It’s that time if year. The Wedding and Portrait Photographer’s International convention begins this weekend, and 10-15K wedding photographers from around the world will converge on Las Vegas for a week of education, information, and yep, a little bit of partying. This will be my 12th consecutive year attending WPPI, and my 11th consecutive year as a presenter. I’ve forged some of my closest friendships, and I also met my wife through WPPI as well. it’s given me so much, and I feel as though I can’t give enough back. I’ve been fortunate enough to have won a Grand award for Photojournalism, named the 2012 WPPI photographer of the year, and I received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement award. That’s an embarrassment of riches, and I’m incredibly grateful.
If you’re a wedding or portrait photographer, or an enthusiast that wants to learn more about the craft, the WPPI convention is a great place to start. It also boasts the single largest photography trade show in the U.S. each year. Whether it’s a camera company- preferably Nikon :-) or an album company, you’ll be able to connect with nearly every company in the photo world.
MY schedule is pretty hectic, but not as much as in the years past:
Platform Class on Mastering Light @6:30pm Tuesday Evening in Rooms 309/310 – You may want to Pre-Board
Nikon School Theatre Monday @10:15am and Wednesday @1pm
WPPI/KelbyOne Theatre Monday @12:30pm and Tuesday @12:00pm
Pocketwizards booth-Monday and Tuesday @12:30
Now, as far as education goes, there’s a potpourri of opportunity. Make a plan. Figure out what your goals are, and then view the seminar schedule. Below, I’ve made a list of events that I think would be worthwhile. Many of the master classes have been sold out, but you can still pre-board for platform classes for just about everyone. Please understand that I know I’m leaving some people out, and I apologize in advance. I just wanted to give a quick guide to those who might want some advice. Here are a few “DON’T MISS” events.
The 16×20 awards of excellence print and album competition judging:
This might be the most educational element of the entire convention. On Saturday and Sunday, some of the most respected and accomplished wedding and portrait photographers in the world will be reviewing thousands of print entries in various categories. Every image will have some commentary from at least one judge, and constructive criticism will be provided along the way. I’ve learn an enormous amount from attending for a few years, and I’ve learned even more by judging for the past several years as well. It’s truly worth attending, and I guarantee you’ll learn something. With regard to the seminars below, some of the times overlap, but that’s the nature of the convention. Do your due diligence to see what’s best for you. I haven’t noted any Master Classes since I’m pretty sure many are sold out, but check to make sure…Below is a list of what I would do if I had the time.
Throughout the tradeshow, you’ll find some truly incredible speakers present presentations for FREE on the tradeshow floor. I may be a bit biased, but the Nikon School Theatre will have some great presentations. I’ll be speaking there, but so will the iconic Joe McNally. He’s always educational AND entertaining. My lovely and more talented wife, Susan Stripling will also be presenting along with some other excellent Nikon photographers. Susan’s going to be demonstrating how she shoots her amazing details live on stage. As you stroll both rooms at the tradeshow, you’ll stumble upon some great presentations that you’d never expect. There’s some great info at many of these.
Platform Highlights and Photowalks:
Duh, Cliff Mautner’s Platform class. Yes, self serving, but I hope you attend my platform presentation on Mastering Light on Tuesday evening at 6:30. You may need to pre-board. I promise some great information and some good laughs as well.
Joe McNally’s keynote presentation. Nikon Ambassador, great educator, and all around great guy. He’s one of my photographic heroes, and I assure you that Joe will provide information that will transcend the scope of wedding and portrait photography. His talent and experience have taken nearly everywhere in the world. Joe’s keynote promises to inspire and inform. Don’t miss this.
Parker Pfister’s platform class. Wednesday at 8:30. Ok. It’s Wednesday at 8:30. You’re tired, burnt out from partying, but if you still want to learn something GET UP AND GO SEE PARKER! He happens to be My favorite photographer in the world, and someone who inspires me to no end. His creativity will haunt you, and his prolific body of work will blow your mind.
Rob Greer’s Platform class on SEO Strategies Monday at 4pm. Rob is a NO B.S. SEO genius. He’s the most knowledgeable individual on SEO for photographers out there. His information WILL boost your business. Creator of Good Good Gallery websites for photographers, he’ll share incredibly valuable information about SEO. Rob did my new site, and I’ve already seen results within ONE WEEK.
