Vegas and I have some history. For the longest time I did my best to avoid it. On a whim, I visited Vegas when European travel plans were crushed by a weak dollar. On that trip, I met my future-husband. Less than two years later, we moved to Las Vegas. We were there three years. They were good years but I hadn't been back since we moved away.
I returned to Las Vegas recently for WPPI 2015 -- Wedding and Portrait Photographers International. As always, I walked away from WPPI with notebooks full of ideas to bring back to my clients and shoots.
If you've never attended WPPI before, here are a few tips:
1. Study the schedule.
My dear friend Boots assumed this conference was like others conferences she'd attended where the good stuff is at the beginning. She booked her hotel and flight accordingly and ended up missing the Expo entirely as well as all the Platform Classes, not to mention the opening party! She ended up shelling out more cash to attend some early Master Classes but her pickings were rather slim by the time she'd realized her mistake.
Also you'll want to read up on the speakers. Roberto Valenzuela is always one of my favorites. His talks are always loaded with useful information and I appreciate his sense of humor (as well as his accent). But try to get an idea of what the speaker is shilling before committing to a session. Everybody is shilling something, some of it is more useful than others. And do use WPPI's pre-board system for the sessions you really want to see.
2. Watch the print competition.
I learned so much from the live judging of the print competition. Key learnings: print quality and technical execution matter and just because a client loves an image does not mean it will score well in the competition.
3. Wear comfortable shoes.
The MGM Grand is the biggest of the big resorts and you will be hoofing it to get to coffee or food or anything not conference related.
Beyond WPPI, Las Vegas looked a little different than the last time I was there. My absolute new favorite spot was on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental. I made a reservation for a window table at the Mandarin Bar around sunset and was not disappointed. With Giant windows well above the fray, it was an oasis of calm and elegance. I brought my husband back a second time.
The Linq is a new addition, as is the High Roller at the pinnacle of its promenade. We'd just spent several days at Disneyland and were on theme park ride overload or I would have given it a whirl, but regardless, it makes a photogenic addition to the Las Vegas skyline. Also on that Linq Promenade is the Polaroid-Fotobar, another must-visit for photographer types.