August 31, 2012

Experience: WPPI U in Las Vegas, NV – Part 2

This is Part 2 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.

Picking up from where I left off in Part 1 of my experience at Wedding & Portrait Photographer’s International University (WPPI U), I managed to find a great hotel less than ½ mile from the Las Vegas Convention Center.  The Embassy Suites had a great room rate at $109 per night with complimentary breakfast (fresh cooked omelets – YUM!) and Wi-Fi.  This was a huge bargain compared to what WPPI U had reserved at the neighboring Renaissance Hotel.

The walk from the Embassy Suites to the Las Vegas Convention Center was brief at less than 10 minutes.  There were a few other Trade Shows (ADS) happening at the same time, so the Convention Center was packed!  Unfortunately, WPPI U failed to create proper signage outside the Convention Center, which caused a lot of lost, frustrated, and sweaty photographers.  If you’re reading this WPPI, you need more location signage!

Check-in was quick, far easier than at the 10,000-photographer WPPI convention in the winter.  Just find your name tag in the rows of approximately 500 other photographers, take a raffle ticket, and take a seat.

A few items I enjoyed at WPPI U were the complimentary Starbucks coffee and lunches.  This meant I could save more money during the two-day event or I could spend that money on slot machines.  Either way, it was a great inclusion.

Read more after the break:

The Day 1 lineup of speakers blew my mind.  More so after each of them shared life experiences, photography tips, and advice to becoming a successful photographer through the 9-hour day.  The leading lineup included senior portrait photographer Blair Phillips, The Boudoir Divas from San Diego, the amazing Sue Bryce, and finally, a very energetic Sal Cincotta.  Each of these photographers have found great success in their fields and each of them were willing to share success tips with the intimate class of 500.

Blair Phillips taught that there are very little things that separate a successful professional photographer from those who offer similar services at a lower price point.  One thing we can do to ensure we stand out in the crowd is to have amazing customer service.  Truly amazing customer service is rarely seen today, but it can get customers to market for you and to become repeat clients.

Similarly, the Boudoir Divas offered the same advice as Blair Phillips but in a different context.  Customers should be taken care of and have an amazing experience from first inquiry to the final thank you note.

Sue Bryce made 500 jaws drop when she announced that she made $1 million in her first three years of business after setting up a garage studio on a $3,000 loan from her parents.  The best business development tip Bryce shared with WPPI U was to have a strict business plan that concentrates on assignment goals, not financial goals.  Use marketing, social media, and client referrals to achieve the number of assignments you crave.  The money will flow in after.

To wrap up Day 1, Sal Cincotta shared tips and tricks to get a Facebook Fan Page working for you, instead of wasting time with it.  Cincotta demonstrated the new features of the Timeline-based Fan Page and how to use the Insights to track your target audience.  Cincotta’s tips were items that could be implemented instantly (thanks for the free Wi-Fi, Embassy Suites!) and start generating more buzz around my brand.

Nice view from the Embassy Suites in Las Vegas, about 3 blocks from the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Tune in tomorrow as I share the rest of my experience from WPPI U Las Vegas in this 3 part series.  Tomorrow I’ll talk about Day 2 at WPPI U, summarizing my overall experience and whether or not I thought WPPI U was valuable to my business.

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?

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