This week I spent two days at the Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham. You can find out more about the event here:
Without getting in to dramatic prose, the highlights of the event for me were the scale of the event with over 200 exhibitors, and being able to sit in on a wide variety of talks, on topics ranging from the technical, to practical shooting tips, to business and marketing.
Here's a quick list of some of the talks I went to:
- Expanding from photography to video
- Posing 101 with Lara Jade
- Fundamental imaging techniques of post production
- Getting started as a professional photographer
- Pitching, presenting & marketing in photography
- Panel discussion: four perspectives on making stills and motion work
- Video editing with Photoshop CC and the photography plan
- The art of the quick portrait
- Sports Photography in the modern era
All these talks were interesting and informative. I definitely learnt something by attending these sessions.
Walking the exhibition floor was quite an experience too. The exhibitors ranged from the big brands we all know (Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Hasselblad, Adobe, etc), to new product launches from companies we've never heard of. There were quite a few printing and album making stands. Something that intrigued me was a company that was producing custom USB sticks, even wooded ones with a custom logo in a smart presentation box. There was a good balance of stands with photography accessories, from lighting and lighting modifiers to specialist tall masts, to tripods and bags.
Video seemed to be a dominant theme. My take away from the panel discussion on stills and motion that I attended was that while the Canon 5D Mark II (and Vincent Laforet) has empowered stills photographers to try motion, and the 5D has opened the door for film makers to use inexpensive equipment, at the end of the day being a specialist stills or specialist motion producer is still necessary. Yes, there must be crossover and experimentation in both fields but they are actually fundamentally different approaches. You couldn't successfully do both on the same commissioned job. (As you know, one of my philosophies is to work to your strengths.) So maybe - and hopefully - this current trend of every photographer needs to shoot video is a passing phase that will burn out in a couple of years.
The number of people with cameras strapped around their necks was weird, fascinating and sometimes amusing to me. If this was an angling show, people wouldn't be walking about with fishing rods. (Or maybe they would!) There are very few fish to catch at the show. If you really need a picture of a product to remember it later, use your phone. Your Nikon D810 is a bit of overkill.
Overall this was a good experience. The show was well organised and chock full of useful information and things to see and touch. It is definitely worth attending.
Next March plan to attend the show. Even for one day, walk the exhibition floor to see the scale and scope of the photography industry, and more importantly, sit in on two or three of the free sessions to pick up tidbits and ideas for improving your photography.