The year was 1981, the place was Caesars Palace. Twenty-four exhibitors and 1800 people came to “The World of Wedding Photography” trade show. This February, an event now known as the WPPI, Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference and Exposition held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, drew some 13,000 people and 250 exhibitors.
The WPPI show has definitely grown in scope and influence. I have attended this show in recent years, and I’ve always been struck at how the show always seems filled with so many happy people — people who love photography as a profession and folks who have voluntarily taken up photography as a hobby. The show is open to the public.
Products for the photographer and videographer are on display. Beautiful pictures are everywhere, and lots can be learned during conference workshops or even on the show floor where experts in a variety of photographic-related subjects talk to eager audiences (or audiences who have done so much walking, they’re glad to sit and listen for a while).
Though it’s true that many people who previously would have bought cameras are now taking pictures with cell phones, the pros or pro-wanna-be’s still use cameras, lenses, filters, camera bags, lighting, backdrops and post-production services.
The largest photographic print competition in North America is also part of the WPPI event. Judges spend two days live judging each submission, and WPPI attendees were invited to hear the judges’ comments, a here-and-now learning experience. Photographs that scored an 80 or above are displayed at the event’s Annual Gallery.
For show attendees, in addition to perusing products and enjoying lots of learning, a bit of fun is on the agenda as well with invitations to join WPPI groups at Jewel Nightclub at Aria Resort & Casino on Monday, Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace on Tuesday, 1OAK at the Mirage on Wednesday and Hakkasan Nightclub at MGM Grand on Thursday. Entry to the nightclubs was “expedited” by just wearing a WPPI badge.