How to do it all at WPPI Las Vegas!

After going to WPPI 2 years in a row, I’ve discovered a few tips that make this huge conference less overwhelming, more affordable, and of course more FUN!

SAVE MONEY!

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My beautiful room at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort. Not only was it right next to the convention center, but it was a great price!

1.) CVS Pit Stop
One of my biggest tips and “MUST DO’S”, before you even check into a hotel. Is go to a CVS or Walgreens…trust me. If you wait till after your checked in you’ll be too tired to venture out too far and you’ll spend all your pocket money on vending machines and hotel gift shops.

This is a good chance to buy anything you forgot ( like sunscreen and lip balm), and stock up on necessities like water and snacks. Believe me when you’ve been walking around all day and you crash in your room for 15 minutes between classes you’ll be so glad you have yummy snacks in your room.

2.) Embrace the Uber!
Seriously Uber is one of those things that just made getting around so so easy. Not only was it easy and faster than cabs but it was cheaper. Here is a little tip- pay very close attention to were the pick-up points are. An uber driver told me they aren’t allowed to pick up in the front of casinos, so a lot of times you have to find them-which wouldn’t be a big deal but navigating through casinos can take some time and it’s super easy to get lost. So make sure you can find where they are picking up.

2.) Book it together and search for deals!
This last year I booked my flight and 4 nights at the Westgate for $300 total! I used the discount site Amoma.com (after doing some research). Also, look into booking flights and hotels together.  It’s usually cheaper than booking them separately. ​

WHAT TO DO!

1.) Download the App
WPPI has it’s very own app. This was super helpful in planning my class schedule, easy access to the conference map, and I could even leave session reviews right after I took the class. 
 
2.) Go to Judging
I can’t even tell you how many people told me to do this, and this year I made some time for it. I was so sad it was only 30 minutes between classes but it was so so good. I highly recommend going to the print judging even if it’s only for a short little bit. Its amazing to hear the judges’ comments and critiques. Next year I’m going to make sure I get to see more of it. 
 
3.) Bring a Friend or Make One
Experiences are always better when you get to share them with somebody. This year I got to go around WPPI with a fellow photographer buddy Carrie https://www.carriepollardphotography.com We met through local a group called The Rising Tide Society, and it was such a amazing experience to discuss classes, and different show vendors, and basically have a buddy- I loved it! 
 
If you aren’t going with someone no problem. There are tons of photographers there in your same shoes! If you don’t want to just walk up to someone first day of school status and say “hey wanna be friends”,  join the WPPI group and see if anyone wants to meet up for coffee, or maybe see if anyone is from the same state and build a relationship that way. ​
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We had too much fun at the phoobooths, we may have done it 3 times 🙂

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#commumintyovercompetition #tuesdaystogethermonterey

HOW TO PLAN

1.) Bring multiple Pairs of Shoes! 
Wear comfortable shoes, or at least bring them with you. No joke-you will be walking 5-10 miles a day…your feet will hurt! Some times its just about wearing different shoes that can help too. So I would wear Vans during the day and switch to flip flops later to switch it up. 
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This was the first day I was at the show, and yes both of those Starbucks drinks are mine, and yes I waited in a 30 minute line for them and it was worth it!

 3.) What Gear to Bring
It your planning to do a styled shoot, or take part in a shooting workshop take your camera. Try to limit your gear cause it’ll be heavy and you won’t use it that often. One thing I don’t recommend brining is your laptop- most likely it’ll never make it out of the bag. Just rely on you phone or maybe a small iPad.
 
 
4.)Schedule
I know you want to but don’t try to do everything. I prioritize what events are most important to me and try to do 1 of everything- fancy dinner, styled shoot, social event.
 
This year during WPPI I had an amazing dinner at Firefly Tapas If you go get the calamari, stuffed mushrooms, and of course Sangria!
 
I went to the Fireside Chat  hosted by Shoot and Share , Honeybook and the The Rising tide Society  I’m the coleader for our Tuesdays Together Monterey chapter so it was so great to see members and leaders from all over the US.
 
