August 15, 2012

Experience: WPPI U in Las Vegas, NV – Part 1

This is Part 1 in a 3 part series about my recent road trip and experience at WPPI U in Las Vegas, NV.  Stay tuned as more of my experience is published in the days to come.

A quick stop at Starbucks along highway I-15 for an overpriced drink, I mean seriously overpriced.

Wedding & Portrait Photographer’s International (WPPI) is a massive weeklong photography seminar and expo every working photographer should experience.  Top-notch photographers travel to Las Vegas, NV. to teach seminars covering topics on business, marketing, social media, weddings, portraits, pets, and so much more.  The amount of knowledge shared at WPPI in the winter is amazing (dates rotate between February and March each year).

Did I mention there’s a King Kong sized expo with all of the newest cameras, lenses, flashes, modifiers, backgrounds, and print fulfillment options?  The deals are to die for!

Read more after the break:

While the trade show offers an opportunity to return home with a checked bag full of new camera gear and a grin on your face, I do not recommend WPPI for the expo deals.  I prefer the knowledge, networking, and inspiration gained by meeting successful photographers I idolize, including Zach & Jody Gray, Tamara Lackey, Catherine Hall, Sue Bryce, and so so so many more.

When I received an email after WPPI 2012 in February telling me there would be a smaller, more intimate, WPPI University (WPPI U) seminar in August, I had to go.  Pricing was much more affordable at $150 ($125 early bird) instead of the $400 weeklong seminar (which provides admission for two).  There was a quick portfolio review and 8 speakers who would cover enough material to hold me over until the next full WPPI in March 2013 and help grow my business.

I have to include that when you attend WPPI U, you receive ONE FREE ticket to WPPI 2013 in Las Vegas!  This is a huge savings!  Your opportunity to grow your business and photography skills are huge and at less than half the price.  Plus two trips to Las Vegas in the same year makes for a great time – twice!

Fast-forward three months.  My car is packed; I have a duffel bag of clothes, a Think Tank Photo Airport International V2.0 roller with camera gear, and a Think Tank Photo Shapeshifter backpack for day use (I am shooting an assignment in Denver after WPPI U).  I’m hitting the road for an 8.5-hour drive to the best experience of my summer.

Nearly 8 hours into my drive, I ran into a wicked lightning storm along highway I-15.  Clouds were dark, a light drizzle slapped the windshield, and the dark twilight sky was sparked open every few seconds with bolts of lightning.  Check out this awesome double lightning strike along I-15 about 30 minutes away from Las Vegas, NV.

Two lightning bolts strike along highway I-15 just outside Las Vegas, Nevada.

Stay tuned in the upcoming days as I share the rest of my experience from WPPI U Las Vegas in this 3 part series.  Tomorrow I’ll talk about Day 1 of WPPI U and my first impressions of the turnout, expo, and speakers.

Did you attend WPPI U in Las Vegas or any of the other stops on their Road Show?  Did you like it, who was the most inspiring speaker, and most of all, will I see you at WPPI in March 2013?


  1. Hello, I am excited to read more about your experience. I have not attended any WPPI events and have signed up for WPPIU in Portland next week! I am SO excited (though I would have much rather gone to WPPIU LV) but regardless it's going to be great. One thing I am interested in knowing more about is the portfolio review. I have never done one of these before can you explain their process and your process in preparing for it? Thank you so much!

    ~Lacie Lauree

    1. Hi Lacie, You are going to have a blast at WPPI U in Portland next week. I am adding a special Portfolio Review tips article to this 3-Part series just for you. It will be available soon.



  2. Hi Stan. Thank you so much. I leave tomorrow to drive to Portland. I have printed 12 8X12 images to use for my portfolio review. I have been traveling for work the past two weeks and have yet to find a portfolio folder to display them in. Do you think I would get slammed if I walked in with my prints in the sleeve the lab sent them in? :/

    1. Hi Lacie,

      Don't worry about the physical package you show your work in, instead, focus on the content inside.

      Have a great experience!


  3. Had an absolute blast. I felt like I was at a comedy show too. All the speakers were great! Full of information that will be useful, kept the attention of the audience. And the portfolio review was great.

    Thanks for the info.