WPPI Recap!

The trip got off to a great start when I started reading the Hunger Games on my iPad – totally engrossing, I started and finished book I with more than an hour left in my flight and was cursing myself for not having purchased the whole series ahead of time!  It’s amazing how self-indulgent the simple act of reading a book can seem but it’s something I only manage to find time for when I’m traveling (which is once a year max!!)

After arriving at the gate in LV, I was amused that this was the first thing to greet me:

Just in case there were any doubts that I’d traveled to the wrong destination!

After I collected my bag, I went outside and waited in the longest line I’ve ever seen for a taxi.  Seriously, it was like a line for a ride at Disney land.. during spring break!  When I finally arrived at the MGM and was waiting in line to check in I realized I had left my iPad in the seatback!!!!!!!!! TEARS!!

I dropped my bag off in my room and headed BACK to the airport to the luggage office and had them check the plane, but of course it had been taken. So I did what any spoiled sane person would do and looked up the location of the nearest Apple store..which was only a mile away and was open until MIDNIGHT. I don’t know why people call New York the city that never sleeps because Vegas definitely owns that.

After making far too many decisions that I was too tired and jet-lagged to make (what size, wi-fi or 3G, ATT or Verizon, case color!) I finally returned to the hotel with my shiny new silver hot-pink covered iPad 2 and collapsed into bed.

The WPPI room block was in the newly renovated section of the MGM which was super nice! I didn’t have too much on the agenda for Sunday morning, but I really WISH I’d gone to the print competition judging, I heard after the fact that you can learn tons by attending.

I SHOULD have slept in, but I was ravenous thanks to pregnancy and jet-lag combined so I showered and met Shane for breakfast before he took off back home.  Soon after I met up with his wife Ava who was to be my roomie for the show and headed over to “Launch Pad” which is where tradeshow vendors share their new products they are introducing.

This is where I saw H&H’s new photographic pano books for the first time and their new custom printed iPhone 4 covers!

The pano books are really gorgeous – gutterless, photographic and at an amazing pricepoint. The pages are not board thick, but slightly bendy sort of the way that Graphistudio album pages feel (if you’ve ever seen them) but made in the USA with a 1 day turnaround! :)

The iPhone 4 cases are soooo cool – I can’t wait to design and order one! They are clear, so you can do something subtle like just your logo, or do a full cover image design on the back. And the price is amazing!

After Launch pad I went back to the room and waited for Keri Meyers to arrive – meeting her was one of the absolute highlights of my trip, I can’t wait for her to come to my studio in September and host her workshop! She was just as lovely and wonderful as I knew she would be.

After hanging in our room for a bit I headed to dinner with a few of the H&H folks. I know I’ve said it before but they are the most genuine, kindest, caring people that I have ever met – They always make me feel like I’m part of their big happy family when I’m with them!  I got rather sad realizing that I probably won’t be able to see any of them for well over a year being that come next convention season I’ll have a 3-4 month old!

The following day (Monday) I had my first class which was a Masters class.  The way WPPI works is that there are Masters classes that cost about $50 to attend and “Platform” classes that are free with your registration. Out of the 3 classes I paid for, two of them were awful, including the one I attended Monday. So it’s definitely NOT true that you get what you pay for (just a little tip for you if you ever attend!)

That night Ava and attended a dinner organized by her friend Augie Chang. We were the ONLY non-wedding photographers there, and I was the only non west-coaster there for sure but dinner was delicious and it was nice to network outside my usual group for a change. Dinner was however marred by the distressing phone call I got from Jeff telling me that they could not find Bear and Jasper had cried himself to sleep after two hours of sobbing and woke up repeatedly in the middle of the night crying out for him! There’s nothing worse than knowing your baby is suffering and there’s not a thing you can do to help him :(

I am happy to report that Bear was found the next day shoved into Jasper’s train table drawer so there were no more bearless nights – THANK GOD!

The next day Tuesday was my super-busy day, I had a platform class with Jamie Schultz in the morning which was awesome.  She made an excellent case for how as photographers we tend to try to shoot for feedback in forums, or for what’s trendy or new and in doing so we lose sight of what’s important to our clients. She also always makes you cry!  I also just really admire how she has a thriving photography business, design business, and lunchbox/inspiration blog and still manages to keep it all together.  She’s a great speaker and well worth seeing if you have the chance (she greeted all the attendees at the door with a handshake – nice touch!)