I did the tradeshow and walked the winning print entries. Which was so much fun to do with another person. And of course I took some classes.
 
Sounds like a lot right! It totally was but I basically planned one big event a day besides the session and it would out great!

SETTING UP A STYLED SHOOT

This will probably be your most memorable experience while at WPPI! A lot of the things you will learn will be so important to your business-so soak up all you can, but setting up a styled shoot is something you get to see and share right away! We are photographers after all!  
 
 There are a couple different way to do this. You can pay to take part in a styled workshop-there are a TON going on during WPPI. You can join a friends styled shoot (which is what I did my first year). Or you can setup your own styled shoot.

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PC: Laura & Rachel

​My first year at WPPI, I was so fortunate to have some amazing friends who were setting up a styled. Laura & Rachel http://lauraandrachel.com are and incredible mother daughter wedding photographer team, and they set everything up from models to hair and makeup. All I had to do was rent my own car, and I took some behind the scenes photos for them. Here is their blog about the Las Vegas Styled Shoot  and here is mine  It was such an incredible experience and so much fun.
This year I had planning to setup my own styled shoot and contacted Sew Trendy, they make gorgeous maternity dresses, to see if they knew of some models and if I could shoot some of their dresses. They told me they were having their own styled shoot and asked me if I’d like to come along, and of course I said yes! Here is the blog from the Sew Trendy Styled Shoot 
​The moral of the story is- just ask! You’ll be amazed at what people are willing to do for you. The flip side of that is to be very good to your vendors. Make sure you take photos for them too, and give them the photos. I repeat be good to your vendors and they will be good to you!
 
Tips for setting up a styled shoot:
-contact hair and makeup
-shoot for the vendors, and deliver!
-think outside the “Vegas Box”
-get models (and get extra)

 
Contact local hair and makeup artist and see if they are will to trade. You’ll may get some no’s and that’s ok, but you may get some yes’ too! Tell them that you’ll be giving them photos an ask them if there is anything specific they need ( like a long skinny banner image for their website, or back of the head details for the hairstylist). Think outside the Vegas box. If you’re at WPPI not only is Vegas your playland but all the beautiful desert around it is too. Rent a car for the day and have the shoot right outside Vegas in the desert. Get models! Vegas is full of people who need photos of themselves! And they don’t actually have to be models. If you shoot weddings look for a bride who wants to get dressed up again. You can find a local business that needs new headshots, or a dance studio. Again think outside the box, and tailor the session to your  business needs.

A LITTLE ABOUT ME

Hi! I’m Brenden! I’m a portrait photographer that specializes in studio quality newborn photography set up in clients homes. I’ve lived in California my whole life, but it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve started to appreciate our beautiful coast here in Monterey.  I started So Cute Photo in 2013, and I’ve loved photographing each families littlest member. 

WHATS IN MY BAG?

  • Canon 6D
  • Sigma 50mm 1.4 art 

  1. Patricia Cannon

    April 5th, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Thank you so much for the tips! I plan to attend the next one and will use your tips for sure. It looks like you had a great time

  2. Corey

    April 5th, 2017 at 9:51 am

    It looks like you had an amazing time at WPPI! Love the styled shoots you were able to do! So fun!

  3. Ashley

    April 5th, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the great tips for WPPI! I’m looking forward to making it there one of these years and really hope we get the chance to meet in person! LOVE the photos you shared of both your time in workshops and of the shoots you participated in!

  4. Esther

    April 7th, 2017 at 7:45 am

    These are such great tips! It looks like you had such a fun time in WPPI. 😄

  5. Effie Lissitsas

    April 7th, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Brenden, I absolutely loved your tips on how to go and do it all at WPPI in Vegas!
    I plan on going…at some point and will be referencing your blog for follow up info!

  6. Allison

    April 8th, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    This is the smartest blog post — and I will save it for when it comes time to register for the 2018 WPPI! Many of your tips are also good for just a regular trip to Las Vegas!

  7. allison

    April 10th, 2017 at 5:19 am

    This is the best blog ever! Thank you for all the great tips! I hope to go someday!

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