I just returned from Vegas after a six-day stay for the WPPI 2014 (Wedding & Portrait Professionals International) Convention. I can’t say that it was the best week of my entire life as the WPPI promised, but I can say that it was the best week of my photography life. I met some incredible photographers and heard some very inspirational stories, attended some amazing platform classes that were taught by the world’s very best wedding photographers, laid my eyes on some of the very latest technology, and developed a dire need to go back next year. I’m already trying to pick out the platform classes I want to pre-board next year but most likely, the schedule won’t be released for another ten months or so.
Here are a few of images of the speakers I had the opportunity to attend their platform classes:
On February 26, I listed my goals for the WPPI convention. Here’s the recap.
- Learn. Experience. Grow. — Complete. I had an opportunity to learn, experience and grow and I did just that. It was an incredible experience.
- Network without reservation, and without being shy. — Complete. I exchanged business cards with 17 other people I found interesting. I even initiated the conversation with some of these people—which, if you know me, you know that’s not something I usually do. I also plan to follow up with each of these 17 people and hopefully, I’ll get to visit with them at next year’s WPPI. Sidenote: I ran into Amy Karp of Dallas and I introduced myself. I’ve been following Amy’s work ever since I attended a breakout session with her at the I Heart Faces Photography Workshop in Dallas a few years ago. What a nice gal!
- If I see Sue Bryce, do more than stare at the floor and say, “Hi. How are you?” — Incomplete. I didn’t see Sue, not even once.
- Attend the 16X20 print competition and listen to the live critiquing. — Complete. I sat through six hours of live judging. It was a chance to hear a panel of five professional photographers critique a competition print. This was, by far, the most enlightening experience of the entire week. I watched and listened, as print after print, was critiqued and scored right in front of me. Seeing the critique in person gave me a chance to see many other photographers’ work and to hear what the respected pro’s thought about them.
- Get mentally prepared to enter the 16×20 print competition next year. — Complete. I’m ready to enter at least one. The next step is deciding what to enter.
- Take copious amounts of notes in the 12 workshops I am attending. That’s over 18 hours of continuing education/instruction from world-renowned wedding and portrait professionals. — Complete. I took lots of notes and many pictures of the slides when I couldn’t write as fast as they were being shown. As I sat with Robert O’Neill waiting for a class, he asked me if I would really review the notes. My answer is yes, I will review the notes.
- If time permits, attend a shoot-out or two. — Incomplete. I didn’t attend any official shoot-outs, but I did take over 500 images during the week. On my last full day there, I completed a three-hour photowalk. That was nice. I became fixated on the water show at the Aria for about 30 minutes.
- Spend time exploring the trade show and put my hands on a Nikon D4s. — Partially complete. I spent time at the expo all three days that it was open. I didn’t actually have the nerve to ask a Nikon representative to hold the D4s, but I did spend a good time just looking (and dreaming) at it through the glass case. I did discover some incredible technology that I will be including in my wedding collections. This is super exciting! I already have my sample, but I can’t even demo it yet, because it’s so new that the software hasn’t been released to the public. I met with my representative from the Italian wedding book company I use. Finally, I tried winning an iPad for three days in a row from my print lab to no avail. However, it was fun visiting with other photographers while we waited for the drawing.
- Look at all the resources available to me and compare them to those I’m currently using. Personally meet some of my vendors! (I’m especially excited to meet Christine, my rep from Graphi Albums. — Complete. I casually visited the booths of other labs and album companies, but none of their products or presentations were impressionable enough to make me want to change. I think I’m using the best resources possible. I have no plans of changing anything.
- Totally unlike me, but possibly attend one of the after parties! — Complete. I attended the Members Only Meet & Greet with a new friend, Florina, who was brave enough to attend the WPPI while she was five-months pregnant. Just wow. She was buzzing around the place even though both of her ankles were swollen beyond recognition. What perseverance!
- And because Jason Groupp likes uneven numbered lists, give him a high-five! — Complete.
This is Tim. Tim shared an incredible and personal story with me about a brain injury he survived. His story gave me some comfort and reassurance about medical advances with regard to traumatic brain injuries since losing my own sister to a TMI in 1984. I’m glad we had the opportunity to exchange stories. Thank you, Tim.
Until next time, be positive, happy, and healthy, and don’t forget to be photographed.
I am a San Antonio-based wedding and senior photographer who started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. As one of the up-and-coming San Antonio wedding photographers, I am also available to shoot in Austin, Houston and Dallas and the surrounding areas. I am also available for destination weddings worldwide. Ata-Girl Photography Co. offers an amazing wedding photography service that you won’t soon forget. As a professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide you the absolute best photography experience.
I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I enjoy watching my daughter play softball, hiking, cycling, reading, and listening to Elvis!
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