Having just returned from attending the WPPI show in Las Vegas I wanted to give you a non-wedding/non-portrait photographer’s perspective on the show.
While WPPI — known as the Wedding & Portrait Photographer’s Conference — is geared toward wedding and portrait photographers, there are several options for those of us who do not fit into those categories.
On the show floor
Wandering the show floor offers plenty of opportunities to learn about new products from software to gear that can be used in any genre of photography. Are you in the market for a new camera, lens, tripod or backpack? Several vendors are there to help you and show you their latest and greatest. You’re also able to actually use and test out some of this gear which is very helpful if you’re in the market to purchase.
One bonus to wandering the show floor is giveaways and contests to enter. Lens rental companies giving out $50 gift cards, camera bag company giving away free memory card wallets… these are just a couple of the things I came across. Other giveaways included lens clothes, stress balls, pens and notebooks. You could spin wheels to win water bottles, SD cards and other items or enter/have your badge scanned to win lenses and cameras. Another bonus is the show specials offered; discounts are always just a little bit higher at shows.
Learn from experts
Several of the exhibiting companies have experts presenting on a number of topics in addition to the schedule of classes offered. Just because you don’t photograph portraits and weddings does not mean you can’t learn about lighting and apply it to what you do shoot. Presentations were given on portraiture, headshots, creating storytelling images, sales basics, printing, album making, using social media and much more. You can always learn something that you can apply to what you do.
Go more in-depth with the learning opportunities available. At WPPI there were several different tracks you could choose courses from. Again, not all were strictly related to wedding and portrait photography. There were tracks on lighting and posing, workflow, business and marketing, technical and design, and an inspirational track among others. Much of what is offered in these courses can be applied to your own work and business.
Meeting other photographers is never a bad thing. We all have stories to share and it’s fun to swap those stories and experiences with like-minded people. If you attend courses or live presentations take the time to ask questions of the instructors, hang around a bit after and meet them if you’re able. The majority of photographers love to help each other and answer questions.
Another track offered at WPPI was photowalks. These are both fun and an excellent way to meet other photographers, not to mention getting outside and out of the convention center for a nice break.
Whether you only have one day to wander the show floor or you’re able to attend for the full four days, I have no doubt that even if you’re not a wedding or portrait photographer you will find a minimum of one thing that is beneficial for you and my guess is that you’ll find many more than that.