Why Should I Go To WPPI?

A Free Pass, and Five Other Great Reasons To Attend.


Adorama is providing free passes for the WPPI trade show exhibit. Get ‘em here!


WPPI has become a monster trade show for wedding and portrait photographers: 16,000 photographer attendees, hundreds of speakers...and zany late night Twitter updates and crazy Facebook pics beyond numbering. Why has it become such a popular show for working pros? How can it help your business and give you a creative jolt? Let me tell you a little story...

I’ve been a full-time wedding photographer for 11 years. Before I attended my first WPPI show, I learned things the hard way, via massive research and trial and error. I was pretty much on my own. Things were different then: Everyone was shooting film, there were no blogs, and people closely guarded their secrets of success.

Fast forward to my seventh year in business. I’d begun to see ads and hear the whispers about this exciting photographer’s-conference-thing in Vegas. There were workshops, new products, inspiring speakers...but...I don’t gamble; I already know it all, I thought; I didn’t know anyone else who was going; money was tight...but...I thought to myself, Hey, why not? It’ll be fun to try it, just this once.

I’ve never looked back.

From the moment I entered WPPI, I was hooked: I walked around the huge exhibit hall, touching albums, asking questions, playing with gear, discovering useful accessories I had no idea even existed (and many of the products on display were on show-special sale!). I ran into friends—people I knew from back home in Seattle, and we actually shared useful information. I attended workshops and absorbed the inspiring and informational words and demonstrations like a sponge. I was not alone, and in a few days, I had ideas, strategies, information and inspiration that jump-started my business. By the end of my first show, fully recharged, I wondered: Why didn’t anyone tell me about this sooner?

Well, this is me telling you now.



Admission to WPPI was the best money I’ve ever spent on my business. Socializing, catching up on the latest industry trends and ideas, the freedom to geek out (at home, no one really wants to hear about how you got this new lens and the bokeh is sooooo dreamy...) and sharing it all with thousands of like-minded shooters made it feel like a modern day wedding and portrait photographer’s utopia.

Convinced? If not, here are five reasons to go:

1. Gear Galore

“The trade show allowed me to see in person and touch many different products, such as albums, and compare them without having to spend a lot of money to try samples.” - Saskia Mizushima, Saavy Seattle-ite and soon-to-be new mom

It couldn’t be easier to find the perfect album company or test out a new softbox as you walk the show floor. Albums, labs, camera gear, services—they’re all there. The only things they don’t have are kittens and cake. And who knows, maybe this year they will (hint hint, @wppigeorge!).

Speaking of the trade show, did you know that many of the big booths have big-name photographers scheduled to speak? Even if you don’t spring for the full registration, the trade show research you can do and the trade show speakers you can listen to are reason enough to go. Did you know that Adorama is excited to have you as their guest and is giving you free passes to the trade show? Get ‘em here!



2. Party! (It’s Vegas, after all)

“I really like to dance... wear sparkly clothes... and drink for free... and every night I have a chance to do so.” - Laura Marchbanks, a sassy-pants wedding photographer you might recognize from that time Jasmine Star photographed her wedding in real-time on Creative Live.

Vegas is the capital of Partyland. Vendors throw parties. Clubs throw parties. Forums throw parties. Even photographers throw parties. Learn all day, party all night. Rinse and repeat. There are even Twitter accounts and Facebook pages run by party girls and party boys devoted to keeping you up-to-date on the photog nightlife scene while at WPPI. Hint: It’s called WPPI Parties.



3. Learn Something New

"My favorite part of WPPI, besides the parties of course, is leaving feeling so inspired!” - Barbie Hull, entreprenuer, photographer, tulle-wearer. Her favorite program at WPPI is Ignite.

The best and most successful photographers have an insatiable appetite for knowledge and growth. The drive to refine their craft, sell more, work smarter, and market better is inherent in their actions and always in their thoughts. WPPI is a one-stop shop for this, from trade show floor speakers to more intimate master classes and print competitions to the inspirational and highly entertaining panel at Ignite.

Confused? Check out some of these folks who will be teaching about what they know best!

4. For the Newbs

“It meant so much to us to have the opportunity to be immersed in our passion; from speakers, to product presentations and examples, to hands on learning and training, it is the only place with the capacity to provide that on a large scale.  For first time WPPI’ers and new photographers it was what we needed to fully grasp the industry the way we needed to. We were able to take some of the workshop lessons and immediately apply what we had learned from people like Bob and Dawn Davis and Sal Cincotta. We were also able to create a long term plan of where we wanted to go and had the tools to make those destinations reality.” - Latasha and Isiah Haynes, the nicest, funniest, and most driven photographers you’ll ever meet- they are ones to watch.

If you’re just about to get on the learning curve, check out  WPPI-U. It’s a 2-day intensive workshop (February 17-18) created just for emerging photographers, covering all of the essentials they need to know for their new businesses. This year’s lineup includes classes from industry pros Sondra Ayers & Jerry Deck, Lindsey Adler, Sal Cincotta, Tony Corbell, Jerry Ghionis, Doug Gordon, Craig Heidemann, Julieanne Kost, Tim Meyer and more. I wish this had been around back when I started.


5. Schmoozefest

“I look forward to seeing many of my "Internet friends" at WPPI. I go every year to recharge; WPPI gives me the energy to kick off a new season. It is inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented photographers.” - Caroline Tran, Los Angeles based photographer who loves to travel and eat, preferably at the same time.

Bring loads of your business cards. Join some WPPI groups on Facebook. Follow the hashtag #wppi on Twitter. And don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone new. This is a great time to meet your heroes face to face on the trade show floor and make new friends with the dude sitting next to you in class.

True, there are many other conferences, workshops, and classes peppered throughout the year all over the country.  But between the excitement, the friends, and the knowledge, WPPI can inspire you in a big way.

So ,how ‘bout it? Here's more info about WPPI, and registration.


Photos from past WPPI shows © Laurel McConnell


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