I am at the annual Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) trade show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Last year, there were about 13,000 people here. This year, organizers claim there will be a slight increase in that number. Time will tell, but no matter the actual number, it’s clear that the show is large and well-attended.
The conference sessions are particularly well-attended, as were the print competition judging and some of the speakers here are tremendous.
The rest of this post will concentrate on what I’ve seen on the massive trade show floor.
Since this conference is focused on the wedding and portrait industry, you see quite a few backdrop and prop companies. For those of you who shoot portraits, these professional backdrops can be quite helpful in setting a certain mood or achieving a certain look. One of the most impressive of these companies is Backgrounds By David Maheu. In an age where everything is digital, all of Mr. Maheu’s work is done by hand. His backgrounds are stunning, colorful and creative. His original designs are impactful. I was impressed.
Once you get past all the booths with backgrounds and props, one of the common themes here is video. I know I’ve been talking about this for years but video is still very hot, even in the still photo world, due to the number of hybrid DSLR still/video cameras – which keep getting better and better.
I’ve reported here on a myriad of DSLR support rigs, but at WPPI I found a company that was somewhat new to me. Cinevate, located in Thunder Bay Ontario Canada, has some of the coolest, most innovating DSLR support rigs I’ve ever seen. They are pioneers in affordable, lightweight, durable, support rigs. The people who design and build these rigs are all grips with significant film experience. When I picked up their carbon-fibre slider, I was blown away by how light it is. If you’re in the market for support rigs check these guys out.
Of course no WPPI would be complete without talking about lighting. In the strobe compartment, I spent a little time in the Dynalite booth.
They were showing new two strobe flash kit with all the trimmings for around $1100 that I found very interesting. It was very well constructed and still lightweight and affordable. The power packs there were showing delivered up to 500 w/s packs that weighed less than five pounds. I was astonished. The trend to make everything lighter in this industry is certainly appreciated by us older folk. They were also showing a portable mono-light that had the lightest weight battery pack I have ever seen.
There are lots of web design and album companies. Bambi Cantrell and I spent time in the Albums Inc Booth doing portfolio critiques. There appear to be dozens and dozens of professional labs here showing off all sorts of new printing products. I was very surprised and perhaps even a bit disturbed to see Cosco has a large booth showing off their photo processing. On the professional level, BayPhoto was showing off everything from metal business cards (perhaps the coolest business cards I’ve ever seen) to beautiful fine art giclee prints.
I could go on but you get the point. There’s a whole great big bunch of stuff to see and I’ve only scratched the surface. I’ll be back on the show floor today at 10AM sharp trying to find some additional cool stuff to tell you about. I’ll be speaking at Photographer’s Ignite on Thursday at 10AM. This is the second year that my pal Kevin Kubota has spear-headed the event and there will be raffle tickets sold at the door benefitting Thirst Relief. Photographer’s Ignite is on the last day of the show and I’ll have a wrap up here on Friday.