WHAT TO WEAR
Sometimes packing is the most stressful part of these trips. You will want to bring clothes for both daytime and evening wear, depending on what you plan to attend.
- Dress comfortably but professionally—You will be networking with your peers and meeting your favorite vendors. You’ll want to look nice, but your good jeans are still OK.
- Comfortable shoes for walking are a must—Convention centers are HUGE. You will be walking, literally miles. I love cute shoes, but make sure the ones you bring are comfortable for miles of walking. Bring a spare pair in case the first cause blisters and you need to switch them out for the second day.
- Layers, layers, layers—You will mostly be indoors, but you never know about the cold the air conditioning. Wear layers so that if you’re too hot you can take a sweater off, and if you’re too cold you can put one on.
- How does it wear?—Don’t wear something you can’t sit in comfortably for two hours at a time as you sit in a Platform Class. You want to feel comfortable so that you can focus on learning!
- Prepare to go out on the town—Plan ahead with an outfit or two for the evening parties or in case you want to go out for drinks with friends.
- Does the Party Have a Theme? —Some parties will have a theme to them, like this year’s WPPI Pool Party where white attire is requested. Consider this when packing.
WHAT TO BRING:
Now that we have that incessant what to wear question out of the way, what should you bring with you?
- Camera gear—Maybe—This one is pretty much up to you. Some people only bring their camera gear if they have a shoot that they are participating in. You likely do not want to carry it around all day, it gets heavy. Bring a point-and- shoot or your phone if you want to take photos of samples at the tradeshow. Bring your pro gear if you want to have it serviced by Canon or Nikon, or if you are doing a shoot.
- A water container—Long days full of learning make you thirsty. You’ll be talking a lot at the trade show. In years past, there have be water stations throughout the convention center, so if you have a cup, mug or bottle with you you can refill and save yourself from buying bottles.
- Business Cards—You still have time to get business cards if you don’t have them already! If you normally use high-end letterpress cards for your business that are more expensive than you want to handout to your peers, pick up some from your favorite vendor.
- A notebook—You’ll want to take notes in panels, on the tradeshow floor, and maybe even while talking to people. It is always good to have a notebook on hand.
- Battery chargers—Charge your phone at night, but it never fails that throughout the day the battery wears down. Probably because of using it to snap a lot of sample ideas from vendors at the Tradeshow. This becomes a problem at the end of the day when you need to text your friends to meet up! Toss your battery charger in your bag so you can recharge throughout the day, or get something like a Mophie Powerstation so you can charge your phone or iPad on the go.
- Snacks—Bring things that are easy to eat to keep you going like nuts and beef jerky.
- Choosing which classes to attend—Sometimes the descriptions are exactly what they are covering, and sometimes they aren’t. Ask your friends if they have heard the speakers you are interested in, they might be able to give you tips on who to check out.
- It is OK to leave—if you have a hard time deciding between two speakers, sit near the door and if you don’t like the one you chose, slip out and go to another one. You won’t be the only person doing it. Just be quiet and hold the door as you go!
- OMG, if I miss this one, I’ll DIE—this is when you should Pre-Board a class. If there’s a speaker you just *have* to see, be sure to add it to your registration as a Pre-Board class so that you will have a seat. You are limited to five Pre-Board classes for your registration. Get there early to get a seat. Classes will close when the room is full. If you Pre-Board for a class and arrive after it begins, you will have lost your seat when they were released to general admission.
- Be open to hearing speakers from outside of your field—Just because you’re a wedding photographer, a senior photographer might have some really great tips you can use. Some things are universal. Sometimes you learn the most from speakers you have never heard of, in fields different than your own.
- Be organized—Take your copy of the schedule and highlight all of the classes you are interested in attending (or better yet, download the WPPI app). That way, if you discover the class you want to attend is full, you can quickly and easily find another class. WPPI University, Plus Classes and Master Classes are classes you must pay for in addition to your full registration pass. Platforms and the Tradeshow are included in the full registration.
- Booth speakers—Many of the booths will have speakers scheduled to talk throughout the day. If you get a “tradeshow only” pass, this is a great opportunity to hear some speakers cover shorter topics.
- Set a budget—Before you ever walk in to the tradeshow, know your limit. You don’t have to spend it all, but it’s easy to be swept away and want to buy it all!
- What are you looking for?—Make a list of items that your business needs. Know exactly what you are looking for, before the sales lure you in to buying things you don’t need. One year, I was researching albums. Another year, it was canvases and a lens. This year I’m considering looking at backdrops again. Just know before you go, and stick to that list.
- Study the map—I normally walk through tradeshows from one side to the other, but I make a point to study the map the night before so I can circle the vendors I absolutely must check out—that way, I don’t miss anyone.
- Hunt for the sales—Most vendors are all offering things at special prices. If you’re looking for an item that you can get from multiple vendors, look for the best deal.
- Have a plan to get it home— shipping things can be expensive, and that great sale isn’t so great anymore. Make sure you have a way to get the items back home with you or that there’s room in your carry-on bag for any camera gear you plan to buy.
My BIGGEST tip again, because it is so important: You can not possibly do it ALL. There will always be a conflict, another speaker at the same time, another class, another dinner, another party. You just have to chose which one you want to do the most. The good news is that it’s OK; you’ll have a great time no matter what you do! Can’t wait to see you all in Las Vegas for WPPI 2013!