Mar. 7, 2013 Our Life, Photography

A bit of WPPI 2013 Advice

Last year was the first time I attended WPPI. If you don't know what WPPI is, it's a HUGE convention in Las Vegas for Wedding and Portrait Photographers. And when I say huge, let's imagine 10,000 photographers from all over the globe. It's pretty easy to get lost amongst the sea of excitement. Thankfully last year, I had my pal JJ with me and since she was a veteran, I wasn't too scared. And if you've met me in person, you know by now that I have absolutely NO issues walking up to a complete stranger and striking up a conversation.  
In a few days, it's all going to happen again!
I wanted to take a few moments to give some last minute advice. Sort of like a "big sister" because that is what I feel like these days because there are so many young photographers out there.  
1. Always remember that during the entire conference whether you are in a class, on the tradeshow floor, or at a dinner, you are representing your business.  
2. Please have a current picture of yourself on your website, twitter, facebook and instagram accounts. Last year someone came up to me and I had absolutely NO CLUE who they were. Why? Because, they didn't look even close to what their online profile represented. I should have known who they were because we participated in an online group together, but it was a weird situation.  
3. Introduce yourself to everyone, including the vendors you work with and plan on working with. We have some wonderful relationships with our vendors because we have taken the time to get to know them personally. Oh, and don't be scared to introduce yourself to Jasmine, she doesn't bite, and she will know who you are even if you tell her just a smidge about yourself. She remembers everyone! She's cool like that.  
4. Drink a ton of water for a variety of reasons. Because I am driving to WPPI, I actually bring a huge case of water and carry bottles with me in my bag. 
5. LEARN! You've paid a lot of money to get to this conference and taken time away from your studio. Now it is time for you to learn something new to bring back. Attend as many platform classes as you can. And if you are able to, attend a Master Class. They do cost extra, but are truly worth the investment.  
6. Take care of yourself. Just because you are in Vegas, it doesn't mean you can't eat healthy and gets lot of sleep.  
7. Do write out every single class you are going to, the times, locations, etc. I did this last year and it helped tremendously. This year, there is an iPhone app for all of that which is pretty cool.  
1. Don't get so skunk drunk at a party or event that you can't remember the name of the person who dragged your sorry rear back to the hotel. Speaking of drunk, I know the phrase, "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" but really? Be responsible. And this goes back to the first piece of advice. Remember that you are representing your business. Trust me. 
2. Don't think that because you don't use a specific vendor, you aren't going to give them the time of day at the tradeshow. Guess what! When I walk the tradeshow floor, I make one initial lap and then write down the ones I'm going to re-visit. Every single vendor has paid a LOT of money to have a booth at the tradeshow, so give them a few moments of your time. You just never know, some of those products may be the next big thing for your clients and business.  
3. Don't snub anyone! I don't care who you are or who the other person is. We are all on this journey together and we all started somewhere. Swap business cards and stay in touch. Some of my closest friends in this industry are ones that I've met at conferences, workshops and tradeshows.  
Lastly, for some more great advice, check out blog posts below.  
Check out Melissa Jill's WPPI advice here. 
Check out Justin & Mary's WPPI advice here. 
Check out Rachel Brenke aka The Law Tog's WPPI advice here. 
Check out Katelyn's WPPI advice here. 
*If you are attending WPPI, I'd love to meet you and hug you! Yes, I'm a hugger! Don't judge!  
See ya in Vegas!
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