As the Photography Show 2016 draws to a close on this Tuesday evening, I look back at some of the exciting products, live demonstrations and seminars that I found most useful. This year’s show featured over 7 stages that gave advice & demonstrations for the beginners and professional photographers across the four days. One of the fantastic things about the Photography Show is the experience and knowledge available to everyone who walks through the NEC doors, you can be anything from a wildlife photographer to a wedding photographer and there is something for everyone.
With over 200 exhibitors at this year’s show there’s certainly plenty to look at, as a complete camera geek and my love for all things tech, I made sure I got hands on with as many new products as I could. With so much going on over the weekend, I thought it would be a great idea to share my favourite stands from this year’s show:
I’m bound to be a little bit bias when it comes to Billingham as my go-to camera bag for wedding photography is my trusted (and very vintage) Billingham. I doubt there’s many photographers in the UK that haven't heard of this British company and they’re always great to go and see when the Photography Show comes around. Their appearance at the 2016 show was no different, with a huge range of quality products on display for you to have a look at and more importantly, be able to touch and feel the premium quality of their products. As soon as I got chatting to the guys on the stand it’s fairly obvious they know what they’re talking about and more importantly, they talked to you like a human being, leaving out those god awful sales pitches. If I’m honest I don’t need a sales pitch to be persuaded to buy a Billingham Camera bag, the products and design speaks for itself, and most importantly the bags do the job at protecting your photography equipment very very well!
Western Digital: My Passort Wireless WI-FI Mobile Storage
The guys at WD had a great stall at this year’s show, them and I share a mutual passion: always back up your photographs and files! I was mega impressed with their new Wireless storage system, the passport allows you to wirelessly access all your files for any device. The rechargeable battery allows you to instantly back up and transfer SD card files on the go, perfect if like me, you’re always on the move shooting up & down the country. Even more exciting, the device acts as a streaming device, especially good for those working on the road and staying in hotels overnight. It gets better, you can even stream up to 4 HD videos at once to multiple devices. All in all I think this is the perfect addition to your memory storage as a photographer, I can see this coming in handy during the ‘gap’ at weddings, you’ll be able to back up your SD cards during those dreadful ‘gaps’ during the day.
G . F SMITH
There’s always those few stands at the Photography Show where you just find yourself engulfed in conversation and this was the case with the lovely people at G . F Smith Photographic. They had a huge range of photographic books, frames and folders on display for you to look at, touch and most importantly feel. Their attention to detail and quality is obvious from their products and passion, they certainly know what they’re talking about and their work speaks for itself. I was even more impressed with the customer service they offer, I pride myself on a bespoke service with my photography so I like businesses who offer the same. Their brochure states ‘we answer the telephone’ let’s be honest when you’re designing a photo album or ordering prints and you come across a problem there is nothing worse than having to email the company and wait for a reply, it’s very rare companies advertise their telephone numbers these days. Even better, the sales executives from G . F Smith will visit your studio or home across the country to go through everything and show you how to use their software. Overall the G . F Smith stand was one of my favourites at the 2016 Photography Show, and I’m not bias on this one as I have never used their service but I certainly intend to, so keep posted for an update.
Manfrotto: Digital Director
Let’s be honest Manfrotto lead the way for photography tripods and their up there with the best when it comes to video heads, camera bags, lens filters & video lighting. If you’re a regular visitor to the Photography Show you will know that Manfrotto go all out with their stand and the size of it challenges the likes of Nikon & Canon. This year was no different and I think they had more products on show than any other stall in the whole show, seeing the amount of products they offer in one space really emphasises they’re more than just the leading tripod company. Their own brochure they were handing out states ‘ The best photo and video accessories’ on the front cover and would you challenge that?
As always, I was impressed with their vast range of ergonomic, lightweight and spacious camera bags that I would trust to keep all my photographic equipment secure. They really had a bag for every occasion, whether you’re taking one DLSR on a family picnic to travelling the to the other side of the world with all your equipment they could suggest the bag for the occasion. Obviously their photo supports/ tripods on display gained a lot of attention at the show, I very rarely use tripods, but as Photography and Video become an all in one service, Manfrotto have answered the needs of the industry. Seriously these guys rule the world when it comes to tripods and monopods!
