Just a couple of weeks ago I caught a flight over to Las Vegas to spend the day at WPPI.
I caught up with a ton of friends in the industry, and had a chance to check out a bunch of vendor booths as well.
There are a lot of great companies at WPPI that have fun, interesting, innovative, and helpful products and services for photographers.
While I was there, I put together a short list of companies that really impressed me.
Unfortunately, I came down with the flu soon after WPPI, so I'm a little late getting this out. Better late than never, though!
Sew Trendy Fashion & Accessories
As you can see in the photo above, the folks at Sew Trendy had a busy expo with a non-stop flow of people checking out their product line.
I met the Founder and CEO of Sew Trendy, Valerie Best, a year or so ago, and I have to say that the way she's grown the company and her commitment to providing photographers with the highest quality products is really impressive. It's not surprising that Sew Trendy has been so successful and that their products are so in demand because Valerie is one of the hardest working people in our industry.
I managed to elbow my way through the crowd to scope out some of Sew Trendy's newest products, and they certainly didn't disappoint.
Their J'Adore Velvet Collection of maternity gowns really impressed with Sew Trendy's signature beautiful lines, impeccable construction, and, of course, that awesome stretch velvet material!
Belly Beautiful Photography
Sew Trendy has some new newborn photography offerings as well, including the Newborn Mesh Wrap shown in the image above.
This wrap is made of a stretchy knit that's not only soft, but is extremely easy to work with, so you can snuggle the baby up and get beautiful shots.
But the most impressive product I saw at Sew Trendy's WPPI booth was the Charity Rainbow Skirt.
The skirt is crafted of gorgeous, bright rainbow colors that give an expecting mom a light, airy aura in her photos.
These handcrafted skirts not only look great, but 20% of the proceeds of each skirt (and all of Sew Trendy's Rainbow Baby items, for that matter) are donated to Primary Children's Hospital to help families offset the costs of pediatric ailments.
A lot of people recognize the name Sirui, and associate it most often with tripods.
I have a long history with Sirui. They're one of my favorite companies. In fact, I have a W-Series tripod from these guys that I wouldn't trade for the world.
It's waterproof and dustproof, which is awesome since I take a lot of shots at the beach. Additionally, my W-2004 model has a built-in monopod that comes in handy when I want to travel fast and light.
And while Sirui makes some really, really good tripods, they certainly have more to offer than that.
Like their tripods, Sirui monopods are well-built, easy to use, and have handy flip leg locks that make setup and breakdown a breeze.
These things are incredibly sturdy, too, and give you smooth panning rotation and swiveling.
But my favorite Sirui item I saw at WPPI is their new Three Lens Mobile Phone Kit.
The kit has you covered with an 18mm wide-angle lens, a 60mm portrait lens, and a fisheye lens to capture creative, mind-bending shots.
Each lens has multi-layer anti-reflection coating so you get high light transmission and precise colors with 4K image quality.
And with minimal vignetting and distortion, these things will help you snag some awesome photos with your phone!
I've gushed about Holdfast many times in the past...
Every time I run into Matt Swaggart, founder of Holdfast, I feel like I'm running into an old friend. That's because Matt's developed a company that focuses on the relationships with its customers as much as it focuses on creating incredible products.
And even though I own some of their gear, I'm always surprised how taken aback I am when I see their stuff at expos like WPPI. It's simply some of the most beautiful photography gear I've ever seen.
You can see the sheer volume of selection in their MoneyMaker line in the image above. But that's not Holdfast's only claim to fame...
If you've never experienced the joy of seeing and feeling (or using!) one of Holdfast's Roamographer bags, man, are you missing out!
Like the MoneyMaker (and everything else Holdfast makes), the Roamographer bag is gorgeously designed and beautifully made.
Not only is it an eye-catching bag, but it's incredibly durable, made of Great American Bison leather that only looks better and better with time.
Add in a removable camera insert that cradles your gear, carrier straps to carry your tripod, and a shearling-lined shoulder strap for comfortable carrying, and you have the makings of a piece of gear that will quickly become your new best friend!
One of my favorite booths to visit at any expo is Ikan because they have a mountain of gear available and I love checking out the latest, greatest stuff that will help me take better photos.
