“The Photography Show returns to the NEC for its fifth year, between 17-20 March 2018. Full to the brim with everything a passionate photography enthusiast or a well-seasoned professional photographer could possibly dream of; including the latest technology from all the leading brands, demos of the latest kit, conference sessions and a complete range of talks and seminars guaranteed to meet your needs, whatever your level. Join like-minded photographers at the must-attend event in the image making community’s calendar”.
This will be my second time at the photography show, after visiting in 2017 and was blown away because of how big the event was and how many people attended. The weather forecast this time round was set to be heavy snow showers, which in the UK is something of an oddity, I have already experienced one snow storm a couple of weeks beforehand, but thought being hit by another storm would be unlikely or if it happens it would be a light showering of snow.
Sunday’s weather was worse than expected, Torbay (my hometown) stood to a standstill, making it a challenge to get to the coach station in Plymouth, in order to catch my pre-ordered coach to Birmingham early hours on a Monday. Once arriving in Plymouth, the snow was not as heavy, which helped to feel more positive about traveling up to Birmingham NEC early Monday by National Express. The journey was almost 5 hours and very sketchy in the heavy snow conditions.
Images of the travel up to the show
Once at the Photography Show, I was not disappointed, with so many stalls ranging from drones to light stand cameras and more tech and accessories! I walked around the show is very excited about the equipment and how busy it was, being able to share the passion and interest for photography with so many others. There were great talks by Adobe Lightroom experts and Studio Photography Professional hosting many live stage events where you can watch and learn how to perfect studio skills.
I used the opportunity of being at the show to talk to editors of magazines and publishers, my idea was to network and show my work to the people with the goal of being published in a magazine or working alongside publishers to get my work into the mainstream. I had missed Dougie Wallace by a day, which was disappointing as he is one of my hero’s within photography but I did manage to pick up 2 of his signed books: stag, hens & bunnies and Road Wallah.
I stayed in a Premier Inn up the road from the NEC in Birmingham, which was clean and quiet – ideal for what I wanted. The food in the hotel was expensive but I felt I had no choice because of the location is far from town. However, there was a shopping center a few minutes’ walks from the NEC which I would suggest visiting for a wider variety.
Space was used well with so many stalls and shops I had to walk around several times just to work out where everything is within the NEC. The staff working on the stalls were super friendly and knowledgeable about the stock they are selling. I was eyeing up some tripods but there are so many styles and prices I was just overwhelmed by this so nice time I go to the show I will be doing a little bit of research into the best time of tripod for my commercial use. There was also little-hidden gems hidden around the show there were a few exhibitions showcasing the winners of the Photographic society 160 and Amateur photographer of the year competition there was plenty to get the photography imagination going.
The second day
The second day was about visiting the live talks and getting useful tips from the professionals. I watched some of the Lumix ambassadors talk through current projects and other useful settings relating to the Panasonic range. The Live stage was very interesting to learn how to create stunning portraits with very little equipment, this has planted a seed for future portraits of commercial portraits with just one light stand and a small backdrop.
I talked to the Royal Photographic Society and handed out my business card and a postcard with my latest images, where I the hope I spark someone’s interest. The stalls around the show had some good discounts, which I felt were more prominent on the last day, perhaps because some companies wanted to push the sales of their merchandise, this was a great opportunity because I was able to get some good discounts.
I would recommend people to visit, make the most and enjoy the Photography Show, I would say that two days is enough, taking into account the possible travel and visiting the stalls and stages whilst there.
I was also able to capture some street photography (always carrying my camera on me and keeping an eye out for opportunities) at the event, the people around the show had some interesting features walking around, where I realized that we as photographers are very quirky ourselves, and so I captured this!