So out of all their products what did I love the most from Manfrotto? I was actually really impressed with their ‘Digital Director’ this is a workflow manager, it’s the only Apple certified device that connects to your camera and iPad to help manage your photo & video workflow. They had plenty of these directors on display linked up to Nikon & Canon cameras and you could even have a go with your own camera if you asked nicely enough. The digital director works really well, it firstly allows you to check the settings within the camera and changed anything on the camera from your iPad. It acts as a wireless remote and screen, but unlike using the camera apps on your phone, it’s in realtime without any delay or lag. Furthermore, rather than using your small LCD on the back of the camera and as an alternative to your viewfinder, the director allows you to use your iPad as an external monitor, taking advantage of it’s Retina display. So the Digital Director isn't the new toy for everyone, I doubt I would ever use the director in my wedding photography but I can certainly see it being a welcome addition to studio, product, newborn, landscape and sport photographers to name a few!
As a lover of all things Adobe, especially Lightroom & Photoshop, I was highly anticipating this years Adobe Theatre stage at the 2016 Photography Show. The stage offered a comprehensive programme of sessions across the four days of the show, offering advice and tips for all levels of photographers, videographers and digital designers. There’s certainly too many sessions I could talk about, so here’s a few of my favourite sessions from the extended weekend.
- Combing Lightroom and Photoshop CC in your Retouching Work presented by Commercial Photographer and Adobe Systems UK Presenter Dave Mallows offered detailed analysis of the new tools and features in both programs. Dave gave advice on how to improve your post production and retouching workflows, he gave in-depth knowledge in how to switch between Lightroom & Photoshop to really maximise your creative process. It was a session certainly worth attending and I hope I can pick Dave’s brains in the future!
- Video editing with Photoshop CC and the Photography Plan presented by Principal Solutions Consultant at Adobe Richard Curtis, the session started with the fact of how many photographers own a DLSR that are capable of capturing HD Video but very rarely do. Richard showed the audience that even simple footage captured on your DLSR can make a fantastic short film and certainly help you learn the ropes in Photoshop. The session gave advice on the tools available in Photoshop to edit a video and how to maximise the Photoshop interface for video. I’m all too aware that I don’t utilise the capabilities of video in my DSLR and with Richard’s help I will be trying my hand at more moving image over the next few months.
Hahnemühle Fine Art
For anyone who follows my work & blog religiously, you will be well aware that I love printing photographs, so at this year’s Photography Show 2016 stopping by to say hello at the printing experts was my first point of call. I currently outsource a large majority of my printing so I wanted to speak to a few people at this year’s show to see how easy and how much it would cost me to start printing from the office again. Once you’ve sourced a professional printer, then comes your paper choice and it’s very important you get this one right. Most people will have heard of Hahnemühle, I don’t think there’s any other company that challenges their range of fine art papers. Founded back in 1584 as a paper mill in South Lower Saxony’s Solling uplands, Hahnemühle developed – strictly according to the spirit of its founding fathers – into a customer-oriented and innovative manufacturing facility and that was very apparent at this year’s Photography Show. I was hugely impressed with the samples Hahnemühle had on show this year and the expertise of the staff on the stand. I will certainly be using Hahnemühle for my next print to see the results.
One thing I love about the Photography Show is the opportunity to mix with the big companies ( Nikon, Canon, Manfrotto & Fujifilm) and then walk around the corner and find yourself chatting to a small independent company that offer something really quirky to the photography industry. This was just the case with Barber Shop, this Italian company offer authentic collection of leather accessories that cater for the professional photographer. Their handcrafted Leather items range from multifunctional camera bags, perfect for men & women, to Camera Straps & Bridles, perfect for carrying more than one camera body.
Nikon & Canon Stands
This wouldn't be a fair review of this year’s Photography Show if I didn't mention the big two names in camera bodies. You may know by now I rarely entertain the Canon vs Nikon debate ( maybe it’s now Canon vs Nikon vs Fuji ?), so I don’t spend too much time comparing the facts and figures, for me I know they both create some fantastic DSLR cameras and I would highly recommend both to anyone. If you’re going to judge the geographical positioning of the two stands Nikon, like Fujifilm, were situated at the entrance to the show with a huge stand to the left of the main entrance. Whilst Canon dominated the back of the whole show and precisely positioned near to the food court to catch people on their way past (to buy a ridiculously over priced burger.. but what do you expect). In my opinion, Nikon’s stand was more welcoming, the open space let you float in and out of their stand and stop by and listen to the Nikon speakers whereas Canon’s stand became a bit of a bottleneck during busy periods during the show.
Did you attend this year’s The Photography Show 2016? Which stands & companies did you find yourself drawn to?