Every year, wedding photographers and portrait photographers from around the world gather at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) conference and tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada. WPPI 2019 is fast approaching, and we are providing a comprehensive guide so you can make the most of the tradeshow and convention.
WPPI is one of the most popular and successful photography tradeshows available. It is also a one-stop-shop to get all your photography tips and education while meeting with vendors and networking with fellow photographers. Here at ShootDotEdit, our mission is to empower wedding photographers to succeed. We do that by providing professional photography editing services and also by sharing information pertinent to a wedding photographer’s business. That is why we put together this comprehensive guide to WPPI 2019.
If you are still considering, read through this guide to help you determine if it will be a valuable addition to your business this year. And, if you are already going to WPPI 2019, this will give you an overview of what is available.
The WPPI Details
This year, WPPI will be held at the end of February. Here are the specific dates:
- Live Judging for WPPI Print Competition: 2/25/19 – 2/26/19
- Conference: 2/25/19 – 3/1/19
- Tradeshow: 2/27/19 – 3/1/19
- WPPI 2019 will be held at Mandalay Bay Resort (which we’ll go into below). For more information and to register with WPPI, click here.
Register here to receive a 15% discount on a Platform or All Access Pass or a FREE Expo Pass!
WPPI 2019 Venue Location
For many years, the WPPI expo was held at the MGM Grand and 1 year at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Last year, WPPI was held at the gorgeous Mandalay Bay Resort, and WPPI 2019 will also be held there. Mandalay Bay is one of the largest resorts and casinos in Las Vegas, and the move will allow WPPI to continue having the tradeshow, conference, expo, and print competition in one location.
This location features over 20 different dining options, 14 lounges and clubs, a Cirque du Soleil show, an aquarium, and a House of Blues. So, needless to say, there will be plenty of different areas to hang out and network.
On the tradeshow side, Mandalay Bay has over 81,000 square feet of expo space available for WPPI 2019 to use.
Photographers will love having the entire WPPI 2019 show in one location. Perhaps one of the best things about WPPI is running into fellow friends as you go between classes. Or, running into them while out enjoying a meal or drink.
Photographers can stay at the Mandalay Bay if they prefer. Other nearby hotels include Luxor, which is the next hotel north of the strip, and Excalibur, which is the following hotel. Both are a short walk or cab ride away.
WPPI 2019 Expo and Tradeshow
This year, the WPPI 2019 Expo will be held on Wednesday, February 27th through Friday, March 1st.
The tradeshow is a wonderful place to see all the latest trends in the wedding photography industry. It’s also a great place to have in-depth conversations and personal demos with companies you are thinking about using.
We will be at the tradeshow, and we would love to meet you. The ShootDotEdit booth number is #1057, and we’ll be hanging out to talk all about our photo editing services. If you’re interested in getting help with your wedding photography edit work this year, WPPI is a great place to stop by and talk with us one-on-one.
Beyond that, there are tons of other fantastic vendors that will also have booths, giving you the opportunity to talk about a lot more than just wedding photo editing. Make sure to block out a couple of hours (minimum) to walk the tradeshow floor and soak it all in.
WPPI 2019 Print Competition
Every year, master photographers from all over the world are selected to judge the top prints that were submitted to the WPPI print competition. And, WPPI attendees are welcome to attend the judging, getting to sit and listen as the top photographers share and debate over the merits of each photograph, and how to improve.
The deadline to enter this year’s WPPI print competition is 1/2/19.
Even if you do not enter the print competition, or you miss the deadline, showing up during the tradeshow to watch the judging is something you should consider adding to your list.
In essence, attending the judging of the WPPI print competition is a class in and of itself. You will learn the qualities and attributes that make an image stand out, while also learning what to pay attention to and what to avoid. And, you’ll see some amazing wedding and portrait photographs.
This year, WPPI print competition judging will be Monday, February 25th through Tuesday, February 26th.
Related: Learn more about how to become one of Rangefinder’s 30 Rising Stars!
Throughout WPPI, you have the chance to absorb knowledge for your business that can help you grow or fine-tune your current systems and process. But, that’s not the only part of the trade show that is important. Networking is a large part of the experience at WPPI.
