My WPPI Diary, Day 5: Abundantly Beautiful and Fulfilled

March 7, 2024

By Abbey Pleviak

This is it, folks. We’ve come to the end of WPPI 2024. This has truly been an epic week. I got to connect with so many amazing people from all around the world, and am so grateful to the WPPI Producing Team, all the staff, volunteers, teachers, attendees, and the Mirage for creating this wild Las Vegas magic together. It’s been a photographer’s spring break, a photographer’s playground, a photographer’s toy shop, and so much more! For Day 5 of My WPPI Diary, I’m going to look back at a couple recent events and then turn things over to some amazing fellow WPPIers, who share their insights, reflections, and gorgeous images from the week! 

Jenny Sarabia photographed some new WPPI friends out to dinner at the Diablo Cantina in the Mirage. © Jenny Sarabia

Last Night’s Party 

Last night’s party was the totally radical SmugMug 80s Wrap Party with a live band playing favorite songs from the era, and the crowd danced it up. It was so fun! Check out footage from the party on WPPI’s Instagram.  

Recap of David Suh’s Keynote 

David Suh takes to the stage to a warm round of applause. © Matt Stagliano

Yesterday, a large, appreciative crowd came for WPPI’s “Mystery Speaker” David Suh, who has been dubbed the “King of Posing” by CBS News and the Washington Times. David shared his own journey of stepping into his confidence in front of the camera, urging other photographers to do the same. He says that when you understand that those voices in your head telling you, “I can’t be in front of the camera. I can’t wear that,” are just limiting beliefs, you can embark on an exploration to prove those beliefs wrong.   

He encourages photographers “to see posing as more than a tool we use for clients.” He says, “See it as body language,” and “show up more as the person [you] want to be.” David says when you create space for yourself to do that, you also create space for others to do the same.  

If you resonate with David’s message, check him out on Instagram. Also, stay tuned for his first online course, which is coming soon! 

David Suh is so fabulous and he does everything he can to empower others to also step into their most empowered, confident selves. © David Suh

Reflections from WPPI Attendees 

First time attendee Jon Maxwell has been wanting to attend WPPI for a long time and was glad that he came this year. For him, it was invaluable to network with other photo business owners and to hear about trends in the industry. He also came with a long list of gear he wanted to try out and says, “having the ability to talk with reps and get my hands on equipment and see, just that alone made the trip worth it — being able to test everything out and figure out what I need.” 

Pallavi Sharma of Shutter Glee Photograpy captured this stunning image on Ivan Duran’s Photo Walk © Shutter Glee

Another first time attendee, Pallavi Sharma says, “I was completely blown away by the range of speakers and vendors!” Having attended other photo conferences, she felt WPPI was a level above the rest. She felt all the speakers were so genuinely authentic and helpful and says, “The business classes gave me a lot to think about with my pricing model and how I should value my work more than I have so far. It’s given me the confidence to take that courageous step forward to price my work correctly! I’m deeply thankful to the amazing speakers for that one thing! Thank you WPPI!”

Yuki Neo captured this shot during the Fujifilm Photo Walk. It is a finalist in the Fujifilm WPPI Photo Bomb competition. © Yuki Neo

Yuki Neo says, “This is our second year attending. My partner, John Battiloro and I come to get new business, marketing, and client services ideas. Technology moves so quickly and we need WPPI to help to keep our business abreast of industry trends. We also want to see what our competition is doing in shooting styles to compare. There is so much to learn and to employ.”

Fabiola Vázquez captured this shot on a Fujifilm Photo Walk. © Fabiola Vázquez Fotógrafa

Fabiola Vázquez has been planning to come to WPPI for a long time. She says, “There are so many things to do that you don’t know where to start, and the best way was a Photo Walk with Fujifilm. I had no idea that they would lend us their equipment to try it, and I loved the camera. It was very practical but with all the functions and beautiful on the outside. Thanks to Fujifilm and WPPI for putting on this amazing event, I will definitely come back every year.”

This shot by Jess Montgomery was captured during a Fujifilm Photo Walk. It is also a finalist in the Fujifilm WPPI Photo Bomb competition. © Jess Montgomery

Jess Montgomery says, “The highlight of my experience at WPPI 2024 was the opportunity to mingle with friends from diverse backgrounds worldwide. Moreover, a valuable takeaway for me was the reinforcement of the significance of transparently sharing my personal narrative, which intricately complements my creative endeavors.” She credits WPPI speaker Russel Klimas for bringing this necessity to her attention.

Ryan from Hawaii captured this shot on a Fujifilm Photo Walk and shot it on the Fujifilm 100Sii camera. © Ryan from Hawaii

Ryan from Hawaii says, “Attending these conventions isn’t just about the products. It’s about networking with everyone in the industry and just sharing a common interest, which is our passion for photography. I attended representing my film lab (Yoro’s Film Lab). . . I always love connecting.”

Cobby Banks captured this shot on a Photo Walk with Bri Images. © Cobbpix Limited Media

Cobby Banks says, “WPPI is by far my favorite event of the year. It’s become sort of like a family reunion style event for a lot of photographers. I add something new to my repertoire every year from something I’ve learned in a session, but the Photo Walks are even more impressive. Everyone shares tips and tricks and the locations around Vegas are amazing.”

Kris Zurbas captured this shot in a Shooting Bay on the WPPI Show Floor. © Kris Zurbas

Kris Zurbas has been attending WPPI for eight years and says he loves talking to the vendors and also learns so much in the seminars and Photo Walks. His biggest takeaway this year is “how not to fear AI and how to actually use it as an assistant.” In one of Kristina Sherk‘s sessions he learned lots of ways “to use and incorporate AI into my work flow.” Zurbas says, “I can’t wait until next year’s WPPI already!!!!”

I feel just the same way!

Jon Jozef captured this shot during a Fujifilm Photo Walk. © Jon Jozef

Next Year’s WPPI

WPPI organizers revealed today that next year’s WPPI will be held at the Rio on March 18 – 20. Personally, I can’t wait to reconnect with old friends and meet new friends and to be blown away by all the incredible talent and passion in this industry.

If you already miss WPPI and would like to bring home something to remind you of it during the whole year, be sure to check out Photo Flash Drive’s WPPI Shop, where you can pick up cozy hoodies, snazzy t’s, drinking receptacles, hats, and more. But don’t put it off because this shop closes on March 20!

See you next time at WPPI!

Past WPPI Diary Entries

My WPPI Diary, Day 1 – Choose Adventure! 

My WPPI Diary, Day 2: Summit and Playground

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

My WPPI Diary, Day 4: 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography, Icon Awards & Awesome Seminars