LeightonD, Photographer

LeightonD's Photographic life.

2010 WPPI Road Trip, Orlando!

Road Trip


Oh my, what can I say. This seminar/workshop was probably one of the best days of profession education, inspiration, and networking that I have done in the past 5 years.

For those who may not know, Wedding & Portrait Photographers International(WPPI) is an organization for wedding and portrait photographers set on education and consistency among photographers. There is an annual convention in Las Vegas that draws THOUSANDS of photographers. The road trip is an extension of that event.

The speakers were great and powerful. Hosted by Liana Lehman, with great motivation and instruction from Doug Gordon, Bruce Dorn, Amber Holritz, Garret Nudd & Rebecca Grinnals, and a great bonus from Bambi Cantrell.

doug and me

Doug Gordon and Myself

Some of the things that I noticed:

There had to be over 300 attendees that were there. Of those, two-thirds were women! There was a huge minority make up, mostly in Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino. Less than 5% in total were African-American. Now, why do I make this point? It seems that many black photographers that I come across, specifically market to other blacks, then in the same breath, they criticize their market. When I see poor numbers like that at an event like this, it makes me wonder how can you complain about not getting the clients you want, when you do not improve yourself to give your clients the product THEY want! There were photographers from Savannah, Ft. Lauderdale, and even as far as Puerto Rico, that speaks a lot.

Another reason why this blog might be pointed to certain groups, is because I have noticed that many minorities market to their own minority group, yet many of my friends who are white, just market!  There are many dynamics that go into this, more than I want to detail here, but these are things that I wish my fellow photographers would evaluate.

I loved the business applications as well as the photography discussions that were brought up. Liana gave her “7 Tips” to include, Knowing your numbers and your duty as an Artist! It is important to know that as a Business Person, your responsibility is to your business first, and as an Artist, your responsibility is to your client.

Doug Gordon did an AWESOME job as well, with instruction in poses and motivation in business. He shared a quote that I want to share with you:

“You cannot always share what’s in your minds, but a photo from your heart can.”

He shared that we need to be different, but consistent. Creat impact, and make the invisible visible.

Bruce Dorn shared many great points on the use of video in DSLR’s. Striking was finding out that Canon 7D can rival the video output of a $500,000 Aeroflex camera which is used in Hollywood.

Amber discussed about being yourself, and being real with yourself and your clients. Bambi showed us how to make women BEAUTIFUL through boudoir!

My favorite was Garrett and Rebecca’s presentation. It was about the state of the business. Very sobering information. Such as that photography business is the second most failed business in the U.S. behind restaurants. That the average photographer only lasts 18 months. After being in the business for 7 years, I am truly grateful.

There IS a difference between being a Champion and being Average. Many photographers and their business STRIVE to be AVERAGE! This is not a slight. How many of us had our moms tell us when we were younger that we should be an accountant, or a doctor, because it was the “safe” way to go. SAFE IS AVERAGE!

Garrett and Rebecca gave many tips, such as how to make a 50% increase in business by (you should have went to the road trip). You didn’t think I was going to tell you everything did you!

All in all, it was a splendid event!

Have a great day!


About Leighton DaCosta, Photographer

International Wedding, Portrait, and Fashion photographer based in Miramar, Florida. Also a Pilot and a LEAN technician.

One comment on “2010 WPPI Road Trip, Orlando!

  1. Trudy
    October 2, 2010

    Great post. I am glad to hear your perspective on WPPI because many of the accounts I hear are cliquish or party-oriented so I get wary. I am already an introvert (INTJ, but not shy, just an introvert) so I get alarmed when something sounds like too much partying. But the valuable things you wrote makes me think.

    Now, what you mention about Black photographers is true. Most that I see market and photograph other Black people. That is good. But more should span out and seek to just market and see who comes into the web.

    Thanks for the review, I am thinking about these types of things for a better 2011.

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2010 by in Uncategorized.
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