Five Tips To Make The Most Out Of PhotoPlus Expo

Five Tips To Make The Most Out Of PhotoPlus Expo

It's that time of year! No, not Halloween...It's Photography Trade Show & Convention Season! There are many expo's though out the year, but the two biggest would have to be Emerald Expo's Wedding & Portrait Photography International (WPPI) in Feb/March, and PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) in October. The latter starting today! So for those of you returning for another round at the convention center, and especially the first-time attendees, I've put together a short list of tips to make the most of your time and help you survive the convention-gauntlet!

  1. Prep Your Portfolio! No matter what level you are, or THINK you are, have your work ready to show! You'll never know who you'll run into who will want to have a look at your work. It could be a future colleague, or it could be the head of a huge camera company looking for a new ambassador! It doesn't matter if your work is on an iphone or a 30" printed book, just be ready to show it at a moments notice. 
  2. Do Your Homework - If you're already a working pro and you're looking for sponsorships & deals, research the Expo sites to find out who's going, present, and who has a booth! Find out who the reps are, where the networking events are, and even more fun, who's having giveaways and prizes!
  3. Stay Organized! - You will meet between 10,000 - 70,000 people in your life time. Think about that and try to figure out how you can keep all those people straight? Let alone remain fresh in some ones memory after just meeting you!! The bottom line is you need to keep in touch with the people you meet and with that huge number you'll need help keeping track! One tool I've come across to help the Photographer and Entrepreneur do just that is Evernote's companion app HELLO! A smartphone based OCR app that will quickly import the contact information into your address book, ad a custom note about how you met, connect with them on LinkedIn or Facebook, and the best part! You can customize and send a personal bio and introductory email with a single click of a button after saving their details! Not only is it a huge time saver, but it takes a lot of pressure out of figuring out that first "hello it was nice to meet you" message!
  4. Dress appropriate and get some rest! At the very least, stock up on vitamins and pain killers! You're going to be on your feet pretty much the entirety of the convention, so on that note, bring comfy shoes. There will be no end to after parties and sponsored events after the expo "closes" at 6pm each day, so be sure to manage your networking time with enough time to catch a power nap and take some vitamin c & b! If you're doing it right, by the time you get home you'll have the post-trade-show hangover (aka exhaustion cold!).
  5. Last and most important tip...have fun and learn something! Some of the industries top educators & photographers will be within an arms reach of you this week ready and willing to answer any question you might have...let alone all the hands on workshops, presentations, and photo walks! If you're ready for it, PPE, (and other shows like it), can be a life changing experience. So be sure to take in some classes and maybe you'll pick up a few things that'll bring your game to the next level.


If you're at the trade show and feel like saying hi to the Fstoppers crew, check out Douglas Sonders' article to find out where you can find some of the events we'll be at this week!

David J. Crewe's picture

David Crewe is a Las Vegas based photographer, writer and speaker working on creating a better art community through education and collaboration.

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Missing it. :/ Have fun!

Love that backdrop behind Lindsay Adler. Any idea who it's by??

The naked body-painted girls at the Unique booth stole all the attention. ;-)

Bummed not to see any of the Chinese vendors there. There's been great deals over the years on monolights, filters, triggers, tripods, booms, and tracks among others from those folks. Kinda suspicious not seeing them there.

Unique girls did cause quite a crowd. I did a quick run through and to me these shows are my worst nightmare. I can't believe that there isn't a kodak or fuji film booth anymore and Profoto didn't have a booth. Saw Lyndsay Adler telling people how to position a light and Dixie Dixon talking about swimsuit models, saw the Phlearn dude there. It completely weirds me out all of these people that are "sponsored" and in my eyes don't have the credentials to back up what they preach. I do remember seeing Sarah Silver giving a presentation a few years ago and she actually shoots good work but there are so many sponsored hacks in that place. I went to specifically look at 3 items and all three were not at the show...

I don't agree these folks don't have the credentials, as Lynsay and Dixie successful professionals. Don't really know much about the Plearn dude, so I can't comment. It's not surprising not to see either Kodak or Fujifilm, although it is unfortunate. I was hoping to pick up some IGBT monolights and filters cheap, but unfortunately there were no Chinese sellers there, which I find a bit suspicious.

Aaron Nace is the real deal when it comes to compositing and creative photography. Don't be the sideline critic without a single image in your portfolio :)

I'm not the one who was criticizing anyone. I merely replied to the one who did.

My comment was towards TD above not you....I already know we will never see your portfolio :)

Well, it was addressed to me, so I thought that you thought that I made those comments.

I was thinking the other day of just biting the bullet and putting my stuff online. I thought about putting some stuff here, it'd be nice to have the ability to have different albums to delineate genres, even if you still could only put up 10 images. If so I may put up some studio stuff, as well as some street work I've done.

