We at WPPI - meeting new friends and visiting the cold northeast of the United States

8279 views since April 11, 2013

Time passes by so quickly and after our three-week trip to the US we were welcomed by plenty of outstanding orders from our wedding stationery online-plattform www.dankeskarte.com and a lot of other things, like meeting new clients and talking about their upcoming weddings, that kept us busy so far. But now it is time to give you a little insight on our trip:

Our WPPI-experience:
Since many years we wanted to attend WPPI - the worlds largest conference on wedding and portrait photography - which takes place every year in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unfortunately the last years WPPI always took place the very same weekend we used to exhibit at our main bridal show in Innsbruck. As it was announced that this bridal show would move to a new location for 2013 and the quality and flair was not guaranteed to be comparable to what we were used to, we decided not to be part of it anymore and due to that we had time to go to Vegas - yeah!

By the way: Las Vegas really offers a lot for travelers and if you need some tips you can check out Jen's article 100 Best Things to do in Las Vegas or Marina's post about her Top 20 Las Vegas Highlights. I'm sure you will find some great things to explore.

WPPI took place at the MGM Grand conference center which by itself was very impressive. Imagine a hotel with more than 5.000 rooms, a casino, a shopping mall and a huge conference center - you could easily walk for about 20 minutes without even leaving the building. It`s so huge that there are even two Starbucks within the same complex! Yes, there is a good reason why that works well - in good old conference manner from his time in R&D Phil had to get a coffee every morning, afternoon and whenever time allowed and he was not the only one who enjoyed that. We even met Zach from Zach & Jody Photography there - where else?

For our first WPPI we had a very strict plan which classes to attend. We wanted to get the maximum out of it because we believe that there is always at least one thing you can learn from each speaker. So we split up most of the time to see different classes and updated each other on the most important things the time between the classes. Some classes were smaller with just about hundred listeners, but others were huge with up to thousand. Even though it was a little bit exhausting attending so many classes in five days, the mood at WPPI was very energetic. There are just so many things you instantly want to try on your own and as we brought or camera equipment with us, we did just that. Some of these images will be posted in another upcoming blog post soon, but you can find a little teaser in this one as well. Even though the US market is very different from the European, especially in the area of pricing and marketing, WPPI was a great opportunity to bring a lot of new ideas to Europe which you will be able to see in the upcoming season on our blog!

We also loved the opportunity to personally meet some of our favorite photographers at WPPI. Jasmine Star from California as well as Zach & Jody Photography from Nashville, Tennessee. Of course we had to take a picture with them ;) thanks again!

We arrived a few days before the conference started and we used this opportunity to visit the Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas with lots of red stones and red sand - it was really impressive!

Our shoot in Las Vegas with Mike Larson:
Some of you might already have seen our after weddings shoot with Christine Meintjes at the BMW World in Munich, so you know that we like to get in front of the camera from time to time. We thought WPPI would be the best place to do that again as the worlds best photographers would all be there for the week and there might be a good chance to get one of them to shoot with us. So in late 2012 we contacted Mike Larson, a well known private estate & vineyard wedding photographer from California. He agreed and so we started to think about the possibilities for our shoot. We decided to have some images in formal outfits as well as some in more casual outfits and Mike helped us to find great locations outside the city and right at the heart of Las Vegas. Nina even had a custom made dress for this occasion made by fashion designer Manufaktur Herzblut - Markus Spazier. Of course these images also deserve a separate blog post which will be online soon. Just to give you a short idea of what is about to come: we got up at 03:30 in the morning, Nina got hair and makeup done and our shoot started before sunrise at freezing temperatures in a dry lake bed - caught your attention? Good! So stay tuned!

Meeting friends:
From time to time you meet people you instantly feel connected with. For us it started at Zach & Jodys class which Nina attended and happened to sit in second row right next to Heather and Chris from California. As this class overrun it´s time and Phil´s class ended earlier he decided to join Nina´s class and found her chatting with Heather and Chris also known as Mr. & Mrs. Miller Photography. From this time on we randomly ran into each other from time to time which really was interesting as several thousand people were attending WPPI and the whole area was really huge. We then decided to meet at one of the evening special events and just had a lot of fun together. The next day at the evening pool party we were among the last to be kicked out and then went to a bar at the MGM to continue our chat until the early hours of the next day. It was so interesting to talk about their work and private life and we are really happy having made new friends! We are also grateful that we ran into each other quite often - hopefully we meet them soon again in Austria or California and in the meanwhile we will stay in touch via Facebook etc. ;)

And here some Las Vegas impressions - enjoy the tour!

The cold northeast:
We both love the States and have been there for many times. Nina had not been to the northeast yet so when we planned your trip in autumn 2012 we decided to add a short trip to CHICAGO and NEW YORK CITY after WPPI. We checked the 2012 temperatures and we were expecting something around 15 degrees Celsius in both cities. Unfortunately winter storm Saturn decided to hit the area shortly before we left for Las Vegas - glad that we checked the weather forecast so we brought our winter cloths with us.

After WPPI we left Vegas at about 27 degrees Celsius and were welcomed in Chicago by some snow, rain and freezing temperatures. We are so happy that we booked a great hotel room at the Blackstone Renaissance right at Michigan Avenue, so we could warm up from our city walks from time to time.

The weekend we where in Chicago St. Patrick´s Day was celebrated there and for that they colored the river green. The next day we even had some sun so it was perfect to go to the Signature Lounge at the 96th floor of the John Hancock building. We can definitely recommend the cocktails as well as the view there ;)

After three days in Chicago we hit the road and drove to Detroit, Cleveland (visiting the Rock & Roll hall of fame) and finally decided to go to Orange County to visit the Orange County Choppers - OCC. You will not believe it, but we actually met Paul Teutul Senior at the new OCC Cafe and even shook hands.

After some days outside of big cities it was quite interesting arriving in New Yorks financial district by car. It´s a pretty busy town and you better want to get rid of a car in New York City as soon as you can. We had a nice hotel room booked right at the Wall Street at the Andaz. We loved the modern architecture of the hotel and its location right in the heart of Manhattan. It was great to see new buildings are growing at ground zero, especially as Phil had been there shortly after the 9.11 happenings. And of course we had to go up to the Empire State Building as well - what a great view over thousands of buildings.

We also enjoyed a basketball game at the Madison Square Garden (the NY Knicks won) and to walk around the city to see all the famous buildings. And we also took the opportunity to meet some great wedding planners in New York as well. We met Leslie Short from K.I.M. Media, she is such a nice person and it was really great meeting here for a coffee - I´m sure a nice partnership will develop in the future. Unfortunately we forgot to take a picture with her, but we send greetings to Brooklyn!


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