During the parties, take the time to introduce yourself to other guests. Make it a point to share your contact information and ask if they can meet up with you at a different time to continue the conversation. If they are in your local area, choose a time that works for you both after the trade show is over. For those who are not in your area, see if they have any free time during the week-long event to grab coffee with you.
While you attend the expo, use that time to make connections with vendors who will be valuable to your business. Look for vendors who provide album design, business management tools, and post production services. These are the vendors who can be vital to your success and growth, so making connections with them is important.
Related: 7 Conferences Every Wedding Photographer Should Attend – see them here!
8 Ways to Maximize WPPI
As a wedding photographer, WPPI is one of the biggest events of the year. From legendary speakers and classes, to amazing parties and socializing events, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy the entire week. Since attending WPPI can be a bit overwhelming, even if you have done it before, creating a plan is crucial to your success. Not only do you want to have fun, but you should also gain knowledge from experts, which you can take back to your business. To help you focus your time properly, here are the top 8 ways to maximize your time at WPPI, with tips from some of the industry’s pros!
1. Attempt Networking Everywhere
Although WPPI can be hectic and fast-paced, there are thousands of photographers who you can introduce yourself to. Classes and parties are great places to network with other photographers and vendors, but you should always be on the lookout for people to connect with. Whether you are in the lobby of your hotel, waiting for coffee, or relaxing before your next class, pay attention to those around you and don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation. You can learn so much from those around you, including business tips, how to get published, and more.
Photographer Scott Robert Lim recommends being open to networking at any point during the conference.
“Be proactive about socializing and always look for opportunities to talk to people. The very first year I went to WPPI, I booked a destination wedding by talking to a fellow photographer waiting in line for lunch.” – Scott Robert Lim
2. Build Meaningful Connections
Even though the conference rushes by quickly, strategically plan out your networking time to build meaningful connections with other photographers and vendors. Focus your time on connecting during the conference to avoid losing contact afterward. This may mean you need to reach outside of your comfort zone to connect with people, regardless of your location. If you are unsure of how to start the initial conversation, try to find one thing to connect with them on which will leave an immediate impression.
Photography duo, Zach and Jody Gray, recommend spending your time building those relationships which can help you and your business.
“The real value of WPPI is in the relationships you build in the hallways, at lunch, and over a cup of coffee. Dave Ramsey (deca-millionaire entrepreneur) says that ‘where you will be in 5 years is dependent on the books you read and the people you meet.’ Get connected and take it past the surface level for a true life-changing time at WPPI.” – Zach and Jody Gray
3. Eliminate Business Pain Points
Because the conference is filled with fellow wedding photographers and educators who you are eager to meet, ensure your intentions of attending the conference are clear. Even if you have been in business for years and are doing well, there are always ways you can improve and grow your business. When you think of business pain points, what comes to mind? Are you spending too much time on wedding photography post processing or album design? With the photography industry continuously changing and advancing, use the conference and its educational opportunities to fix business issues which cause you stress.
Andrew Funderburg, the founder of Fundy Software, recommends writing down exactly what you need to improve in your business and planning your schedule accordingly.
“Sit down and make a list of your current business pain points. Are your product sales not as good as they could be or are your bookings not as high as they should be? Target these pain points, make a list and be sure to attend talks and visit vendors that assist with these pain points.” – Andrew Funderburg
4. Focus on Education
Although there are parties and other events to attend during WPPI, the conference offers more than that for photographers. Since it can become overwhelming to know exactly what you want to accomplish, stay focused on educating yourself on new topics and techniques you can use.
Boudoir photographer, Jen Rozenbaum, recommends maximizing your time with speakers and classes who can educate you and help you grow.
“There’s so much to learn from everyone. Be specific about what you want to get out of WPPI and find the instructors that cover that topic. Focus is important (Pun intended).” – Jen Rozenbaum
5. Develop a Specific Schedule
If you book too many classes on your schedule, and some even conflict, you risk missing out on classes and speakers who are perfect to help you and your business. Because there are so many excellent speakers with classes at WPPI, taking the time to write down who you need to see can help you maximize your schedule.
