WPPI 2015 Convention Recap – Las Vegas, Nevada
Every other year or so, the Femina ladies pack up and head west for a week of education, inspiration and adventure at the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) Conference + Convention. This conference draws thousands (and thousands) of photographers from all over the world to connect, learn and hang out together. One of the biggest and (we think) most significant aspects of the Convention is the WPPI Annual 16×20 Print, Album and Filmmaking Competition. Amongst one of the most prestigious competitions of it’s kind in the Wedding and Portrait Industry, it is truly an experience worth doing! Here is a little breakdown of the week’s agenda and how we made the most out of our trip!!
Saturday 2/28 & Sunday 3/1- WPPI Print Competition Judging
As soon as we stepped off the plane Saturday afternoon, we knew we had to make the most of the afternoon and headed straight to the hotel (bypassing check-in) to make it to the second half of the print judging that day (the Convention is held at the MGM Grand and we stay at the MGM Signature Suites – a breezy 15-20 minute walk from one end to the other!). We go into great detail about the WPPI 16×20 Print Competition here in this post, but we’ll mention that it’s 8 hours straight of print judging and the prints are shown in a random order. So we sat in the audience anxiously waiting to see if one of our images happened to come across the screen without really knowing exactly when that might happen. It’s definitely an exciting, yet nerve-wracking experience!!
Sunday 3/1 – Platform Class & WPPI Print Judging
Another one of the great advantages to the convention are the slew of classes you get to choose from. Some of the classes come with your standard convention pass admission (Platform classes) and others you have to pay extra for (Master & Plus Classes). Regardless, every class has something to offer every photographer, from beginners to advanced shooters. Once the class schedule is posted, we comb through them carefully and to help maximize our time for the week, we only choose classes that we feel would be most relevant to us and our business. We kicked off our class sessions on Sunday morning with “Go Viral & Get Press” with Mike Allabach and Jaleel King! Then it was off for some more observing during the print competition.
Monday 3/2 – Tuesday 3/3 – Master Classes
Each day that we’re in Vegas, we start off bright an early with Starbucks in hand so that we can get the most out of our day! Thank goodness there’s a Sbux at every turn in the MGM Grand, ha. We usually like to begin with an 8am course to dive right in and get our brains moving. Some of the classes we attended in this two-day period covered a wide variety of topics, here’s a sampling of some of the classes we took, “Blogging to Dominate Your Market”, “Anatomy of a Fine Art Print” and “Copywriting for Photographers: Create Compelling Content.” At this point in our business, we are really focusing our attention on customer service, building lasting relationships with our clients and growing our web presence as a multi-city Corporation. Of course we never stop learning and honing our technical skills as well! Not only do these classes provide us with information about how other people do things, it actually helps get us inspired to come up with our own ideas and create brainstorming sessions. Sometimes you need that “ah-ha” moment during a class to say “Yes! I have an idea!”
Tuesday 3/3 – Vendor Expo
On our last day there we went to check out all of the vendors set up for the Expo part of the Convention. This is where all of the suppliers (albums, print labs, photo equipment, etc). set up booths and you can walk through and touch and feel all of the products! This is a really fun part of the Convention for us because we’re such visual people so it really helps us to see the products that we’re offering in person. It’s also really important for us to make sure that the products we’re offering are the absolute best quality! We do tend to break the bank a bit and end up waking away with a few goodies from the show (who can pass up those great show deals though!). Some of our favorite vendors include ProDPI (our print lab), Cypress Fine Handmade Albums (our album company), Kelly Moore Bags (camera bags!) and the newest addition to our gear arsenal, the Ice Light.
Wednesday 3/4 – Friday 3/6 – Road Trippin’ to Cali
Even though we’ve been to WPPI multiple times, which takes place every year in Las Vegas, we rarely have the chance to venture out and see the sites. Last time we did bring along “our guys” for a few days before the Convention so we could do some tourist-y things in Vegas, which was fun! This time however, we left the boys at home and decided to go on an adventure for a few days and road trip to visit a friend in San Diego. Hey at that point, it was still Winter on the East Coast – why on Earth would we want to go home just yet?! ha. So we packed up, rented ourselves a cute little convertible and started our way West. Of course it wouldn’t be an adventure if we didn’t have a few bumps along the way! Literally, we hit a TON of potholes and ended up getting a flat tire, had an adorable little old man help change our tire, and then had to drive an hour back to Vegas and switch out the rental for a new one (it turned out ok though because we got our little Volvo upgraded to a sweet Mercedes convertible)!! Here’s just a few pics as we said, “Goodbye Vegas and Hello Cali”!!
As we were leaving Vegas, we saw a big storm in the distance, which made for some awesome photographs and crazy cool clouds!! Here’s two last shots to leave you in awe of Mother Nature and her beautiful desert landscape.