My Week at WPPI Las Vegas Convention Center • Abby Anderson

My Week at WPPI
Las Vegas Convention Center

Whoa, that doesn’t look like Minnesota! Last week I flew to the desert to join 12,000 other wedding & portrait photographers from around the world for WPPI, a week of inspiration and information. I’ve wanted to attend this particular conference for years, and things finally fell into place for me to attend. It was a treat to leave behind our Northern climate for a few days, and even more of a treat to learn from some incredibly talented people. Since I had limited time to accomplish what I’ve wanted to do in years, I packed my schedule and made the most of every day. I took in classes from talented portrait artists and world-renowned wedding photographers, attended a full day class on photojournalism, observed live print judging and shot a session out in the desert. In the evenings, I ate dinner with new friends and stayed up way too late visiting with others who, like me, own and operate their own creative businesses full time. Thanks to Dana Widman and Shelley Martin for hanging out with me the first night after I got lost for an hour. Haha! They fed me and it was amazing.

Even with all the opportunities for education and inspiration, my favorite moment of the week was one afternoon while riding up an escalator on my way into the conference center. On the opposite escalator, going down, was a photographer carrying massive amounts of photography gear. He had a 6’x8′ scrim (a giant white, transparent canvas) attached to a giant pole in one hand and huge reflectors in the other plus multiple bags on either side of his body. I wish I had been quick enough to grab a photo, but I was too busy laughing to myself. He looked crazy carrying all of that stuff and yet the look on his face was pure, driven excitement. I’m certain he was on his way to a shoot, and I felt strangely at home. These crazy, creative and driven people are my tribe!
As a sidenote, if you’re a photographer and plan to attend the conference one day, here’s a tip. Take an hour to run to a nearby grocery store and stock up on fruits, veggies, and healthy quick foods for your hotel fridge. This will keep you from routinely spending $10 on bad sandwiches. Best decision of my week.
Over dinner on Monday I was able to spend time with the people of Showit, my website provider, who I’ve been with ever since the beginning of my photography career. Amazing people!
A giant trade show was where I spent the heart of my day on Tuesday. I visited with 17hats, GraphiStudio and ProDPI (my studio management software company, album providers and print lab) getting new ideas for products to offer my clients.
It was fun to bump into some local friends during the week, as well as make new friends. I loved spending time with my roommate and new friend, Kristen Booth, over the week! It was also fun to visit with Andrew Barlow who is one of the faces of Shoot and Share, as well as the crew behind the Rising Tide Society and Bob & Dawn Davis, who I’ve been a longtime fan of. I’ve always wanted to be a part of sharing/giving photography communities and I love what these people are doing to foster a sense of community between independent business owners.

More to come from this Red Rock Desert Shoot!
On Wednesday evening, the Rising Tide Society hosted a fireside chat and I met some amazing new friends! What a privilege.
Bumping into more local friends in the line at the airport was another plus. Even more so, the two empty seats next to me on the flight home because I needed all.the.sleep.
I got home on Thursday in enough time to pick my girls up from school. Seeing Eden’s smiling face when she recognized me in the preschool pickup line was the best! Even if she and Anika both promptly got the stomach flu as soon as I returned home. 🙁 Yay for mommy duty!I’d welcome any questions about the trip in the comments! If you’re a photographer and new to WPPI, I’d be happy to answer any questions and share my best tips for navigating the conference. It was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend it.


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