Are you headed to WPPI for the first time this year? Fantastic! WPPI is where I have learned so much over the years, as well as met lifelong friends. This year marks my fifth time going to WPPI, and I wanted to share some tips and things to consider as you get ready for your first WPPI. Some of these may be obvious or that you’ve heard before, but I wanted to share them with you anyway.
- Take your business cards. In many of the classes, instructors will collect business cards for giveaways, make sure you have yours handy to drop in! They also come in handy when you meet someone for the first time as an easy way of exchanging information and staying in touch.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to the person next to you. Remember that business card I told you to bring? Don’t be afraid to talk to the person sitting next to you in your class, photo walk or at the after hours events! You truly never know who become your lifelong photo friend, so don’t be shy!
- Enroll in at least one Master/Plus/Photowalk class. Yes, the Platform classes are great and of course included in your conference pass, but the Master and Plus classes are much smaller group settings where you have easier access to chat with the instructors and ask questions. Well worth the investment!
- Download the WPPI app. This app is great for locating your classroom in a hurry, keeping up with conference events and seeing daily deals some of the trade-show vendors are offering.
- Bring comfortable shoes. This is a given. You will do a LOT of walking and the days are very long.
- Sit in Print Comp. It’s truly unbelievable how much you will learn from sitting in print competition. Hearing the judges’ feedback and comments on the images is invaluable as a photographer. Try to sit in a variety of different categories including some that may not even be in your genre for a broad range of feedback from different judges.
- Make a list of vendors you are interested in seeing before you go. Searching for a new album vendor? Perhaps you want to try out a new holster system for your cameras? Mapping the vendors out ahead can help you make the most of your trade show experience.
- Research the speakers you would like to hear speak. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with them after their talk or in the halls, but also be courteous of their time. They are being pulled in so many different directions throughout the week and speak to so many people, so be prepared with any questions you have for them ahead of time to make the most of both your time and theirs.
- Bring an iPad/notepad and take notes in class. Yes, you are in Vegas to learn. 🙂 I know this seems strange, but take notes in class and be attentive while you are there.
- Prepare to survive on minimal sleep and stay hydrated! The days are long and the nights sometimes longer, I did mention we are in Vegas right? Take care of yourself as much as you can by staying hydrated with lots of water. Coffee doesn’t count, but it certainly helps in getting you to your 8AM class!
I honestly can’t say enough great things about attending WPPI. Over the years I have made friends there, reunited with friends I have met over the years at workshops and more. Often times photography can be a lone profession when you are working from your home or studio day in and day out. To have the opportunity to be surrounded by thousands of talented photographers who truly understand what it is like is rejuvenating.
This year the conference has been moved from the MGM where it has been the past several years, to the Las Vegas Convention Center and Westgate Hotel to accommodate growth. This is a big change for many and it will be a year of adjustments for all. New hang outs to find, a new hotel and convention center to navigate and more. Just like those who have been going to WPPI for years will need to do this year, go with an open mind and prepare to be inspired. We can’t wait to meet you there!
Still not registered? Head here to get signed up!
Make sure you get a room at the Westgate Resort to be close to all the action!
We will be sharing our WPPI journey through our Instagram story all week from a desert shoot, walking the expo, chatting with other photographers and more, make sure you follow along! @erincostaphoto
Some of my favorite memories from years past –
From one of my first years at WPPI – hanging out with Jerry and Melissa Ghionis and Tamara Lackey.
Reunited with good friends! During Parker Pfister’s Plus class last year.
Photo credit: Adam Chapin Photography
I love getting to help with the Fun Run, benefitting Beautiful Together, make sure you sign up. It’s Tuesday, February 27!
The amazing Tony Hewitt after his interview for the Redefine Show.
For more pictures and our recap from last year’s WPPI, check out this post.