Industry News

WPPI 2021 “Packs a Punch” after 18 Months Away

August 20, 2021

By Jacqueline Tobin

The WPPI 2021 show and conference wrapped up Wednesday night in Las Vegas with the annual Honors of Excellence Awards Ceremony and, according to photographer and WPPI speaker Jason Vinson, the weeklong event, “packed a major punch.” Normally held in February, WPPI moved this year due to concerns about the pandemic. When the show kicked off, it was the first time the WPPI community had come together in person since February 2020, and it felt good to reconnect. “The education was still industry-leading and the show floor had tons of amazing products to test out and demo,” Vinson says. “It was a great week and a great sneak peek into what this amazing show will have to offer more of in February 2022!” 

[Read: WPPI Photo Competitions inspire Photographers’ Growth and Creativity]

Adds photographer and WPPI 2021 speaker Kanayo Adibe: “It has been a pretty cool week. I got to speak not once but twice at the biggest wedding and Portrait Photography conference [in the industry], got to do some Image Reviews for some really talented photographers, see old friends for the first time in over a year and make new ones.”

WPPI 2021 Show Floor

In addition to the stellar education, photo walks, full-day summits, peer networking, awards ceremony and, yes, the parties, one of the biggest reasons people come to WPPI is to experience the show floor, says Vinson. “Every exhibitor booth at every WPPI is worth stopping by and this year there were large crowds for three days, especially at Canon, Flashpoint Lighting Studio (Adorama), Aftershoot and Sigma.”

The Canon booth at WPPI.
Views from WPPI 2021’s Show Floor. Free education and shooting bays were popular at the Canon booth. Above © Jason Vinson | Top © WPPI

Attendees were able to take part in three different shooting bays at Canon as well as learn from veteran WPPI speakers and educators Susan Stripling, Lindsey Adler, Roberto Valenzuela and Michele Celentano.

Flashpoint Studio on show floor at WPPI 2021.
Hands-on at Flashpoint Studio during WPPI 2021. © Jason Vinson

At the Flashpoint Studio, eager hands were all over the Flashpoint eVOLV 200 Pro and the Flashpoint XPLOR 600 Pro (with a special extension cable that allows the light to be reverse mounted inside the giant 55-inch Glow Profond Softbox), and many people did a doubletake as they walked by an eye-catching, 6- foot inflatable unicorn at the Aftershoot booth.

The show floor at WPPI included a blow-up Unicorn at the AfterShoot booth!
The AfterShoot Unicorn standing by on the WPPI 2021 show floor. © Jason Vinson

AfterShoot is at the forefront of using artificial intelligence to cull images but because AI is still so new in this industry, so attendees were very curious as to how AI software works and how it can make an impact on their workflow.”

Michelle Harris at WPPI 2021 Show and Conference in Vegas.
Michelle Harris on the show floor and during one of her packed classes. Courtesy of Michelle Harris

Michelle Harris spent her week at WPPI teaching two posing classes and also spent two days at Sigma’s booth “meeting and helping amazing photographers. I am beyond blessed to get to do what I love for a living and I’m grateful for every second,” she wrote on Facebook.

The Portrait Masters conference booth was a new addition on the show floor, Vinson notes. “Attendees had the chance to try their hand at photographing models on a selection of beautiful backdrops while getting help and guidance from one of the Portrait Masters team,” says Vinson. “Every time I walked by this booth, there was a pretty long line to get in. And although this booth was not specifically showing off any gear, they were showing off one of the biggest benefits to attending WPPI, and that’s the amazing education.”

WPPI Print, Album and Filmmaking Competitions and Honors of Excellence Awards

Sean Tan won First Place in WPPI The Annual Competition for Pre-Wedding – Models: Non-Wedding Day © Sean Tan

Another big attraction at WPPI is the Print, Album and Filmmaking Competitions and Honors of Excellence Awards Ceremony, and this year was no exception. The Live Print, Album and Filmmaking Judging took place Sunday, August 15 and Monday, August 16 and attendees had a front-row opportunity to watch entries as they were reviewed and evaluated by experienced judges. Midweek, everyone got glammed up and headed over to the WPPI Awards Ceremony to support their peers and find out who took home awards in the prestigious event.

“What an amazing week in Vegas,” wrote Danny Dong on his Facebook page. I” feel so blessed and so glad that I made it to this convention this year. It’s wonderful that we can see our industry friends in person after such a long time and tough year. This is my 10th year attending WPPI and my 9th year entering the competition. I was so surprised that I got 4 awards in 4 different categories in WPPI print competition. Every year I get so inspired by all the creative work from different part of world.”

[Read: Why Enter WPPI’s Photo Competitions? Susan Stripling Explains]

In addition to Danny Dong, some of the other top winners at this year’s HOE awards include:

  • Ryuma Yorita – First Place for Wedding, Couple Together: Wedding Day
  • Feng He – First Place for Wedding, Bride or Groom Alone: Non-Wedding Day, and First Place for Pre-Wedding: Bride or Groom Alone: Non-Wedding Day
  • Mauro Cantelmi – First Place for Wedding: Bridal Party/Family and Friends
  • Joseph Victor Stefanchik, First Place for Portrait – Maternity
  • Vicens Forns – First Place for Wedding – Photojournalism
  • Sean Tan on winning First Place in WPPI The Annual Competition for Pre-Wedding – Models: Non-Wedding Day

You can view the full list of winners from WPPI 2021’s HOE awards on the WPPI website here.

One of the biggest—and most fun—surprises of the evening was engineered by WPPI’s Content Director, Arlene Evans, and Caroline Tran’s husband, Jonathan Ly: getting Caroline to stay for the Awards Ceremony so she could be honored as Rangefinder’s Creator of the Year.

“I had already committed to doing a photo walk for Fujifilm when my husband tells me I have to get out of it,” Tran recalled on Instagram. “I told him he’s going to get me in trouble because I already signed a contract! Then I heard my name being called and saw Lindsay Adler on stage to introduce me and hand me my award. I never imagined I would win the Creator of the Year award… never even been on my radar because I don’t do any of this for accolades.”

Tony Hewitt called in from Australia when his name was announced as the winner of the Bill Hurter Excellence Award, which goes to the highest point score in the WPPI The Annual awards overall.

Jerry Ghionis announced Tony Hewitt (who called in to the awards ceremony from Australia) as the recipient of the annual Bill Hurter award. © PWP Studio

All in all, it was a truly amazing week and now hopefully everyone who attended is resting up and then gearing up for WPPI 2022 which will be held February 27 – March 3!