I’ll tell ya now–this is a long post–but a necessary long post. If I’m missing anything please leave them in the comments below. I WILL be referring back to this for next year…tee he he
I find this amusing. Why? Well, because I did tons of research before going so that I would be “prepared”. I’m wondering now, why I didn’t listen to all of the online advice. So I thought I would recap the do’s and do-not’s for next year for all my other photography friends who are thinking of venturing down for the conference in Feb 2011. Take and absorb what you will, but this is what I’VE learned!
So what have I learned? (In no particular order)
1. Bring comfortable shoes-looks can be deceiving. Buildings that look like they are “just over there” are really MILES away. Even the sessions can’t be pretty far from each other. This is not the time to wear those cute heels–TRUST ME!
2. Bring your own water bottle. Sure they have water in the halls with disposable cups to drink out of, but honestly, it tastes vile! If you want to purchase a bottle from the concession stand, be prepared to drop $3.00 on the mini-bottles that are 1/4 the size of a normal water bottle–I’m just sayin!
3. Public transportation is your BEST friend. I mentioned above that things are pretty far, with all the parties that are clear across town, walking in those ‘cute heels’ is out of the question. Taxi’s, the metro or the bus is the way to go if you have to get around on the other side of town.
4. Free Tickets—there are NO such thing. These damn people are so annoying in the hotel. They try to get you to go see timeshares. They are annoying and we learned to ignore them quickly.
5. People are vultures. In the platform classes, they usually have some “free stuff” to give away. I was literally in disbelief at how some people acted just to get whatever it was they were giving away. Standing up on chairs, flashing their bellies, screaming, tackling people in the aisles. I’m not sure I’ve ever been that desperate to get something for free. It wasn’t like they were giving away a house or a car. We ended up winning one of the largest prizes at the end of the conference valued at over $1,500 in software and I assure you, we didn’t have to stand on a chair or flash anyone to get it. 😉
6. Get there early. Rumor has it that there were more than 14,000 photographers from all over the country that attended this year’s WPPI, with that said, imagine that many people trying to get into the sessions. Lines were forming as early as 2 hours before some of the sessions. If you were lucky they did a repeat class otherwise you had to wait outside like a night club waiting for someone to come out so that you could go in. Luckily, I got into all the classes I wanted to 🙂
7. Network. I met so many cool people while I was there. I believe some of them will be friends for quite some time. 🙂 I got to meet and hang out with some of those that I look up to in the industry which for me was totally worth every penny I spent to go to the conference. It’s humbling to be among such talent and everyone was so willing to share information.
8. Touch stuff. I know that sounds funny, but during the Trade Show one of the things I felt was awesome was that you actually got to touch and feel the products that you’ve been reading about online. This gave me the opportunity to see in person the products I’ve been wanting to offer to my clients and get immediate feedback to questions I may have had. They had representatives there to answer all the questions and to give samples, or “how to’s” with their products-it was fantastical. Also within each vendor, most had scheduled speakers. So you were able to get mini-sessions at the Trade Show as well.
9. Don’t be greedy. I say this because with all the FREE STUFF that was there, and there was ALOT of it, it was like some of them were trick or treating. Remember, most airlines make you pay for luggage that weighs over 50 pounds so unless you can use it or you plan to use it, don’t take it. I still had to go through all the information I received and had to weed out the stuff I didn’t need. My hotel garbage was soooo heavy, housekeeping probably hated me.
10. Don’t let them scan you…….unless you are truly interested. On your badge, which also serves as your pass to the Trade Show and Convention there is a bar code that has your information. Each vendor can scan your barcode which gives them access to your email. For some this is great but for others, it will mean lots of junk mail.
11. Junk mail. Somewhere during my research before leaving, I read somewhere about creating an email address specifically for WPPI. NOW, I see why. Because they can scan your badge and you tend to get extra emails the weeks following WPPI. Creating an email just as jenmckenphotoWPPI@yahoo.com, for example, would direct all the emails to that address instead of the business account. This would make it easier to sort through later as well.
12. Social Networking. Twitter and Facebook can be a gold mine. Most people post where the parties or get-togethers are happening via Twitter or Facebook so you can be the first to get the inside information. Also, it helps your new friends know what your up to………..or to save you a seat if your running late…tee he he.
13. Bring a deck of cards. For the time that you are waiting to get into your next session. Especially if it’s one that you are waiting up to 1-2 hours in the hall…….a deck of cards and a new friend can make the time go faster. Also! If you intend on hitting the casinos, make sure to practice your gambling skills online first. A friend recently told me that mobilewins.co.uk is a useful resource for honing your poker face. However, is mobile wins the best casino online? You decide! Just remember to always gamble responsibly.
14. Take your camera. Leave your big one in your room but bring a mini point and shoot camera instead. This will allow you to take photos of the products or the impromptu candid in the hallway. Plus, trust me, you don’t want to lug around the big heavy camera all day.
15. Energy Drinks. Since you will be moving on less than 4-5 hours of sleep per night you will need them. There is so much going on at any given time that you want to go to this party or that party, or hang out with this person or simply go sightseeing….there is no time for sleep. You can do that on the plane!
16. Get involved with a shoot. This is something I didn’t get the chance to do while I was there. I tried to jam pack way to much into my schedule that I just didn’t find the time to make it to one. Next year, this is on the top of my list of things to do.
17. Bring snacks. There were days that I didn’t get to each breakfast or lunch. Those snacks were soo nice to have. The restaurants located in the hotel were usually bombarded with other photographers all trying to get their food at the same time so most of the time we’d just skip lunch to avoid the crowd.
18. The good seats. I always tried to get the seats towards the front. Not only could you actually see the person who was giving the presentation better, you could hear them better but some of the rooms were rather large so if you got a seat in the back and there were no screens in the back where you were sitting then it was difficult to see if they were doing any type of examples on stage. This happened to me once and I ended up just getting up and leaving because I couldn’t hear or see what the heck they were talking about. Projection screens would have been helpful.
19. Get out of the city. We took a day and drove a few hours to the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. We also went to the top of the Stratosphere and rode all three of the Most Extreme Rides–EVARRRR. Totally worth it!!
20. Explore. This kind of goes along with #19, but I’m so glad we did. We drove around the side streets and found some really interesting spots and restaurants. We hunted down the Vegas sign, took a trip down Fremont Street–one of my favorite places, visited the M&M Museum…soo soo cute! Just watch out for the men on the corner handing out “THE CARDS” DUMM DUMM DUMMMMMMM.
……………and because you can’t have a post without a photo(s). In between all the chaos of the week, we made our way over the M&M building. I was told we HAD to go. 4 floors of chocolate goodness and besides the fact I learned a ton of M&M facts, I belly laughed during the 3D film they showed us. Soo Soo cute! We also sat through the Medieval Times Show and cheered for our Kind of Ireland….who was HAWT! I’m just sayin!! ……….. Some of the other photos show the “not so glitz and glamorous” part of Vegas. I guess you gotta take the good with the bad.
………..and this was what I got on our VERY last meal in Vegas 🙂 ………….Inspiring 🙂