It’s that time of year again when wedding bells aplenty will be ringing. Well, more like wedding photography will be flashing. The annual Wedding & Portrait Photography International (WPPI) Conference & Expo kicks off March 3 at the MGM Grand in what is arguably the wedding capitol of the world: Las Vegas. This week-long expo is the premier industry event for wedding photographers and filmmakers, attracting nearly 13,000 professional and aspiring creatives to network and build new relationships to grow their business, learn new techniques from industry leaders, get their hands on new solutions and products from major manufacturers, and of course, to enjoy all the Vegas madness.
WPPI is all about bringing the industry together to learn, network, innovate and grow, with educational seminars, networking events and a huge industry trade show showcasing the latest tech and gear for photographers and filmmakers in the wedding industry. As a booth exhibit this year, we here at Lumoid thought we’d put together some tips on how one can navigate the hectic exhibit floor of WPPI to get the most out of their experience. After all, what happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily have to stay in Vegas.
You’re gonna be on your feet all day navigating a huge showroom, so endurance is key. With that in mind, you should definitely travel light. Plan ahead on what gear you want to bring, and only pack what’s absolutely essential. Your arms will thank you for it. You’ll also want to pack light and have some room available for the swag you’ll be collecting from the expo floor.
Don’t Get Grabby
Since we’re on the subject of swag, don’t aimlessly swipe everything in sight just because it’s free. Odds are, you’ll end up throwing half of it away and you’ll just bulk up on all the bags of crap you’re carrying around. Takes samples of gear and goodies that you’re interested in, and ignore the rest. That way you’re not lugging around stuff you won’t end up using, and you won’t be depriving another attendee of something they might actually want.
Map Out a Plan
The showroom floor at the expo is a beast, and there’s no way you’re going to be able to see everything. With that in mind, you’ll want to do your research and figure out where the booths are that you’re most interested in to maximize your time and minimize your walking, because the last thing you want to do is wander around aimlessly. We’ve singled out a few booths that are definitely can’t-miss:
- HoneyBook (Booth #1377): HoneyBook empowers the best wedding & event pros to run their creative business more simply. HoneyBook allows you to streamline proposals, contracts, invoices, payments and collaboration so that you can be more successful while offering a seamless, branded experience to your clients. It’s wedding management all in one neat, tidy package.
- 17hats (Booth #1165): 17hats is an all-in-one app that seamlessly integrates features to keep your business running on track. From bookkeeping to contracts to payment schedules and more, 17hats will keep your business running smoothly, all in one handy-dandy place.
- Peak Design (Booth #735): Peak Design develops gear that lets creative types follow their muse. With a line of award-winning bags, GoPro mounts, camera accessories and gear, Peak Design equips photographers with everything they need to pull of that amazing shot and helps them accomplish it with ease.
- Lumoid (Booth #1474): What, a little self-promotion isn’t a crime. If you happen to be roaming the floor of WPPI, come by Booth 1474 to say hi and check out the latest cameras and photo gear we have available for you to rent and try out – gear that we ship all over the U.S.
Network, Network, Network
WPPI is the industry’s biggest conference and all the movers and shakers are going to be under one roof. Utilize this opportunity to your advantage! It’s easy to stay in one’s bubble, but in order to make some new, lasting professional relationships, you gotta pop that bubble and put yourself out there. Introduce yourself to any photographer or business you admire or would love to collaborate with. Share a little bit about yourself and allow them to do the same. Sure, it might feel a little like an awkward, professional Tinder encounter, but everybody is there for the same reason, and a face-to-face introduction is much better than a cold email. Carpe diem!
Like we said, WPPI can be a beast. You’ll be walking around an expo floor all day, and chances are you’ll forget to do important things like eat or drink. Keep a bottle of water on hand to stay hydrated and refreshed during the expo marathon. Be sure to pack a few snacks too in order to remain alert and avoid being hangry around potential professional partners. The last thing you want is to pass out on the floor and be THAT person.
You’re in Vegas for crying out loud! Yes it’s a business conference, but that doesn’t mean you can’t loosen up and have a little fun. Take part in the expo’s raffle events, including Lumoid’s very own Vegas-style raffle wheel, complete with an array of awesome prizes. This is the town where people get lucky, after all. Also, don’t be a stiff and skip out on the after parties. For starters, ain’t no after party like a Vegas after party. Secondly, this is where most of the attendees will be winding down and it’ll be a much looser and accessible environment for you to network and talk with people. This is where you’ll wanna schmooze. Just remember to pace yourself so you’re not wandering around the expo hungover the next day.