Recently, I traveled to Las Vegas for the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference (WPPI). It’s one of the largest conferences for people photographers. Attendance hovers in the thousands!
Aside from escaping the rough Midwest winter (although it did snow in Vegas a few days before I arrived), it’s an energizing event. February is typically a little slow for wedding and family photographers, but not for me, so I had to make a carefully timed break. Headshot photography demand remains this time of year. In fact, the beginning of the year always has a bit of a rush. Think gym memberships. The good news is that once you get a headshot, you don’t have to keep coming back to the studio a few times a week to maintain it.
The Print Competition
The conference hosts an international print competition where judges scrutinize every conceivable detail of printed work. Watching the process is a learning experience. This is an area I just haven’t pursued. With the daily management of my business, it hasn’t made sense for me. But who knows... I did attend a very interesting lecture on fine art printing of digital images. This is a discipline of photography that has so far escaped me. Accessible training is limited. And the experts are difficult to find.
We heard from Alexi Lubomirski, one of the keynote speakers, and the most recent royal wedding photographer. He’s actually a fashion photographer. He acknowledged that he got a lot of negative social media feedback on a couple images. We photographers tend to get hung up on details that only matter to other photographers.
Photography Gear And More Gear!
The huge trade show is a great way to keep up with the latest trends and equipment. This is the best opportunity to pepper the manufacturers with questions. Nikon and Canon have made a huge push into mirrorless camera technology. Up until recently, they had been slow to the game. Sony, Fuji, and others have a solid head start. As a Nikon shooter, it was good to see they’re now in the game. Mirrorless is the future, there’s no doubt.
With Nikon technicians on hand, it’s a perfect time to get cameras cleaned and checked. We subject our cameras to a lot more wear and tear than a consumer camera. While they are quite rugged, a tune up never hurts.
Back to Business
I always try to attend as many business classes as possible. After all, when running a business, if I can effectively market my work, it doesn’t matter how good my images are. So topics like SEO and social media or video marketing are critical.
And of course it’s great to be among fellow photographers facing the same challenges I do each day. We can compare notes, share tricks, sympathize with struggles and offer a fresh take lingering business challenges.
Did you attend WPPI? What did you think?
If you’re in another line of work, what’s your industry flagship conference? I’d love to know.