WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) holds its Convention & Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV each year in either February or March. Attendance for this year reached nearly 12,000 photographers from around the world, including China, New Zealand, Canada and South America, as well as from all 50 States. This year was the first at the MGM Grand venue; a move necessitated by the growing Trade Show and expanded Class offerings.
The photographers who attend are a diversified group, primarily involved with all types of portraiture and wedding photography. For them, the Convention focuses on two specific areas: Education and the Trade Show exhibits. Classes and workshops are offered on every imaginable topic, from posing to business techniques to Photoshop tools, and many are included in the basic registration fee ($249 for WPPI members) and others for additional fees. This year’s Trade Show exhibit presented over 300 vendors, and was the place to learn about all the latest in camera gear, accessories and software. Retailers like Samys, B&H, and Midwest Photo were all there with some really great Show Specials. How about a Pocket Wizard for only $119! Backdrops and props, lighting and frames, no matter what, it was there!
One of the Vendors we met was a group out of San Diego calling themselves the Boudoir Divas (www.THEBOUDOIRDIVAS.com) who offer courses from setting up a boudoir oriented studio to posing techniques. Another vendor, Triple Scoop Music, offers an amazing variety of royalty free background music for your slide shows. While not cheap, at least you don’t have to worry about being sued for ripping off music from commercial sources! Find them at www.TripleScoopmusic.com.
We noticed that the opportunities for models to find work here was rather limited. While some vendors do employ live models, many are drawn from local agencies in Vegas. Models can sign up with some agencies with no fees involved and will have a better chance to work. Try www.glamourgroup-models.com as a start. Also, models can attend the Tradeshow for just $15 and pass out biz cards or Zed cards and make some contacts that way. Be sure your OMP # is listed! Many of the photographers set up shoots for during or for just after the Convention at places like Red Rock Canyon, the Strip, or in rented hotel suites. Models, don’t forget to post your travel dates so we’ll know you’ll be there.
We also wanted to make a special mention of friend to OMP- Jay Gupta, owner of Backdrop Outlet. He and his wife Karen and their fantastic team do a great job at supplying the best in backgrounds, props and accessories for any OMP member’s studio. They are working to broaden their relationship with OMP and its members. Look for a special event being worked on for OMP members at next year’s WPPI.
Aside from a few logistical problems that naturally come with a major change of venue, we greatly enjoyed the show. The new Trade Show floor is roomier with wider isles, making it easier to view demonstrations at the booths and to see the new products. Photographers who attend this event will find a wealth of opportunities. It’s an investment in yourself and in your education towards becoming a better, savvier photographer. It offers a chance to meet up with old friends, and network with new ones. Next years dates are March 4-11, 2010 and the Convention will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. For more information go to www.wppionline.com Hope you can make it!
Exclusive report by Steve Hausman OMP #207668