Last Friday I returned from Vegas where I had attended WPPI 2014. WPPI is the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International and every year, they host an amazing week of learning and networking Las Vegas. This was my first time attending and although I’ve spent the last several years thinking about it, I finally took the leap. It was so worth it. I had an incredible time, met a ton of great people, and learned so much.
One of my favorite parts had to be the print competition. I was able to sit in and listen while the judges scored the prints that had been submitted. It was absolutely incredible to see the work submitted by photographers. It was also very eye opening to hear the work being judged. I wish I could explain how much I learned just by sitting and listening. It’s definitely an experience you walk away from feeling inspired.
I attended numerous classes on portraiture, business, and even a wedding class. One of my favorite speakers was Peter Hurley who is THE head shot photographer. He had so much to share about getting people to relax in front of the camera. So much energy and a really funny guy. To make it even better, I went to see him speak at the Hasselblad booth and got to spend a half hour being photographed by him in front of everyone. Some amazing first hand experience and one of the highlights of the convention for me.
I was also fortunate enough to attend a class by Padraic and Sonia Deasy of Deasy Photographic in Ireland. I’ve always been a huge fan of what they do and to be honest, I didn’t even know they were speaking until I saw their names a few hours before class started. They shared all the ins and outs of their studio and I came away with a ton of information which I can start implementing.
In addition to all the classes, there was the three day Expo which is attended by pretty much every major photography company in the world. It’s an awesome opportunity to see first hand what each vendor has to offer, meet people you usually only talk to on the phone, or through email, and make new friends. The product I purchased, which I’m really excited about, is the CamRanger. This little piece of technology connects to the USB port of your camera, creates it’s own WiFi signal and wirelessly sends photos to your laptop or iOS device while you are shooting. It’s a great idea for anyone who shoots tethered and wants to stop tripping over their cable! I love it and will be using it today at a commercial session in Delaware. Check it out!
I was fortunate enough to stay at the Signature by MGM. It connects to the MGM Grand, which is where the convention was held, and the rooms were phenomenal. Having a room to myself for the week made me worry I may never get out of bed, but there was just too much to see and do. I met a ton of cool people, made new friends, hung out with current friends, and managed to get out a few times. It is Vegas and there is an occasional party to attend.
In addition to all the classes and expo, I got to eat at Hash House A Go Go, had their signature Chicken and Waffles, breakfast outside at The Hard Rock, checked out the High Roller Ferris Wheel, which isn’t open yet but it’s a monster, and also visited the gallery of the 50 Greatest National Geographic Photos which were on display at The Venetian. There was also a last night trip to Old Vegas and Freemont Street. I think I walked 100 miles last week. Seriously.
A full week in Vegas can wear a guy out and I definitely came home exhausted. It’s always great to get home after a long time away and I really missed my family. There is no way I could have attended without their support and I can’t thank them enough. Without their love and encouragement, I would not be doing this.
If you are a photographer, WPPI is a must. You’ll learn so much and meet so many people. Make plans to go! Really! Until 2015, thanks for the memories WPPI!