WPPI 2021, the world’s largest wedding and portrait photography convention, is now less than a week away! From August 15-19th, thousands of photographers and filmmakers from around the world will be gathered in one place to learn, connect, and grow, all while enjoying the unique atmosphere of Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you haven’t registered yet to attend the conference, there’s still time! When you use this link and the code ‘BLUME,’ you can get a FREE show pass or save $40 on registration!
If it’s your first time attending WPPI (or even your second or third!), it can certainly feel overwhelming. That’s why we want to offer you our top 5 tips for making the conference a success for you and your business!
1. Plan Ahead
There’s a lot to see at WPPI, so you want to make sure you’ve got everything mapped out before you show up in Vegas. If it’s possible, the best place to stay is at the Mirage. One way or another, you’ll be doing a lot of walking, but it will save you hours of stress and wasted time if you don’t have to go back and forth between another hotel.
Once you’ve got your accommodations sorted out, you’ll want to plan which classes to attend. Seminar classes are included in your registration, while other types of classes (like Photo Walks & Summits) are an additional cost. WPPI has a beautiful class schedule on their website that you can look through to come up with your game plan. Seminar classes are first-come first-serve and often fill up quickly, so make sure that you arrive ahead of time to guarantee a seat!
One easy way to plan ahead and stay organized during the event is to download the WPPI app! It has all the class information, downloadable handouts, a section for note-taking, and so much more!!
2. Explore the Show Floor
You don’t want to miss the trade show. There will be hundreds of vendors there providing hands-on experience with their gear and offering incredible discounts. On top of that, quite a few booths will have their own speakers sharing incredibly valuable tips and tricks. Thankfully, WPPI has a full exhibitor list on their site as well as an interactive floor plan of the trade show. (The app has this map too!) Figure out which vendors you most want to visit ahead of time, and you’ll feel much less stressed while on the floor. Also, bring business cards with you to enter into giveaways!
3. Attend a Variety of Class Types
Like we said before, there are various types of classes that you can attend during the conference. Seminar classes are larger, generally lecture-style classes that are included in your registration. These cover all kinds of topics (from posing to marketing & everything in between) and feature some of the world’s best educators.
Photo Walks allow you to follow an industry leader along on a real photoshoot and learn up-close and in-depth. These walks have much smaller class sizes, so you’ll be able to talk more with your instructor and ask questions along the way. You have to register for Photo Walks ahead of time and they usually fill up quickly, so make sure you grab a spot sooner rather than later! (To see more of what a Photo Walk looks like, read this blog post from when we led one back in 2018.)
Finally, Summits are a series of lengthier classes and workshops that follow a particular track. They’re only offered on the first day of the conference, and this year the topics are: Post-Production Summit, The Baby Summit, and The Wedding Workshop. Like with Photo Walks, you have to register ahead of time. You’ll be face to face with top educators, gaining a deep and intensive knowledge of these topics along with practical tips that are sure to strengthen your art and improve your business.
4. Attend the Competition
Every year, there is a print, album, and filmmaking competition that boasts over 3,000 entries in a wide variety of genres. Judges evaluate the entries live, and you can sit and listen to them do so. This is an awesome opportunity to hear a broad range of feedback from many different judges covering a spectrum of genres. Be sure to bring a notepad, because you’ll definitely learn something new!
If you really want to make the most out of WPPI, you can submit your own work to the competition. Then, not only will you be able to hear general feedback on other photographers’ work, you’ll also gain valuable constructive criticism on your own artwork. Also, if you find yourself in the winners’ circle, the recognition could boost your business (and WPPI gives out some pretty great rewards too!).
5. Network, Network, Network!
Like we said before, there are going to be thousands of photographers at the conference! These are people who share your passions and your struggles, so talk to them! You never know whom you might meet and who might become a lifelong friend. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the person next to you in a class, and try to schedule coffee or drinks with old and new friends alike.
Don’t be shy too about striking up a conversation with a speaker after their class. They’re there because they want to help you learn! Just come prepared with the questions you want to ask them, because you certainly want to make the most of your and their time.
Bonus Tip… Get Comfy!
Let’s face it, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking during WPPI. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes during that day that can handle all the stress you’ll be putting on your feet! Bring a water bottle along too. Las Vegas is dry, and the days are long. It’s easy to become dehydrated, especially if you’re attending a Photo Walk. And remember, you don’t need to bring your camera to every class. Save your body and only bring your camera when you’re actually going to use it.
Of course, you’re in Vegas…feel free to dress it up at night! But trust us, you’ll be able to enjoy your evenings that much more if you’ve kept yourself comfortable during the long events of the days.
Last but not least, if you’re coming to WPPI, be sure to say to hi to us! We can’t wait to be back in person with new and old friends alike! See you there…