“We’re Here Because We’re Serious About Our Business”... IMAGING USA 2018 Day One Recap

What's a REAL professional photographer? 

How do you close the gap between you and your customer?

These are just two of the big, life-changing questions that we're asking ourselves as three days of the best photography learning, shopping and parties kicked off today at Imaging USA in Nashville, Tennessee!

The world's oldest and best photography convention is happening as we speak. If you weren't able to get out in the snow and make it to Music City, have no fear. You'll find plenty of info here and on Imaging USA's social media to make you (almost) feel like you're here with us (and we really, really wish you were here with us)! 


Today was the first "official" day of Imaging USA, coming on the heels of the Pre-Convention classes. Pre-Con days are always great because, while there are lots of people soaking up hands-on and day-long classes, it's still somewhat...quiet. It's the perfect time to walk around and get to know your home for the next few days. 


Because once Sunday morning rolls around...it's on! Now the islands, ballrooms, and Expo floor are filled to the brim with people, eager to learn, network and shop. There's so much excitement in the air here and you can watch just a sliver of it in the recap video above. 

The opening keynote at Imaging USA is always where you want to start your experience. It's specifically tailored to fit each year and the challenges and new surprises they bring. This year, PPA President Rob Behm introduced the thousands assembled at the Gaylord Opryland to Ryan Estis. Ryan is one of the world's most sought-after motivational speakers, a former ad executive who broke away in 2009 (during the economic downturn) and became a small business entrepreneur...something we can relate to! Ryan's whole message is that our customers are changing. Rapidly. The Era of the Customer is upon us, a five-year (at least) timeline in which customer expectations are set to change more than they have in the previous 50. 


Ryan has researched how to "adapt and thrive" in today's Era of the Customer and he's put it in his e-book, Adapt & Thrive. (Today's attendees got it for free!) Ryan wants you, in 2018, to initiate continuous reinvention, brand the customer experience and take action now. Dig a little deeper into Ryan's philosophy and you'll laugh, think and cry (all things you should be doing every single day to live a full life!). 


Everything at PPA in 2018 is going to be focused on helping YOU close the "gap" between you and your customers. David Trust, PPA's CEO, led a class on Photography Is a Business: Are You Ready for the Journey? David picked up the threads Ryan began and deepened them with a specific focus on the photography marketplace. Our industry is hungry for help on how to run their small businesses (in 2000 maybe around a dozen photographers attended this business course...today there were hundreds) and PPA is ready to step up to the charge. What is really happening in your market? With consumers shifting so rapidly, is the sky falling?? NO! Consumers still spend. A lot. If you can "stay out of the Koi pond" and think about today's market, you'll begin to understand your business and become more profitable. This was a class everyone should see...and you'll have a chance as the entire thing was recorded for a future video release so be on the lookout for that! 

The Opening Party begins in just a few minutes and is going to be amazing as always. Great food, dancing, music and...well...you know what happens when you get this many photographers partying together, right? I won't be reporting on it because what happens at Imaging USA stays at Imaging USA 😉 

See you tomorrow for Day Two of the greatest photography show on earth! 

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