It was my second visit to The Photography Show at the NEC.  This year, instead of a day visit, I attended for 3 days to make the most of the various conferences and talks.  Was it worth it?  Well here are my thoughts.

From egg-shaped drones to photo tours of Antarctica, if it was related to photography then it was probably there.

Being a professional photographer can be a fairly lonely existence.  When you work in an office or factory you can share a joke or chat about last nights telly in the canteen or at the ‘water cooler’.

Although I have the opportunity to chat and natter with Belinda, my wife, it’s often nice to share stories, tips and tricks with other photographers.  The show provides that opportunity, as well as being able to hear from some of the worlds leading image takers and, possibly, meet some of those that inspire you.

Thousands of amateur, semi-pro and professional photographers visit the show over the four days.

The main exhibition is full of hundreds of trade exhibitors from all over.  There were big stands from all the major camera manufacturers as well as the large accessory makers and suppliers.

The aisles were bursting on Sunday, and apparently Saturday was busier.  I still cannot understand why so many people decide to bring their rucksacks full of every piece of equipment they own or walk around with a camera and 2ft long lens hanging around their neck.

It was a lot quieter on the Monday and Tuesday and a lot easier to get to see and try things.

I must admit that I did enjoy wandering around the stands and seeing the latest kit.  This year seemed to be the year of the tripod.

Although I stay up to date with most equipment developments, by surfing the web, there’s nothing better than actually seeing the new kit ‘in the flesh’ and speaking to the staff.  I managed to spend a very informative 30 minutes with the Pentax 645z ‘Ambassador’ to discuss new developments in tethering and Pentax’s support network for professionals.

I did take my little Lumix LX100 and managed to use it take a picture of itself dismantled.  Which could be seen as a little bit macabre.

I also manage to pick up a couple of ‘bargains’, but that wasn’t my main reason for attending and the savings didn’t even cover the cost of the car park..

I booked to attend several of the ‘Pro’ conferences and talks and I picked up a lot of tips, tricks and advice that will definitely help me in my business.

There were talks on marketing, software, pricing, insurance, drones and personal projects.  I found them informative and entertaining.  The evening ‘pro’ drinks session was hilarious.

I have heard many people grumbling that there were no deals to be had and the show wasn’t worth it.  With the recent devaluing of the pound it was highly unlikely that there would be much to give away.  I did see a few deals, but that isn’t the best way to measure an event like this.

I heard inspirational speeches from new photographers and industry icons and spent a lot of time in good company sharing experiences.

Will I go next year?  Maybe.  I will check the conference line up first.  Am I glad I went this year?  Absolutely.