It's that time of year again when masses of photographers and videographers from all over the East coast make their way to NYC and the Jacob Javits Center for PDN's PhotoPlus Expo 2018.
This year's Expo stands to be one of the biggest yet with over 90+ seminars and more than 200 exhibitors on the show floor. Every year I look forward to PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo, as it serves one purpose, to bring people together who share a common interest. In this case photography and videography. Like a lot of east coast photographers, it’s a must-attend event, one I have been attending for over a decade. This year Fstoppers readers can get a Free Expo Pass by using the promo code "Fstoppers" or get 15% off on Conference Passes.
It seems like every year this conference gets bigger and better, drawing in massive crowds, and somehow I still meet photographers who just don’t see any value in it. I have met so many amazing people through attending that I can't imagine being a photographer without PPE. It has always had something new to offer me every step I've taken in my career. Whether it was an inspiring lecture, a new networking opportunity, or getting to meet a peer I admired. Every year I've attended I have benefited in multiple ways.
The Expo Show Floor
PPE is often the first chance a lot of photographers will have to see all the new gear that is being announced this time of year. With all the new mirrorless cameras and great new lenses that have filled the headlines lately, every major brand will be trying to vie for your attention. This has lead to even more of the big players really going all out bringing in sponsored photographers to show off their techniques or do lectures on various topics. Even creating elaborately staged photo opportunities with models. Many of the Brand Ambassadors from companies like Canon, Nikon, Adobe, Sony, Fuji, and more will be on hand doing live demos and educational seminars on the many large stages. Even PPE usually has a stage setup offering free lectures on the expo floor for pass holders.
For the second year, it will coincide with the NYVR Expo which will have its own expo floor and seminars located within the Javits Center. I spent some time exploring the show floor for NYVR last year and it was really impressive, not just in how much was on display but also by the number of large companies in attendance.
PPE attendees also get show floor access to NYVR, so I plan to spend more time checking it out this year. VR and AR have been rising steadily over the last few years and it's always important to keep an eye on where the Imaging industry is going.
Often overshadowed by some of the other events, Portfolio Reviews hosted by Palm Springs Photo Festival always draw a massive attendance. Available in two formats: a one-day open event where photographers can get input and guidance; and a three day vetted pro review where you can meet with editors and buyers who can offer jobs and help advance your career. For photographers just starting out or seasoned pros who are looking to get their work in front of a specific influencer, these reviews can often be a shortcut.
Professional Camera Services
I visit Canon’s CPS several times a year to get my gear cleaned and for that reason alone it has always been worth being a member. I believe even Sony and Fuji have set up cleaning stations in past years. But there are lots of other perks to stopping by either Canon or Nikon's support lounges. They often have a pace for you to chat with tech and reps on the newest gear. Allowing you to avoid the crowds on the show floor. They often provide snacks and beverages which is a welcomed perk. As a long time Canon CPS member I enjoy the free Canon prints and print contest that is offered. The first stop I make is usually to drop off my gear and get my free prints.
Over the years I have seen many amazing keynotes at PPE and they always tend to be standing room only. In fact, you often have to line up early to ensure you get in. This year I’m looking forward to what could turn out to be a heated debate on whether Social Media is Ruining Photography. One of Fstoppers' talented writers Dusty Wooddell will be on the panel and I can’t wait to hear which side of the debate he will fall on.
The Keynotes are an extension of the Seminar and workshop packages but you can also attend them with an Expo upgrade to the VIP Expo Pass for $99.
Seminars and Workshops
By far one of the biggest and best reasons to attend PPE is for the educational classes offered. They run each day starting on Thursday through Saturday and come in a variety of formats. There are lectures and seminars that run 90 minutes including panel discussions, hands-on master classes, and workshops in a range of topics from post-production to lighting and posing. There are Photo-Walks that take you out onto the streets of NYC for guided instructional shoots. This year there will be short form sessions called PDN Talks that are under an hour exploring popular and important topics within the industry. There are just so many amazing and talented speakers covering a variety of topics that there is something for just about everyone.
Save 15% on Seminars, Workshops, and Talks
I have been lucky to teach several workshops over the years at PPE and will be doing a new Photo-Walk this year called "Outdoor Photography: Urban Adventure in the Streets of NYC." If you are thinking about taking some of the amazing workshops, you can get a 15% discount on Conference Passes. There is a huge list of great sessions along with Keynote speakers this year I'm looking forward to attending myself.
I've written several articles on how networking is the real reason to attend PPE and how I prepare for attending PPE which you can check out for a lot more details on networking. However, we all know how important networking is but a lot of people just don't know the how and where. No matter what level photographer you are networking will improve, increase, and build your business/brand and there is no better place than these events to network with your peers, vendors, and all the other various industry people. Photo Plus Expo give you all the tools and opportunities to boost your career and most attendees just ignore it.
Spend one day only talking to attendees not the booth reps. Ask about after parties and sponsored parties these can be some of the most fun ways to make new friends and long lasting connections. Sign up for portfolio reviews but also show your portfolio to anyone who will look.
Networking is important because it is the most cost-efficient marketing tool your business has. Without a doubt. There is no argument. In today's market with today's technology, we are constantly bombarded with amazing images, always pushing the boundaries. It has never been more clear or evident that talent may not be enough. It’s for this reason building long-lasting beneficial relationships within any industry will only have a positive impact on one's career.
Are you going to be at PhotoPlus Expo this year? Anyone who registers can get a free expo pass using code "Fstoppers." I always enjoy meeting up with members and readers of the Fstoppers community so feel free to reach out to me on social media. I'm always happy to meet during events or maybe I'll see you at one of the after parties.