WPPI Convention 2014

As every year in March, there was a big photography convention of WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) in Las Vegas. Photographers from all over the world come to this convention to share their experience, learn new things, see new products, and most of all – meet new people.

For me the main reason to go this year was meeting with people that I already knew – especially my friend Ania – a photographer from Wisconsin. Also, to see new products: beautiful books and fine art prints, learn some new techniques, get latest marketing tips and see first-hand what’s new in the industry.

Patricia (that's me) and Ania at WPPI 2014 in Las Vegas

In the weeks before the conference, I signed up for certain classes to reserve my spot, so I had some good expectations. However, once I finally arrived at the front desk, it turned out that all my reservations had been canceled due to a computer error! You can imagine how upset I was! To my astonishment – it finally ended up to be a very good thing. For the moment, let me just tell you that God had a big surprise waiting for me, but more on that in the next post – this one is about the conference.

Overall, I had a great time at the convention. Being around people as ‘crazy’ as myself is somewhat… refreshing – and it’s also good to know that I’m not the only person like this. I was especially touched by a class with Peter Hurley, a renowned photographer from New York. He was talking about directing – a main ingredient in portrait photography.

Peter is actually a “headshot” photographer. You might say – what’s so complicated about a headshot? Just take a camera, a light, some plain background, and shoot. Well, as Peter nicely put it:

It’s your responsibility to pull the best out of your clients – no matter how stiff and lifeless they are. Remove their masks, and direct them to look their best!”

I could not agree more – my thinking was validated. I am responsible for how people feel during the session with me and how they look in the photographs.

People usually have the idea in their heads, that when they smile in a certain way, or put their lips together (‘duck face’) or stare at you seriously – they look their best. The truth is that they can’t actually see themselves, and usually have no idea how awkward they look. Only a good photographer can make them totally relax and bring their best smile… I’ve experienced this many times with my clients and was so happy to hear this from Peter!

Anyway, many good things happened there. I learned a lot, had an amazing time with my friends, went to see some places – but more about that next time.

See the atmosphere at the convention: