The people and the sights of WPPI 2017
This year’s Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) conference took place in Las Vegas from February 6th through the 9th, and DPReview was there. While we did see a few surprise announcements at this show, WPPI is chiefly an opportunity for industry leading photographers to showcase their work, provide workshops and information sessions, and for visitors take in a wide array of accessories that you never knew you needed and now can’t live without (and, of course, many that you probably can).
We spoke to some of those leading photographers about what their chief takeaways were from WPPI this year, as well as took in some of the sights as we traversed the show floor in the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center.
Sights of WPPI 2017: Print competition
First up, it’s important to note that big parts of WPPI are the print and album competitions, with literally hundreds of stunning prints on display for all to see. They run the gamut from contrasty staged portraits to black and white wedding photojournalism, with a good amount of abstracts thrown in for good measure. It’s a fantastic (and easy) way to kill a couple of hours on the show floor.
People of WPPI 2017: Peter Hurley, with hair
He’ll never look the same. Well, at least not for a very long time. Here seen showing off his trademark ‘squinch,’ Peter Hurley actually shaved and donated his hair to Locks of Love on the final day of the show, after this photo was taken.
When asked what stood out to him about this year’s conference, Hurley said, “we have fifty people here as part of the headshot crew, and after starting it just five years ago, it’s been amazing to see how the community has grown.”
Sights of WPPI 2017: Fresh lenses
In case you missed it, we saw some announcements for lenses from both Sony and Tamron at the show this year. Tamron announced new ‘G2’ versions of two zooms, their 70-200mm F2.8 and 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 lenses, which will retail for $1299 and $499, respectively, when they arrive this Spring.
Sony also had some surprise announcements, including an FE 100mm F2.8 STF G Master that promises to have some exceedingly smooth out-of-focus characteristics, as well as an FE 85mm F1.8 that brings an affordable 85mm option to the lineup. They will retail for $1500 and $600, respectively, and are expected to arrive come March.
People of WPPI: Cliff Mautner
Cliff Mautner is a wedding photographer who serves both Philadelphia and New York and has a background in photojournalism at the Philadelphia Inquirer. We got a chance to catch up with him at this, his fourteenth time attending WPPI.
For Mautner, WPPI is “all about community…this is worldwide recognition. What comes out of this convention generally sets a tone for the wedding and portrait industry globally.”
Sights of WPPI: Furry animals
Given the wide variety of styles and conventions for portrait photography, there was an abundance of themed backgrounds, knit outfits and hats for toddlers, and of course, stuffed animal props guaranteed to up the ‘cuteness’ factor of your newborn and children’s photography.
We found ourselves particularly drawn to a small assortment of imitation chicks, all holding differing poses poses and mimicking varying activities to suit whatever your creative cuteness needs may be.
People of WPPI: Brian Smith
Brian Smith is a portrait photographer specializing in celebrities, athletes and executives, and despite an extensive and impressive list of such clients, he is approachable, unassuming and professional. Smith’s favorite part of WPPI is the general attitudes of the attendees, which are chiefly of expanding creative expression and overall improvement. He enjoys being a presenter and giving attendees tools to make their photographs even better.
Sights of WPPI: Printing products before your eyes
3D printing has been around for a while, but we DPReview editors still felt we got a little dose of science fiction when we stopped by the 3D Flex Flash booth. Their products, designed to act as light modifiers for professional flash guns, are flexible (and therefore easily packable), and are created entirely via 3D printing, as they were demonstrating throughout the show. They offer the Wyng, a bounce diffuser (or flag if you get it in black) as well as the Nest, which is a sort of mini softbox and has optional grid attachments.
People of WPPI: Kenna Klosterman
Kenna Klosterman is a Seattle-based photographer and tour guide specializing on photo tours in Cuba, though she’s traveled to over 40 countries in total. She’s also a Host + Community Connector at CreativeLive, and finds that what she likes most about WPPI is getting to interact with people in the portrait and wedding photography industry in person. “So much of what we do is online,” Klosterman says. “It’s not so much the products for me [at this show], it’s all about the people.”
Sights of WPPI: Coffee faces
I mean, it wouldn’t be a photography show if you couldn’t get your headshot printed into a latte, would it? They’re whipped up in a special Sony lounge section of the show floor. Simply show your Sony camera (our own Wenmei Hill was toting an RX100 V in her purse) to get a caffeinated consumable of your likeness for your very own.
People of WPPI: Dixie Dixon
We ran into Dixie Dixon this year at WPPI’s Nikon booth before the hit the stage for a talk on ‘Bringing the Soul of Fashion to Life.’ Dixon is a commercial fashion photographer whose work takes her around the world. Dixie’s first camera was a Nikon FG which got her into photography at the age of twelve, and she’s become one of the original sixteen Nikon Ambassadors of the US.
Sights of WPPI: Touch the future of photo booths
Foto Master is hoping to bring some ease to the photo booth business. The Mirror Me Booth hides a touchscreen and digital camera behind one-way glass, making for a polished (pun intended) and intuitive photo booth experience. You simply tap to initiate the process, and can later input your printing or delivery preferences, as well as sign your group selfies.