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A Survival Guide to WPPI

Author: Libby

The WPPI Wedding and Portrait Photography Conference and Expo kicks off this week in Las Vegas. Each year, nearly 13,000 photographers attend WPPI to learn, be inspired and to check out the latest gear and trends for the year.
We will be there showcasing  our new and gorgeous photo books, albums and wall decor. Stop by the booth to check out the new fuji deep matte paper photo books or check out how satin metal prints are the perfect decor for all your clients. We’ll be at booth #1335. We’ll also have some of our amazing ambassadors at our booth answering your questions related to Printique products and photography.
Now that we have you all excited, let’s talk about how to handle the conference. If this is your first time, we have some advice for you to make the most out of it.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all of the information and activities WPPI has to offer. So before you even step foot into the conference, do yourself a favor and download the free app. The WPPI app will be your best friend. From platform class calendars to maps of the exhibit floor,  it’s easy to keep connected and stay on top of everything with the app.

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Now what the app won’t tell you, is how to make the best of the 2106 conference. So here is our list of way to surive your first WPPI conference.
1. Judge and Jury
If you are truly passionate about your photography, go early for the album and print judging. This is worth the trip alone to WPPI. Experienced photography judges openly critique submitted images for competition. The judges go into detail about what works and what doesn’t in an image. Did you know judges often will take a print and turn it upside down to see where the eye goes?  The  judging of prints and albums is  free to attend and it’s really intriguing to see some judges defend a print while others dismiss it. The experience of  print judging will broaden your thoughts when you create your own photos.
2. Game Plan
There are thousands of exhibitors at WPPI.  Have a game plan before hitting the floor. You’ll receive a map of where all of the exhibitors are located. First, stay on track and figure out what it is you are looking for at the show. Do you need a new camera bag or maybe you need  some props for the new year? Whatever it is you are looking for, make sure you hit the exhibitors that sell those items you are looking to purchase. It’s easy to become overwhelmed as you walk past vendors selling everything. Just stay on track and do your homework on the first day.  The first day spend the time doing your research and compare prices. Visit with the vendors, ask questions and take notes. The exhibit is open for 3 days and rushing into buying something on the first day without any field work or comparisons may be a regrettable action down the road. After that first day and once you’ve made an educated purchase on what you need, this is the time to go explore the floor and see what other items are the must haves for 2016.
3.  Inside Outside
The classes and exhibit are all primarily at the MGM Grand Hotel. It’s easy to spend 4 days at the convention and never step foot outside the MGM. Try to find a nice balance in classes. Sure you’ll want to go to the sit down classes inside the hotel, but WPPI offers so many other classes that take you outside the hotel walls. From photo walks to night photography, it’s important to go outside  and experience the great city of Las Vegas. There are often photo groups that will go to old Vegas or the Neon Boneyard. The important thing is to go out and be with like minded people in the open air.
4.  Step out of Your Comfort Zone
It’s great to go with friends to WPPI, but to truly learn and open yourself up to new ideas and people, you’ll need to do some things on your own. It’s never easy going to a class by yourself, but typically you’ll focus better if you’re by yourself and be open to meeting new people. Think about it, you already have something in common with the folks sitting next to you in the same class room.  This doesn’t mean you should be alone for the whole 4 days, rather just a few of the classes. Meet up with friends for lunches and cruising the exhibit floor together.
5. Take Care of your Health
Wear comfortable shoes. There will be lines everywhere so bring shoes that are made for lots of walking.  If you don’t, then we suggest bring lots of band aids.
Every year when photographers come back from WPPI a lot of them battle what’s called the convention cold. Take a few extra steps to take care of yourself at the convention. Bring lots of healthy snacks and water with you every where you go at the MGM.  It’s best to keep energized and hydrated.  Hand sanitizer is your best friend buy a few bottles of this germ killer and don’t go sparingly on it.  We understand it’s Vegas and there is so much to do and see, but don’t neglect to take some mental quiet breaks. Between the noise and the lights, it can put a strain on your senses.
For those of you who have gone to WPPI over the years, we’d love to hear your words of wisdom for surviving he conference and expo. Feel free to leave comments below or email libby@adorampapix.com