Susan Stripling’s platform class Tuesday morning 8:30. What can I say? She’s my wife. She’s more talented, prettier, and she will blow you away with phenomenal information. She’s a great presenter, and there’s no fluff. She’s got a phenomenal eye, and her class is all about developing your Unique eye. Go there. Learn something! She inspires me.
Tony Corbell’s photo walk. I’m not sure if this is sold out, but there are few photographers in the world with as much lighting knowledge as Tony Corbell. His photo walk is Monday night. Just do it if it’s not sold out.
Jerry Ghionis’s platform class. It’s Jerry. It’s awesome. It’s original. It’s hilarious. It’s emotional. Jerry may be the best presenter I’ve ever seen. There is only one Jerry, and he never disappoints. 8:30am Monday morning. Get your ass up and go.
David and Luke Edmonson’s photowalk. Not sure if this is sold out, but these men are the real deal. They’re images are full of emotion and imagination. They also might be the classiest people in the industry. Monday 6:30
Christian Lalond’s Platform Class. This Canadian pro is one of the top commercial shooters in North America, and he’s also one of the most talented. His processing is flawless, and he demonstrates it LIVE in his platform class on Monday at 6:30
Kevin Jairaj’s photo walk. This guy defines versatility. He’s a great wedding shooter, portrait shooter, and sports shooter. If his walk isn’t sold out, it should be.
Ryan Schembri has been shooting since he was a baby. It shows. Go see him Sunday at 9am for his platform class.
Jason Groupp’s rising stars platform. Wanna see some new, talented blood? Come to this seminar at 4pm on Monday and get a glimpse of those who will shape the industry moving forward.
Kevin Kubota’s Platform Class Monday morning at 8:30. Kevin should know something about successful businesses, and he talks about it in this platform class. He’s one of the very best presenters in the industry, and I promise you’ll learn something.
Jennifer Hudson’s Platform Class. Ok. This woman is the single most creative portraitist that I can think of. I’m not joking. I look at her images with my jaw wide open. I would love to take a workshop with Jennifer. I’ve never actually met her formally, but she is one of my very favorite photographers in the world. Her platform class on conceptual portraiture should be terrific. Sunday at 3pm. I’m pissed that I’ll be judging, but maybe I can sneak in for a few while on a break.
Kelly Brown’s Platform Class. Sunday at 3pm. I don’t know Kelly, but I can tell you that her images were some of the most powerful I saw at last years print competition. She’s giving a class on newborn photography.
RC Concepcion’s photo walk tuesday 8:30 am. I love RC. I love his passion, and I love how he teaches. A photo walk with RC will be educational, productive, and hilarious. He’s one of the smartest men I know. Do it!
Justine Ungaro’s platform Class Tuesday 4pm. Justine is giving a class on “starting over in a new market”. Justine went from D.C. to L.A. and had to start over. She did it. Great information here.
Roberto Valenzuela’s platform class Monday at 4pm. Roberto is one of the most articulate educators out there. He knows how to get his message across with passion, and fantastic information is always provided. His book on posing is the single best posing guide ever produced, IMHO, and I think his class will be a winner. Go.
Mike Allenbach and Jaleel King’s Platform class These are my homies. They’re Philly boys with a great story to tell. Mike is an expert at creating buzz for your biz, and Jaleel is one of the most inspiring individuals I’ve ever met. Sunday at 9am.
Photo walk with CM Leung at 8:30am Wednesday. I have never met this man, but his work is stellar. I’d be interested in seeing how he sees. I can’t give you more that that since I’ve never seen him speak. It’s certainly worth a look!
Peter Hurley’s platform class on Illuminating the face. I love Peter and his style of teaching. He’s high energy, and his information is terrific. He’s made a living at this for a while, and he’s one of the most sought after shooters for head shots in the entire industry. He KNOWS his stuff. Monday at 8:30 am
Julianne Kost Platform class Sunday at 12pm. NOBODY teaches photoshop the way Julianne does. She’s a brilliant presenter, and she puts complex PS lessons into easy to understand terminology. Even I understand half the things she says:-) If you want some PS and LR help, go see her.
Yervant Zanazanian’s platform class Sunday at 3pm. Why? Because it’s Yervant. He is coming from Australia to show us his patented imagery, and there are few photographers who’ve had a bigger influence on a generation of wedding photographers than Yervant.