Every March, tens of thousands of wedding and portrait photographers gather in Las Vegas for the WPPI (Wedding Portrait Photographers International) Conference & Expo. We went for the first time in 2013 and spent four days soaking up as much knowledge as we could. By the end of the trip, we were completely exhausted but totally inspired by everything we had experienced.
This year, we decided to go for five days and sit in on the print-competition judging as well as take classes by talented folks such as Jonas Peterson, Vanessa Joy, JeZa Photography, Ben & Erin Chrisman, and Kevin and Katie Hulett. The last thing we expected to do was take “serious” photos, but Kevin Hulett changed all that after his class when he mentioned that he had two open spots for his “Fancy Hotel Bombing” photoshoot. The goal? To photograph models in fancy Vegas Strip hotels until we got kicked out.
Although we were ill-equipped (Chris had traveled with just his Leica M6 film camera and compact Nikon V1, while Lily packed her Canon 5D Mark 3 only because she was getting it checked and cleaned at the expo), we couldn’t resist the opportunity and were happy we jumped aboard. Unlike other organized group photoshoots, where scenes and lighting are set up in advance, each photographer was responsible for everything involved in her shots—lighting (good thing we picked up a Fotodiox video light at the expo!), model placement, direction. With sixteen photographers and nine models, there was certainly a high degree of pandemonium. However, even though we were booted from the Venetian and the Palazzo and spent more time outside than inside, no cameras were smashed, no limbs were left behind, and no one was arrested. Success, no?
To be honest, our brains are still a bit fried from overstimulation but we couldn’t wait to share some of the photos we made. Chris did all the animation; Lily captured most of the stills. Thanks to all the lovely models and hair and makeup artists, as well as Kevin Hulett for organizing the event! Hope to see you all next year!
Models: Madison Bowie, Brooke Childs, Joey Branca, Lauren Miller, Tara Moraleda, Lou Pombo, Patrick Ramsay, Angela Williams, Raquel Williams
Hair & Make-Up: Lizzie McGee