Professional Photography Speaker & Tips on Attending WPPI

Professional Photography Speaker

Flying to WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) February 5th-9th in Las Vegas?

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As both an attendee and speaker (I spoke in 2009 and 2013), I know there are plethora of things to overload your brain at the WPPI convention. 

The biggest change this year is the move from the MGM grand (below) to the Las Vegas Convention Center. 206

One advantage of the move is that you are not stuck with one (fairly expensive) hotel, but now have a ton of options available to you. While you ARE here to learn about photography, marketing, social media, Photoshop, etc. or see all the cool products in the trade show, nevertheless, you want to also experience some of the great shows, and dining that Las Vegas has to offer.

Las Vegas is a crazy place, unlike any other city in America. What other metropolis has a landscape where you can see the Statue of Liberty, a Pyramid, a roller coaster and a castle on the same street?

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I've been fortunate to photograph a wedding in Las Vegas itself AND Red Rock Canyon, two gorgeous places for photo shoots.

Plus, since my dad was one of the construction workers back in the 1930's, I visited the magnificent Hoover Dam which was well worth the short drive.

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For the truly adventurous, you can drive further to the Grand Canyon, something I will be doing this summer myself.

On June 12th 2017, I'm speaking about High School Seniors  at Las Vegas at the  SPI convention  Well worth attending BTW.

Last year I had 30 paid senior models (starts at $395 and goes up from there), and this year I already have eight and don't complete the process until Mid-June when school gets out in Oregon. This program will cover how you too can have this success. Go here to get more info or email me. IMG_3155 But I digress.

My best tip for being a tourist in Las Vegas?  Go HERE  for some great deals. They offer hotels, attractions and tours at superb prices.

Tips on attending the WPPI convention.

  1. Enter (or at least watch) Print Competition. Yes, it may hurt your ego, but it will push you as an artist. As a Master-Craftsman photographer (degrees given by the Professional Photographers of America) who is blessed to speak to professional photography groups all over North America, I didn't get there overnight. I took classes on posing, lighting, style, social media, marketing, you name it. But to begin with, you must have quality images to provide your clients. Print Competition is a good way to start. Watching the judging is highly educational and will improve your minds' eye.

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2.  Plan ahead.  Check out the websites of the speakers to insure their style fits with you and layout a schedule well in advance of what programs are your first and second choices in a particular time slot. Why? I found that while the description of some of the classes I went to sounded good, after 15-20 minutes I found that the speaker and content did not live up to my expectations. Rather than waste my time (Time IS valuable), I jumped ship and went to my second choice program. In all the cases, this was a wise move. Part of planning ahead is having a budget to purchase items in advance as well. You don't want to blow money you don't have.  Also, wear comfortable walking shoes...you'll put a ton of miles on them.

3. Get Meat. You will find that some speakers are full of hot air, talking mostly about themselves and giving dubious claims. You want real content that you can utilize to improve your vision, your photography, your marketing, sales and business skills. Great speakers are there, but not as prevalent as one might think. I have found that sometimes the more famous they are, they less practical ideas they provide their audience. (Jerry Ghionis is an obvious exception.)

4. Take copious notes. You will forget much of what you are hearing and seeing if you don't write it down. Honest.

5. Have time to have fun.  The brain can absorb only so much content...so meet new people and find entertainment that fits you. I've attended 3 Cirque du soleil shows and all have been incredible. And I had a front row seat to David Copperfield which was awesome. Gambling can be fun if you stick within a strict budget. Just know those fancy casinos didn't get that way from people like you and me winning.  Another good reason to check out the DEALS page.

6. Once you return home, recopy all your notes and then highlight things you want to incorporate into your business. Then pull 8-12 items out of your notes and prioritize them with steps you need to take and a deadline for each step. After all, you've spent all this time and money, you want to maximize the information you gleaned to have it change your business to better yourself.

Life IS short. You want to have a quality life, part of this is making a good living and loving what you do. A life like this frees you up to serve God and love those around you more deeply. After all, status, things, money, awards don't really matter in the end, only our relationships, our character and our Creator give us real meaning.

There are programs at WPPI that will help you achieve your goals whatever they might be. I hope you have a great time and Viva Las Vegas!

-Wishing you the very best in your adventure-

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Professional Photography Speaker