When we leave the photography conference of WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) we feel like we can take of the world. Our spirits are high, our heads filled with ideas, and our wallets a little lighter. The conference, held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, has roughly around 15,000 photographers in attendance each year! Wowza–that’s a lot of photographers itching to learn and grow!
With so many options for classes to attend Alex and I love to do the “divide and conquer” thing to get the most out of the experience! These classes are broken down into every subject matter; marketing, posing, lighting…..the list goes on and on. Plus at the end of the week there is a HUGE three day trade show that we love attending to touch, feel, and see all the new products/gear available!
If you are a professional photographer thinking about attending this amazing conference I have a bit of advice for tackling the conference head on;
1.) When you register for the conference online make sure to pre-board for classes! Big name photographer’s classes fill up fast, so by pre-boarding you are guaranteed a spot!
2.) Book all your travel through a travel agent! This will save time and money! I book every single trip of mine through AnnMarie of Travel Connections in Escanaba, MI. Seriously–she is amazing! She set us up with an amazing room at the new Signature Towers of the MGM Grand, round trip flights, and shuttle to and from the airport. It was the easiest thing we did.
3.) Bring comfortable shoes! With all the walking just to and from the conference center your feet will thank you! Plus, don’t forget there is all the walking around to sight see in Las Vegas.
4.) Network, network, network! With so many photographers in one spot you never know who you are going to bump into! We carry around business cards for that very reason. l can’t even begin to tell you how many wonderful photographers from all over the world we met! It’s a blast to talk to people that are in the same career as you!
5.) Attend the classes! Yes as simple as it sounds Vegas has so many distractions, things to see and do; heck even wanting to sit outside the 90 degree weather is a distraction. If you want to still be a tourist, then plan an extra day or two onto the trip.
6.) Notes, notes, and more notes! It doesn’t matter how you take the notes (iPad, computer, or good old fashion pen and paper) just as long as you are writing down what you are learning! I can’t tell you how many things I forgot about until I looked back upon my notes.
7.) Plan a photo shoot while you there! Try to plan to do an hour long photo session! You can look up someone on Model Mayhem, try to findsomeone in the area by giving a shout out on social media, or just ask another photographer to model for you! Either way, apply all that you are learning onto an actual photo shoot. We were fortunate enough to have two wonderful session in Vegas! A Dreamy Desert Engagement session and a fun family shoot!
8.) Apply what you learned! With the overwhelming amount of information, new products, and networking it’s hard to keep it all that information organized to put it to use in your business. Take what you learned and build it onto your already existing business model. Don’t scrap what you’ve been doing for years (unless it’s not working at all) and start new–it will get mind-boggling and in the end you’ll just want to give up. Tackle doing to the new things in small, manageable bits. We try to give ourselves two new things a day to work on at max! Trust us, this will help keep you sane.
On top of being at this great conference, we were delighted to have a couple other U.P. photographers join in on the fun in Vegas! One of which, Daniele Carol Photography, was fantastic and snapped a few updated photos of Alex and i! It has been nearly 4 years since the last time we’ve gotten professional portraits taken, so needless to say we were long overdue! Huge thank you to Daniele again for it!
Another fun event we attended was the Lazers & Blazers party at Vanity Nightclub inside the Hardrock Hotel. This hipster/photography party was one of the highlights of our trip! We danced, we photo bombed the photobooth, and we got to be part of one EPIC harlem shake video. All in all–it was fantastic!
Speaking of Harlem Shake videos–we all decided that we should do a WPPI version of the Harlem Shake! Cameras, reflectors, and oh so much more. Rather than chatting about it–just click the image below or follow the link here.
As sad as we were to leave Las Vegas, we were even more excited to get back home and put to use all that we learned in that week. Now is the time to start planning how we can tackle the world head on–or at least Marquette. We have big plans in the works and we can’t wait to announce it all! Until next time WPPI, it’s been fun. Xoxo-Jen