About ten days before we headed off to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, I received an email from someone at LensBaby asking if I was going to be at PhotoPlus Expo 2014. If so, they’d have a little something for me at their booth. I was just about to click delete when my brain registered “New York City” and the dates “Oct 29 – Nov 1” and I realized that we’d be there most of those days!
I left the email open in the background while I went off to learn about PhotoPlus Expo. My initial impression? That it’s the biggest photography show in North America, aimed mainly at professional photographers. But quite a few exhibitor names are branded on gear I carry around every day. Layer on the option for a no-fee floor access pass and I figured I might as well ask Mr. GeoK if he had any interest in attending. A short time later I flipped back to the original email, replied “yes” and then promptly forgot about it until I started receiving daily emails from PhotoPlus Expo encouraging me to plan my visit, register for seminars, etc.
We got a bit of a late start our second day in New York and the weather forecast included the possibility of rain. So after tucking umbrellas into our small daypacks we headed in the general direction of the Javits Center. Once there, we’d have a few options, weather dependent: a walk along the High Line, a harbour cruise and/or PhotoPlus Expo.
We almost abandoned the idea of going to PhotoPlus Expo when we turned onto E 34th from 12th Avenue and almost immediately bumped into the back of a very long line of people waiting to get into the Javits Center. Good thing we asked – the line-up was for people waiting to pick-up their bibs for the NYC Marathon. We walked past them all, around the corner to 11th Avenue and in through the main doors where we quickly spotted the badge pick-up desk and entrance to the trade show.
We spent a few interesting hours wandering the crowded floor, visiting many of our current suppliers (including Peak Design, Adorama, Olympus, Think Tank, OnOne, Lens Pen, Sony, etc.) and some new-to-us vendors (including LensBaby). Highlights included:
- Camera and lens cleaning (for up to two lenses) at the Olympus booth. We didn’t know this no-charge service would be available or I would I brought along my dusty 14-150. We enjoyed chatting with Eric from Olympus while he cleaned and polished two bodies and 5 lenses for us and Mr. GeoK tried the new PRO 40-150 lens.
- Purchasing a couple of Peak Design’s Capture Tool wrenches (SKU: CT-1) and a LensPen DSLR Pro Kit (made with their new invisible carbon) at a great price.
- Great swag from Focus Camera (pocket grey/white/black cards and a wallet for memory cards).
The biggest surprise to me was how many exhibitors had free seminars going on right in their booths – wildlife photography, landscape photography, portrait photography and sessions on their latest and greatest product offerings. Next time around I would plan to spend more time listening to some of these amazing presenters.
Have you ever been to big trade show like this? Please share your tips and tricks for getting the most out of what seemed to us to be a bit of an overwhelming experience!