If you brought ten different people together after any convention and asked them about the event, you'd get ten different opinions, covering both extremes from "Terrific" to a "Waste of time!" Everybody has something different they want to get out of a convention, ranging from networking to education to new technology.
But there is one key ingredient that's universal - great products and information to share with the attendees that are business and skill-builders. Here are a few of the players at this year's WPPI show who really brought a lot to the party - Bay Photo, SPTV, Profoto, Tamron, Panasonic and Marathon Press.
This year for me, WPPI kicked off with my hosting SPTV, along with Kevin Kubota and Lori Nordstrom later, during the convention. I got in some terrific time with one great guest after another. Our location was in Bay Photo's booth, loaded with new products and a display second to none. Two of my guests Tuesday were Mallory and Glen from Bay Photo. They had a dozen or so unique products, each helping photographers establish a leadership position in what they're offering their clients. I had a great little infomercial with Amanda from Photodex, leading up to Suzette Allen, who joined me to talk about hybrid technology and LUMIX. The next day "PhotoJoseph" another Luminary, joined me to talk about 4K video and so many of his favorite LUMIX features.
Then came the action going on at Profoto with the launch of the new B-2 system, which I talked about in an earlier post. Again, SPTV played a role for me personally as JP Elario, Justin and Mary Marantz, Anders Hedebark (Profoto CEO) and Sara Strid (Marketing Director for Profoto US) all joined me on the show.
The activity in their booth was incredible as one industry icon after another presented images and great tips on raising the bar on lighting.
The cool thing about each program was the ability of the speakers to tie in a short tip with each image they presented. Listen to this thirty second clip from Brian Marcus and you'll see what I mean.
The lineup was pretty much the best of the best each day of the convention. There are eighteen of the world's best photographers aligned with the new B2 system. Check out the launch video I shared the other day along with one of the first "how to" features from J.P. Elario.
On Tuesday Sheila and I were able to catch up to Jillian Bell in the Tamron booth with an added moment of brilliance, the Tamron Cafe. Seriously, it doesn't get much better than a cappuccino in the middle of a hectic day while you catch up to your favorite industry icon. We had just missed good buddy Tony Corbell, but had a minute with Jonathan Thorpe, whose Cupid image I published a few weeks ago.
You really don't realize how much great glass Tamron has been making until you see some it on display. This is only a fraction of their full product line.
Panasonic was busy all the time with the obvious star of the show being LUMIX. In fact, all of my images from the show were shot with the GH3. Frederick Van Johnson, hosting his series from the Panasonic booth, gave me a chance to spend some time with him talking about social media, websites and some of my favorite things about the industry.
The only time the booth wasn't busy was early in the morning before the show opened. That's when I had the time to grab these shots. I caught up to my first day SPTV guest, Suzette Allen, demonstrating in the mini-studio below the quality of still images from 4K video on the GH4. LUMIX really is "changing photography"!
Marathon was at the show with one key product, Bella Art Prints. While they offer a full line of products and services to help you build a stronger business, Bella was perfect for this audience. The quality, along with the price point, are remarkable. My favorite application though, is the idea of using Bella to create a poster concept as a marketing tool and a product for clients.
So, what makes a great trade show? Exhibitors with something to share, creativity, new products and excitement. These are obviously a few of my favorite companies, but certainly not the only companies at WPPI who were showing new products and had a great staff to help you build a stronger business.
As the clock ticks aways the days in 2015, remember to utilize your network and the companies whose products and services you use. These people are on the front line every day and so often have the answers you're looking for when the challenges seem overwhelming!