At WPPI this year, Ikan had a huge display of NiSi filters, which I've been using for about three months now.
Let's just say that I'm really glad that I picked up a NiSi V5 Pro Filter Kit, as it has not disappointed thus far!
Not only are these filters made of cinema-quality glass that gives you clear, sharp results with spot-on colors and minimal aberrations, but the V5 kit also comes with a filter holder, adaptor rings a carrying case, and cleaning supplies.
Add to that a soft-edge grad, a reverse grad, and a 3-stop, 6-stop, and 10-stop ND filters, and you have the makings of a complete filter pack for landscape photography.
I've only had a chance to use my new NiSi filters a couple of times, but I can tell you this - they are among the best filters I've ever used, and they will be part of my kit for a very, very long time.
On top of that, the new faces I met at the Ikan booth at WPPI impressed the heck out of me. This company is in good hands, that's for sure!
If I were to describe the people at Skylum using just one word, that word would be fun.
Don't get me wrong - they aren't just a great group of people to hang out with. They also take their work very seriously.
I'm a huge fan of Lightroom, if for no other reason than it helps me keep my photos nicely organized. For someone that isn't the most organized sometimes, that's a godsend.
But I have to say that when it comes to editing my photos - most of which are landscapes - I turn to Skylum for their superb Aurora HDR 2018 and Luminar 2018 software packages.
There's plenty of reasons why Skylum's software is my go-to these days.
But chief among those reasons is that it's simple and effective.
I can literally cut my editing time in half by using Luminar because it comes preloaded with presets that make editing my photos a breeze.
There's over 40 non-destructive filers, LUTs that offer one-click options for simulating color grades and film stocks, and the ability to make your own custom presets, too.
It's a truly innovative program from a truly innovative company. If you want to boost your productivity in post-processing, give Skylum a Look!
The fine folks pictured above are from Calotype, one of the most innovative photography companies around today.
If you've never heard of Calotype, get ready to be impressed...
I first met these guys at Photo Plus in 2017, and I have to say that I admire their dedication and hard work as much as I admire their product.
Speaking of which...Calotype is a web-based suite of tools for professional photographers that improves your management of day-to-day tasks that helps you streamline how you spend your precious work day.
In particular, Calotype is geared towards photographers that work in high-volume areas like sports photography or school photography. Why? Because Calotype tracks all that client data for you - names, dates, photo packages - you name it!
Calotype even helps you organize images, create encrypted image galleries for your clients to view, customize pricing lists, manage email marketing, and so much more.
In short, it's like having an office manager without having to pay one!
I've known Spider Holster's CEO for the better part of eight years now, and the dude is an absolute machine.
He's always on the forefront of innovation, coming up with new and exciting products that the photography industry needs. He's a bit of a mad scientist in that regard...
It's hard to capture the essence of Spider Holster's gear in a simple photo like the one above.
That's because their stuff is something you really need to see and use to believe just how good it is.
Their Spider Pro dual camera holster is a feat of engineering and design that makes shooting a much simpler, streamlined task.
With your cameras on your hips, you not only have easy access to your camera to take quick shots, but they're also out of your way. No more worrying about stupid shoulder straps getting in the way!
What's really impressive about the Spider Pro is that it moves with you. In other words, you don't feel bogged down by your gear, nor do you feel restricted in how you move around.
Even with a long lens attached to your camera, you have excellent freedom of movement to get the shots you want with the confidence that your Spider Holster has your gear safely secured.
If you're a wedding photographer, I can't think of a better piece of kit to have. It's that good!
I've known the CEO of Iris Works for a few years, now, and I can say that her winning attribute is the laser focus she brings to the photography industry.
You can see that laser focus in Iris Works - it's a software package that is specifically designed to help you get a handle on everything you need to do.
Iris Works has tools that address every part of your business. It's got a calendar, billing and invoicing programs, and automated messaging so you can keep track of your appointments, invoices, and communications with clients.
Not only that, Iris Works gives you the ability to create contracts, galleries for individual clients, and maps with your favorite shoot locations.
You even get a daily snapshot of what's going on in your business, so you can see on a single screen each task you need to complete for the day.
Not bad, right?