Tomorrow, I take off for a couple of days to Las Vegas for WPPI, Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, the largest photographer’s convention. Imagine being in the thick of things with 10,000+ other colleagues who love the same thing as you, photography! Last year was my first time to go and I learned a lot of things which have helped me prepare better for this year.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously. The MGM Grand is ginormous. I believe my Nike+ pedometer recorded that it was about 1/2 mile from the hotel rooms down to the conference center, one way. If you don’t wear comfortable shoes, you may want to hack off your feet, just sayin’.
- Bring water. Go to Walgreens or 7/11 and stock up on water. The desert is dry and the casinos are smoky. I actually learned this the first time I went to Vegas (when Cent proposed!), and you probably don’t want to pay $8 for minibar bottle water. I wouldn’t.
- Look at the speaker schedule ahead of time. You won’t be able to do everything, so pick out the speakers you absolutely must see and a couple of backups, in the event that there’s no room to sit. It happens. So if you’re going to a really popular presentation, get there early!
- Make a list of gear that you want to see. Figure out what your budget is beforehand, and stick to it. The tradeshow is HUGE and the deals are AWESOME, so it’s easy to buckle under the temptation to buy, buy buy! But if you have a plan for what you can buy, you’ll leave Vegas with more money in your pocket.
- Bring cash with you. What I mean is, the casinos have ATMs, but as I learned last year, it’s a $200 minimum withdrawal. Plus the “convenience” fee. So I advise withdrawing cash at home and bringing that…if you’re rolling with cash that is. Of course, you probably don’t want to advertise that you’re packing a couple hundred or thousand (whatever the case may be…)
- Bring a point & shoot. If you’re going to any of the parties, (and you should be!) you probably don’t want to be lugging around your big camera…because it’s not exactly pocket sized. But you’ll want memories with all your new friends! So bring a P&S.
- If you have a SmartPhone, start using Twitter. There are a bunch of companies doing giveaways and the info is being given out on Twitter. Last year, I didn’t have my iPhone yet, so I got mobile updates from friends and from the contests…and I’d have 18349251 text messages a day. It was hard to keep up! Go ahead, start tweeting. For more information about Twitter and how to tweet, check out this post.
- Don’t be afraid to say hello. Like I mentioned, you’ll be surrounded by people who love the same thing you do! So say hello to people in presentations, in the tradeshow, and in line at Starbucks. Since I didn’t have an iPhone last year, I asked a complete stranger if I could borrow her phone to quickly check my email.
Learn hard. Play hard. Make friends. Share stories.
Oh, and an announcement!
Since going to the Making Things Happen Intensive back in January, I started a new blog. I’d love if you would check it out and tell me what you think. I’ve kept the project under wraps, but I figured that (and with encouragement from Lara Casey) this would be a good time to unveil it to the general public! Its content is on a different wavelength from this one, so it’s totally worth a look. Go ahead. Do it. Please?
Without further ado, I present, Project: Joie de Vivre!
Are you going to be in Vegas? I’d love to meet up with you!
Sunday: Arrival and AIRHORNS & LASERS party!
Possibly getting up early for the 8am platform
4pm-5:30pm: Fast Track Shoot Out
6:30pm-8:30pm: Jasmine Star Platform
8:30pm-whenever: hanging out with new friends!
Tuesday: Cent’s birthday!
12pm-3pm: Tradeshow floor
3:30pm-5:30pm: Dane Sanders, Mary & Justin Marantz, Elizabeth Messina platforms (still undecided!)
10pm: [b] school party & Pictage Party (but not at the same time)
10am-12pm: Tradeshow floor
2:30-4:30pm: Amber Holritz platform, Melanie Nashan platform (possibly)
1pm-4pm: Photog Shootout
6pm-whenever: hang out with new friends!
9am-11am: Photographers Ignite Presentation
3pm: Fly home!
Plans are subject to change, but say hello!