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Daniel_Colvin
12-15-2007, 10:24 PM
So i'm finally buckling down and going to my first big photographers' conference/seminar. Since I've never really been to one like this I need some tips. For instance:


What do you bring? I plan on bringing clothes and stuff, yada yada (except for one or two sets of 'fancier' stuff for the nice dinners), but I'm also bringing a small amount of camera equipment and my laptop. Any tips for this or anything in general? I've heard the best deals at the EXPO are at the end of the last day. I plan on buying a lens, a filter, perhaps a meter, and a few other trinkets. I'm going to wait and see what the prices are there, but I don't want to buy on the first day if the last day is cheaper. Also, do most vendors accept debit/credit, or should I bring a checkbook?

Any other tips or suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks

Howard_Kier
12-16-2007, 01:58 AM
Before you leave for Image, make a list of items you want to purchase. There is a lot of temptation to purchase things you don't need or can't really use. Also you want to know how much the items on your want list normally cost at via your normal channel. That way you know if you are really getting a deal. Some places may be giving a deal off their normal prices but are still higher than other places. I usually don't purchase anything until the last day either. But I do shop around to see what interests me. Personally, I can't recall any vendor not accepting a CC for payment.

Make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes, a notebook/pad of paper to take note and a pen/pencil. Also bring lots of business cards to exchange with vendors and other photographers you may meet.

Daniel_Colvin
12-16-2007, 09:54 PM
Thanks for the info, Howard! It was very helpful, especially the tip on bringing business cards...I never even thought of that.

George_Hawkins
12-16-2007, 11:04 PM
YES, business cards, for the door prizes some vendors may have - easier than taking time to write one's name and address.

Andrea_Chapelo
12-16-2007, 11:49 PM
Good thread...any more advice guys? I am a first timer too.:)

Naomi_Angel
12-17-2007, 12:09 AM
I recommend doing a once around the room for the trade show the first day, with the map, marking places that you want to go back to see and/or buy from.

Bring lots of business cards and a BIG notebook to write in at the classes.

I never bring my camera equipment (no time for it really, and I learn better by listening than fiddling with settings) but to each his own.....

Laptop of course...

AND, I suggest bringing a rolling bag of some kind to the tradeshow, like a carry-on size suitcase on wheels. This allows you to gather all the info and miscellaneous freebies the vendors give out WITHOUT having a sore back and dead arms at the end of the day. You will end up with a lot of stuff, so its best to know that and just prepare.....

Also, what I did last time was bring a box of those energy meal bars with a bottle of water for lunchtimes because it is SO PACKED at every place for lunch that if you don't race your way back to the next class you may not get in or may have to stand at the back. I found it MUCH nicer for me to skip "lunch" and go to the next class early.

Michael_Gan
12-17-2007, 12:39 AM
Spend an extra day and see America! We do this every year so that we can take in the sights of towns we would normally not even think of visiting. We do our "shoots" then, in a more relaxing way.

One thing to do: When going to the trade shows, most of the vendors will extend the show specials for at tleast a week after the show. I would recommend that you actually don't buy at the the show, too many chances of getting caught up in the "special deals" and you can bargain yourself into bankruptcy. I find that unless you specifically have items to purchase, and you've done all the homework as to how much of a deal you can get at IUSA, It's much better to go back home and ground yourself so that you don't get too caught up in the emotion of a buying frenzy.

Go to as many social events as you can. The PPA charities on Saturday Night is a marvelous opportunity to meat many of your "celebrety" photogs who grace the pages of PP Mag and Rangefinder. Definitely the two parties and if you have a close relationship with your lab, they often will treat you for dinner on the non-party night (Monday Night). Or get to gether with some of the OurPPA gang, they're already cooking up some get togethers as we speak.

Make sure you go through the print exhibit. If you want to get a real good idea as to what the best of the best is in the world of photography, this is it. One thing I do is look at the general exhibit first, then go through the loan images. You will see why the judges picked the loan images (in most cases, as there are some I think they miss from time to time ;))

Go to Tripadvisor.com and search out all the different restaurants in the Tampa area to visit. They are very reliable.

Go to the awards ceremony on Tuesday night. It will be absolutely inspiring to see everyone get their degrees and I think Frank Chricchio is getting a long over due Lifetime award! Then the Kodak Party follows!

