Sunday, March 23, 2008
I was in Las Vegas last week for the annual Wedding and Portrait Photographers International show. It was my fourth in as many years and every bit as incredible as before! This year was event-packed as I set aside more time to meet up with people I knew. It was fun!
This was another growth year in which over 12,000 people attended the conference (so big that I never did bump into Gene Higa again like I thought I would after his talk). There were many more vendors as well. I have seen most of them already but the most interesting newish companies were Finao and Couture Book - both are album companies. This year there seemed to be more Photoshop Action vendors, business software suppliers, and niche products. B&H, Samy's, Midwest Photo, and Silvio's were constantly crowded. Purchase-wise, B&H crippled my wallet as I picked up NEC's newest 24" LCD - the 2490WUXi. I believe this product should help speed up my image editing and album design work! Made a few other small purchases but I'm saving up for whatever Canon is taking the wraps off later this year (2nd generation 5D rumors).
Made it out to some more after hours events this year too. Photo Lovecat and Pay it Forward hosted a party at I-Bar in the Rio. There I met Anne Ruthmann - whose work I have come to admire. I also walked away with a neat prize from Colorati (a post processing provider) and hope to test drive their service soon. Pictage held their happy hour at Risque in the Paris. Richard lab hosted a wonderful get together at Canaletto in the Venetian. They are a boutique color lab in Los Angeles catering to some very special film shooters.
Oh yes, I guess I made it to several talks as well. I missed the first WPPI speakers as I attended a Pictage engagement instead. Gary Fong, Sara France, Pepper Nix, Jules Bianchi, Me Ra Koh, Mike Colon, Joe Buissink, and Denis Reggie were the speakers. Mike's talk was very insightful as he laid out his experiences courting the "high-end bride".
That evening was the WPPI Young Guns keynote with Ryan Schembri, John Solano, Mike Larson, Gene Higa, Lori Nordstrom, Catherine Hall, Jose Villa, Jesh de Rox, Jim Garner, JB and DeEtte Sallee, and David Jay. These people are the under 40 crowd making a big splash in the profession. Each talked about what makes their business unique.
Me Ra Koh was my Monday morning session where she and her husband talked about growing your business with associate photographers. Me Ra revealed how she brought more people on board. She also discussed getting published, advertising, and running a sane business with plenty of personal time (what the heck is that? haha).
Brian Marcus and John Solano were the afternoon session relating how they went about working society weddings. They talked about what they shoot and how they sell the images in an album.
Ending they day was Jose Villa who shared with us his techniques to having images published. He had some great advice and numbers as well. (I would have loved to know this 4 weeks ago while making my magazine submission.) Awesome talk!
Tuesday I started with Jerry Ghionis, one of the most charismatic people you will ever meet. While Reggie is all about not interfering with the day, Ghionis prefers to provide guidance as needed to obtain his outstanding results. He is worth seeing year after year. I'm kind of tired by now and skip out on the remainder of the day's sessions. Besides, I had some shopping to do! (FYI, Jerry won the album design competition again this year!)
Wednesday started with Michael Jordan Smith, photographer of America's Next Top Model. Here was another excellent speaker revealing his favorite portrait lighting techniques and giving thoughtful business advice based on his years of fashion experience.
Tero Sade was the last session I attended. He talked about how to promote your business through relationship marketing. Tero runs a successful business while working only part of the year - we should all be so lucky.
Another long post. As always, there is a lot to digest and I hope apply some of the advice given.
Bye bye Paris! Next year, the show is moving to the monstrous MGM Grand from February 14th to the 19th. I just hope it will not be too cold or wet, but then again, who goes outdoors when they are in Las Vegas?