Make Life-Changing Connections at WPPI: Networking, Parties, and More 

February 9, 2024

By Abbey Pleviak

WPPI – the premiere conference for photography professionals – is less than a month away (March 3 -7), and those planning to attend are all abuzz with finding out who among their friends and colleagues will also be there. An ongoing theme of the WPPI Live broadcast events, hosted on the WPPI Rangefinder YouTube channel, has been the incomparable benefit for photography entrepreneurs to attend the conference for in-person networking.  

In a recent live broadcast, lighting master Roberto Valenzuela says, “You can’t even say WPPI without me getting pumped up with energy. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy going.” Valenzuela loves being reunited with friends and colleagues, and emphasizes that talking to “amazing instructors, amazing attendees, amazing students, amazing vendors” leads to him asking questions like “Do I want to change the way I’m doing things? Should I make new offerings in my books, wall art, or albums? Do I want to try some new piece of equipment?” For him, being at WPPI and interacting with everyone there is the crucial point. He says, “You can’t do this on YouTube. You just cannot. You have to get out there.” 

[Read: Spotlight on the WPPI Lighting Masters Summit]

WPPI is a photography entrepreneur’s networking dream. You never know who you might run into who will share information that expands your mind and grows your business. © PWP Studio Corporate Event Photographers

Destination wedding photographer Michelle Harris couldn’t agree more. She recently told Elena S Blair, “Every year, I’ll take one little bit out of one thing I hear, and it will completely change the trajectory of my business.” She gives an example of running into someone in the hallway who told her that anytime she takes a picture of anyone, she should invite them to give her a 5-star review on Google. That one little piece of advice did so much for her business. 

WPPI Live broadcast host Elena S Blair condenses these sentiments to one succinct point, saying “You are going to meet people who will change your life at WPPI.” Perhaps it will happen in Seminars and Photo Walks, on the Show Floor, at Icon Image Reviews, a Summit, in the lobby of the Mirage (and your chances of serendipitous encounters on-site will certainly increase if you stay on site!), or at one of the many networking parties and events. 

In this article, we’re going to dive in to all the awesome networking parties at WPPI. 

[Read: An Overflowing Cornucopia of Vendors & Exhibitors at WPPI]

The Fujifilm sponsored Opening Night Party at Capri Club is so much fun. Get there early to make sure you can get in because space is limited! © Spot My Photos

Celebrations, Parties, and After-Parties 

Even with all the many, incredible educational and networking opportunities available at WPPI, Elena S Blair encourages attendees to not overlook the importance of the parties. She herself met her main Canon contact at a WPPI party and stresses how important that relationship has been for her business.  

The parties at WPPI are the time to unwind and decompress from the intensity of absorbing so much information during the day, and they are also a chance to informally meet your colleagues while having a great time. 

All the Parties Happening this Year

  • Sun, March 3, 8 – 10 pm: Welcome Reception. After checking in, here’s your chance to have a relaxing cocktail and meet up with old friends and new.  
  • Mon, March 4, 4 – 8 pm: Boudoir Meetup. Sponsored by Boudoir Albums, this is a chance for the boudoir photography community to engage with each other over cocktails. 
  • Mon, March 4, 9 – 8 pm: Opening Night Party at Capri Club. Come early to the Opening Night Party sponsored by Fujifilm as space is limited. This party bumps. 
  • Tue, March 5, 7:30 pm – Midnight: Icon Awards Ceremony. Get dressed to the nines and get ready to hobnob with the industry’s brightest talents as the winners of online and print competitions are announced.  
  • Wed, March 6, 8 – 11 pm: Wrap Party. The SmugMug sponsored Wrap Party is 80s themed with prizes for the most creative costumes. It is a sight to see and so much fun! 

Additionally, ticket holders to The Portrait Masters Conference are invited to a Silent Disco Party with a Vegas Glam theme (think of a deck of cards and rock your best black, red, or gold with bold and glittery accessories) and a Karaoke Wrap Party, where attendees sing their hearts out, often in chorus. 

And holders of Platinum VIP passes get access to an exclusive cocktail party with WPPI Speakers. 

The 80s-themed Wrap Party is always full of head-turning costumes. And what better ice breaker do you need than, “Excuse me. Aren’t you Boy George?” © Spot My Photos

After-Hours Parties 

As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get free entrance till 1 am with your WPPI badge to some of the hottest nightclubs in Vegas at WPPI’s After-Hours Parties. 

The Marquee Dome will also be open for day club operations Thu – Sun. 

WPPI is filled to the brim with photography entrepreneurs who are all on the same path and who come together in the spirit of wanting to help each other succeed. © Aaron Andersen

Ticket Deals and Steals 

WPPI is known as the best show in the industry, and this business expense is priced to be affordable. The top ticket price includes both The Portrait Masters Conference and everything in the Platinum VIP pass – all for only $599. The Platinum VIP Pass is a bargain at only $299. Full Conference Passes can still be gotten for only $99 with the Valentine’s Day code: FEBLOVE. And, a pass to the Show Floor Only, which has live education at various stages and live judging of the Icon Awards, is available for free with the discount code: WPPIEXPO24. Snag those tickets here. 

Photo Walks and Summits (Lighting and Wedding), which offer boutique education to smaller groups of people are an additional charge of $149 apiece. 

When you consider how much value you get at every level of the WPPI experience, it is clear that at any price point, a ticket to WPPI is a steal.  

[Read: Reap the Benefits of the Icon Awards at WPPI]

Last year’s Portrait Masters’ Touch of Glam Party brought the razzle dazzle. This year, organizers are bringing in a Vegas theme, color-coordinating with red, black, and gold. © Spot My Photos

As Icon Awards Co-Director Jerry Ghionis says, “The energy that [WPPI] gives you and the life changing things you learn to implement in your business is…. You can’t quantify it! It’s a staple. Every year, we’ll go. 100%” Case in point, Ghionis also mentioned that he personally has stumbled across a class that piqued his interest only to walk away with a business tip that increased his revenue by 20-30%. Imagine spending just $99 for a conference pass that increased your revenue by that much.  

Elena S Blair agrees. Once you attend WPPI for the first time, you’ll always want to attend. She says, “You go once, and that’s it. You’re not going to miss that opportunity for growth [again].” 

[Read: A Photo Education Supreme: WPPI 2024 Educator Highlights]

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