long event combining educational seminars with a major industry trade show and networking events, all designed around learning the latest techniques, building new relationships and growing a business in a friendly, fun environment – all at one time, in one place.

  •  Learn superior technical skills and new shooting styles
  •  Build new relationships to grow your business
  •  Experience new products and solutions from major manufacturers
  •  Discover competitive and affordable ways to grow your business
  •  Meet some of the world’s finest photographic instructors
  •  Make an investment in yourself and your future

The WPPI 2014 Conference + Expo, will take place on February 27- March 6, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

All of that is true! WPPI is the perfect example of an experience in which you get out of it what you put into it. This will be my third time at WPPI, so I figured I could shed a little light on HOW to make the most of this incredible event.

My first suggestion is decide what you want to walk away from the show with. Is it business education, lighting, shooting, networking, hands on classes? It’s very easy to get off track with all the amazing events happening there. I always like to go in with a plan.

Some classes at WPPI you must preregister for. Some examples of those are WPPIU, Master Classes and Plus Classes.  Some, you can preregister for but can also attend the class as you would like (if there is room), such as a platform class. If you want to see what the difference between all the classes and what they have to offer you can find the descriptions here: http://www.wppionline.com/wppi-show.shtml

I personally love the intimate nature of the Master Classes. Hands on classes are also invaluable. I will be teaching a WPPI U class on Boudoir as a matter of fact. I love working with photographers in a hands on setting. There is no better way to really see how a photographer works and get feedback on what you are doing right as well as what you can improve on.

In addition to the classes there is a 3-day Expo in which you can meet with different vendors, see their products and meet face to face with all those wonderful people you email with all year.

It’s so important to make use of your time at the Expo. I often see people wandering around aimlessly looking for something to strike them. Although that may be understandable on day 3, after you think you have seen it all already, I do suggest to really use your time at the Expo wisely.

This year, there are a few booths I don’t want to miss. I will be starting at the Sigma (booth #521). They have some amazing new lenses including the  24-105mm. I also hope to catch a peek of the new Sigma 50mm and see how it feels on my camera.

When I visit the different booths, I take pictures and make notes so I can remember what I saw. I meet the customer service people that I drive crazy all the time and I thank them. Also there are plenty of specials to check out there as well. The expo is not a place to be shy. It’s fantastic for networking and connecting with other photographers and vendors alike.

I will also be checking out the judging of the Image Competition. It’s an incredible chance to learn what makes a really successful image in the eyes of many well respected professionals.

Ok so let’s get into some other really helpful tips that are going to help you get through your time at Vegas.

First, find a roomie! There are so many amazing photographers headed to Vegas. It’s very easy to find someone fun and trustworthy to share you hotel room with. Trust me, you won’t be in your room that often so the money will be better spent elsewhere.

Things to bring with you: Lip Balm, gum, refillable water bottles (drinks there – even without alcohol – can get pricey) and Snacks.

In fact you don’t have to bring snacks with you. I have heard of people getting a  room at the MGM Signature with a mini kitchen. Then they order food to be delivered from Vons (www.vons.com). What a great idea to save money and try to stay healthy.

Let’s talk about clothing. One word: Layers. The expo hall can be warm while the classrooms cold. The hallway in between could go either way. Days are warm and nights are cool. The more options you have the better. A cardigan and a light scarf can go a long way.

Be nice to your feet. Get comfy shoes. I am always sure I can strut around in my heels for days with no problems, but I fail every time. I usually end up in my flip-flops by day 2. Hurting feet lead to less fun.

Bring lots of business cards and carry them on you. Also bring a card case in which you can put the cards in that you collect from others, this way you don’t misplace them. Large bags can get really heavy when carrying them around for long periods of time, so keep that in mind as well.
There are a lot of great FB groups dedicated to WPPI with more tips and tricks. Check those out ahead of time. It’s great to connect with fellow photographers before you go as well.

There are so many speakers and teachers at WPPI that deserve your attention. If you are interested in checking out my classes in addition to WPPIU, you can check me out here and here.

See you all in Vegas!

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