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Countdown to WPPI (and some tips to get the most out of it!)

WPPI 2016_Sony Alpha

We’re less than a month away from the premier convention and gathering for wedding photographers in the USA — WPPI 2016 in Las Vegas.

 

This year’s event starts on March 3-10 and the very popular trade show is held from March 7-9, 2016.

 

To find out more details about classes, sponsors and to sign up, go to:  http://wppionline.com

 

I will be presenting in the Sony booth again this year and could not be more excited and more proud to be included.  Changing to Sony in 2014 has not only impacted (and I would say improved) my photography but it has given me a reason to share about the tools that I feel are the best in the industry.  These new style of tools help us make photographs like never before.  I feel I can make such a contribution to the industry by being there and sharing what I know about using these tools, configuring them for maximum efficiency and what they have allowed me to do.

 

Last year was, by all accounts, Sony’s best WPPI ever and this year’s event is sure to be even bigger and better for the company.

 

The size of the booth is expanded this year and while I have not seen any preliminary designs, it is certain to be a world class presenting and visiting space.

 

Last year’s WPPI had a palpable buzz of electricity in that space and I’m not the only one who noticed it.  People who were already interested in Sony really “got” that buzz and folks that might never have considered Sony before got a real dose of what the future will bring with these mirrorless cameras fed off that energy.  It was so exciting to present and see the faces of photographers in the audience.   

 

Once I get the schedule of speakers I will post it, but please be sure and carve out time on your busy conference schedule to hear wedding and portrait professionals in the booth including:  Brian Smith, Robert Evans, JeZa, Scott Robert Lim, Mike Colon, Patrick Murphy-Racey and others.  

 

What makes this year’s event even more special is that Sony just announced a new (and highly anticipated a6300 camera superseding the a6000 as their premium small format, aps-c body in E mount) and three new G-Master Series lenses that are certain to appeal to wedding and portrait photographers.

 

Those lenses are the 24-70 f2.8 G-Master, the 70-200 f2.8 G-Master and the 85mm f1.4 G-Master lenses.   These are the lenses that wedding photographers have been waiting for and now they’re here!  

 

I know this will draw a huge gathering because WPPI will be the first place to get a look at them.  It’s a good thing Sony expanded the booth size — they’re certain to need it.  Last year’s booth had so much energy and it was coming on the heels of the announcement for the 35 1.4 and the 90 macro.  These lenses were not available until the summer as was the breakthrough a7R II.  Photographers around the world are certainly seeing that Sony is for real and playing for keeps.  I can’t remember any photographic company that has made such revolutionary changes and new lens introductions on the scale of Sony since I have been in the industry (going back to the early 80s.  Back then 10 year replacement cycles were the norm for pro grade film cameras).

 

So see you in the Sony booth and let’s catch up!

 

 

Tips for Attending

 

 

If you’ve never been to a WPPI at the MGM-Grand, prepare to walk.  A lot.  Your fit bit will go crazy with all the walking.  So be sure and bring comfortable shoes.

 

I prefer staying at the MGM or the Signature (my favorite because it’s a non smoking hotel) because then I don’t have to build in time to get from one hotel to the next.  Even a nearby hotel like could take upwards of 30 minutes to get to the floor.  That being said, give yourself plenty of time to get from your MGM room to the floor especially for big events or the opening of the trade show.  There tends to be a bottleneck at the doors.

 

Take advantage of the folks that are there — not only presenting on the big stages for WPPI but also in the trade show booths.  It can be crazy, almost a three-ring circus feel to the trade show, but there are some wonderful speakers presenting and be sure and take advantage of those talks.  At the trade show booths it can be a smaller setting allow you to ask questions and even have a conversation with your favorite photographer after the talk. 

 

Most companies offer trade show specials so if you’re wondering what bag to buy (Think Tank ;-)!) or if there are any new cool lights to purchase, you might consider holding off those big purchases until the trade show.  You might check with the companies, even if you’re not there in person perhaps they will honor a WPPI special.  Never hurts to ask.

 

A backpack is a great friend if you’re carrying a bit of gear and computer and doing a lot of walking around….shoulder bags tend to get really heavy at the end of a week.  I’m planning on using the Think Tank Perception 15 for much of that time (https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/perception-series-backpacks/products/perception-15-backpack?variant=1235195047 )

 

Take advantage of Photo Walks that WPPI is presenting along with the manufacturers and presenters.  I know I have one scheduled but the times are still being worked out.

 

Plan your trip through the trade show by seeing who is presenting and see what meshes with your needs.  For example, I am going to check out a few different areas that I want to see in person, including:  studio management (CRM) software, LED lighting for video and any studio flash units that are battery powered.  

 

Be prepared to be surprised.  You never know who you’ll meet and I am pleasantly surprised by the people I randomly meet.  For example a few years ago I met a fellow from Indiana at the food court who is a wedding videographer.  He was sporting a mirrorless cameras and that caused me to strike up a conversation (I had been beginning my quest into mirrorless about a year before and they were not as prevalent as they are now)

 

And even though I’m not a wedding videographer as such, I’ve been following him since then on Facebook and we’ve PMed and stayed in touch. I’ve enjoyed watching his business grow and change since then.  It’ll be nice to reconnect with him this year.  (By the way his name is Garrette Baird and you can find him at: http://www.eyenamics.com/

 

Be sure too to drink plenty of water, bring your chapstick and try (I know it’s hard, there’s so much to see and do) and get enough sleep.  I hope you found this helpful and look for me at the Sony booth at WPPI!