WPPI Las Vegas 2010

One of the highlights of my year for the past few years has been going to the annual WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) Convention in Las Vegas, and this year was no exception. The morning after my big dance show I drove out to Montana (cheap flights!) then flew to Vegas, only to go to the convention the next morning at 7am! It was four days of intense classes and a killer tradeshow with few breaks, and I learned so much and came home with a notebook full of ideas. This was definitely the most informative year for me; finally, I was focused! Now onto the photos and stories…

Like last year, WPPI was held at the lovely MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.

I was joined by my favorite travel buddy, my mom! She threatened me that this is the only photo of her I’m allowed to put on the internet ;) (She’s the second silhouette from the left)

All I needed (plus a notebook and a good pen)

Most mornings, the lines for the classes looked like this:

Jerry Ghionis showed samples of wedding albums he designed early in his career, which was a humbling platform class ;)

There are very few places in Vegas where you can get free Wireless access, so I often found myself crammed in tiny corners in the few hot spots checking my email while my mom patiently waited.

I didn’t go outside for the first three days because of the tight schedule, but was grateful for all the picturesque windows.

Hanson Fong did a posing class, and demonstrated that including an Asian in your photo makes it 110% bettter ;)

This photo was taken on Day 2, and the bags under my eyes were already pretty apparent! Classes every day started at 8am, and I can’t miss breakfast!

I met up with Lethbridge-and-area photographers Amber Sessford, Lorelei Hoffarth, and Jan Tajcnar. I’m very happy we were photobombed by another photographer, AND this photo was taken by Bobbi of Bobbi + Mike, who I love love love!

Me with Bobbi. She’s super tiny and I am definitely not, so I’m pretty much doing the splits in this photo ;)

Louis Pang speaking on lighting

On the last day they had an event called Photographers Ignite where a bunch of the “big shots” had to give five minute presentations with a new slide every 30 seconds, which were usually hilarious, informative, and a little panicked! You can watch the presentations here.

Jed Taufer went on stage and announced he had to poo, before getting into his content.

Scott Bourne

Doug Gordon’s slides wouldn’t work, so he broke out into a long rant of all the things his photographer father made him do when he was 12. It ended up being a fantastic comedy routine :) You definitely need to watch it on the link I put above; he gets going around 2:40.

Khara Plicanic, however, was the most outrageously funny in her presentation as “Uncle Bob” (a favorite slang term in the photo industry). Another video you should watch :)

When most of the people had already left, a few of us were able to stick around for one final business class put on by Sandra Ayers and Jerry Deck. It gave me a little longer to visit with Stephanie, meet a few other photographers, and I had a little surprise that made me reflect on how far I’ve come the last few years. They had photographer Mark Robert Halper give a short presentation, and it took me a few minutes to place where I had seen him before…

When I was fresh out of university and had no clue where or how to start my photography career, PPOC Alberta had their annual meeting in Lethbridge (a rare thing), and I bought a very discounted student ticket to go to the three day event and watch the speakers. Halper was the speaker the first day… you know, the day I was terrified and didn’t know anyone there! Through that event I made a handful of very important connections with people that led me to where I am now. It was nice after almost a week of intense learning and motivation to think back to where I started not that long ago :)

All in all WPPI was a great experience, and this was the first year I didn’t feel overwhelmed! I knew what I wanted to get out of everything and came out of it feeling inspired. The only bad part was the bag they forced on us at registration….

WPPI was over on Thursday, but our flight didn’t leave until Sunday, so it was time for fun! …except that we both came down with pretty nasty colds that same day. Seeing as how I’m still coughing, I guess what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. However, we weren’t going to stay holed up in the hotel room, and the weather had finally warmed up so we persevered our way up and down the Strip.

New York New York

It’s not Vegas without him… Is it bad I can do the Elvis lip and this Elvis can’t?

The view from our hotel room:

I love the ominous green glow you have to endure while staying at MGM, so I made use of it for a few self-portraits.

The new hotel/casino Aria is absolutely gorgeous! It’s architectural art. I think I walked through it with my jaw gaping open the entire time.

And to conclude, a slideshow with extra photos!

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