Sara France of France Photographers recommends writing out a specific schedule for your trip to the conference.
“Look over the schedule and map out the classes you would love to attend, and pre-board as many as you can to make sure you get a seat! Also, if you can watch the print competition, I think it really helps to hear what the judges have to say about each image and why they score the way they do.” – Sara France
6. Attend the Best Business Classes
Even if you heard about a class which is popular within the community, if it does not fit the needs of your business, it’s best to leave it off your schedule. Though it might be exciting to spend time with your photographer friends, avoid choosing classes just because others you know are attending them. WPPI is filled with pro photographers and educators who have expert advice on the topics you need to know about to continue growing your business. Take advantage of this time to really find classes that will benefit you.
Photography duo, Justin and Mary Marantz, recommend scheduling the best classes for your business needs.
“We have learned the most when we have chosen the classes based on what our business actually needs and who we have heard is a really good teacher. Be intentional about where you spend your time, and once you choose, be ALL in.” – Justin and Mary Marantz
7. Arrive Prepared and Rested
Because there are so many activities for you to attend during the conference, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Instead of packing your schedule full, arrive prepared with a plan for each day, as well as some time to rest. The more prepared and rested you are, the easier it will be for you to stay alert for the classes and awake to attend some of the great parties the conference has to offer.
Wedding photographers, Ashley and Graham Scobey, recommend knowing what you want to accomplish before the tradeshow, as well as allowing yourself to relax and have some fun.
“In order to make the most of the experience (and not get sucked in and overwhelmed), we try to approach the week with a plan. We find that it helps us to schedule out our days as specifically as we can. A plan helps us feel ready to tackle the week, and we make sure to keep some margin in there for rest and impromptu fun.” – Ashley and Graham Scobey
8. Enjoy the Experience
Whether you attend every class you desire or meet photographers and vendors who can help you grow, absorbing the experience at WPPI is necessary for you to succeed. With a plan in place, you can attend the best classes for you and make time to network and socialize at parties and other events. Because this is one of the biggest events of the year for photographers, enjoy the experience and make it a memorable time with your fellow photographers.
Photographer Sue Bryce recommends spending your time at the trade show and attending parties to meet like-minded photographers and vendors.
“Give yourself a decent day to spend in the trade show; here you will discover so many incredible things in our industry that you might not get to see otherwise. Make as many friends as you can! You never know who you are sitting next to. Some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my career starting speaking to me at my first WPPI as complete strangers. Go to every party and meet as many people as you can!” – Sue Bryce
With the 8 suggestions from industry pros above, you can get started planning for this year’s event!
WPPI 2019 CONVENTION AND CLASSES
For many, the days filled with educational classes are the highlight of WPPI. If you are looking to pick up more wedding photography tips, attending Platform and Master classes while at WPPI 2019 will be important for you.
World-class speakers from around the globe teach classes throughout the conference. Many times, the class sizes are extremely intimate, allowing you to ask questions and interact with the educators. Either way, the teachers are available at the end of their classes to talk with you one-on-one.
At ShootDotEdit, we are privileged to work with some of the best wedding photography businesses and photographers in the world. And, we love to support their efforts to educate and help the industry grow. See below for a list of our recommended speakers you can’t miss this year at WPPI. We will be updating this list as more classes become available:
Title: The Bedroom Confidential: How Leveraging Boudoir Photography Can Add Extra Income to Your Business
Time: Tuesday, 2/26 at 9:00am
Overview: Many portrait AND wedding photographers are missing out on the extra-income producing boudoir photography market. Boudoir is the perfect service to add to any photography business by 1) leveraging your brides looking to gift their significant others with a pre-wedding day surprise 2) filling calendars with indoor work during periods of extreme cold or heat in your local area. This Plus Class will cover everything you need to know to add boudoir to your existing photography business or build your photography business on boudoir.
