WPPI {High River Photographer}

March 29, 2013 , Wedding


I wanted to do a post on WPPI 2013 because I was one of those first-time photographers that Googled everything I could on the event before I went. Partially to figure out what it was all about, and partially to figure out how to book, register and navigate my way through the event. I read other photographers blogs and now I’d like to contribute myself.

To begin, WPPI is the Wedding and Portrait Photography Conference and Expo held annually in Las Vegas every February or March. Last year I followed it on Twitter, Facebook and through other photographers I know. I knew that I would be attending in 2013 because I had plans on quitting my corporate communications career in Calgary to be a full-time photographer in August 2012. This was the perfect way to usher in the end the first half of my first year as someone who now identified herself as a career photographer.

The beginning

I booked my flight and hotel about six months in advance. There were some great deals going on Expedia and I snagged a flight and room for an awesome price. I booked at The Signature MGM Grand.¬†From my research online, I learned it was closer to the conference than the rooms at the MGM Grand. Also, the rooms rocked. They were big suites with a kitchenette and fridge. I’ll be honest, the fridge had some beer and we used the coffee maker and that was it. But….if you wanted to use them, it was there.

I connected with an old friend and we shared the room. It was easy because they were huge with lots of space for all our stuff. Carla Chabot and I met as teenagers at Agribition….only the most fun a cattle kid (and adult) can have. We showed cattle together but lost touch as life got in the way. We reconnected about a year ago online. Honestly, when we met again face-to-face, those 15 or so years apart disappeared. Carla is a full-time photographer based out of Outlook, Saskatchewan. Check out her website.


As I mentioned above, I used Expedia to book rooms and flights. I know WPPI offers deals off their website, but they never compared to Expedia’s packages. I bought a WPPI membership which was $125 for the year. You get annual subscriptions to two awesome magazines and some other deals. With this membership you get a discounted rate to the conference. The early bird rate was $199…but with that you get a free guest. Carla and I were the registree and the guest so our registration was only $100 each. This is an awesome deal for all the days of learning you get with it. I was there for four nights and five days.

Who to see

I went to between two and four classes a day. They varied from topics on marketing, Photoshop, posing, weddings and inspiration. Honestly, some I didn’t like. Some, I got more out of than I thought I would….and some blew me away. I only took photos at a couple. One was Cliff Mautner and the other was Jose Villa. I loved them both.









What to expect

Except for one night, I was in bed by 10 p.m. Perhaps this is because I have a toddler who refuses to sleep. This was my chance to finally sleep through the night. You walk a lot. A LOT. Bring comfy shoes….and a few pairs of them. I learned this before I went, but don’t try and do everything. There is no way. Also, the expo rocks. It took a couple of tries to get through the entire thing. I found some awesome deals and a great company to outsource all my editing to. Mostly I purchased services to better my own company….rather than buying stuff.


I’m not a gambler. Maybe it’s because I was raised on a farm….thats gambling enough. I do however, love the horse racing game at the MGM Grand. For 25-cents a pop I can cheer my horsies on to victory and enjoy free drinks.









Worth it? You bet. I will be going back next year for sure. There are a few things I would like to do that I didn’t have the chance to this year. I want to do more photography there and network a little more. This year, I focused on what I had planned and I loved every minute of it. Except….for the hours delayed flight that got my home at 4 a.m. That wasn’t so much fun!

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