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Even though Imaging USA is still a few months away, it's always nice to know you've got some quick tips in your pocket to be better prepared! It's one thing for us to tell you what we think you need to know, but it's much more credible to hear it from your fellow photographers! 

We asked the Imaging USA community on theLoop what their tips were for first-timers and here are the top responses! 

  • "Attend the "first timer" reception and meet others that are there for the first time as well. You just might meet some photographer friends for life." - Audrey Wancket, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • "Bring business cards. These will come in handy and don't be afraid to hand them out to people you meet. Networking with peers is SO important!" - Amber Rushing
  • "The PPA Charities Event is casual and there are lots of great items to bid on. This is an amazing event to have face-to-face meeting with people you may only know from theLoop, Facebook or Twitter, in a smaller setting. It's also the perfect time to turn a virtual contact into a real-life friend. (Some of my dearest friends in this industry are people I've met through PPA!)" - David Grupa, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • "Find a couple of people who have been [to Imaging USA] before and buddy up with them. You can swap notes if you have to attend conflicting classes and compare notes with the ones you shared. You can visit the tradeshow floor with each other. It's great to have another pair of eyes or two when shopping the floor." - Steve Folino, CPP
  • "Take a pre-convention class and book it now. You'll learn a lot more in a small class environment than in open access lectures." - Haroon Ahmad, CPP
  • "If you're not making enough for a living, sign up for the pre-convention programs.  It will open your eyes!  Also if you have time and have a few things you need help with, go to one of the hash it out sessions. It's a forum where you can ask questions and get solid answers." - Timothy Cameron, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • "Sign up for portfolio review with a judge. You will really learn, especially if you end up with a great reviewer." - Haroon Ahmad, CPP
  • "Schedule some time to walk the print exhibit and watch the digital exhibit as well for inspiration." - Audrey Wancket, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
  • "Make good use of about 2 hours each afternoon to spend at the tradeshow. You will learn a lot about who is who and about products that may enhance your studio's revenue. Some trade show vendors offer free 1 hour lectures at the booth, and some of them can be as good as taking a class. Check them out as soon as the schedule is posted." - Haroon Ahmad, CPP(Editor's note: Many of the vendor's do not announce their seminars prior to the Expo)
  • "Save. Save. Save. So many of the vendors offer incredible deals during the show so if you have your eye on a new camera, lens and studio lighting...then save your money and wait." - Amber Rushing
  • "Another great thing about the Trade Show is that I get the opportunity to walk the floor and see all the different products, and see them live. I really love having the opportunity to touch and feel the products I am considering, either to buy or add to my current product line." - Andrea Taylor, CPP
  • "Don't forget to go through all your stuff when you get home. There will be coupons and so much useful information that you will forget you even had. It's like a recap." - Amber Rushing
General Info
  • "Download the Imaging USA app as soon as it is available! It was a tremendous help last year. It is great for selecting and organizing the classes you want to attend, and sorting out the vendors you want to see. It's a great time saver" - Dennis Chamberlain, Cr.Photog., CPP (Editor's note: We'll keep you posted for when it is available!)
  • "It can be a little intimidating at first. If you need help, look for an orange shirt. Folks wearing these orange shirts are there to help us. And if you can't find one, ask anyone wearing PPA medallions. Really, we've all been there and we'll be happy to help!" - David Grupa, M.Photog.Cr., CPP
Clothing & Accessories
  • "Wear comfortable shoes! Even though the floor is padded usually, I find myself on my feet for HOURS on end because I'm enamored with the show, then standing listening to the extra seminars at the booths and just walking. I think good, supportive shoes are #1!" - Amber Rushing
  • "Pack lightly. My first year I carried a purse, camera bag with 2 bodies, coat, two notebooks, all the fixings and on top of all that, all the awesome free stuff you get at the show... that's A LOT!  They will have notebooks and pens for you. They will also give you bags to carry around all your free stuff." - Amber Rushing
  • "Take public transportation if possible!" - Amber Rushing (It is possible! Check out the LightRail options!)
  • "Last but not the least, stay an extra day or two and visit nearby surrounding attractions that you may want to photograph (Sedona, Red Rock, Grand Canyon...)" - Haroon Ahmad, CPP

If you're a seasoned vet--what other tips come to mind? What other questions do our rookies have for the vets? Head on over to the Imaging USA community on theLoop to ask and/or answer!

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