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The Photography Show

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This week I had the pleasure of attending The UK Photography Show. The show is held at Birmingham ‘s NEC over four days from the 21st- 24th of March

Tickets are easy to get hold of. I actually got mine for free, which is a great perk! If you’re a professional in the industry you can apply online for a free trade entry ticket. Who doesn’t love free stuff?! Standard tickets are £13.95 available from the official site (http://www.photographyshow.com/) or £18 on the door.

First entering the show, I must warn you it’s quite overwhelming. You’re immediately drawn to the brands you love and their immense stalls. The excitement is almost too much but as you calm yourself and tell yourself you’re a professional at a trade show (not a child in Disney world) you start to realise the scale of the show. It’s massive!

Image taken by Drew Forsyth

First things first pick up a guide, you will need it! Even better, if you’re on a Trade pass, you can pick one up for free. I advise doing a little prep before the event to figure out which seminars/workshops you’re interested in. Then you can head straight to the ticket office and purchase tickets (all under £10) for the sessions you want to attend. Numbers are limited so if you’re going for a certain photographer I recommend pre purchasing tickets online. Its worth saying if you want to get the full experience of the show you might want to spend two days there, as I definitely struggled to fit everything in!

It’s time to explore! There are demonstrations going on all over the place, each one creatively different. Canon’s stall stood out as one of the most interactive stalls. I had the opportunity to play with the new Lytro ILLUM, which was very exciting, as I’ve only ever viewed this groundbreaking kit online!

As well as being surrounded by tech that you dream about, you also have the opportunity to listen to some of the most iconic Photographers of our time, share their views on their experiences of the industry. Guest photographers this year were Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Mary Ellen Mark and Tom Stoddard.

Other well-known photographers hold different kinds of seminars and workshops, each in their own area of expertise. This is fantastic! If there’s something that you’re not quite getting you can get stuck in with a professional who have been there and done it. The workshops are really useful as the speaker will be going through certain lighting techniques or programs in front of you, answering questions throughout. Not only are the speakers valuable but all the other professionals at the workshops/seminars are valuable business connections. The opportunity to network is literally everywhere!

If you’re a trade badge holder, you have access to an even bigger range of sessions, activities and networking opportunities. You also have your own VIP Bowens Café area to network with new friends and business contacts and take a break from the madness.

I have to mention the discounts on kit! Almost everyone I spoke to bagged a bargain. If you’re looking to invest in new kit, I would hold off until you visit the show. You can compare brands all under one roof and get a hands on look at cameras and lenses. I managed to save £45 on a Lowepro rucksack!

Overall I give the show 4 out of 5 stars. It was a lot of fun, exciting and super informative. The only real downside was the way women were presented. It was awful. Every model in every workshop or stall was female. I found this quite sad considering the Photo Show have recognized this problem, even holding a seminar on Women in Photography, yet half the woman at the show were the models. It’s not The Photography Show’s fault exactly, I’m sure each exhibitor chose their own models, but I’d have expected such a big show to set an example and raise awareness of an issue that permeates the industry.

Q & As

Here are some short Q&As with visitors from the show as well as Nikon!

Hannah Millard shoots Weddings, Boudoir and Portraits. Check out her lovely colorful work at http://www.camerahannah.co.uk

Kerry Thomas specializes in Weddings. Take a look at some gorgeous weddings at http://www.2ducksgalleries.co.uk

Drew Forsyth is a Commercial Photographer. Drew’s work is remarkable! Have a look for yourself at www.drewforsyth.com

Helen Richmond specializes in Hunting, Equine and Children Photography. Look at her beautiful work here: http://www.helenrichmondphotography.com

What’s been the best part of the day?

Hannah: Reconnecting with people in the industry and also people online whom I haven’t had the chance to meet properly.

Kerry: The Zeiss stand. It was really nice to try out top end equipment that I’m not currently in the market for.

Drew: Learning about outside courses that are available to industry professionals.

Helen: The Pro Conference.Listening to advice on how to build up a business. For example how important contracts are, social media and terms and conditions.

What useful tips or products have you taken form the show that you can incorporate back into your business?

Helen: I definitely picked up skills for postproduction. I also brought a Canon Pixma Pro 1 Printer for half price.

Kerry: Pen drives and wedding albums. I discovered a new company that makes bespoke albums and beautifully presented pen drives for weddings. I have made a great saving on these.

Drew: I learnt about photography not just being about the gear. There where hundreds of guys here today who have spent thousands of pounds on their gear, but have no idea how to make there subjects smile. “It doesn’t matter how pin sharp your photo’s are, if you have an uncomfortable subject its game over.”

What is your general review of the show?

Hannah: Overwhelming!

Drew: I would have liked more info on the seminars and a better indication on how long you would need at the show. Also the representation of woman was troubling.

Kerry: Very useful. I’m really glad I came.

Did the show meet your expectations?

Helen: Expectations have been met.

Hannah: This is my first visit to the show so I didn’t really have any expectations but I have no negatives.

Kerry: Yes. Definitely!

Drew: No exceeded my expectations.

How would you rate it out of 5?

Drew: 3.5/5

Hannah: 5/5

Helen: 5/5

Kerry: 4/5

Nikon Q & A

What’s the best part of the show for Nikon?

Attracting people to Nikon. Being able to interact with customers old and new.

Why would a big brand like Nikon come to the show? What do you gain?

It’s a great opportunity. Our presence reminds people that we are still strong in the market.

What is the point of this stand? What do you actually do?

Its mainly a great space for people to get hands on with our products.

What would you say to non-professionals if thinking about coming to the show?

The Photo Show is the perfect place to be if you are wanting to progress your skills and be inspired.

I thoroughly recommend a visit to next years show. The show is for anyone who enjoys any aspect of the industry - there really is something for everyone.

Here’s a nice time lapse of the show in action!

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