The Photography Show 2017 (18-21 March)



My Expectations 

On Saturday, I made the short trip to the Birmingham NEC which was hosting The Photography Show. Now in its fourth year, the show is the largest of its kind in the U.K. I set off in the hope of developing my skills in three disciplines, time lapse videos, shooting products for my blog and mobile photography, as I don't always get the opportunity to carry around my camera bag. Being a novice at the show, I tagged along with my Dad, who is an old hand at these events having attended the past three shows.

Our Arrival

Having arrived relatively early, we made the short walk from the car park to the main entrance and joined a queue just after 09:00 (the queue happened to be on a Pokémon Stop so I was happy). Shortly after 09:15, we started to move at they began checking tickets and ushering us into a holding space until 10:00 when the doors officially opened. There was a real energy in the room, as the enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals lined the room, waiting to go in. As the clocks struck 10:00, we were allowed in. 

First Stop

We had agreed in the holding room that we would head straight to the Olympus stand in the anticipation that they would be offering a cleaning service to owners of their cameras. As we arrived at the stall, we could see the start of a queue forming for this service, my Dad was about fifth in the queue so I went to have a look at some of the newer models of Olympus cameras. I was disappointed with the latest mode of my camera, Olympus Pen E-PL5, the E-PL8. Just holding it and adjusting the screen on the back, it felt cheap as I altered its position. On the other hand, the Olympus Pen felt really nice to hold and easy to use - I think I've found my next upgrade, I just need to save up the pennies! I returned to my Dad in the queue just as he was about to be seen. We were a little shocked to be told that the camera would be available before the end of the show for collection. By this time, the queue has grown significantly and was probably 30 people long, I dread to think how Olympus managed to keep on top of all these customers.

First Half

Once my Dad's camera was in for a clean, we set off to see what the show had to offer. The first stall that caught my eye was being run be Orange Monkie, who were displaying an automatic turntable and light box, the Foldio360 and Foldio2. The Foldio360 looked like it would do everything I wanted from a turntable as it connected to your camera or smartphone and take shots at predetermined times to create 3D images of whatever was on the turntable. This looked to fit the bill for me, unfortunately it was cost more than I had budgeted for at the show. The second stall that peaked my interest was TurnsPro's, they were showing off an electronic panoramic head that could be programmed to allow it's owner to take amazing time lapse videos or panoramic photos. I'm seriously considering getting one of these either later in the year or at next years show.

Lunch

For lunch, my Dad queued up for an Alice May's Burger whilst I found somewhere to take the weight off our feet. I spotted a quiet corner just next to the adobe theatre. Little did I know that people were starting to queue for the next show, so I quickly moved myself out of the way as the queue came close to where i was sat. Fortunately, my Dad was able to spot me sat on the floor between the people queueing. We both had 'The Alice' burger, essentially a bacon cheeseburger but it was much more than that. The bacon was crunchy and overflowing, while the burger was moist but not greasy, almost worth going to the show just for lunch.

More Stalls

Once we had finished our lunch, we set about seeing the remaining stalls in the show. I noticed that there were a lot of stalls selling accessories for baby photographers and rigging for lighting, but I was struggling to find anything for me to buy. I did find a clockwork panoramic head that was a fraction of the cost of the TurnsPro, which I seriously considered buying. Although not perfect, I think the Sevenoak Panoramic Mechanical Head could offer a beginners route into time lapse photography.

Seeing Eric

As we finished looking at the stalls just in time to grab some seats at a talk by Daryll Jones, who is best known for his photographs of the adventures of Eric, a toy Storm Trooper from Star Wars, on his Instagram account. Although the talk didn't go down the route I expected, and possibly hoped, for he gave an interesting insight in to how he started and how he has developed relationships with various brands as a result of his Instagram work. At the end he invited his Instagram followers up to have a chat and hand out prints of some of his work, I got Eric in a Spitfire and my Dad got Eric making a sand angel. It would have been good to get an understanding of how he shoots his photos or Eric and pass on any tips to the audience.

Deliberations

As we left the talk, my Dad and I spoke about what we had seen at the show, before going for another look at the things we had seen that we liked. I had been concerned that I would be able to use my phone with the two time lapse devices so I also remained vigilant for something to connect my iPhone to a tripod. The only place that seemed to have anything like this was the Joby stand. We had a good chat about their possible solutions with one of their representatives, but I didn't feel pressured into buying anything from them. One good tip that I picked up front the Joby representative was to consider using a Lumee phone case, which was designed for taking selfies, but can be used to get good lighting for any mobile photography. My Dad had decided he was going to get a Foldio2, but upon finding out the cost decided to give it a miss. I also had some strong deliberations about getting either the Sevenoak's or TurnsPro. In the end I decided I going to get the Sevenoak Mechanical Panoramic Head, only to find out they weren't selling products and we'd need to speak to one of the retail stores. We spoke to the suggested store but got told that they had only brought limited stock and this wasn't part of their stock for the show. As I contemplated leaving the show without buying anything, I noticed Nikon were selling SD cards for charity, so I grabbed one for Nikki.

Closing Thoughts

Looking back I enjoyed walking round the show, but i did leave the show feeling a bit disappointed that no-one seemed to be catering for the mobile photography market. Whilst I appreciate that I probably wasn't the target customer for a number of the stalls, it would have been nice if there was someone who wanted to relieve me of my money. But as I wasn't wanting to buy a new camera, I did feel like I missed out on things somehow. I'm hoping that next year mobile photography will be given as much space as GoPros at the show by the stall holders so I can see what's available on the market. However I'm still looking forwards to attending in 2018.

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