Galleries are coming soon. If your images get rated a 3 or higher then you instantly gain another slot in your portfolio. What was the reason holding you back from uploading your port to begin with?

As per a previous conversation we had, I've had reservations about putting anything online, because of people just help themselves to it and claim it as their own, as has happened to some FS writers and has been a topic covered here more than once. I haven't even put up my own site because of this (I used interactive PDF portfolios). However I'm just going to accept the fact that this is the Wild, Wild Web, and shìt is gonna happen. :-)

Hey Patrick, where is the fstoppers booth at PDN? I thought you'd be pimping out the flash disc!

Nah, those booths are too expensive for our small operation. Plus all of our inventory is with Amazon. We might try something at WPPI if we can get more units in stock and work something out. The FD isn't super profitable so spending $10k on a booth at a tradeshow isn't a top priority right now

Oh Patrick, I didn't expect you guys to shell out that kind of cash for a booth! But once rented, why not monetize on the booth space? Put up a banner for fstoppers, and resell the rest of that booth space (you know, kind of like online banners :-) In addition to your flashdisc, also sell the DVDs you guys have produced (maybe even have a TV up, playing one of those Hurley specials). Oh yeah, and offer a free something for those that sign-up, and bada-bing! All you've gotta do is stand back, and watch the stacks of cash grow before your eyes.

You might even make enough $$$ to give Lee a good shave.

BTW, I'm just pulling your leg :-) I know these expos are a big hit-or-miss for many merchants.

Yeah we are considering doing something eventually but at the moment the FlashDisc is the only physical product we have and the tutorials are all digital. Plus I don't like the idea of having to stand a booth all day...I like walking around and meeting people without the commitment ha. Maybe one day we will get it all figured out.

I'll give you that Dixie actually has a photography career but from the looks of it Lynsay has a few published submission stories and is a marketing machine when it comes to the seminar/ workshop circuit. It really seems that there is a whole group of people with in the Fstoppers/retouching Academy and Breed that haven't really proven themselves as commercial photographers but are marketing themselves as more than they are. To anyone really looking to learn you might be better off looking at the behind the scenes videos of photographers you really admire and look at what they are doing. I choose not to put up a photo or use my full name as that lets me speak my mind.

I'm not sure I totally agree with your position. Just because someone isn't super successful in the commercial world doesn't mean they aren't super talented or worth studying/learning from. Aaron Nace primarily focuses on his education site Phlearn but I can tell you his retouching and compositing work is better than many of the "professionals" that retouch for the top photographers. I know Pratik Naik constantly shares photoshop mishaps and errors from major corporations and brands yet by your argument they are more "professional" because their work has been on billboards, catalogs, and magazine covers.

If you just glance at the top rated images on the FS Community you can see tons of world class work that is absolutely amazing...yet many of them are not full time photographers. I think you simply have to judge the artist's work based on the quality itself and not the amount of money they make in the commercial world. There are def some professional photographers out there whose work kind of sucks just as there are some amazing educators who really should be working for major brands.

In some sense, who better than to sponsor and promote an amazing photographer than the actual photography companies themselves? Obviously a photography brand wants to sponsor someone they can 1) afford and 2) has a big following but I think it's fair to say most all of them also have a killer portfolio.

Patrick, I have to say that response alone is enough to make me shut up. I agree that there are some educators that have the skills I also have a knee jerk reaction to some of the educators out there as they are just terrible.

No worries. I agree that there are hacks and success stories on both sides...this industry is really small so you get to see everything good or bad. We had Dixie at our workshop last year and I can honestly say she is a very smart photographer. Her marketing and attention to details is top notch and she is so down to earth which is really refreshing in this field.

This year's PDN seemed focused more on consumers than working professionals. Then again, PDN/NYC has always had more of a consumer focus. Far fewer labs had booths this year, and the ones that did were much smaller than in previous years. Same goes for pro gear manufacturers. There were literally school outings with teens at the expo yesterday, just grabbing everyone's flyers and literature and being all... teenagery, ehm.

WPPI strikes a better balance between the two.

I dunno. Freefly has a really big booth and that's certainly not consumer. The pro level stuff is here if you look for it.

it was my first expo. And it was pretty amazing. I saw people i've only watched on the internet, got lots of great deals on prints, some fun swag, and some new connections. I didn't go as full out as I could have, but I'm looking forward to stepping up my game by next year.

Any good deals on poster printing? I've been wanting to print some new art for the home office but wanted to wait for 25-50% off.

I'd also love to hear about the print deals you landed! And i'm happy to hear you'll be attending again next year! Have you ever checked out WPPI in Las Vegas?