In the first part of the class, Jacquelynn will cover the business side of boudoir including how to find and book clients, how to do consultations to prepare clients for their session, the importance of contracts, pricing, editing, and in-home photo reviews. In the second part of the class, Jacquelynn will share the lighting and posing tips and tricks that have allowed her to achieve 11 years of boudoir success with women of every age, shape, and size. She will cover her top 10 favorite poses for boudoir, lighting techniques that showcase how to use not just light but shadows to shape and hide, and how to verbally coach and guide women into poses that flatter and emphasize the good while deemphasizing the less than desirable. During this portion, you will have the chance to photograph.
Title: Love is Awkward, Engagement Sessions Shouldn’t Be
Time: Wednesday, 2/27 at 8:30am
Overview: It would be fabulous if we all had model couples as clients: ones who knew how to stand, pose and interact with one another. But the reality is, love is awkward, and turning awkward, real couples into magazine covers can be challenging. In this fast-paced photowalk, Jacquelynn will reveal her approach to posing and lighting couples that can be used for both engagement sessions and weddings. You’ll also learn how to coach couples, helping them interact for a more natural, candid result.
Title: Make Your Clients (and Yourself) Happier With an Efficient Lightroom Workflow
Time: Wednesday, 2/27 at 8:00am
Overview: After that big photo job, you return with thousands of beautiful images and then it’s time to do post production. This can look like a daunting task, but with Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography plan, you have access to tools and technology that will make your work even faster and better than ever before. In this class, you will learn how to optimize your post-production workflow with Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, and Creative Cloud. Learn which app to use and when to use it for the most efficient workflow possible.
Effortlessly import and secure your images, adjust images quickly, retouch with ease, make complicated edits in seconds, search for and share images with ease and much more. Jared will teach you his proven methods using the power of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan to speed through your post production, and you will get even better quality out of your images and have fun in the process. Come and find out what your workflow’s been missing.
Title: Master Photographer Challenge
Time: Wednesday, 2/27 at 5:00pm
Overview: It’s back! In this extremely exciting event, master photographers specializing in different genres will be challenged like never before. Roberto Valenzuela, Susan Stripling, Johnson Wee and Rocco Ancora will each have 10 minutes to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary by photographing tethered on stage with the same model, equipment, props and location. You’ll be mesmerized as each photographer interprets the same scene to create a unique portrait with no prior preparation. Hosted by Jerry Ghionis, this event is not to be missed!
Title: The Real Magic Behind Highly Lucrative Wedding Photography
Time: Thursday, 2/28 at 8:00am
Overview: Author and photographer Roberto will go over in detail what it takes to really propel yourself to a new and lucrative level of wedding photography. What does it really take? How do you break that glass ceiling to live comfortably as a wedding photographer and get people to finally stop bargaining with you? What turns prospective clients from “wanting to hire you” to “NEEDING to hire you”? This will be a brand-new platform class never taught before by Roberto based on his new book Wedding Storyteller Vol. 2. Come join the fun, and leave with the knowledge to know what it takes to make it, and make it big!
Title: Marrying Engagements, Weddings & Portraits with Architecture
Time: Tuesday, 2/26 at 3:30pm
Overview: Chicago-based wedding photographer Collin Pierson will show you how the architecture and light of a city can change the game for your photo sessions. This Photo Walk is great for those who want to step away from “safe” photos and add that something extra to their engagement, wedding and portrait shoots. Using core principals of perspective, light and symmetry, Pierson will head out on the strip to incorporate Sin City architecture into shots. Attendees will walk away with the formula for creating showpiece artwork for their clients’ homes that ultimately increase revenue!
Further Read: WPPI 2020 & Its New Director Arlene Evans
WPPI is one of the most unique gatherings in the wedding photography industry. It gathers all the industry’s vendors and companies into one location, while also providing amazing education from top class photographers from around the world. For many photographers that attend, though, the experience goes beyond the education, networking, and business opportunities. Connecting with fellow wedding and portrait photographers is often remembered as the most memorable (and beneficial) aspect.
There is so much you can learn from your fellow photographers, and gathering together in the same place, with the same focus, yields amazing growth. Beyond that, between all the parties and impromptu hangouts and coffee sessions, you’ll have a blast doing it.
We hope to see you at WPPI 2019! If you come, don’t forget to stop by our booth (#1057) and say hi – we would love to meet you!