Last week, I returned from my very first Wedding Photographer's conference in sunny Las Vegas. It was so exciting, exhilarating and educational all at the same time. I really didn't know what to expect but I'm so glad I attended. I met so many wonderful wedding photographers and even got to meet a few of my personal photography heroes, who's work I admire and inspires me. It was truly a wonderful trip and I would highly recommend attending if you are remotely thinking about it! I wanted to make a list of the top 10 things I learned from WPPI. So, here goes...
1 - Stay close to the expo! I stayed with my roommates, Mikkel & Amy, at the MGM Signature which is directly behind the MGM Grand. We had an amazing room on the 35th floor with stunning views of the Las Vegas Strip. However, I couldn't believe how far everything was inside the casino. The walk alone from our hotel room to the expo and seminars was a least 10-15 minutes. If you were to stay further away, I would plan on a lot more walking!
2 - Take lots of classes! What I really looked forward to was taking as many platform classes as possible. It's hard to decided between each class, because I didn't want to miss anything, but I learned to take classes from photographers you haven't heard of. This is to ensure that what they are going to teach & share with you will be completely new to you.
3 - Bring your own snacks! Las Vegas is extremely expensive and that's coming from a New Yorker! Lunch alone could cost you almost 20 dollars - yikes! I'm so glad I brought my KIND bars with me because when I was rushing around and didn't have time to eat, I snacked on a bar to keep me going. I saved a few dollars too ;)
4 - Bring Cash! Finding an ATM in the casino that doesn't charge you a huge fee is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I'm so glad I brought along cash with me just to have for small purchases or cab fare.
5 - Don't fly with liquid pens! I learned this the hard way. My favorite ballpoint pens are liquid and unfortunately, they don't travel well. They both exploded once I opened them in my first seminar and I was pen-less. Luckily, Amy had one I could borrow. Thanks Amy!
6 - Visit the Expo! One of my favorite points throughout the trip was visiting the actual Expo! I got to see so many amazing wedding vendors and products up close. I found a new camera bag that I LOVE as well as ingenious flash filters. I also found a new wedding album company that I'm in the middle of testing (more to come on that later) but I wouldn't have been able to find out about these new vendors without the expo!
7 - Bring a cardigan, water, hand cream and lip balm! The seminar rooms are freezing and with the temperature change your skin dries out fast! I highly recommend carrying a cardigan or sweatshirt, a bottle of water, hand cream and lip balm will keep you comfortable and hydrated throughout the day.
8 - Network and mingle with your peers! It's not very often you find yourself surrounded by dozen's of other wedding photographers so get out there and mingle. I met so many wonderful wedding photographers who were all willing to listen, share and give advice. It's like a facebook group or forum in real life! Oh, don't forget to bring stacks of business cards too!
9 - Take an outside workshop! One of the best decisions I made was to take an outside workshop by Katelyn James. Yes, it was super early in the morning and I was half asleep but after attending, I realized that I really enjoy (and prefer) a small group vs. a large seminar. I'm a visual learner so having a bit more personal attention really resonates well with me and I retain more information.
10 - Write it all down! This is my biggest take away from my entire experience. After each class, I would go back to my room and write down every single thing I could remember from the seminar. It's so much information that I needed time to process each tidbit on it's own. Looking back, I'm so glad I did because now when I read my notes, I know I did it with a fresh memory and remind myself what I previous learned!
here are some of my photos from my iPhone. I have a full blog post just Las Vegas photographs coming soon - Enjoy!