I will be my 3rd year of WPPI. The first year was…overwhelming. The 2nd year was…well. I was just plain sick. I’m crossing my fingers and toes this year is just right.
For my non-photographer readers, WPPI is a yearly tradeshow and convention in Las Vegas put on for wedding and portrait photographers. I think they estimate about 14K people attend.
This year I’m doing things just a little different. I’m actually not attending any of the classes at WPPI’s convention. I will be, however, attending classes through my website service (Showit). They have even named their convention “United”. We’re all staying at the MGM Signature, where the classes will be held and none of them start before 11 am 🙂
I also plan on doing some ‘photo safaring’. Which technically isn’t a word – but what it is is just that – we walk around and take pictures of things around us. Last year this didn’t happen – we were all either too sick, or too busy to get out on the strip at night and shoot. This year I really want to, and plan on it!
Do I have any words of advice for virgin WPPI-goers? Yes, in fact, I do!
1. Leave your $ and credit cards in the room when attending the tradeshow. Seriously. You will be tempted to purchase random stuff you had not intended on buying in the first place. All of these companies offer up discounts well after the tradeshow is over – take the flyers and coupons home with you, and purchase later once you’re out of the tradeshow environment.
2. Wear sensible shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking, especially if you don’t stay at the MGM SIGNATURE (not the Grand). The MGM Grand is huge, and even if you stay there, you will still be doing a ton of walking. And then, if you stay at a totally different hotel, just give in and wear really comfortable tennis shoes. Okay…well maybe not tennis shoes. But you get the idea.
3. Hydrate. I can’t express enough how gross you’re going to feel after a few days in that place. Drink lots of water to flush out all the junk.
4. Food. You’re going to be tempted to eat fast food. It’s cheap and it’s convenient to the convention. Avoid it at all costs. It’s disgusting.
5. Unless you want a whole bunch of spam in your inbox, create a ‘WPPI’ email through ymail. You will have a name tag that each vendor will want to scan, and when they do, be prepared to have all sorts of junk sent your way.
6. Friends. You may or may not be going with friends. If you’re not, I will say a prayer for you. It’s not going to be easy to walk around alone, seeing all the groups of people laughing, smiling and having a great time. You’re going to feel lonely. But chin up! That person you are sitting next to in your platform class – say hi to her. Introduce yourself. Ask what other classes she has sat through. Is she in Vegas with her friends? You know – be nice and cheerful. I went to Vegas my first year alone and made some friends I still talk to on facebook. If this isn’t your personality – you’re going to have to just check it at the door. You will thank me later for this advice.
7. Ego. You are going to think you’re back in High School. A lot of the big shot wedding photographers will walk around like they are the king and queen of the prom. This was and is my biggest problem with the convention. I was very happy to hear my website service was doing their own classes – no egos, just lots of good information and friendly people I talk to just about everyday in our facebook group.
And there you have it! The good, the bad and the ugly…
I need to get busy on my particular ‘goals’ I am going to set for myself with this convention. I’ve been reading a lot of business and marketing books lately, as well as taking an online course on business. I hope to continue this theme at the convention as well – and come home with a lot of new ideas to use in my wedding photography business.
I’m also going to be looking at new wedding albums. I have used Leather Craftsmen for the last year, but I honestly don’t feel that connected with their books. I need something a little more softer, prettier…maybe a silk album and white matte pages.