Most of all, have fun! I look forward to this every year and it is worth every penny to get away from my studio and chill after the holiday season....come to think of it, we really did chil in San Antonio last January :D

Stephanie_Millner
12-17-2007, 12:39 AM
Wow, Naomi! You should write for Fodors or the Michelin Travel Guides! :)

I've seen brides at wedding shows use labels with their name and info for drawings, etc. Should I do this or will I look like a giant dork?

Andrea_Chapelo
12-17-2007, 01:32 AM
Great tips Noami and Michael. Thanks! BTW Naomi I like your new Avatar:)

andiegoodman
12-17-2007, 01:53 AM
Wow, Naomi! You should write for Fodors or the Michelin Travel Guides! :)

I've seen brides at wedding shows use labels with their name and info for drawings, etc. Should I do this or will I look like a giant dork?

Actually, Stephanie, it is a great idea and was getting ready to suggest that. When you make up your labels, put your name, studio name, address, phone and email address. So much easier than writing all that info all the time and much cheaper than business cards.

Take those (the cards) for other photographers and give the vendors a label.

:)

Nate_Weatherly
12-17-2007, 02:40 AM
I'm debating whether or not to bring my laptop. If I do my wife won't have a computer at home... Is it really necessary? I don't mind taking notes with pen and paper. Is there really anything big that we need a computer for?

Also, does anyone bring a mini portfolio or anything for sharing/critiquing? I've only been in business a year and would love feedback, but don't want to be annoying/ridiculous.

Thanks!

Daniel_Colvin
12-17-2007, 07:54 AM
thanks so much for the tips everyone!


i'm going to try to get some more business cards printed before the conference...do you think it would be better to hand out formal business cards or just simple/less professional 'info cards' with name, studio name, address, phone number, etc. as someone mentioned earlier?

Dirk_Witt
12-17-2007, 01:03 PM
I'm debating whether or not to bring my laptop. If I do my wife won't have a computer at home... Is it really necessary? I don't mind taking notes with pen and paper. Is there really anything big that we need a computer for?

Also, does anyone bring a mini portfolio or anything for sharing/critiquing? I've only been in business a year and would love feedback, but don't want to be annoying/ridiculous.

Thanks!

Hey Nate - I'll have my laptop with me, so if you need to use it to check on stuff, etc., you'll be more than welcome. Hey, it the least I can do for my "roomie".:) I've got over 15 years in this business, so if there is anything that you would want feedback on - photography or business related - I'll be more than happy too.

Dirk

John_Knowles
12-17-2007, 01:26 PM
The only reason I bring a laptop is to transcribe my notes into "readable" form. I take notes on paper so fast and frantically that if I let them sit for more than a few days, I won't be able to read what I wrote!

Marc_Benjamin
12-17-2007, 01:39 PM
Hi David,

I've gone to both PPA and WPPI for 5 years straight and here's my take on getting the most out of the experience.

1. It's always best to a room at the main (Marriot) hotel or at least at the embassy. It's just easier if you ever need to take a mid day nap (does you wonders) and you really feel of everything that's going on after hours. Also, it's easier to have your room close so you can change fast and dump all your stuff.

2. If you're local, have a car or can carry stuff on a plane, then you could actually get an out of this world deal for the floor samples. Trick is you have to talk the price down ala flee market style. Most dealers don't really want to pack up as much stuff to take back. If you can, have cash on hand, it's easier for the dealers to just take cash rather than having to run the card. The best people to hit up for the floor samples are the frame guys, the tripod folks, the light modifier guys and whichever super star photographer that's selling instructional DVD's. Trust me it works.

3. After that super duper totally awesome speaker, try not to buy anything from them right then and there. Take a day or so, despite all the buy now supposedly "soft sell" pressure. Hate to say, but sometimes the program turns into a big sell for either actions, instructional DVD's or heck even the slides of the program. Nothing against this since I know the speakers don't really get paid, but just a reminder to keep cool with the buying.

4. Your gonna get a ton of brochures and hand outs. I've actually started to not take em anymore while walking through the floor. However, considering it's your first time, heck why not take on all the paper you can though you might want to leave the duplicates and the ones you don't really need at the hotel for recycling.

