WPPI Show Going Strong

David Haueter
Mar 20, 2015

It seems like every day, we see a new story or statistics about the smartphone decimating the camera market or pro photographers getting laid off from publications or news organizations. So, as a photographer it’s very encouraging to attend a show like WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) and be around vendors and other attendees who are excited about the future of the photo market. WPPI is targeted at wedding and portrait photographers, of course, but also draws photographers that specialize in many other areas, such as fine art, advertising/commercial, and nature & wildlife photography.

WPPI is held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Held February 26 through March 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the 2015 WPPI show drew 12,552 registered attendees, up 3% from the 2014 show, along with 278 vendors that included camera companies like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic as well as output companies like Miller’s, White House Custom Colour and ProDPI. WPPI remains a very worthwhile show for vendors with its focused audience of pro photographers, who plan to spend a minimum of $3,600 annually on photo gear. Another important statistic released from WPPI is that more than 20% of attendees were under the age of 30. These young pros are still in an early stage of their careers and are prime targets for vendors looking to get them as customers and start building brand loyalty.

Pro DPI booth at WPPI

Walking around the show, there was a very positive feeling among the crowds of photographers who were checking out new gear and products or listening to informative sessions with other pros within the various camera and software vendor booths. There’s a real feeling of camaraderie at this show, and it’s common to see pros sharing opinions and giving advice on new products to colleagues, or having impromptu photo test sessions in the foyers and hallways of the convention center. WPPI is not just a trade show, but also provides a host of seminars on various topics relevant to pros. There are also nightly social events as well as photo competitions. WPPI’s annual 16×20 Print, Album & Filmmaking Competition experienced an 18% increase in submissions, an 8% increase in the number of entrants and a 17% increase in first-time entrants.

Wedding photographer Joe Buissink holds a session in the Canon booth

Two of my favorite vendors that I visited at WPPI were WhiteWall and 17Hats. WhiteWall, based in Germany, provides a wide range of output products from prints to wall art that incorporates substrates like canvas, metal and acrylic, with a wide range of frames, papers and hanging hardware to choose from. Their products are real eye-catchers and their website is nicely designed and gives a good sense of what the product ordered  is going to look like. 17Hats is a web app that allows pro photographers to manage everything from projects and contacts to quotes and payments, and even includes templates for creating invoices and contracts. With most pros finding time to be in short supply, it seems like a great tool to manage a photography business.

WPPI will be back at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 2016, with the conference dates set for March 3-10, and the expo set for March 7-9. It’s a photography show that is well worth attending, not only to see the various products on display, but to get educated at the seminars and view some great photography with the photo competitions. For more information, visit www.wppionline.com.


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