If you read this site, you’re probably a gear nerd at heart (I mean that lovingly and relatably), and you would almost certainly be in your element at a major photo expo. Photo Plus Expo, an annual New York tradition and the largest photo expo in the united states just wrapped for the year, but if you missed this one, not to worry – WPPI (Wedding And Portrait Photographers International), held annually in Las Vegas, is right around the corner in late February of 2019. Or, just take a year to save up and plan an awesome NYC vacation around a trip to Photo Plus Expo in 2019!

For the two expos/conferences mentioned above, an expo-only pass ranges from free to $75, depending on which one you’re attending and when you purchase. If you want to shell out some more, though, you can get passes that offer admittance to more valuable educational content. Make no mistake, however, an expo-only pass will still give you plenty to do.

From world-class speakers to giveaways and networking, there are many reasons to come out for a big expo, even if you don’t live nearby. With the tips shared in this article in mind, you’ll be able to make the most of your chosen photo expo. (Bonus: enjoy an assortment of photos from this year’s Photo Plus Expo.)

Take Your Time

For a large expo, if you can squeeze in more than one day to visit you will be able to make more of the time you spend there. The first day can be overwhelming with so much to take in, but by the second day you’ll have at least glanced at most of what’s around and should have an idea of what you’d like to zero in on and possibly take home.

Check The Schedule And The Map

With so much going on, the event schedule can be your best friend if you are someone who needs a semblance of structure to their day. Some primary booths, like Canon, Fuji, Sony, and Nikon will have a schedule of speakers and demos all day that are accessible to anyone who’s got a pass for the expo floor. You could wander around and find exciting moments via luck, but if there’s any particular speaker or any topic you really want to see, it will benefit you to confer with the schedule and map out your experience, at least a little.

Take Advantage Of Expo promos

Lots of brands will have special expo discounts if you visit their booth. If you’ve been eyeing something but waiting for the right time to buy, a visit to an expo may spur you to take the plunge.

Find The Goodies

As you make your way around the expo, you’ll find brand reps with scanners who will want to scan the QR code on your expo badge. They don’t do this because they love the “beep” their scanners emit, but because they’re gathering info for market research. You may not want to feel like a specimen, but some vendors will offer something for your info that may make it worth your while. From a gift like a SanDisk memory card to a tee shirt to raffle entries to win top-of-the-line cameras, there are goodies to be found all over.

[Rewind:] Photo Plus Expo 2017 | Why You Should Attend (It’s Not Just For The Classes)

Then there are also little things you can walk away with without exchanging your data, like pens, buttons, stickers, and other branded items. They aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but brand loyalists and expo souvenir collectors will enjoy the treasure hunt. Or maybe you just need a pen to stick in your camera bag that matches your camera’s brand.

Go Hands-On With The Newest Gear

Brands are at the expo to show off their coolest wares (and hopefully sell some while they’re at it) and that means if the brand-new piece of equipment you’ve been eyeing has been released to the public, you can probably play with it at the expo. Even if it’s still just in the prototype stage, you might be able to have a look at what’s going on so far. 

B.Y.O. Memory Card

If you bring your own memory card to the veritable smorgasbord of gear supplied for expo attendees to experiment with, you can pop it into whatever you’re testing and add depth to the experience. By saving and importing the images you shoot, you can test dynamic range, high ISO, sharpness, color, and other visual components. And if you’ve got a signature post-processing style, you can see how well a potential new camera’s files will work with your look.

For most cameras, an ordinary SD card will work, but if you’ve got a specific camera you want to try, double check the storage format. For example, Nikon’s new mirrorless cameras use XQD cards, so if you’ve got your heart set on testing them and want to see what you shot and play with the files, that’s the type of card you’d need on hand. 

Equipped with these tips, you’ll be able to arrive prepared at your first photo expo and fully utilize all the time you’re there. As you’ve hopefully gleaned from the behind-the-scenes photos in this article, photo expos can be a ton of fun. If you’re planning an expo excursion and have questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

Photo Plus Expo 2018 Photo Gallery