Photography Trade Shows: Getting the Most out of your Trip

It’s that time of year: Show Season.
Recently, I traveled to St. Louis to attend my 5th photography trade show of 2016. That’s right – five different shows. Some have been large like WPPI and Imaging USA and some a little more intimate like ShutterFest in St. Louis. All of these shows have a couple of things in common: first, H&H Color Lab has exhibited at all five; second all the shows are comprised of a trade show area and education.

If you are a professional photographer, I am sure you will attend at least one or more photography conventions this year, but will it make a difference in your business or photography?

Plan to Learn

When I first started in the photography business I always looked forward to photography shows. It gave me a chance to learn new things and see the latest and greatest products. Over the years it has been easy to get a little blasé about these shows — a “been there – done it” attitude. So recently I made a conscious effort to improve my business with show takeaways. Every year I make a list of things I need to improve on, new techniques I want to learn or products that I want to introduce in my business. I then attend lectures and platform classes and hit the tradeshow with list in hand. I take notes and collect information. When it’s all over I return home overwhelmed and stick my notes and product information in a corner and get back to my daily routine. Sound familiar?

Well, in order to change or improve, it is necessary for us to execute. This seems to be the one area we all seem to neglect. We attend the shows in an excited state and then return determined to implement– and what usually happens – nothing!


A famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein says

“The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The secret, then, is to implement something you saw or learned at the show. This is what I do to make it manageable:

I create a very simple list of the top five things I want to achieve.
I write them down (on paper) and only focus on those five things – giving myself enough time over the year to implement.


Here are two I’ve accomplished this year so far.

At Imaging USA in Atlanta – I saw new album cover materials at the H&H Color Lab booth. I thought about designing a new style of “fine art” wedding album with a very modern look and feel. I used the black premium leather with trio cameo and “art matte” paper to create something very unique. I already have a sample in my studio to show clients and they love it!

The second thing I have implemented is playing with new photography styles. I just wanted to push my Photoshop skills and see if I could replicate the dark detailed look that is so popular with WPPI’s print competition. Here is my result from a recent wedding:

I still have a couple more takeaways from this year’s WPPI to implement. Just remember – attend the shows and have fun, learn, party a little – but when you get home you have to execute, execute, execute if you truly want to make a difference and improve.


William Innes is a wedding photographer based in Los Angeles California.

H&H Color Lab

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