Emerald taps Anderson, Varanakis to oversee Photo Group Portfolio

George Varanakis and Aaron Anderson head up Emerald’s Photo Group

Emerald, an operator of large business-to-business trade shows, including the Wedding and Portrait Photography International (WPPI) Conference, has tasked two industry veterans with helping WPPI organizers create vibrant, educational, and interactive experiences for exhibitors and attendees. Beginning in 2023, Aaron Anderson will assume the role of Group Show Director of the Emerald Photo Group, which now includes WPPI, Portrait Masters and The Portrait System Powered by Sue Bryce, while George Varanakis will take over as Strategic Advisor of the group. Varanakis and Andersen have been consultants to Emerald since Sue Bryce Education and The Portrait Masters were acquired by Emerald in 2019.

Andersen and Varanakis have been creating, coordinating, and successfully expanding live, in-person trade shows and conferences, as well as live-streamed, online events for more than 30 years. Andersen, a video producer by trade, joined CreativeLive in 2012 where he, along with Varanakis and a third partner, grew the online learning center into one of the largest and most successful live-streaming educational platforms on the Internet. Varanakis was the early coordinator of WPPI, growing its attendance and exhibitor participation by more than 400 percent in his eight-year reign.

In 2016, Andersen and Varanakis joined Sue Bryce to co-found Sue Bryce Education and The Portrait Masters, two online education platforms for photographers. Today, with more than 10,000 members worldwide, they continue to cultivate international brand growth, leading to the first Portrait Masters Conference in 2017, which sold out in 24 hours, the company said. The conference continues to be one of the most successful and popular interactive boutique events in the photographic industry today.

“Aaron and George have decades of experience in live event planning and expert knowledge of the inner workings of the photo industry,” said Gannon Brousseau, EVP, Emerald. “We have every confidence that their expertise and knowledge of the industry will bring a fresh perspective and increased energy as they work with the WPPI and Portrait Masters teams to enhance the events to accurately reflect the passion, innovation, and creativity of the community that we serve.”

“Aaron and I are very excited to be working closely again with many of our former colleagues at WPPI to make next year’s events the very best they can be and build the type of community and interactive learning experience exhibitors and attendees enjoyed prior to the pandemic,” explains Varanakis. “My photographic heritage began with WPPI in 2003, and the knowledge base Aaron and I have amassed through other ventures place us in a unique position to create in-person events that are based on evolutionary learnings we’ve gleaned over the past 20 years.”

Joining the Emerald team in advisory roles, their extensive knowledge of the photographic industry and general landscape of the trade show and conference industry is expected to help Emerald as they continue to raise the bar of excellence in photographic education.

About Emerald
Emerald’s talented and experienced team grows our customers’ businesses 365 days a year through connections, content, and commerce. We expand connections that drive new business opportunities, product discovery, and relationships with over 140 annual events, matchmaking, and lead-gen services. We create content to ensure that our customers are on the cutting edge of their industries and are continually developing their skills. And we power commerce through efficient year-round buying and selling. We do all this by seamlessly integrating in-person and digital platforms and channels. Emerald is immersed in the industries we serve and committed to supporting the communities in which we operate. As true partners, we create experiences that inspire, amaze, and deliver breakthrough results. For more information, please visit http://www.emeraldx.com/