My Tips for a Successful WPPI #WPPI16

February 20, 2016

This year marks my 3rd trip to WPPI and over the last 16 years I have traveled to Vegas over 20 times. I wanted to share some tips for not only having a great time at WPPI but also a few tips that I have learned along the way for having an awesome time while visiting the city of sin!


WPPI – Get ready for Las Vegas! from Triple Scoop Music on Vimeo.


Getting around town


Uber recently arrived in Las Vegas and it is a great way to get around while you are there. Uber is super easy to use, simply download the app (IOS, Android), create an account, and request a ride. Once Uber is linked to your account you never have to worry about cash or worrying if the cab takes credit card. If you are planning ahead and want to know how much the ride will cost, check out this website to estimate the fare. If you don’t have an account yet I would love it if you used this code to sign up. https://www.uber.com/invite/tjh101


There are 4 different monorails in Las Vegas. All but one of them are free to travel between hotels. If you are exploring the strip and need a break the monorails are a great alternative to walking. The monorails can sometimes be difficult to find because they are at the back of the hotels. Keep an eye on the signs above and you will find your way no problem!


Free Monorails

  • Mirage-Treasure Island Tram 
    The Mirage-Treasure Island tram runs between 7 a.m. – 2 a.m., daily. The tram arrives just about every 15 minutes and the ride lasts about four minutes.
  • Bellagio – CityCenter – Monte Carlo Tram
    The Bellagio – CityCenter – Monte Carlo tram runs daily from 8 a.m. – 4 a.m., every seven minutes. The tram arrives just about every 15 minutes and the ride lasts about six minutes.
  • Mandalay Bay-Excalibur Tram
    This monorail’s route varies based on what hotel you start at. If you start at the Excalibur main station, the monorail will take you directly to Mandalay Bay – about a 3-minutes trip. If you start from Mandalay Bay, you will stop at the Luxor and then the Excalibur – about a 7-minutes trip. The express tram runs daily from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and trains leave every 3-7 minutes. The all-stops tram runs from 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.


Paid Monorail

The Las Vegas Monorail runs from the MGM to SLS Las Vegas (north end of the strip).

The monorail has 7 stations along the strip:

  • MGM Grand
  • Bally’s / Paris
  • Flamingo, Harrah’s / The LINQ
  • Las Vegas Convention Center
  • Westgate Las Vegas
  • SLS Las Vegas

The monorail is open Monday, 7 a.m. – midnight; Tuesday – Thursday, 7 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Friday – Sunday, 7 a.m. – 3 a.m.

You can buy tickets online or stop at the kiosks at each of the stations.

If you play the free myVegas slots app (IOS, Android) you can use your points to purchase monorail tickets!


Public Transit

Las Vegas has a great public transportation system that has several stops along the way. For information on stops and routes, check out the RTC website.


One thing that you learn when visiting Vegas is even though things look really close they are very far away. That being said everything on the strip is easy to get to and many of the hotels offer overhead walkways so you don’t have to cross the busy streets. Also the MGM grand is huge. Give yourself plenty of time to get from your room to the conference area and expo areas.


Las Vegas is the mecca for foodies. From food courts to five star Las Vegas offers all different types of cuisine.

Here are some great resturants that offer coupons on resturant.com you can find them here  http://www.restaurant.com/city-cuisine/LasVegas-restaurants

My favorite place to get breakfast in Vegas is Ellis Island Brewery. Ellis island offers a full menu but the highlight is the $6.99 steak and eggs. For under $10 you get a nice sized steak, eggs, hash browns, and toast. Ellis Island isn’t to far from the MGM.

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If you show your badge at Ellis Island they will hook you up with one of their award winning beers for free!


I am a huge fan of saving money so here are a few coupons to save you some cash while visiting Las Vegas!



Must see Vegas Attractions

Free Attractions (From Vegas.com)

  • BELLAGIO CONSERVATORY Crafted by a team of 100 horticulturalists, the Bellagio’s conservatory features elegant, elaborate arrangements of plants and flowers in its bright, airy atrium.
  • FALL OF ATLANTIS AT CAESARS No civilization put on a greater spectacle than ancient Rome, and now you have a chance to witness the glory for yourself at Caesars Palace’s Fall of Atlantis.
  • FOUNTAINS OF BELLAGIO Every evening, a water and music show plays again and again in the spectacular fountains filling the quarter-mile-long lake in front of the Bellagio.
  • FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE The Fremont Street Experience will have you dancing in the street with its $70 million light canopy and 540,000-watt sound system.
  • PALAZZO WATERFALL ATRIUM Connecting the Palazzo and Venetian is two-story tall atrium with a waterfall and seasonal floral display – the perfect spot to pull out your cell phone and snap a selfie.
  • VOLCANO AT THE MIRAGE Every hour after dusk, the Mirage volcano explodes forth for crowds of curious Strip onlookers.
  • WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS SIGN Guests can park their cars right next to Las Vegas’ 50-year-old iconic sign and take plenty of memorable photos.
  • WILDLIFE HABITAT AT THE FLAMINGO The Flamingo’s brilliant neon sign is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable on the Strip. And visitors can take a closer look at the creatures who inspired the bright display at the hotel-casino’s very own wildlife habitat.


