FOCUS ON IMAGING 2008 - The Major Photographic Show of the Year
The annual major photographic show for photographers in the UK is taking place again at the end of this month. It takes place at the NEC in Birmingham halls 9 & 10 and is on for 4 days from Sunday 24th to Wednesday 27th. It is a showcase for photographers whether they be professionals, enthusiasts or hobbyists to be able to look at all the latest products. There will be over 200 exhibitors.
So who should visit and how long do you need
Anyone who is seriously interested in photography or running a photography related business. I have been previous years and you not only get to see the latest products each of the companies has to offer, but you also get the chance to watch demonstrations, attend seminars, buy products at show offer prices, but also get ideas and inspiration for ways to sell your photography by seeing products such as editing software, framing supplies, albums, colour management, camera accessories, printers, printing supplies like paper and other products you can get printed on, studio equipment flash and props and loads more.
On previous experience if you want to see everything then you will have difficulty in seeing it all within a day, however most of us will be more selective but you still need more than half a day to do this show justice.
Last year I went twice, well I only live about an hour away, on the Monday to look around all the stands and basically I started at the first stand at one end of the hall and worked my way around both halls looking in detail at those items I was interested in. I then revisited on the final day (Wednesday).
Which day should you go, well that will depend on your other time commitments, I would say that the first couple of days are the busiest, over the course of the 4 days last year (2007) over 32,000 people attended, and therefore getting to see things on stands can be more difficult, the last day, last year was much quieter than the previous day I had been. However if your purpose is to go and buy particular items at show offer prices you have seen advertised either on supplier websites or in magazines, then the earlier you go the more likely you are going to be able to get the item you want. For example last year on one of the framing stands on Monday they were having to take orders, at the show offer prices, for one particular frame cutter as they had already sold out of the supply they had brought with them to the show from Australia, and this was happening on a number of stands I went on.
If you intend to go you can pre-register on their website, in which case entry will be free. The Free entry is limited to trade visitors but all those who would class themselves as professional or semi professional photographers are of course included. If you leave it close to the event you are not likely to get an entry badge through the post, but registering online you will be emailed a visitor number and taking this along on the day will get the badge printed on your arrival at the show. If you don't pre-register then you will have to pay the £6 entry fee. The show is open Sunday-Tuesday 10am to 6pm and on Wednesday (the final day) 10am to 5pm.
So who will be there
There will be over 200 exhibitors there and I can't possibly list them all here your best option will be to take A visit to the Focus on Imaging Show website where you can get a PDF copy of this years floorplan, with a list of exhibitors. On their website you will find a list of exhibitors as at January 2008, with new additions.
Most of the major players will be there including Nikon, Adobe, Apple, Epson, Canon, Hewlett Packard, Kenro, Lastolite, Lee Filters, Lexar, Lowepro, Manfrotto, Sigma, and Wacom. As well as some others like:
A word of warning, some stands will be very busy and it may be difficult to get to see the products you are interested in let alone get a chance to talk to someone about it or get your hands on it. For example the Nikon stand is always busy, I don't think on any of my visits over the years have I been able to do more than actually pick up leaflets off their stand just down to the large numbers of people all trying to see and get their hands on the latest Nikon kit. Of course this years show will be no exception as they have announced this week that they are bringing out a new DSLR camera, the D60 (see our news item) and new lenses.
You can purchase products from a large number of the stands that exhibit at the show and many of them have show offer prices to encourage you to do so. If they should run out many will take orders at the show offer prices and will forward them on to you after the show has finished. If you want to be able to buy and take away with you then you do need to go early.
Many exhibitors at the show will have free presentations on their stands, and if like last year this will include stands that will have demonstrations, like Wacom, Adobe, and Apple running through to those who have large enough stands to have small seating areas and presentations running at regular intervals throughout the day giving more detailed information to the group, like Nikon and others.
As well as these, Focus also has two rooms where they run paid for seminars on specific topics. They only run on the first 3 days of the show and you usually need to book your place in advance.
Finally, if you have the time you should go along, you will get to see what is happening in the photographic market today, get to look at some products that you have only been able to read about and so much more. To pre-register go to the Focus on Imaging website.
We will be attending again this year and will give a report on our 2008 visit and what we saw, in this newsletter on our return. We do not exhibit at the show as we don't have enough people to be able to talk to the number of visitors the stand would attract or to be on the stand all the time.
Tips: Take a drink i.e. bottle of water, a bag that you can carry handouts and items you buy and wear suitable footwear to spend a long time in. As many of the stands have presentations you will get the opportunity to take a break and sit down.