5. I would bring a camera but don't sling it around your neck and look like a total noob. How about one of those ultra sexy pocket ones with like 10 megs or something.

6. I generally don't bring a laptop since well it's another thing to carry but you should if you can't stay away from email and the net for more than a couple of days.

Other than that just have fun!

Heather_L._Smith
12-17-2007, 03:35 PM
Just two quick things I've learned...

1) at the trade show - have a bag for the 'keeper' materials and a bag for the 'throw away' materials. It makes it easier when you get back to your room/home to go through them - if you separate them into the "good" and "bad" bags when you receive them, you can just toss the 'bad' bag and not think more of it. It's hard to remember what places you really liked at the end of it all - they start to run together after a while!

2) The labels are a good idea, but most of these shows now have a bar code on the back of your badge, so the vendors just scan that code and they have all your info - much easier than putting a business card in a fishbowl or carrying labels with you. However, DO absolutely have business cards ready to had out!

Cheri_MacCallum
12-17-2007, 03:43 PM
Make sure you go over all the programs and when and where they are. It can be a little confusing they way it's organized (by tracks). Make note of the programs you want to see and write up your own schedule. When the time comes, you can be very distracted by everything going on and you may miss what you came there for.

Daniel_Colvin
12-17-2007, 04:58 PM
great tips everyone!



I was actually thinking of using my laptop to take notes on during the programs...is that totally unrealistic? Also, I'll probably be bringing a relatively small laptop/camera backpack to hold a few things in (I can't NOT take pictures :) ). I'm not bringing loads of stuff, but I'm probably going to be purchasing a lens there (I've been needing this one for a while and decided I might as well try it out and buy it at the trade show), and I'm bringing my camera to test it and a few other things. Is all of this overkill? I would certainly rather not look like a total noob lugging tons of camera equipment around when nobody else is, as Marc mentioned.

Cheri_MacCallum
12-17-2007, 05:20 PM
Daniel, if you want to take pics of stuff at the convention just take a good point and shoot! It's a lot easier than lugging around all the camera stuff. Now photographing around Tampa is another story. Bring the camera stuff, just not to the programs and tradeshow.

Daniel_Colvin
12-17-2007, 06:18 PM
Daniel, if you want to take pics of stuff at the convention just take a good point and shoot! It's a lot easier than lugging around all the camera stuff. Now photographing around Tampa is another story. Bring the camera stuff, just not to the programs and tradeshow.


ahhh got it. Unfortunately I don't have a p&s :( I'm sure I'll figure something out though.



I'll probably have to decide whether or not I feel comfortable leaving my stuff in my hotel room...but honestly, I might just carry everything in my pack and just not bring it out, just because that will be my laptop case for the week. Haven't decided yet.

Thanks Cheri!

Nate_Weatherly
12-17-2007, 09:00 PM
Great advice everyone. And thanks for the email access "Roomie." :)

I'm planning on bringing a ginormous notebook, a half-dozen pens (I always loose them) my ipod with slideshows of my work (in case anyone cares) a bunch of business cards, a backpack to carry all my stuff and probably some clothes. Do you bring dressyish clothes for anything? Or will I get by with polos and shorts/jeans?

Also, looking through the schedule there is a "Art of Success Part I" and an "Art of Success Part II" but the write-up is exactly the same for both. Do you think this is a just a repeat or will there be different content? It's the big group discussion with Jeff and julia woods, Taufers, Waldens, Petty, Nordstrom, and Puc.

Lois_Byrne
12-18-2007, 06:51 AM
I would recommend getting a notebook that has the stiff back to make it easier to take notes during the training as you have to write with it on your lap.

I love the "Cambridge Writing Pads" by Mead. They sell them at CVS. They're the 8 1/2 x 11" size with the spiral part on the top. They are 70 sheets thick and of course you could just turn it over and write from the back to front if you fill it up. Take care, Lois

Michael_Gan
12-19-2007, 09:19 PM
One other thing that is fun to watch: When Sam Puc', Dave Junion and Vicki and Jed Taufer come into a room, they look like rock stars:)

Linda_Gregory
12-19-2007, 09:25 PM
Not met the Taufers but Sam and Dave ARE rock stars!

Just make sure there's kleenex around for Sam and no sand burrs on the floor for Dave!

