Trade Shows & Industry Events For Photographers

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) recently held their annual Imaging USA event in San Antonio, Texas.  As described by their website:

Major components of Imaging USA are the Imaging EXPO tradeshow; several all-inclusive parties; and presentations by some of the biggest names in the photographic industry. Imaging USA’s renowned educational classes are geared to improve a photographer’s business skills, photographic repertoire, and use of technologies.

Did you attend?  Or, ask yourself why you should consider attending events such as this  Well, industry events, expos and trade shows like Imaging USA offer a great opportunity to generate and nurture business contacts.  You can also gain current industry insights, check out the latest gear, and stay on top of the latest tech trends and developments.

Opponents of trade shows often site overhead costs of attendance.  They also argue that, with the internet and social networking, you can do most of this stuff at home.  For the most part, they’re right–you can accomplish a lot in front of your computer these days, but never underestimate the value of real life interaction.  Checking out the specs on new equipment versus testing out a camera in person and talking to the manufacturer’s representative is a much different experience. And you can finally meet all those people you’ve been following or friended in person.

Before you head out to an industry event, make the most of your trip by planning ahead so that you can maximize your time and money.  Here are three tips:

1. Establish a plan of action: Create goals and strategies to help expand your business

2. Prioritize: Schedule a list of panels, seminars, and classes that you will attend based off the needs of your business.

3. Arrive with an arsenal of business cards

Bargain shop – seek out the retailers and manufacturers who are offering tradeshow-only discounts and specials. On the last day of the show is when the deepest discounts can be found – most exhibitors don’t want to schlep product home.

After the show is over, RSVP for events with your favorite vendors – this is a great time to unwind and chat with friends.

When you get home, go over the business cards and collateral you’ve collected and follow up with the companies or people you were interested in learning more about or possibly forming partnerships with.

So, keep an eye out for upcoming events.  SXSW is on the horizon, and while not catered specifically to photographers, their film festival, interactive conference, and music festival offer a plethora of opportunities and resources for photographers, and anyone interested in new media.  It was also recently announced that PMA is now CliQ, and whereas it had previously targeted photo retailers, it is now targeting the photographers.  Check out their official CliQ website over here.