WPPI 2013: Las Vegas | my experiences, memories, and biggest takeaways.

It’s hard for me to know where to start when even just thinking about the past four days of my life. So much information, so many funny memories, so many unforgettable moments. No matter what I write in this post, no words can fully describe how hard I laughed that I cried during a 2-hour+ lunch at Grand Lux Café with my new friends. There is no way to make you see the tiny little pieces of my mind being blown out of my ears when hearing incredible tips from not only the amazing speakers, but even just from any of my WPPI buddies: Jordan, Ryan, or Becca. There is also no way I can make you see the way Jordan and Ryan were GLARING at me after I won $100 after playing Roulette for 20 minutes and they lost $50+ in trying to join in on my fun :). To get to the point, WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, for those of you who have been wondering what the heck WPPI is) was incredible—literally a game changer.

This experience has been so jam packed, that I need to break it into three different posts. In this post, I’m going to keep it to a summary of the biggest things I am taking away from the past 4 days (both from the seminars and the conversations with my photog buds). For all you other photographers going next year, keep an eye out for my info posts on “What to Wear” and “What’s in My Bag” coming next week. I know I definitely found those useful before my little trip.

What to Expect

Here’s the day to day for those of you wondering what WPPI is like. I’m sure everyone’s experiences are different, but this is what it was for me at least. Every morning, I woke up at 6:30am to get ready and make sure that I was at the 8:30am speaker on time. We would listen to a presentation from 8:30 to 10:00am, have a LONG break in the middle of the day that we filled with walking the trade show floor, exploring the strip, and scarfing down gluttonous lunches at places like Fat Burger, Grand Luxe Café, Blizz, and Nathan’s (for some reason, we were always starving), THEN head back to the convention center to listen to presentations from 4:00 to 5:30pm and 6:30 to 8:00pm. There were so many interesting sounding seminars that it was hard to pick which one to go to. It reminded me of Lollapalooza in that some of my favorite seminars were at the same time and I had to push my indecisiveness aside and choose ONE (okay, one time I chose two and left halfway through to catch the second half of a different one… but if you know me, that’s pretty standard). After the last seminar, there were networking events thrown by Canon, Sony, and WPPI – which I’m sure were really fun for some people – but for my group, we (of course) ate things like Caesar Salad Cones and Corn Bread Stuffing while watching people on stilts run around before retreating back to our rooms in exhaustion and ready for bed by 9 or 10.

ONE thing I learned from each presentation

I learned MANY things from each presentation. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to pick just one. But, hey – I paid a lot of money to go to this thing… can’t give it all away for free, right? 😉

Wedding Photography: What You Really Need to Know | Cliff Mautner

  • Blog idea: Image of the Week

Shadow Me: A Complete Wedding Experience | Roberto Valenzuela

  • Talk to my brides about wearing a little white dress for bridal prep photos while she’s getting her hair and make-up done (or at least make sure it’s an outfit she’ll want to be photographed in – it’ll make the pictures better.

Creative Composition in Wedding Photography | Susan Stripling

  • Choose lenses with a purpose, and use different lenses to diversify the images from the wedding day. The same image shot with two different lenses can look entirely different, especially when you start talking about compression.

From Hi to Buy | Jerry Ghionis

  • Reward clients that are ready to pre-purchase add-on album spreads with a discounted rate.

Remarkable: How to Build a Mind Blowing Business | Jesh Da Rox

  • Do something/anything to make yourself memorable

Dear Future Me, Stop Making the Same Mistakes | Jasmine Star

  • Write my-future-self a letter talking about where I am in my business right now and where I want to be in 2015. Define what success is to me and read the letter in 2015.

Efficient and Profitable Album Sales | Melissa Jill

  • Add album credit to Signature Collection

Contemporary Portrait Posing | Sue Bryce

  • Chin, shoulders, hands, hourglass, body language, asymmetry, connection

Shoutout to My Peeps

My WPPI experience wouldn’t have been what it was if I didn’t have the incredible company of Seattle’s JordanQuinn Photography, D.C (soon to be Orlando’s) Rebecca Read Photography, and Chicago’s very own Ryan Moore Photography. Jordan and Rebecca, we know more about each other than Danny, Billy, and Bo probably ever need to know 🙂 Jordan, you know I love you. Becca, I knew I’d love you because Jordan loves you. And Ryan, my unexpected hidden gem of the trip, I’m so glad you joined our little group. You three MADE my trip, and I don’t even want to know what this trip would have been like without each and every one of you. If you haven’t already, check them out folks – there’s some serious talent in there.

If you’re thinking about checking out WPPI next year, it comes HIGHLY recommended, and I hope this gave you a better idea of what to expect if you’re on the fence. Be sure to check back next week for my tips on “What to Wear to WPPI.