The most looked forward to event of the year for photographers, WPPI 2017! Wedding and Portrait Photographer Industry for those of you who don’t know what that is. This was our second year attending and we did it with excitement. 2016 was the first year we attended and we were in our very first year of business and didn’t know what to expect. The moment we arrived we knew this was going to be an annual event that we HAVE TO attend! It was the first time that we had been surrounded by so many creatives and we felt right at home. That first year was quite the whirlwind and felt like a dream. It gave us motivation and courage to step outside of our comfort zone, Priscilla and I are naturally quiet and reserved. We consider ourselves introverts but there is something about being around creatives and at weddings that brings out the hidden extrovert in us. That year we went to Haakasan (a club), went out to dinner with a couple we met that day, and spoke up and introduced ourselves to the photographers we look up to and that started us on this path. We had taken many of the free classes just to get a feel for what all was going on. We learned and incredible amount and it totally changed how we run our business. It was an enlightening and exhilarating experience.
Jump ahead to this year with much anticipation, we have been putting our hearts and souls into this adventure. This year we decide to up the ante and take paid for classes. Which meant small class sizes, directly learning from industry leaders, and longer classes. We just couldn’t do it on our own, so we looked to our sweet friends and family and started a GoFundMe. We asked everyone to please forgo any birthday or Christmas presents and donate to our education. We were overwhelmed by the support and kind words we received from everyone.
There were so many great choices for classes that it was difficult to choose. We spent several nights pouring through all of the class descriptions and debating trying to narrow it down. Finally we got down to 7 paid for classes and 3 free ones. Everything from inspirational, to marketing, to technical. We learned so many great ideas that we can’t wait to bring to our business and provide our clients with an even better experience. We feel energized and ready to take on the world.
This year it is at the humongous Las Vegas Convention Center, a short four hour drive for us. Which as you know driving is one of my favorite activities outside of photography. Along the way we experimented with Instagram Stories, neither of us are smooth talkers on video and couldn’t figure out how to take video in landscape format, lol. But everybody starts somewhere, right?! Like I said, working on getting out of our comfort zone. We made sure to leave our hometown in the wee hours of the morning that way we could hit our favorite breakfast spot in Vegas for their famous coffee cake. If you are ever in Vegas look up The Cracked Egg and make sure to get extra coffee cake to go!
Once we arrived at the Westgate Resort we had a couple hiccups upon checkin. We got put into the incorrect room with two double beds when it was supposed to be a king, then later that evening found out the air condition was broken. Luckily it was February and not overly hot in our room, just a little warm, because of the huge glass windows and because Vegas, its always hot. None of that was going to stop us from enjoying our experience of WPPI!
The very first class we attended was “Master the Light” by Joel Grimes, a fellow Arizona portrait photographer. During his opening slideshow a photo was shown of a familiar face. The man in the photo was Don Robertson, a local of our hometown! He owned Gold King Mine just outside of town and was quite the interesting character. Unfortunately he passed away recently but it was pretty special to see such a great portrait of such and interesting person. We stayed till the end of his class, past all of the Q&A just to talk to him about our local legend. What a small world.
The rest of WPPI 2017 surpassed our high expectations from the year before. I was even recognized by several people from the year before, mostly because of my beard, lol. I could easily talk your ear off about how interesting every single class was. Neither Priscilla or I are the type to raise our hands in class to ask questions but here we were, FEARLESS.
Last but not least we spent our last day in the expo meeting vendors and playing with new gear. Our wishlist has grown a bit, but also got to check a few things off. We signed up for a new online gallery proofing, album design software, and since we booked several weddings right before WPPI we bought a new lens that is going to be a game changer! More on that to come in a later blog.
It seems like as soon as we got to Vegas is was over! The time just flew by so fast. We were there Sunday through Thursday but I swear it was like a blink of the eye. We left a bit sad that it was over, we could have easily done another four days of classes with enthusiasm. On our way out of town we wanted to end on a great dinner at our favorite ramen restaurant Monta Chaya, unfortunately we didn’t check their hours and they were closed. Bummer. But we did find a hole-in-the-wall Hawaiian restaurant, anytime we can get some Spam musubi we are happy. Trust me, it’s delicious. Even though we were sad to say goodby to WPPI 2017 we were very excited to get home to our lonely kitty. We were greeted with lots of meows and purrs telling us how much she missed us.
For fellow photographers out there that would like more information shoot us an email [email protected]
Wedding and Portrait Photography Industry Conference and Expo