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News & Insight

Photo Plus Expo 2014 Impressions | More Than Just Gear

By Chris Nachtwey on October 30th 2014

PhotoPlus Expo (PPE), the annual gathering of photographers in the great city of New York happens around the end of October every year and surprisingly, this is my first year attending it. For years, I followed the show from the comfort of my home, sitting in front of my computer, checking out various photography blogs, drooling over all the latest and greatest gear being shown off after I got out of work. When I was asked to attend the show with some of my fellow writers from SLR Lounge, I have to say I was pretty excited. Any excuse to go to NYC is a good one in my opinion, and to go check out all the latest and greatest photography gear made the deal even sweeter!

[REWIND: HIGHLIGHTS FROM WPPI 2014]

First Impressions

I will admit my first day here at PPE has been a little overwhelming. The show floor itself is pretty big and it’s packed, I mean packed, with photographers and people from all over the world. You can’t go more than a few feet without drooling over the latest offerings from the endless array of photography product vendors. As I walked around the expo, it was about what I expected, but then I noticed something, something I didn’t expect, great photographers instructing, and teaching for free all over the place!

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When you visit PPE’s website, you will see there is a seminar portion of the event with amazing photographers speaking from around the world, and I just naturally assumed that if you wanted to learn a few things while at PPE, you would have to attend a seminar.  I’m happy to report that with a little bit of work,you can check out the new camera of your dreams and learn from the likes of Joe McNally and Lindsay Adler all on the trade show floor.

The one common theme I noticed today as I was trying to watch as many speakers as I could was everyone was teaching about lighting. Now, yes, lighting is an essential skill in photography, but there is something said for actually watching a pro light their subject in person. If you’re looking for a few good spots to watch live lighting demos, the best booths I  found today were the Westcott booth and the Rogue Flashbender booth. Conveniently, they are located right next to each other. Below is a photo of a live lighting demo at the Westcott booth.

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We are here through the whole event, but if you’re just coming for one day or already planning and looking forward to next year, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your trip.

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Show Up Early

The expo opens at 10am and goes till 5pm on Thursday, Friday, and 4pm on Saturday. When you think about the sheer size of the event and all there is to see, that’s not a whole lot of time for one day. Do yourself a favor and show up before 10am. The Javits Center, where PPE is located, is beautiful and has plenty of food and drink options to pick from as you plan your day and wait for the expo to open at 10am. Once in the Expo, I found time flying by and honestly, only walked out to write this article! There is that much to see and you’re going to want the whole three days to see it.

Make A Plan

All the major photography companies in the world attend PPE, meaning you have the chance to check out every camera body, lens, etc. available. I suggest writing down what you would like to check out and make a beeline for those vendor booths first, then work your way down as the day goes by. This way you get to see what you really wanted to without running out of time!

Bring Business Cards

I can not think of many other events that have so many photographers, and industry brass present. Make sure to bring business cards to hand out to anyone you meet. Everyone I have run into and talked to have been extremely nice and have asked for my business card. Don’t be under-prepared, you never just know when you might run into at PPE.

Conclusion

As day one of PPE  comes to an end, I can’t want for tomorrow! If you’re coming tomorrow, if you do one thing it’s this, have a good time. There is so much gear to check out, so many people to meet and if you’re like me, you can even listen to some of the best photographers in the industry dish out some seriously great free education!

If you’re coming to PPE this year, make sure to look up the SLR Lounge team. We would love to meet you! If you’re unable to attend you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Big shout out to B and H for sponsoring SLR Lounge’s coverage of PPE this year.

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Chris Nachtwey is a full-time wedding and portrait photographer based in Connecticut. He is the founder and creator of 35to220 a website dedicated to showcasing the best film photography in the world. Chris loves to hear from readers, feel free to drop him a line via the contact page on his website! You can see his work here: Chris Nachtwey Photography

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Matthew Riley

    Thanks for the update. I sooooo wanted to attended but this week has been insanely busy, worked on 5 weddings this week and still need to keep my other business afloat along the way. Guess I will have to wait till next year.

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  2. Ray Shaw

    I had a great time meeting new people, chatting with friends, learning the latest trends in photography and adding a few shots to my portfolio. I look forward to this event every year.

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