I spent a bit of time at another BAAAAD master class and then it was time to meet Anita of Rustic Star Photography for an AWESOME shoot at the Nelson Village Ghost town that she spent weeks coordinating and invited me to even though we’d never met (she is a wall guides customer!) I will post in detail about the shoot in a separate post, but the synopsis is that there were 4 photographers, 3 toddlers and a GORGEOUS mama all in vintage clothing – having tons of fun in a stunning location. Definitely a highlight of my trip!

On the way to Nelson village, out the window of the rented prius!

Our gorgeous mamma/model Ashely!

Sunset on the way back to the strip..

Anita, I can’t thank you enough for inviting me and it was so great to meet you and Elise, Ashley, Amanda, Alycia (Ariana & Anita) aka the “A” club plus Elise!

That night the impossibly GORGEOUS and uber-talented Meg Borders hosted a meetup at Zuri bar that a bunch of the Clickinmoms admins and mentors also attended, so I got to meet a whole crowd of lovely ladies I’d only formerly known by screen-name!

Wednesday morning I took an EXCELLENT master class by Nichole Van – highly recommend seeing her if you get the chance. She really had it together with handouts that included her most important slides (and also jelly beans!) and even did an in class demo of using bare bulb alien bees to bounce on a wall behind you. Pretty great!

Wednesday was also the last day that the tradeshow floor was open so Anita and I ran around like maniacs making some last minute purchases.

So now I’m going to discuss some items/products that I saw at the show that I really loved. There were no clear trends like last year with the die cut cards, but there were some things that stood out.

Printable iPhone 4 cases

I already mentioned H&H’s, I saw one other vendor had them too, but I honestly don’t remember who and don’t care because you should buy them from H&H :)

Two Sues Bag

Kelly Moore’s new Two Sues Bag – it has what they call a “Posey pouch” that stores your CF cards and credit cards, plus I LOVE anything that comes in Mustard!


Another product I found kind of fascinating was one that Jerry Ghionis created with Westcott called the “Icelight“.

It’s just an LED wand of light, but it creates REALLY flattering light in a super portable, storng,  easy to use daylight balanced package.  It’s kind of pricey, but I might have sprung for it anyway if I shot seniors – it’s super dramatic!

Wood Prints

There were two vendors there offering images printed on wood blocks which results in a really nice soft, organic and almost vintagey effect.

One of them was called Woodsnap:

And the other was called Photobarn.

Daisy Grip

This product I thought about for 3 days and then had to purchase before leaving (they offered a great show special!)

It’s a brilliant little contraption that attaches to your flash hotshoe and allows you to attach puppets or (and this is what sold me) your iPhone! I love the idea that I can play something different for baby clients (black and white patterns for example) or even an episode of yo-gabba-gabba or whatever for preschool clients.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes once I have a chance to try it out!

After running around the show floor, Anita and I went to the Forum shops and cajoled some fellow tourists to snap a shot of us:

We had a delicious dinner at Diego and I was literally falling asleep on my way back to my room (thanks to progesterone plus jet-lag!)

The next morning I packed up and flew home – and was welcomed by the best hugs and kisses from my little guy, a fire in the fireplace and a slight sense of disorientation being in our new house. But I was thrilled to be home nonetheless.

And the next morning, lounging in our new living room, I was treated to this:

Yes, it’s good to be home!

If you attended this year, who/what was your favorite product, vendor or speaker?

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lisa says:

Do you recommend WPPI for budding photographers?

ariana says:

Hi Lisa,
I actually preferred Imaging!

ariana says:

Tira, wow, photography really IS a small world! Theoretically you can wipe your iPad remotely as long as you have find your ipad installed. However mine didn’t work, so it might not be connected to wifi or it could be that the battery is dead :(

JB, I don’t think Jeff is officially a swing dancer -he just likes to act like one! We had a terrible time in dance class for our wedding. Being a former musician I’m uber sensitive to keeping time.. Jeff had a looser definition of rhythm LOL.

jbhat says:

I can’t believe you lost your iPad….but was happy to read that you were able to just go out and get a brand new one. Wow!

You look so happy in these pictures….it’s evident that you are in your element.

If your husband swing dances, you and Jasper (and A and B) are soooooo lucky! I used to date a swing dancer and it was seriously some of the most fun I ever had, being flipped and swirled and twirled around. Too bad it didn’t work out, haha.


Tira J says:

Loved reading your WPPI recap. Mine is coming soon. Sad that we didn’t get to meet in person. My roomie had lunch with her mentor, Augie Chang! Smaller world in that the Woodsnap guy is my friends/friend from Orange County. I am super bummed that you lost your ipad, but also really glad you got a new one. How does that work? Were you able to shut it down so nobody could get your information? I am sure your boys are glad to have you home. Hope you are feeling GREAT xoxo