I just got back from WPPI in Las Vegas. It’s THE conference for wedding and portrait photographers and it was my first time at the convention. Reportedly, the attendance was around fifteen thousand people – huge by any standards.
For a few days, I attended lectures on marketing & branding, family photography, commercial filmmaking and lighting. In between classes, I walked the trade show floor with not one but two enormous ballrooms full of photography related stuff.
From a tech standpoint, the mirrorless cameras are on the offensive. Fuji is my favorite among the pack. Nikon and Canon have challenges ahead, but I was encouraged after seeing some the latest Nikon gear.
It was wonderful to see so much emphasis on print products – albums, frames, metal prints etc. Name a surface and someone figured out how to print on it. As a portrait photographer, it’s my responsibility to educate and remind the public about the power of a print. What good are the thousands of iPhone pictures if you don’t print one on occasion?
Remember the Polaroid? Check out the Fuji Instax camera – your creativity will thank you.
As a photographer, here are some thoughts on a couple of the deeper conference themes:
Personal branding is everywhere (not just in photography). As people like me leave the corporate world and hang out their own shingle, effective branding and marketing is essential for sucess. The way we entrepreneurs differentiate is through marketing ourselves – not necessarily the art we make or literal service we provide. Anyone can push a button, sell a house or sell you insurance. But it’s the story behind the individual and the experience that makes us want to buy.
Create Vulnerable Art
This is tough to cover in a few sentences, but I’ll try… As an artist (in any medium), we must be comfortable creating work that reflects our experiences. Sometimes we will offend. But by not sharing, we deprive others the right to connect with our work. Personally, this is a struggle for me, especially when weighing the branding issues above. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in building a finely tuned brand that we don’t show work that deserves to be seen because it might not fit in. So keep on eye on future posts for some different work...