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This was my first time attending PPA’s Imaging USA Expo, and I have to say, I was very impressed. Every PPA event I’ve ever been to has been first rate, and Imaging USA was no exception. Since this was my first time, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was definitely surprised at some of the things I found, and here’s a quick run down of my impressions of the show:

  • There were far more booths selling Photoshop plug-ins and pre-made actions that I had expected, and they were getting a lot of interest from attendees.
  • Both Nikon and Canon had some of the biggest booths—they were always packed, and there was plenty of buzz around them at all times. Both had some of their top pros doing presentations on the show floor, and they were as informative as they were inspirational. Just getting to see these presentations alone was worth the expo admission price. Actually, it was worth triple, and worth the trip just for those. Also, Epson had a huge booth and it was drawing attendees like a magnet.
  • It seemed like the most prevalent exhibitors were wedding album vendors (They were everywhere, some with very elaborate booths), and companies that sell products you can put your client’s photos on (like putting their photos on coffee mugs, or t-shirts, or coasters, or greeting cards, or….well, about any substance you can think of). There were also a surprising number of companies selling studio backgrounds (you couldn’t go down a row of booths, and not see two or three of them).
  • I was very surprised to see that Adobe had a very small booth (the smallest booth I’ve ever seen Adobe have anywhere). It was just two stalls wide (a 10′x20′) and there were companies selling muslin backgrounds with larger booths. I didn’t even realize Adobe was there until 30 minutes before the show closed, and then only because I walked past their booth on my way to the restroom.
  • There were a lot of booths from print labs. I dunno why I was surprised, but I was.
  • I was more surprised to see that memory card makers Lexar and SanDisc didn’t have booths at the show. However, Hoodman was there selling their new American-made super-fast UDMA memory cards, so they pretty much had the crowd to themselves.
  • All the lighting vendors were there, and you could spot large softboxes from wherever you stood. I went by the Elinchrom (Bogen Imaging) booth and it cost me some money, because I wound up buying a couple of RX strobes, some softboxes, and a bunch of other goodies. I also stopped by the Westcott booth and picked up some accessories I needed there, too.
  • There were lots of demos and presentations all over the floor, and honestly, I would have loved to spend a full day just watching some of the inspirational presentations, the live shoots, and the demos of products I’ve heard of but haven’t seen live. Had I not gone and watched my Bucs get trounced by the Giants on Sunday, I would have had an extra day to see more booths.
  • I thought it was kind of cool the way some vendors had off-site events, like free off-site shoots that you could sign up for to see their products in use. I would have loved to have the time to catch one or two of these.
  • We were thrilled with the response we got at our KelbyTraining.com booth, and our theater was standing-room-only for three straight days. We also had a lot of great folks come by for our live taping of Photoshop User TV, and we always have a lot of fun taping a live show, in front of a live audience like that (despite the fact that it’s usually pretty much a calamity).

All-in-all, I was very impressed with the entire show, and I was really glad I went. We’ll have some video coverage of the show on the next episode of Photoshop User TV, so you’ll get a better feel for how cool the show was. My hats off to the PPA for producing such a great show for our industry. :-)