WPPI Speaker Spotlight: Tyler Wirken

February 7, 2017

By Interview by Stacey Goldberg

© Tyler Wirken

It’s no surprise that there are some big changes this year at WPPI, most notably the new venue (the Las Vegas Convention Center) and expanded show floor. But that’s not all that’s new—attendees looking at the presentation lineup will see that it is packed with new speakers from across the globe, all ready and willing to share their unique perspectives and expertise. Here, we interviewed new speaker Tyler Wirken to learn more about his upcoming PLUS class and Master class.

Tyler Wirken
PLUS Class:
The Ins and Outs of Documentary Wedding Photography
February 8, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Master Class: Make Pictures, Not Just Take Pictures—Perfecting the Craft of What Makes a Picture Work
February 9, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing wedding and portrait photographers today, and how can your presentation help?
In my 14 years as a wedding photographer, I have never seen the level of talent in this industry as high as it is right now. The pressure to stay competitive is at an all-time high and, because of that, morale seems to be at an all-time low. I teach and mentor students worldwide for The Wirkshop Series (, and it is amazing to see how much the competitive landscape is affecting photographers. It can be downright debilitating for most folks.

The pressure to win the most contests, for example, is fueling the mindset that producing the same trendy images over and over is the way to go when, in reality, it is the opposite. People fall into a trap of showing how clever they can be with a camera but lose sight of what is truly important. Photography should be about the people we are documenting and not about us. My presentation will help photographers remember what is ultimately important—the people we photograph.

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
That’s an easy one! I would be a dog. More specifically, I would be my yellow Labrador, Maggie. Her life is pretty dang simple! She wakes up, gets her favorite treat in the world, finds the perfect spot in the sun to eat said perfect treat, and then simply watches the world go by. A couple of times throughout the day she’ll greet the UPS man and get tummy scratches, and then after a bit of dinner and another treat, she goes to sleep on her own lounge chair. Rinse and repeat!

Tyler Wirken began his photography career shooting documentary photography for newspapers. Today, as a wedding photographer based out of Kansas City, Missouri, he continues to use a similar style to tell the story of a wedding day. 

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