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Most Innovative Meetings 2020: #8 Wedding & Portrait Photographers Intl.

The conference used a creative studio design to draw attention to exhibitors in low-traffic areas.

Six sponsored studios allowed attendees to test out new photography equipment in a more controlled area, rather than in a busy booth.
Six sponsored studios allowed attendees to test out new photography equipment in a more controlled area, rather than in a busy booth.
Photo: Courtesy of WPPI

The Basics: Held in Las Vegas from Feb. 24-27, the Wedding and Portrait Photography Intl. conference—otherwise known as WPPI—drew 6,400 attendees in 2020. In addition to exhibitor booths, a variety of areas offered interactive elements such as meet-and-greets, networking happy hours, and speed dating-style portfolio reviews. The event was produced by Emerald Exhibitions.

Steal-Worthy Innovations: New this year were six distinct sets, placed throughout the show floor in an effort to maintain high traffic and draw attention to exhibitors in traditionally neglected areas. Dubbed the WPPI Studio Experience, the six sponsored areas also allowed attendees to test out new photography equipment in a more controlled area, rather than in a busy booth. Stylish backdrops set the scene, and professional models posed in a variety of lighting situations. Each studio included hands-on instruction, and some offered preshow registration for the attendees to have one-on-one instruction.

The floor plan of the show was also carefully revamped. “Show features were spread out throughout the show floor to create destinations, improve traffic, and create a flow for attendees,” explained Moneer Masih-Tehrani, director of creative services for Emerald Expositions. “We learned from a previous model that grouping the studios together led to long lines and was less inviting.”

Some experiences were self-guided, while others were hosted by brand ambassadors and managed with sign-ups. “This allowed for individual styles of learning and discovery,” noted Masih-Tehrani, who added that “educational photo walks were also encouraged to utilize the self-guided studios, bringing conference attendees onto the show floor.”

Lessons Learned: “It’s important to pay attention to the needs of our attendees in developing experiences,” said Masih-Tehrani. “In order to get the best engagement, anticipate the user journey and make the spaces welcoming and simple to interact with. Offer direction and guidance, and make education fun.”

Next: #9 Facebook's GMS 1World Un-Summit
Back: #7 Verizon Media's Build It: WFH

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