If you are trying to tackle WPPI alone, you will probably be overwhelmed by the shear number of master, platform and trade show classes available. In fact, those that are experienced at WPPI know that often times the golden nuggets of information can be few and far between. However, they are out there, and they are what makes WPPI so valuable to us professional photographers.
So, while there are many excellent platform speakers, we wanted to share with you a few of our favorites who are guaranteed to provide you with some great information that will help take you to the next level. Be sure to also check out our guide on 3 Tips to Help You Get the Most of WPPI.
If you are new to WPPI, then here is a brief description of each class type.
Master Classes – Master classes are fee based classes with limited registration slots
Platform Classes – Platform classes are free to all registered WPPI members and are first come first serve in regards to seating. So, if you want a good seat to some of the popular platform speakers, be sure to arrive early!
Tradeshow Classes – Trade Show classes are brief lectures that are given at certain times throughout the convention on the trade show floor. Typically seating is very limited, so be prepared to stand for some of the more popular speakers.
Regardless of if you are a first time attendee, or 10 year veteran, these are speakers who we never miss. Year after year these speakers provide golden bits of information that will truly help take your studio to the next level.
1) John Solano and Brian Marcus – I stumbled into John and Brian’s platform class by chance back in 2008. It was towards the end of the convention, and I had just walked out of a fairly uninformative platform class only to go into John and Brian’s class next door. Within 10 minutes I felt as though I had struck gold. John and Brian are masters of photography and lighting and they don’t hold back on amazingly useful and practical information. Their class was full of tips and tricks on how to achieve professional results using simple lighting techniques and tools that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Year after year I have attended each and every one of their classes only to learn more and more. You may also be able to find John and Brian at the Nikon trade show booth.
2) Jerry Ghionis – Fashion photographer turned wedding photographer, Jerry Ghionis is simply the undisputed kind when it comes to turning ordinary (and sometimes plain offal) to the extraordinary. Each and every year, Jerry shares tips, tricks and his artistic vision in how he creates his amazing art. Jerry’s platform and master classes will blow your mind leaving you wondering, “how does he think of that?” It is a staple class each year simply because it will get you to think outside, and I mean waaaaay outside the box. Jerry can also be found at his I.C.E. Society booth on the trade show floor as well.
3) Jasmine Star – If you have read some of our previous posts, you should know by now that we are big fans of Jasmine Star. Jasmine’s talents stretch so far beyond photography that it would be difficult to describe exactly which areas we draw inspiration and guidance from. However, this year Jasmine’s classes are going to focus on marketing effectively without spending gobs of mulah. Which in my opinion is awesome because she is clearly an expert in her marketing and brand image as she has launched her studio from obscurity to being one of the best photographers in the world in only a few short years.
4) Doug Gordon – Doug is a master poser, or rather, posing master. Doug has created a style of posing known as “flow posing” which is learning the process of taking a couple from one pose seamlessly to the next in a matter of seconds. Using his flow posing technique, he is able to shoot 20 – 30 unique poses in a matter of just a few minutes. We love watching Doug work and we always learn new things whenever we watch the man do his thang.
5) Chris Lalonde – If you want to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to post production and Photoshop skills, then Chris Lalonde is the man to see. Simply put, Chris is a masterful artist not only behind the lens, but also behind the computer. His Photoshop and Lightroom classes have repeatedly taught me new techniques and how to think outside of the box.
If this is your first year at WPPI, then there are a few speakers that you really cannot miss. These speakers will help you understand and open your mind to widely different styles of photography and styles of shooting.
1) Dennis Reggie – Known as the father of “Wedding Photojournalism” Dennis is the premiere source to learn about any and everything regarding journalism in wedding photography. Dennis is known throughout the industry as being the world’s top Wedding Photojournalist and his style of natural imagery will help you to get passed all the technical mumbo jumbo that we photographers can get caught up in; and rather focus on the imagery and the emotion expressed within.
2) Joe Buissink – If Dennis Reggie is the father of wedding photojournalism I would have to say that Joe Buissink is his son… not in a literal sense of course, as that would just be strange. But, I think you get what I mean. Joe is the other name that first pops into our minds when we hear the term wedding photojournalism. Plus, since Joe and Dennis are good friends, it’s a total hoot and informational smorgasbord when they teach along side each other.
3) Jesh De Rox – Jesh is the founder, or at least one of the founders of a style of wedding photography termed “experiential weddings.” Jesh is an amazing person full of insight and emotion which he uses abundantly in his imagery. There may be some of you who may think that his style or classes aren’t for you, however, you would be doing yourself a major disservice by not attending. Jesh’s style of fine-art photography and his style of experiential client service will get you to think of wedding and engagement photography in a completely different light.
We hope you enjoyed this article, and hopefully we will meet some of you at WPPI 2010!