There are a ton of awesome entertainment in Las Vegas. Before you purchase your ticket make sure you stop by the Half Price Show Tickets stores a long the strip to find additional savings!


Conference Tips

Tip 1: Understand what type of class you are attending,

According to WPPI’s Website here are the different types of classes available

    A Platform Class is a 1 1/2 -hour, theatre-style session that prepares you for everything from becoming a better photographer to running a more successful and profitable business, and beyond. Seven learning tracks include Lighting, Wedding, Portrait, Inspirational, Business, Workflow and Filmmaking. Your Full Platform Pass gives you access to over 80 Platform classes.
  • Pre-board – A Full Platform Pass entitles you to take as many Platform Classes as you like however, these classes are very popular and seating is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-board lets you select five (5) Platform classes during online registration and provides you with priority access to the classroom up to 15 minutes before the class begins. During registration, you may pre-board by selecting up to five Platform classes that you don’t want to miss. All other Platform Classes you attend will be on first-come, first-served basis.  The last day to Pre-board is March 1, 2016. Pre-board is not available on-site.
    A PLUS Class is a one-day, intimate and intensive learning experience. Limited to 25 participants per class, you’ll experience classroom learning through a 2-3 hour presentation by one of our world-class photography instructors followed by hands-on training through an afternoon of shooting on location. Plus Class tracks will include off camera lighting, posing techniques, workflow and more. TIP: Register early, Plus Classes will sell out quickly. May be purchased as an add-on item.
    A Master Class is a focused two-hour, hands-on session limited to 50 participants that provides a detailed learning experience. Master Class tracks cover a wide variety of vital photography and filmmaking topics including Lighting, Wedding, Portrait, Inspirational, Business, Workflow and Filmmaking.  TIP: Register early, Master Classes sell out quickly. May be purchased as an add-on item.
    Photo Walks are exclusive 1 1/2 -hour, hands-on shootouts limited to 25 people each that focus on teaching the participants to sharpen their observation and composition skills while shooting alongside an industry leader. Each Photo Walk will demonstrate the leader’s unique skill set, including everything from off camera lighting, posing, gear and lens selection and much, much more. May be purchased as an add-on item. Find out more about each individual Photo Walk by joining our Facebook group where each leader will discuss their class and answer questions. Join us here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/868345773177706/
    Learn by doing in our fourth-annual, hands-on Filmmaking class. Be part of the crew that writes, shoots and edits the official WPPI film. Over the course of several days, you’ll work on a team to capture, direct and produce the essence of WPPI. Don’t wait to register, spots will fill up fast.
  • The University for School and Sports Photography (UNIV)
    The University is a one-day educational program geared for those who are interested in volume school and sports photography. Attendees will learn best business practices, how to grow your business, as well as important school laws and regulations on student data privacy. Other topics such as creating team composites, senior banners and the best products to offer will round out a full day of education, and networking.  Keeping in tradition with WPPI, it will be fun, and offer many opportunities for great giveaways from vendors exhibiting at the mini tradeshow which runs all day. Admission is included with a full platform Pass.

My biggest takeaways from the past WPPI’s have been the relationships I have built. I challenge you to meet 5 people. Each and every year I have set this as my goal and I have made some great friends that I can’t wait to meetup with in a few short weeks. I can be one of your 5! Please shoot me a tweet so we can meetup! @tjshotsphoto

Tip 2: Don’t get sucked into the Expo.

The first time you go to WPPI and walk into the exhibit hall, you will be overwhelmed.  The exhibitors offer everything you could ever need for your business. I suggesting making a plan of what your needs are and then schedule time to visit the vendors!

  • Monday, March 7 – 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Tuesday, March 8 – 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Wednesday, March 9 – 10:00am-3:00pm

Click here to download a copy of the floor plan of all of the exhibitors.


Tip 3: Backchannel

Social media is the life blood behind the conference. I urge you to monitor and use the hashtags to follow conversation and meetup with people to build relationships! #wppi2016


Tip 4: Spend some time watching print competition.

This year at our state conference I spent time listening to print competition and I learned more then any of the sessions that I went to. Watching print competition helped me to understand more about light, shadows as well as composition. Another great thing about print comp is all of the inspiration that you can draw from other artists.

Print competition is taking place Saturday – Sunday, March 5, 6 | 8:00am – 6:00pm

Tip 5: Check out the special events!

There are plenty of special events going on at WPPI and you should definitely be apart of the excitement!

  • Launch Pad (March 5th)
  • Fun Run (March 8th 7:00 AM)
  • Opening Night Party at Hakkasan (March 6th 8-10) Over 21
  • Keynote by Sue Bryce (March 8th 8 – 10pm)
  • Photographers Ignite (March 10th 10:30 – 12:00)




On March 7th we are having an Ohio meetup at the MGM Lobby Bar @ 5pm. The purpose is to unwind after a long day of getting our learn on and to network with other Buckeyes! Hopefully we will see you there!

Now that I have shared what you should do to be successful at WPPI, here is another article from The Sauce on what not to do at WPPI: http://photographyawesomesauce.com/5-things-you-shouldnt-do-at-wppi/

If you need anything while at the show please tweet me at @tjshotsphoto! I would love to meet up!