My WPPI Diary, Day 3: Grand Opening of the Show Floor 

March 5, 2024

By Abbey Pleviak

Today, the Mirage is bustling with WPPI in full swing. Photo Walks are happening all around. Seminars are gearing up. And the Show Floor is popping. Let me tell you all about it in Day 3 of My WPPI Diary 

The Show Floor was popping today on Opening Day. One attendee told me, “The thing I love about the WPPI Show Floor is that it is full of quality companies — no fluff!” © Abbey Pleviak

Last Night’s Parties 

I strolled into the TPM Karaoke Party a little late and sedate. Wayne the bartender encouraged me to put in a song because Karaoke isn’t about being an amazing singer, it is about having fun with your friends. The TPM crowd was most definitely living it up, and one attendee even said to me, “We should have karaoke every night!” 

On the other side of the Mirage, the Fujifilm Opening Party was banging in full Vegas style. This is a party that never disappoints. The DJ was hot and the crowd was even hotter. It was so good to get down and loose with old friends in the Capri Lounge and meet new friends at the bar after the party closed.

Dream Baby Backdrops had a newborn posing demo on the WPPI Show Floor. © Abbey Pleviak

It’s All Happening on the WPPI Show Floor 

Today the Show Floor opened, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems even better than last year. There was so much amazing gear, booths for complimentary lens and camera cleaning and tuning, and so many demos and stages. I saw people trying out new cameras, lenses, bags, lights, and tech, touching albums, learning about storytelling through photography, listening to demos and talks, and trying out the interactive Icon Awards Gallery.  

The Portrait System Conference and Platinum pass holders are able to get one-on-one mentoring on the Show Floor where they can talk about any aspect of their business they would like feedback on. © Abbey Pleviak

Photographers were lining up and shooting in the gorgeous Shooting Bay Lane. And TPM passholders were taking full advantage of one-on-one mentoring. I was lucky enough to catch Mitzi Starkweather in a down moment. Starkweather is Grand Champion of the recent Portrait Masters Awards and Accreditation competition in the Self-Portrait category and she’s running a Raw Portrait Shooting Bay on the Show Floor (#17). Starkweather let me know that on Thursday, she will be having no-model day to give photographers a chance to photograph each other while she offers coaching in her Raw Portraits method of portraiture.  

Starkweather says, “It’s so important for photographers to get on the other side of the camera.” Her pioneering technique of portraiture is black and white, emotive photography, and it expresses the idea that we are worthy to be photographed just as we are.

Mitzi Starkweather’s Shooting Bay is in the theme of Raw Portraits. These are emotive, black and white portraits that require no special hair and makeup or retouching. © Abbey Pleviak

Then, I ran into Matt Stagliano and he told me that he has added raw portraiture to his studio offerings. Stagliano says he hopes other photographers will realize just how powerful this method of shooting is. He says he typically overshoots and loves the discipline of shooting for just 25 minutes in each outfit, having no retouching, and you’re done. Stagliano says clients love to hear a photographer tell them, “I want to take pictures of you just as you are” because you are beautiful, and you are enough. 

Mitzi Starkweather’s Raw Portraits booth is on the Show Floor every day from 10:30 am – 4:30 pm. 

The Icon Awards Gallery has an interactive feature. When you download the app, you can use it to view behind-the-scenes footage of images that have a blue dot on their tag. © Abbey Pleviak

Parties Tonight 

Tonight, it’s all about the Icon Awards Ceremony, which is open to passholders of all levels. Come in your Oscar worthy attire, or just as you are, to celebrate stunning award-winning images, and the photographers who created them.  

Past WPPI Diary Entries

My WPPI Diary, Day 1 – Choose Adventure! 

My WPPI Diary, Day 2: Summit and Playground