Are you going to Imaging USA? Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your time there. (Don't forget to take in a bit of New Orleans as well!)
Photo © Alex Demyan and NewOrleansOnline.com
My working title for this article was "Imaging USA Survival Guide" but that would imply that the longest-running national photographic convention was an endurance test. A better title would be "Imaging USA Thrive-al Guide." Too bad the word "thrive-al" doesn't exist in the English language. In any case, here are some tips to get the most out of your experience so you can thrive at Imaging USA, which begins Sunday, January 15 in New Orleans.
Imaging USA is three days of workshops taught by a virtual army of veteran professional photographers and teachers, as well as a trade show where you can have face time with service providers and manufacturers of products geared towards portrait, lifestyle, wedding, and event photographers. Old-timers may remember it as the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) convention. Re-branding is good.
So, this is mostly for anyone going to Imaging USA. What should your goals be?
Keeping up with technology: Budget sufficient time to walk the trade show floor. Allow time to handle that new camera, lens, backdrop, or flash you've had your eye on, and talk to the manufacturer's rep to gather information so you can make knowledgeable buying decisions that will enhance your vision and help your business run more smoothly. You will likely come across money-saving show specials! Do your homework: Peruse this list of exhibitors and mark up a map with your must-see booths http://iusa2012.crowdcompass.com/organizations.
Learning new techniques, trends and marketing ideas from working pros: Take the workshops! Each day is packed with over 12 hours of lectures, demonstrations and hands-on workshops with top pro shooters. Soak in the knowledge being shared by internationally-known portrait and wedding photographers like Joyce Tenneson, Ken Sklute, Lindsay Adler, Oscar Lozoya, and Doug Gordon. Prepare for both practical and inspirational experiences! Here's a guide to workshops http://iusa2012.crowdcompass.com/activities.
Networking with your peers: The evening mixers uch as Saturday Night's PPA Charities Celebration, Sunday's Big. Bayou. Bash, Monday's ASP Grand Imaging Awards Banquet and Tuesday's Peach Jam are social events with a purpose: to give you opportunities to build a supportive network of like-minded photographers. Previous experience shows that when independent businesses build strong peer networks, the sharing of information and support increases chances of success. Reach out, join conversations, let your social media networks know you're at the show, and trade contact info. Follow up after the show!
What to bring
- Your phone (but expect that with so many people in one place that you may have problems connecting). If you have a smart phone, go here to download the ImagingUSA app http://iusa2012.crowdcompass.com/apps
- Business cards: Bring more than you think you need, and exchange them with everyone you meet. Network!
- A camera. Yes, you are bringing coals to Newcastle, but so what? You don't necessarily need to bring your pro DSLR rig, but something that's a level above a smart phone)
- Good, comfortable shoes. You'll be on your feet a lot. Be prepared.
- A water bottle. You may not have time to get a drink while running from the show floor to workshops, but you'll need to keep hydrated. Also bring a healthy snack (raisins are good) you don't fade.
- Bring your own instant coffee. Starbucks Via is awesome.
Things to see in New Orleans: A Gallery
Following Joyce Tenneson's Lifetime Achievement Award & Degree Ceremony at Imaging USA on January 17, 2012, Trees of Life, an exhibition of Tenneson's latest work, will be showcased at A Gallery, New Orleans' premier gallery for photography.
"It's the only museum in the world that is for sale," says founder and owner Joshua Mann Pailet. "I'm one of the few galleries in the world, where you can walk in and constantly not only see a current exhibition, but the whole history of photography as well."
A Gallery contains 300-400 photographs from early 19th Century pioneers like Henry Fox Talbot to 20th century photographer Diane Arbus to 21st century contemporaries, like Joyce Tenneson.
If you're attending Imaging USA, heed Pailet's advice to "surround yourself with photographs that move you, please you, tease you, challenge you," at A Gallery for Fine Photography, located at 241 Chartres Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.