Ok, so maybe I’m a little too dramatic by using the term “commandments”, but you get my drift. WPPI is the largest professional photographer convention you’ve ever attended. It’s in the heart of America’s playland, Las Vegas. Exciting? Yes. Fun? You bet! Overwhelming? Ok, you get the point…
So, as a 5-time veteran and 2-time speaker, I’m here to be your WPPI 2011 Charlton Heston with a few tricks to make sure you make it back home without looking like you just finished shooting Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield”.
- Drink plenty of water. Sure it sounds obvious, but you don’t realize just how much moving around you’ll be doing. It’s a huge convention with two full-sized tradeshow floors with workshops and classrooms on multiple levels. We’re talking a proverbial Mecca of photography-dom! Besides, if you’re not familiar with the Nevada desert climate, you’ll learn soon enough that the dry desert air will suck any moisture out of your body pretty quickly.
- Pack light. I see it every year. Some people want to wear their prize Canon 1D MK III around their neck the entire convention as if they were a prize turkey. What they don’t realize is that carrying around 20 extra pounds around your neck all day isn’t like shooting your regular wedding. Try it for 12 hours straight for 5 days!
- Beware of dead zones! For real though, lots of photographers love their iPhones. And up until recently, iPhones were only available on AT&T 3G. Therefore, if there’s innumerable photogs with their beloved iPhones at WPPI, you can bet your signal will fizzle. So, if you’re not starving for 3G speeds, change your settings on your phone to not use the 3G data network. Your voice and text capabilities will work perfectly, and your phone battery will last much longer.
- Day vs. night… shoes. Seriously, this should go without saying. Aside from the enormous long hallway between the tradeshow and the MGM casino and hotel, there’s plenty of pavement to pummel with your shoes. That being said, bring some very comfortable sneakers for daytime. Afterwards, hop into your favorite heels for your night time adventures.
- Cash is king. I’m not talking about gambling, I do enough of that every time I fly Southwest. Just kidding. Anyway, the WPPI tradeshow is among the largest displays and sales facilities for the newest and hottest photographic gear. And the vendors know it. So, their providing plenty of deals and discounts that you can’t find anywhere else. So, if you’ve been waiting to buy a certain lens (Canon 50mm f1.2 L), now is the time to do it ;)
- Did I mention water…? Of course, this applies again, because as we all know, Las Vegas has plenty of drinking and socializing. I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself. Just remember to rehydrate for the next day’s adventures.
- Be social. Some of the best friends you’ll make will be made at WPPI. I keep in touch with all my buddies from every year I’ve attended. And the best part is that we all share business secrets and techniques without the restriction of fueling our local competition! So get gabbing!
- Twitter is your friend. I don’t even know who text messages anymore. It’s all about direct messages, mentions, and push notifications. With everyone on Twitter, there’s no reason not to be. With geo-location, photo uploading, hashtags and more, you’ll be “in the know” before it happens. Meet-ups, memories, and mayhem are all being recorded on Twitter. Just do a search for #WPPI and join in.
- Empty your mind. Some of the best minds in the photographic business are at WPPI sharing what they know on how to make your studio thrive. So, take advantage from the sages and achieve your inner photo-ninja.
- Have Fun! Yes, it’s a learning experience. That goes without saying. However, when else do you have the chance to hang out with great people and have some fun?
With that being said, I hope you all have a wonderful time and learn something new. See you there! -Dustin Meyer
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