If you were at WPPI this week, you're probably pretty tired right now.  You're probably just finding your way back in to the real world.  I know this is true, because I still see the tweets about the experience.  I know this is true because I'm right there.

After wandering the trade-show, attending incredible platform sessions, and partying far too long into the morning, coming home can be both a relief - and even a let down in some ways. 

As you process and de-compress, here are a few things I try to keep in mind.  Hopefully they'll be helpful to you too!



"Sensory Overload," is probably the term that most describes the experience photographers share at WPPI.  Whether it's your first time or not, there are more things to take in, than any human can possibly absorb.  It's likely that you left exhausted and feeling a little like your head might explode.  That's normal. 

The key is, now that you're home, you have to stay focused.  As you flip through the hundreds of flyers, and brochures, and promos, and notes you took - remember the point of it all: to be better.  Hopefully, you went to WPPI with a goal.  You went with something in mind that you needed to be better at.  You went with something your business needed.  You went with something in mind that would help you grow.  

Whatever that one thing was - focus in on that.  Maybe it was a goal of being better at lighting.  Maybe it was to get help in better marketing your business in your area.  Maybe you wanted to expand your business.  Whatever it was, don't let the overload of information you brought home, keep you from focusing on the things that will actually help you move forward. 

In fact, I recommend you throw everything else away.  Seriously.  It seems worthwhile to hold on to all the pretty booklets, and catalogues, etc.  It's not.  I promise.  I literally came home with ONE thing.  I came home with one brochure about one type of product.  It was the only thing I really needed for our business, and I didn't even bring anything else home with me. 

If you're going to do anything right - you have to stay focused.



Now that we've established that we're going to focus on just a few things that we really need to work on, it's important to set yourself up for success by being intentional about the decisions you make.  If your goal was to develop new lighting skills, practice!  If your goal was to create new marketing pieces, hire a designer.  

Once you've narrowed your focus, it's important to start putting things into place to help you move forward - AND to stay accountable.  Just saying you have a goal isn't enough - goals don't happen by accident. 

Make wise decisions about the information you collected, and develop a plan that helps you move forward.  Do things ON PURPOSE.  Get a Goal, Get a Plan, Get Busy.



Finally, you probably met a few people at WPPI.  These are your peers, and they can be one of your greatest assets in this industry.  Most of us work alone, or with a very small group of people around us.  Most of us are photographers AND the business owner/boss.  Some people are fortunate to do this with a team - but the vast majority are in it alone.  Alone can be a lonely place, so take advantage of the relationships you formed. 

Keep in touch with the people you rubbed shoulders with, and reach out to the people that inspired you.  The shared experiences we all have can make us stronger - but only when we stick together.  

Since it's impossible to really connect with all 14,000 people at WPPI, I encourage you to reach out to a few of the people you most resonated with.  I especially encourage you to reach out to people from your own area - because relationships only work when there is proximity.  Sure, the virtual world is great - but nothing beats face to face time with people you can build a connection with.

You probably have a stack of business cards from people you met.  Take 10 minutes and shoot everyone of them a nice note by email.  You'll be surprised what that connection can mean.  Even better - take 20 minutes and write a few handwritten notes.  You'll make someone's day.


What would you add to the list?

1 Comment


I'd love to meet up and connect while I'm at WPPI.  As I wrote earlier, one of the most valuable things about an event like WPPI are the conversations, the relationships and the opportunity to rub shoulders with your peers.  

Over the past few years that I've attended WPPI, I've made some great new friends, and learned so much more than I imagined through the connections I've made - than I've ever learned sitting in a room taking notes.

So, I'd love to connect!  Here's a partial list of where I'll be and when.  I'd love to meet you in any of the booths I'll be speaking at, or let's just grab lunch or coffee.  You can follow me on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/jasonaten and let me know what you're up to!

I also have one spot open for a ONE2ONE Mentor session.  If you're interested, let me know fast!  

SATURDAY Late Arrival


12:00 - 2PM  Andrew Jenkins and Jackie Palmer Platform  - these are two of my good friends, and you should ABSOLUTELY go see them - especially if you photograph kids!

12:30 - 5PM VEGAS ONE DAY INTENSIVE  (There are still seats available!)


11:30AM - 12PM Livebooks Booth

2PM Album Exposure Booth

3:30PM - 5:30PM  Jared Bauman's Platform Session.  Jared is a top notch photographer, with serious business smarts.  You should NOT miss this one!


9:30AM - 10AM Livebooks Video

12:30 - 1PM Livebooks Booth

3:30 - 5:30PM Justin and Mary Marantz.  I can't think of a more authentic couple, and more genuine people than these two.  You'll learn more about building a LIFE - not just a business - in these two hours than in all the other sessions combined!

6PM Fasttrack After Party

8:30 PICTAGE/KISS/SHOOTQ Party at Studio 54

LATE [b] school Party