Daniel_Colvin
12-23-2007, 05:26 AM
one last question, probably a silly one...i'm about to place an order for more business cards and was wondering, would it be wise for me to print a plain business card with a photo of me and all my info to hand to other photographers and various people I might come in contact with? Or will one of my more standard business cards do fine?

Nancy_Catherine_Walker
12-28-2007, 02:33 AM
All of the vendors are listed on the imaging website. If you check the ones your interested in they are saved in your "briefcase", then you can print out the listing of vendors with their space numbers before you leave.

I'm on a short time schedule for the actual tradeshow due to EPIC training so I'm hoping that this way I'll be able to find the ones I really want info from without having to spend hours sorting out who's where.

Mark_Levesque
12-28-2007, 05:47 PM
I am being peppered with questions from my wife about what to bring to wear. Is it safe to assume business casual attire for the bulk of the time? Are there any occasions during which a dress or suit would be expected?

Daniel_Colvin
12-28-2007, 06:23 PM
I am being peppered with questions from my wife about what to bring to wear. Is it safe to assume business casual attire for the bulk of the time? Are there any occasions during which a dress or suit would be expected?

From what I've seen, casual or business casual would be perfectly fine for the classes and trade show and such. There are some banquet type get-togethers where fancier dress would be a good idea (like the closing night party at the Tampa aquarium).

Michael_Gan
12-28-2007, 06:33 PM
Closing night is pretty casual, unless you are coming over from the Awards Ceremony where the new recipients are sporting their new necklesses. I generally dress pretty casual throughout the convention, but business casual is a good thing.

Keith_A_Howe
12-28-2007, 11:29 PM
These are men answering, so I asked Holly because I figured your wife would want a woman's viewpoint. She said to tell her that you will see everything from cutoffs and tanktops to business suits and ties. Business casual would be very appropiate but she won't feel out of place in jeans and a nice shirt if she feels like that. We usually wear what we would wear to work on a daily basis, because how we are dressed effects how we feel. If we dress too casual, we don't feel in a professional mood. If you are going to the awards ceremony, you could wear something a little dressier if you want but many people in the audience will be casually dressed so anything goes. If you are planning much time in the trade show or print show bring comfortable shoes. Holly also said she either makes sure she has a shoulder strap purse or clothes with pockets to put a few essentials in ( like room key and a little cash for sodas etc) so she doesn't have to carry a purse in her hands.

Keith

Lori_Clapp
12-31-2007, 04:32 AM
Here's another question - is it okay if we video any of the programs? For our own use? I was thinking about doing it so I don't have to worry about so many notes, but if it's rude or not allowed, I don't want to mess with even bringing the video camera (although we may have fun with it at the get togethers!). A lot of people video our conference speakers in Wyoming, but you know, Wyoming is probably not the best example to go by!
And how about taking laptops to classes? Probably not?

Karen_Linsley
12-31-2007, 04:42 AM
Hi Lori;

I've not been to a PPA convention before, but been to many WPPI conventions and cameras (video or still) are not allowed at the seminars there, but at the workshops they are. They video every seminar and then sell the videos. I like to bring a journal to write in for notes, but have been known to also bring a laptop. The only problem with bringing a laptop is carting it around. My experience is that there is a LOT of walking, so traveling light is definately the preferred way to go. I like bringing my journal, because I tend to do a bit of retreating while at these things, and do some writing about thoughts, feelings and goals. It helps to review this later.

Keely_Deuschle
12-31-2007, 04:45 AM
Hi Lori,

I couldn't remember where I saw it but then I looked in the volunteer "policies & procedures" and found it.

"Videotaping and audiotaping of a program is prohibited unless approved by the Convention Committee and speaker."

So, I guess the short answer is no.

Keely

Rick_Massarini
12-31-2007, 06:09 AM
Not met the Taufers but Sam and Dave ARE rock stars!



Yes, "Sam and Dave" had a string of hits back in the '60's - "I'm a Soul Man", among others was at the top of the rock charts for months and is now available on the MoTown Sound CD album collection you can buy only exclusively from the cable TV ads that run every night starting around 3 AM... Uhhhhhhhh - that is the same "Sam and Dave" group that you're referring to, isn't it... or am I just really old ??? (yeah, that was lame, but it was just too easy, and I couldn't resist...)

