Last week’s PhotoPlus Expo has officially come to a close. Between all the talk about full-frame mirrorless cameras, on-stage demos and seminars, there was a ton to see and do as a photographer.

More than 200 exhibitors showed off their latest and greatest products. Attendees saw everything from new cameras and lenses, to post-processing software and camera accessories.

Next year’s PhotoPlus Expo is slated for Oct. 24-26, 2019. But who is it for, and should you plan on going?

Who PPE is for

Compared to WPPI, PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) reaches a broader audience. The camera manufacturer booths are ginormous, featuring help desks, presentation stages, product showcase areas and more. Some camera manufacturers also had secondary shooting areas outside of their main presentation stages, offering something for everyone.

Because of this broadness, there are less smaller companies present. When at expos, I usually like to visit with new companies and see what they have to offer. But the “PPE Fresh” section I found to be somewhat underwhelming compared to WPPI. That being said, PPE is way more generalized than WPPI is. At a show like WPPI, you see vendors targeting wedding and portrait photographers, whereas, with PPE, vendors are trying to reach every type of photographer out there.

Courtesy of PhotoPlus Expo

That being said, if you’re new to photography, PPE is a great way to learn and experience the industry that not a lot of other conferences can present. You can take advantage of some great show specials and really elevate your photography gear.

Finally, if you want to check out the latest camera gear before you buy, PPE is perfect for that.

Who PPE isn’t for

As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for more specialized products and seminars, PPE might not be for you. Conferences like WPPI offer a more personalized experience and one where you can relate more to both speakers and attendees alike.

If you’re looking for educational sessions that are specifically tailored to your type of photography or your needs, you won’t find as much of that at PPE. That’s not a bad thing, and that’s why there are obviously different types of conferences for everyone.

What to know for next year

Being my first year at PPE, there were a few things I learned about the experience.

Get there early

The line to get in the expo when it opens every day is long. Get there early, and be prepared to have your backpack or messenger bag checked and tagged (yes, even if you’re press!).

Bring snacks and be prepared for pricey, lackluster food options

There are a few food options within the convention center, but most are mediocre at best. Starbucks obviously provides a consistent experience, but one that’s slightly more pricey than you’ll find elsewhere around the country. That being said, there are a few food options within a few blocks of the convention center, and most offer prices similar to what you’d find at the convention center (with significantly better food, too).

Bring business cards

I had a ton of business cards on me, and I probably went through 100 of them between vendors and attendees. I was surprised that with about half the people I met, I wasn’t handed a business card back. Instead, I received their Instagram handle or e-mail. Business cards are still important in this day and age, and it’s a great way to exchange information.

Sign up for after-hours events!

There are tons of photowalks and parties happening at PhotoPlus after closing hours. Photofocus had a public photowalk on Friday night, and I attended private parties on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. Even if you don’t go to a private party, think about making your own with other attendees! It’s a great way to explore the city and meet some great people.

Closing thoughts

I had a great time at PPE! And depending on what you’re looking for, you will too. If nothing else, it offers a unique viewpoint of New York City and is a great excuse to visit. If you’re prepared in advance, you can set up your schedule so that you can make the most of your time in the Big Apple, and get to meet some great people and vendors, too.

Check out our complete coverage of PhotoPlus Expo here. We hope to see you next year!