Getting the Best Bang For Your Buck at WPPI 2016

by Jason Groupp

December 31, 2015

I thought it fitting for my last article of the year to present a recap of WPPI highlights—from the massive participation in our members-only First and Second Half competitions to our continued partnerships expanding our international reach across the globe to the announcement of even more partnerships. 

In early November, we announced the formation of a new group named The Professional School and Sports Photographers International (PSPI). This new association, led by a board of directors (members from PSPA), will assist us in helping to educate our members on volume-based studios and become part of our conference offerings during WPPI. We’ll also help this board of directors in keeping any important legislation necessary regarding this business. This is new territory for us, and I could not be more thrilled about it! 

In September, we announced that every PHOTO+ Group member would be entitled to a free Full Platform Pass (FPP) at WPPI. This conference pass includes your choice of over 100 classes that in the past was valued at anywhere from $79-$399, depending on when you purchased the pass. And hey, I admit it, it did get confusing when we had early-bird specials, and then other promo codes or deals to be found down the line. So for this year, we decided to focus on engaging you with our brand and giving you the best freaking deal we could. In other words, no more marketing games, promo codes or giveaways—an FPP at WPPI is now free with your $149.99 membership fee.

With so many new members (currently at over 7,000!) I’ve been fielding a ton of questions regarding exactly what an FPP gets you. Here are five things you may or may not have known (besides your choice of over 100 classes in our conference):


With the formation of the PSPI joining the PHOTO+ Group, we will be curating a full day of programming dedicated to this genre (Saturday, March 5). From innovations in printing school packages to protecting student data privacy, this full-day program is not to be missed.

Danny and Julia Dong nailed it in Print Comp last year. Photo © Karen Seifert


Live judging, taking place by division in eight different rooms, might be one of the most overlooked events at WPPI each year because you won’t find it in our registration process. I’m going to work extra hard this year to let everyone know this live judging is part of your benefit of the FPP, and a must-see! I promise you this: if you carve out just an hour on either Saturday, March 5 or Sunday, March 6, you will come away with your brain filled up with knowledge and inspiration.

Classes get up close and personal, with demos, models and step-by-steps. Photo © Valerie Schooling


I’m absolutely bursting with excitement that Sue is preparing a presentation like never before. Mark your calendars for the evening of March 8—that’s when Sue will educate us on the science of in-person sales and how we can all improve our bottom line. She’s been working one on one with photographers from around the globe, and has taken it upon herself to “stop the madness,” as she says, and help change our industry’s shoot and burn mentality. We all know educating our clients on the importance and legacy of print is not an easy task, and Sue’s keynote will help us all take away ground-breaking ways of tactile in-person selling that has emotional impact and instant buying power.

Class is in session with David Beckstead. Photo © Valerie Schooling


I was shocked last year when I met someone on the last day of WPPI and they said, “I didn’t know my pass included the trade show, too!” While it seems crazy to me, I suppose it’s possible you wouldn’t know it if you were truly immersed in our conference program. This year, you won’t want to miss being on the floor each day (there are never any platform classes during the trade show hours)—we’ll have complimentary goodies, like Starbucks and other treats! And if you are new to WPPI, I suggest you spend some time engaging our vendors’ social media feeds. Each year they give away ridiculous amounts of prizes. Seriously, they work hard each year throwing stuff at you, so take advantage of it!

Last year’s Hakkasan party was the hottest place to be in all of Vegas! Photo © Tim Beckford


Our opening night party on Sunday night, March 6, is included with your FPP! One of the world’s biggest and exclusive nightclubs is the home for our seasonal tribal bash.This party never disappoints, and each year someone tells me on Monday that they didn’t know! Here’s my insider tip, though: we are limited with space, so get there super early and I promise you’ll have a fabulous evening of food, drinks, and dancing the night away. Seriously folks, this party is so much fun, so don’t miss it!

Finally, for my last entry of 2015, I want to wish each and every one of you a healthy and happy New Year! 2015 served up a busy, but very productive year of partnerships. As we prepare for our final year at the MGM, this gathering of the tribes will be one you won’t want to miss. Happy New Year, everyone!

Related: Rangefinder's PhotoForward Blog: Top 10 Posts From 2015

Inside The Rangefinder Brain: Our Favorite Photos of the Year And Why

Editor's Pick: Victorian Grace By Sue Bryce

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