Tracie VanWechel shares here observations of the first day at WPPI, which is taking place this week in Las Vegas.
Last year, I met so many kindred spirits on my first trip to WPPI. One such person was darling, bubbly photographer Tracie VanWechel, with whom I became fast friends after spending time together at the Pay It Forward Party. We share her take on the events inside and outside of the show in Vegas.
And now…here’s Tracie!
“When I was asked to write about my observations here at WPPI, I couldn't help but think,‘There are so many things to talk about! How will I ever be able to limit my comments to just a few of them?’ As a second-year attendee, it can certainly feel like a big place with lots of stuff going on. So, I asked myself a few questions: What am I looking for? How can something so small make a huge impact on my business, who I am, or who I want to be?
• I am looking for inspiration to further differentiate myself from the competition.
• I am looking for new products—so new that they have that new car smell.
• I am looking for an idea so cool that I can immediately repurpose.
“In just the first day, I found, heard and was inspired by so many red-hot, rocking, exciting things and ideas! Whoa! Already? As I entered the first Platform Class of the day (Sarah Petty: Sell Your Butt Off), I was handed a funky tin box with the words ‘Recipes for Joy.’ It contained 24 cards with well thought-out ideas on marketing, networking, identity, and customer service. How cool is that? Here were funky branding suggestions, awesome ideas, and actionable for my return home. Sarah’s class was packed with ideas. I was writing notes as fast as I could and noticed those around me doing the same. Putting the ink to the paper was at its finest in Studio B.
"While waiting for a new friend just outside the trade show, Tamara Lackey was approaching. I have always admired her work and contribution to the industry. What was meant to be a quick "Hi Tamara", turned into a five-minute chat. I just talked with the inspiring author of a book I received a few years ago. Can you feel the smile on my face for that?
"As soon as the crowd ahead of me got through the doors of the trade show, I almost needed to dig out my sunglasses because of all the bright lights and eye candy! There were tones of prints, gear, props, gadgets, and pretty albums. I feasted over the new Simply Canvas albums (see photo, above). They are so new and fresh, that they don't yet have prices. A new album means no one else has this exact same thing sitting on their coffee table yet. I snapped a few photos and took note of this in my notebook.
"While I was sitting in the vendor’s brown leather couch (my favorite), the album designer and I had a wonderful conversation about style, the detail, and the design process. While it was only a 15-minute conversation, it was warm and friendly. That is a reason why I just love being here. The people in this industry are learning and sharing along with you.
"Another super cool thing I did today was to take part in a styled shoot. (A separate event outside the WPPI events) Emma Jane put the event together with five models in the ghost town of Nelson, NV. Imagine abandoned old cars, rickety gas stations, cactus, and antique rusty farm equipment mixed with elegant couture and fashion gowns.
"This hands-on experience with models was an important experience for me. Composition, lighting, and backdrops were to my advantage. The small group and I assisted each model in setup so we could build our portfolio in something completely different than our norm. Wow, talk about learning something new outside your box.
"As I get ready to end the day, I get even more excited thinking about what I might see and discover tomorrow!"
We appreciate hearing about the show through our attendees. Special thanks to Tracie for sharing her point of view. We'll be hearing more from Tracie over the next couple days as well here on the Adorama blog.