WPPI 2011 has come and gone. Most of the problems from last year (like not enough space in the conference sessions) have been solved. Organizers claim 16,000 but it felt about the same as last year – 13,000. Either way, there’s no way to look at it as anything other than a success. WPPI was certainly bigger than the PPA show and from all accounts had more energy. Photographers from more than 40 countries packed the hall. The vendors I talked to were all happy with the amount and type of floor traffic they got. The conference attendees that I talked to generally had very positive responses to my question: “Was it worth your time and money?”
There were more than 320 exhibits. I really question what Costco was doing at a professional show, but otherwise I found the exhibits to be of high quality.
There were few truly “new” products. The timing of this show makes that nearly impossible since it comes AFTER PPE and PPA. Canon did have a new PROGRAF printer. Ilford (now strictly in the inkjet paper business) had some nice papers – particularly their high gloss paper. Sony was showing some stuff that might be made someday. Nobody seemed to care.
The photo labs have all become much more involved in helping photographers productize their images. Kodak actually introduced a new film emulsion. Album companies like EpocaUS had an array of dazzling choices in the high-end designer album category. There were the usual myriad of bags and cases.
All-in-all, the mix was great. The best reason to attend any of these trade shows is the networking – and there was plenty of networking going on at WPPI.
While networking I ran into several old friends. This led me to some of the invite-only suites where I got the chance to work extensively with some of the new video support gear coming on the market. All I can say is this stuff is getting better, cheaper and lighter. All good news.
If you’ve never been to a national trade show like this, by all means try to go at least once in your life. It is an amazing thing to be surrounded with so many like-minded people all pursuing the same thing – photography.
The next big trade show is the National Association of Broadcasters show in Vegas. I’ll be speaking there and covering the show for those of you interested in HDSLR fusion.