I’ve just returned from one of the most amazing trips abroad. WPPI, the worlds biggest wedding and portrait photography convention attracts over 16,000 people each year and this time, it was my turn to join the masses. Stretching over a one week period packed full of hands on workshops, in depth seminars, quick fire presentations, globally recognised competitions and trade shows that are bursting with exciting product launches are what makes the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International a convention like no other. Oh, and the location could also be a contributing factor – Las Vegas USA a mecca for social gatherings of all professions.
Stepping off the plane and cruising to the MGM Grand Hotel in a stretch limo didn’t seem that out of place in Americas sin city. Driving along the main strip at night surrounded by flashing Casino lights, towering hotels and gigantic peculiar shaped shopping malls with amusement rides on the roof and plunging out the side of them really does make this city the United States playground.
Highlights included the open print judging, watched in silence as entries from the worlds best photographers were scored and critiqued by a mix of highly qualified industry icons. Some so passionate that one very powerful image, given a score of ninety eight by two judges, actually brought one of them to tears as she discussed why this image was just two points from the highest score possible, something very rarely seen in WPPI’s 34 year history!
The trade show displayed many new products that we could look forward to seeing hit the market over the next few months. All the big industry names had put a huge amount into making them stand out – one company in particular told us how they are able to install a video screen into the back page of a wedding album catering for the new breed of photographers, who like ourselves, have embraced the latest technology allowing us to shoot video as well as photographs on the wedding day, giving clients not just movement in their album but audio as well, a real game changer!
Seminars took place in some of the largest conference rooms I’ve seen with audiences of over 2500 people in each of the four rooms. Speakers that stood out included two of my favourite photographers – Jerry Ghionis from Australia and Jasmine Star from Orange County, both speaking to sell out crowds giving inspiration and sharing ideas, everyone was full of praise for two of the worlds top 10 photographers.
Its back down to earth now and time to carry all the ideas and motivation into my own business and get pumped for this years shoots. The whole experience was on an epic scale, mixing business with pleasure really made me sit back and realise just how lucky we are as photographers to have the best job in the world!
A huge thanks to ‘Team O’Neill’ @ Ciaran O’Neill Photography for making the first move and putting this trip in the diary, if it hadn’t been for you guys I might not even have been there. Already talking about a return trip next year having the company of Ciaran, Bernie, Majella, Craig and Simon made the whole experience one that I’ll never forget, cheers guys, breakfast before bed showed the Americans the Irish way to do things, §ide by §ide ..§ide by §ide.
ps Thanks to my Mum as well for keeping the studio going in my ‘unavoidable’ absence x