I first heard about WPPI a few years ago from my friend, Ali, Alisandra Photography. She had asked if I was planning to go that year and I had no idea what it was. After researching and starting to tap into that whole culture, I was so completely overwhelmed as a baby photog, not even knowing where to start. I knew I wanted to go but it wasn’t in the cards. The following year, it wasn’t in the cards either. But this year, I knew I had to make it happen. I spoke to another good friend of mine, Jill, Jill Tiongo Photography, and we decided that we would make it happen together. Rebecca, Rebecca Read Photography, latched on which I was so excited about and the 3 of us started to count down the days until Vegas in March.
I had put the whole trip in the back of my mind since I booked my flight last fall. The holidays happened, I moved to another part of the country, and then other trips and weddings had me busy until it was finally time to head out last week. The night before, I don’t think I have been more stressed about packing for a trip ever. I should have googled what to wear to WPPI. True to form, I felt like I packed everything and nothing at all the same time. And I absolutely didn’t wear half the stuff I brought. Figures.
Let me say that I had no expectations of WPPI. I wouldn’t let myself, and that’s not normal for JordanQuinn. Not at all. I forced myself to not expect anything so that I could just go with the flow and have my mind blown. It paid off. The past four days were filled with timesaving tips, money makers, being starstruck when seeing photog favorites, and meeting tons of new friends in the industry. It was a jam packed four days and even though I personally despise Vegas (really) and although I may not go back year to year like some photographers, I couldn’t be happier I took full advantage of my first WPPI experience. For anyone planning to go next year, here’s a little bit of info on what to expect.
Every morning, us girls woke up 6:30am (or 7.30 if you’re not a morning person like yours truly) to get ready. We had to walk about a half hour to get to our classes, and make sure we hit up Starbucks on the way. Classes started at 8.30 every morning and it paid off to be in line a bit early in order to grab a good seat in front of your dream speakers. After class was over at 10, we explored the gigantic tradeshow and stocked up on industry loot, walked the strip in search of budget lunches, and chatted about “things we want to change when we get back.” Picking seminars to go to was so hard at times. There were so many amazing speakers to choose from and I couldn’t decide many times. It’s great to go with a group of people so that you can split up and compare notes after if that’s the case. Classes continue at 4.30 to 8 and by the time the day’s over, exhaustion & information overload take over and your hotel bed sounds like the greatest thing on the planet. This is where sharing a room with a few other industry friends is amazing because you can pillow talk and chat about everything you learned that day, reinforcing the abundance of info.
I learned a forever-long Evernote file full of goodies. That’s where the investment to attend comes into play. :)
But here’s one thing I learned from each presentation:
Wedding Photography: What You Really Need to Know | Cliff Mautner
- You can shoot at noon on a sunny day. Don’t be scared. Just put the subject between you and sun. (Aha moment, for reals, ya’ll)
Marketing and Creating a Memorable Online Presence | Lawrence Chan
- Create content that people can search, stumble upon, and share. And make it easy to do all three.
The Luminous Portrait | Elizabeth Messina
- Don’t be afraid to shoot the same scene from an entirely different angle. If you’re inside, go outside, and approach with an entirely different perspective.
Remarkable: How to Build a Mind Blowing Business | Jesh Da Rox
- What do people want? They want to have their minds blown.
Dear Future Me, Stop Making the Same Mistakes | Jasmine Star
- Define what success is to me and keep those definitions where I can see them at all times.
Efficient and Profitable Album Sales | Melissa Jill
- Use album credits, not full album offerings, in a Signature Collection
Contemporary Portrait Posing | Sue Bryce
- Chin, shoulders, hands, hourglass, body language, asymmetry, connection
All in all, we had a blast. I’m not the same artist or business woman I was last week. And I hope to incorporate all the wisdoms of the speakers and my peers into moving forward and continuing to develop things in Seattle. I’m so thankful for the brilliant minds who spent their days with me this week. Be sure to check out all of them and their work:
Jill Tiongco | Jill Tiongco Photography – my trusty second shooter and brilliant photographer friend
Becca Mikkelson | Rebecca Read Photography – my fun loving photographer friend, who has an outrageous obsession with froyo and likes it just the way she likes it (with oreos, fruity pebbles, and chocolate chips on top)
Ryan Moore | Ryan Moore Photography – a new friend made at WPPI and wonderful talent in Chicago
And here’s some iphone images, just to get a taste.