Jack_Reznicki
12-31-2007, 02:33 PM
So, I guess the short answer is no.


Yeah, that's the answer.

George_Hawkins
12-31-2007, 02:55 PM
Yeah, that's the answer.

One can also expect the NO answer at regionals and local PPA affiliates as well as affiliate schools.
George

Jack_Reznicki
12-31-2007, 04:18 PM
One can also expect the NO answer at regionals and local PPA affiliates as well as affiliate schools.
George

As a speaker, I can tell you there is a bunch of issues. Copyright issues (not knowing what is being done with your images) and the disruption issue. Disrupting not only the speaker (one guy took one or two frames with a loud camera for every new image I put up until I told him it wasn't allowed), and also disrupting the people around them.

I've seen people get upset that they can't photograph my program frame by frame, but if it's their work and someone copies it, well, that's another issue completely. Sort of like producing a wall portrait. You're happy to have it displayed and enjoyed, but you don't necessarily want it copied willy nilly.

I'm more than happy to share and teach, with both students and other teachers, but it's my intellectual property and I like to control it. Hope that clarifies it from the other side of the podium.

But note taking is encouraged. It's better to have your thoughts written down so you don't forget something 20 minutes after the lecture.
I usually drag my computer to lectures to take notes, usually in Word.
What I learned not to do is try and duplicate what a speaker does in Photoshop or Lightroom while they do it. I usually miss something while I'm playing and get lost. Notes are easier.
But pen and paper is also good. I usually keep a small moleskin notebook when I don't want to drag a computer around all day.

Michael_Gan
12-31-2007, 04:36 PM
One of the most hysterical things to watch is when some gloob photographs the screen at a program with the flash on :D

George_Hawkins
12-31-2007, 06:52 PM
One of the most hysterical things to watch is when some gloob photographs the screen at a program with the flash on :D

YES SIR, just like attending a pro sports event, baseball or any event after dark with house lighting on, the flash only lights the back of head of people just forward. I've seen attendees use flash at screens! One begins to wonder.

Lori_Clapp
01-01-2008, 12:35 AM
Thanks for the info. I didn't really want to mess with a video, I just know that I miss things sometimes and it's nice to go back and get it. But that's great that they might offer DVDs for sale from the programs. Thanks!

Mark_Levesque
01-02-2008, 06:16 PM
Ok, so I was a slacker and didn't get my buddy pass registered in time to have it mailed. Will the registration desk be open Saturday evening? Or will I have to wait until Sunday morning? (I do hope it will be open in time for me to get to my 7am session).

Chris_Wanamaker
01-04-2008, 02:08 PM
We are first timers to the event. Do any of the dinner events require dress up clothing?

Michael_Gan
01-04-2008, 02:25 PM
Chris, neither of the parties require you to be a fashion star. Most go to the party dressed in what they wore at the programs/tradeshow...or at least they look that way;)

Tuesday night's party is an interesting mix of formal and casual.

Marc_Benjamin
01-04-2008, 04:59 PM
Chris, neither of the parties require you to be a fashion star.

There's a few rumors runing around about a toga party at one of the ourppa folks suites at the embassy!

Andrea_Chapelo
01-04-2008, 05:17 PM
There's a few rumors runing around about a toga party at one of the ourppa folks suites at the embassy!

Well geez...what kind of shoes am I supposed to wear with a toga?:p

Ron_Jackson
01-04-2008, 05:22 PM
Well geez...what kind of shoes am I supposed to wear with a toga?:p


Those strappy sandals of course!

Dea_Bell
01-04-2008, 09:56 PM
Speaking of shoes...I live in 5 inch heels. Do you do a lot of walking? I picture a lot of sitting and notetaking. LOL

Michael_Gan
01-04-2008, 09:59 PM
Trade show will take a lot of walking, but you can pace yourself over the 3 days. Hope to see you there, this trip will do you a world of good! I'm excited you can come!

ViktorNagornyy
01-05-2008, 04:03 AM
I thought I'll throw in some quick advice for all first timers. If you ever have any questions or issues, look for ORANGE shirts. PPA and SPS volunteers (like myself) will be there to help you with any issues.

viktor